Last week I had an happy day. After a long and cold winter I finally went back to my favourite fishing grounds in the Castilla Leon area, near Benavente, 250km North-west of Madrid. This is about two and half hours drive from my house, so I left pretty early in the morning, fivish I'd say.
These are relatively small rivers, formerly populated with trouts and now, due to the pollution, dams and bad management have turned into great Pike waters. The fun thing is that you can wade most of them and fish top water a lot, in fact the water is pretty clear and also shallow, with lots of weeds.
The start of the day hasn't been very good. One of my favourite stretch of the river (and the whole river for that matter) was carrying a lot of water, pretty high with a strong current. Had two pikes following on the first pools but finally had to quit. Too dangerous.
Pretty upset I moved to another river. The water was perfect, it was quiet and beautiful and on cast # 3 I had my first Pike charging wildly the Super Spook from almost 10' and halting like Roadrunner once he saw me. Funny enough, the usually better shore was non productive and when I moved to the other, the sunny one, I found a good deal of fish in very shallow water, very aggressive with the top water lure. By the end of the morning I had collected 10 strikes, most of them missed, and landed 2 small fish.
In the afternoon, moving to another stretch of the river I missed the right turn and ended up in a road I didn't know until I found a small bridge on a nice looking river. A local explained me what river was that and I decided to give it a chance. "20 casts Nicola, only 20 casts and if nothing happens we proceed to our known spot". Thing is that on cast 3 a very nice fish followed and hit the spinnerbait under my feet. Missed it. 10 more casts and another fish follows, to strike again under my feet and miss the darn lure. Finally, a third fish inhaled the spinnerbait and I had the third fish of the day.
Needless to say I was hooked. I kept fishing downriver, in almost every deep spot I found nice Pikes (they're not big fish but we are in a small river as well) and started improving my score. Too bad I was on my own because it was a great day to take amazing photos. I had to do everything myself, and to make things worse I only had with me the Nikon D70s with a 35mm f2 lens, the less bulkier I have, great tool but not for wide angle stuff as most of the times I need. A SB600 was also in my wader's pocket and I used it a great deal, can't live without strobes these days.
Late in the afternoon I crossed path with a fellow fisherman, trying to catch a trout on a fly, exchanged few words and resumed my fishing. Next pool I hit a very nice fish (again, nice for these waters) and called the guy to help me with the photos. I asked him to hold the fish for me but he was clearly nervous and his hands were shaking. Hoping he was able to take a picture I held the fish and the result can be seen here. A good 10 pounder that looks like a 4lb fish!
It has been a great day out on the water, probably my favourite fishing after all