Pike hunting in winter ! The very positive news of the cold months. When most trout streams stay closed during the winter break, it is the perfect moment to look for the Esox lucius. Despite what many believe, it is not just a blind casting and stripping in hope for something. .
When hunting for pikes the water environment and its intrinsic characteristics acquire a special meaning for those who take care of reading them. Each underwater obstacle or submerged rock harbour a potential interpretation, each slow swinging weedbank may hide a perfect ambush.
In this hunt, the hunter (the pike) becomes the prey while the angler tries to perceive the environment from the point of view of the pike. The cartridges have each their own colours and properties, whose importance , upon the circumstances, shall not be underestimated.
Even though sometimes pike's attacks are the result of a mere instinct, the materials used to tye the streamers and the tackles employed when fishing are key: rigid bucktail or soft rabbit, a floating or a sunk fly can produce better results when utilized under the correct conditions.
Just last day, during a cold and sunny day, my pal and I decided to go for pikes. As we arrive at the river, we realize that in spite having been phantasizing of the perfect conditions, at the end one has to be prepared to cope with what the reality offers.
The water is a bit higher then normal and a bit turbid for the recent rainfalls. With a stronger current it is likely that the pikes may tend to stay close to the bank. I mount the sinking tip line and a white bunny fly. With these water conditions the pikes may prefer the areas where the current is slower or still. The white bunny fly returns the first pikes of the day.
Now we are both fishing with white bunny flies but there are no bites anymore. Worn by the previous attacks, my bunny looses the tail and I change it for a tinca streamer. I cast the tinca streamer near a sunken tree or what remains of it. I have just the time to reckon that it would be the perfect shelter if I were a pike when a violent take confirms my intuition.
I immediately realise that the fish is bigger then the other ones, he takes my 0.30 leader where he wants back and forth, he does not seem to give up, tacking my kevlar tip around and around. After a hard fight, my friend manages to net it, it is a wonderful 7 pound pike.
As the day slowly sinks at the horizon, soaked with emotions, we spend the last moments fishing till dusk, breathing the fresh air in mystical syntony with the nature.
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