On the carp front 2014 was good to me but there was a slightly different ending to the year this time around. For 20 years I had generally spent Christmas and New Year down at Cassien in the south of France, but with no night fishing there anymore plans for that went out of the window. Instead I decided that a change was better than a rest and focussed on chasing some predators! The first part of December saw me heading for the Baltic Sea off the north east coast of Germany to a place called Rugen. It boasts some of the best pike fishing in the world and is a bit of a freak of nature really, being part of the Baltic Sea but holding freshwater species as well as salt water fish.
Scope rods in all their variations are just as good for predator fishing as they are for carp, the first bonus is that for flying to Germany the shortened rods make carriage much easier and I took with me two 9ft 3lb Scopes and two 6ft 3lb Sawn Offs in a small cardboard tube. They also make lure fishing from a boat easy, not only can they cast the big rubber lures needed for the pike but with three or four people fishing from a relatively small boat there isn’t much room, so the Sawn Offs were ideal.
The weather did its best to ruin everything and for a few days it was just to rough to get out but on the final day we did get out there and between three of us we managed 31 pike! They measure all the fish over there rather than weigh them, which I always find difficult to get used to, but I managed the best of the day at 1m 9cm which was actually my last fish of a very exciting day!
Back in the UK and for New Year me and Joan were lucky enough to be able to spend a few days in the cabin swim at Grenville Lake in Cambridgeshire. It’s well known for its exceptional carp stock but I knew that it was also home to some good pike and perch so the Scopes were going to be busy again! With the Sawn Off I was drop shotting and fishing with small lures, while on the 9ft 3lb Scope I had a freelined sardine out on the bottom. The sardine rod was fairly quiet but the action came thick and fast on the lures with several small perch and pike to mid doubles. Finally just as light was fading on New Year’s Eve the sardine rod went off and a much tougher battle followed. My aim for the trip was to get a 20lb-plus pike and at 22lb 12oz I was really happy with my last fish of the calendar year!
I knew that there were better perch out there to be caught and so for New Year’s Day and the following morning I concentrated on those and I wasn’t disappointed with a string of good ones coming my way. It was really good fun and while carp will always be my number one target, I do like to have a change every now and then and it just goes to show how versatile the Scopes are - I’ll be doing a bit of barbel fishing with them this winter too if all goes well!