Wednesday, 2 March 2016

February 2016 - No Shortage of Effort - Very little Reward

February can be one of the more difficult month's of the piking season on the waters that we fish, water temperatures would be expected to be at their lowest with moribund fish hard to locate and the activity of March as the drive to pro-create kicks-in still to look forward to. That is assuming that you can get a bait in the water with ice an ever present threat in these northern climes.

February 2016 hasn't been like that. Water temperatures have rarely dropped below 45 degrees, weed refuses to die back and the activity amongst the smaller jacks has remained at Autumnal levels. Most of our members have enjoyed days of multiple catches of fish in the 4lb - 6lb range whilst hoping for something a little larger. It is those larger fish that seem to have done a disappearing act on virtually all of our venues during February, the biggest fish reported being a 12lb'er which was as fat as butter and looking like it would be ready to spawn in a matter of days. The generally held view amongst our lot is that if ever there was a year when the fish spawn early then this could well be it. I guess that this suggestion is supported to some degree by the sustained level of activity amongst the smaller fish in the areas where we would begin to fish about now in the hope of intercepting the larger fish as they gather to spawn. Needless to say we are determined not to get caught out by the possibility of an early spawning and a lot of effort is already being expended in selected areas, so far, as it says at the top of this post, with very little reward.

We eventually had to give up on our planned region outing to a Yorkshire river.Whilst water levels gradually settled in the early part of February the banks were a bit of a nightmare with the debris and mud that was the residue of the prolonged flooding of January making things very difficult and potentially worse than difficult and with poor reports from those hardy souls who did give it a go we eventually succumbed and headed to a reliable stillwater due west of our Tyneside base. Eleven fish between the five members who made the journey went some way to convince us that we had made the right decision. So that saw us back on schedule as far as our club trip competition is concerned and it was at the very end of the month that we once again headed north and west this time to Dumfries and Galloway for our planned February outing, the penultimate trip of the season/competition. With an equal split between those that caught and those that didn't it was Dave Greally's two fish that moved him clear at the top of the competition table meaning the rest of us will be playing catch-up (again!) on the final event of the season. Hey-ho, it's a good job it is all a very light-hearted affair, much more to do with the craic than the catch.................honest.
Trip Champion Elect - Dave Greally

Our joint RO's, Mike Bell and Bruce Turnbull attended the fish-in that was organised to mark the passing of our friend Shane Patterson back in February 2015. They joined 14 other PAC stalwarts from the Hull, Teeside andDarlington/Durham Regions at the Hull and District A.A. complex at Brough. Our thanks go to Clive Melhuish and Jim Taylor for all their efforts in pulling the event together and of course to our hosts for providing the venue. Donations and a raffle raised £173 for Diabetes UK, Shane's adopted charity and that sum was boosted to £323 by money donated by another Yorkshire fish-in organised by LO Mark Green. All in all a fitting way with which to remember a good friend, just the sort of event in which Shane would have been in his element.
Shane Would Have Been In His Element

And what of March, well a few of us are once again looking forward to a day on the Lake of Mentieth, celebrated by our Newsletter editor on this month's front cover.

 We have our trip championship finale to look forward to and a lot of other piking besides as the season approaches its' climax, so a busy month no doubt. All of which will be reviewed and hopefully celebrated at our Region meeting which will take place at the Northumbrian Piper as usual on Tuesday 29th March 2016. Perhaps we will see you there?

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