The normal early start was on the cards and as always life throws up a curve ball or two. In this case it was a sharp froze and bitterly cold. Car was packed and by dawn I'm on the bank enjoying the morning view with porridge and tea on the menu.
The intention was to stay mobile and fish at least three/four areas I fancied during the day. The swim screamed pike and I was confident that given time I would caught from this deep spot on the river. The scene was set and I stood in ore of the magical landscape. Alas after two hours with a stream of Sunday morning dog walkers passing buy with their unruly mutts, they got the better of me and I decided that it was just too busy for this grumpy piker to endure.
I upped sticks and moved to a stretch of river that appeared to be quieter, but still had the appeal to produce a pike or two. I walked up the track alongside the river exchanged pleasantries with a chub angler and settled into a spot which I felt was far enough away from him.
First guest of the morning was another dog walkers who's mutt decided that the bait box delights were too tempting and after a heated exchange re that fact that this land is private, owner and mutt trudged off muttering under their breath. Calm and tranquillity only lasted for a further twenty minutes before guest number two appeared. This character has been given a name due to his antics and the welsh wally was soon on my shoulder chirping away, "You fishing for pike, I had three from here, what bait are you using, what depth are you fishing, is that a smelt?". He went on and on and on, getting in the way, narrowly avoiding treading on the landing net handle. With characters like this, I find it best to be polite, but short. He soon retreated to find another poor soul to badger.
The third and final guest was another dog walker with a fat chocolate Labrador, who came nosily through the swim crashing about. I lost the will and packed up and head for a quiet spot for the afternoon.
The quiet spot was just that quiet and soon the rods were out and lunch was cooking on stove, bliss.
The first run of the day came on the came on the far side rod and the line was spooling off at a great rate. The float was buried and I was sure I was going to be in, I wound down and for a second felt something, then it was gone.
One mangled bait.
This was soon replaced with a fresh sardine and was cast back to the same spot.
Runs come be few and far between on a day like this, so after replacing the bait on the margin rod, I chopped up a spare sardine and dropped bits around the fresh bait. Always good to give some extra scent when the water is chocolate brown.
After a couple of cuppa's and with the sun in its final descent, the margin rod alarm sounded and the line was spooling away steadily. No need to wind down as the pike was heading down stream and by simply closing the bail arm and lifting the rod, I was soon connected.
Short scrap ensued and soon the first pike of the day was in the net.
A tidy, washed out fish was soon unhooked and slipped back into the ice cold water. With a half and hour before it was truly dark and fresh bait was hooked up and lowered along the margin.
As I turned and headed back up the bank, the alarm was off again, but on the bait on the far side.
The rod tip was banging away and the float could be seen under the surface like before.
Wound down expecting nothing, but felt a weight. Fish on.
I played the pike mostly in the mid channel, and as it came closer it made spirited runs downstream, with each run I could feel the hooks slipping so backed off the clutch abit. With the fish beaten, dropped the net cord below the surface and drew the fish over it. As its head came over the cord the hook hold slipped again, but this time it was out of the jaws and into the net. The pike wallowed on the surface for a second and I tried in vain to extend my reach to get her in the net, but sensing her freedom, she flicked her tail and was away.
Not swearing, no tears just a chuckle. It had been one of those days where the thinks were just outside of my control and in the end, just getting a fish in the net was a result.