Predator

He’s killing us, one at a time.” – The words of Arnie (as Dutch) in the 1987 classic, Predator. But they could equally have been the thoughts of a particularly nervous roach shoal I found in a shady pool on my first ever visit to the Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire last week.

Predator
"Get to the chopper!"

Perhaps it was because I’d been watching the former Governor of California fighting a giant alien just a few days previously, but I just had a feeling there really was something out there as a friend and I passed the pool.

We initially headed for the oxygenated water downstream of a tumbling weir. But without shade and with the midday sun burning strong, it wasn’t long until I wandered off to find a cooler area to have a cast. After a pleasant hour or two float fishing maggots for some little bleak, dace and roach, I made my way to a chubby looking backwater I’d noticed earlier.

I stopped at the shaded roach pool again. But this time something told me to stick around.

On second glance, the pool looked perfect for a perch. The deep water close in was flanked to my right by a lovely bed of rushes that looked the ideal spot for marauding Perca fluviatus. And it was full of little roach and bleak – ideal snacks for a big Billy!

I set up a light barbel rod and floatfished lobs tight to the rushes. First run down and the float buried. After a short tussle, I soon had the upper hand on what was a decent perch and lifted it towards the net. And that’s when I saw him. A big perch suddenly appeared; easily three times bigger than the fish I was playing. For a second I thought he may have been eyeing the smaller, hooked fish for his dinner.

Seaching for a perch
The search for a perch

I couldn’t get another bait out quickly enough. And as I worked the float down the nearside run, until it was just kissing the rushes, it buried again.

It was him. An altogether more aggressive scrap began, with plenty of violent head shaking and nerve-shredding runs into previously unseen beds of blanket weed. As I began to get the upper hand, he then made a charge for some cabbages under my feet. But everything held and I got him in the net on the second attempt.

Great Ouse perch
A Great Ouse pb perch of 2lbs 7ozs

Okay, so comparing a Great Ouse perch with one of the baddest baddies in film history may be overplaying it a little, but there really was something quite mean and magnificent about this battle scarred old predator. He was a dark, angry chap and weighed 2lbs 7ozs, a new PB by four ounces!

A colourful Great Ouse pike
I also tempted this strikingly marked Ouse pike
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A potential pike paradise?

It’s been tricky trying to think of something to write about for the blog, mainly as the weather has been so bad over recent weeks and the fact my one session recently was a complete blank.

It’s been tricky trying to think of something to write about for the blog, mainly as the weather has been so bad over recent weeks and the fact my one session recently was a complete blank.

The trip in question, a spur-of-the-moment afternoon session on a local day ticket lake in search of pike, resulted in one finicky, dropped run on a cold, bright and windy day. Well before I left the comfort of the sofa, hot tea and toast that morning, I knew it was going to be a struggle. Yet just the thought of a few snatched hours in the cold spent casting dead-baits to the horizon was too tempting and I was on the lake by midday.

I’d not previously pike fished the venue before, but had seen a couple of lads land a low-double during the summer that took a fluro pop-up on the retrieve and was on the lake one mild January day when an angler managed a 16lb fish. Also, having spoken to the bailiff, he mentioned a couple of points that are music to the pike angler’s ear. Firstly was that the lake hardly ever sees any attention from predator anglers, mainly due to the abundance of carp and bream which interest the majority of visitors; secondly, a large pike had been found dead a couple of years previously, a fish the bailiff had witnessed and put at over 20lbs. So although the first pike session on the venue was a blank, I intend to spend some more time on the venue to see if there are some good pike in there.