It’s December and still very mild, but the weather office people say the cold is coming.
There is nothing more bracing or invigorating than walking a Somerset river early on a winter’s morn with a fly or spinning rod and a couple of lures, in search of the pike that inhabit the waterways of the Levels.
The Taunton Angling Association waters – These include stretches of the River Tone and West Sedgemoor Drain.
The Bridgwater Angling Association waters – An extensive choice of venues including the North and South Drains, The Huntspill River and King Sedgemoor Drain.
Glaston Manor Angling Association waters – These include stretches of the North and south drains and the River Brue.
There is no need for a huge amount of kit. The main thing is to be mobile as you need to search the waters to locate the likely areas and thus the fish.
Pike are agressive preditors and all you need is something that they will find irresistable and the rod, reel and line with which to chuck it. A powerful rod of 9 feet will be perfect, preferably one rated for an 8 or 9 weight line if fishing the fly or able to cast up to 40gr if spinning; a big knotless meshed net with a long handle (some of the rivers and drains have very steep banks), really good kevlar glove and some needle nose pliers or really heavy duty forceps. That’s really it. Take some predetor traces or some very strong nylon if you prefer and two or three bid pike flies or Rapalas and you’re away.
One thing I would say in addition to all this. The pike has a reputation of not only being aggresive but also tough. It is a fact though that they are no more able to stand poor handling than any other fish and with all those teeth it can be easy to get it wrong. ALWAYS WEAR A GLOVE, USE YOUR PLIERS AND BE AS GENTLE WITH A PIKE AS YOU WOULD WITH A SALMON OR A CARP. Allow a fish a minute or two to recover in the water before letting go completely.