Catch Fish with
17 November 2003.
The big pike I missed on my last trip to the river had fired my enthuiasm. I waited a few days until conditions looked good and set off for another attempt. I had one good sized bait and three or four smaller ones so, ever optimistic, I put the big one on the hook and went straight to the place where the big fish had failed to take my bait. The rig was simple - a single hook on 20lb wire and a cork with a slit in it for a float. I fished the pool for ten minutes with no sign of life and just as I approached the last bit of slack at the upstream end a good fish (I couldn't tell if it was the one I was after) lunged out at the bait and missed. I waited with my heart in my mouth for it to have another go and, just as I was thinking it was not coming back, the float submerged with hardly a ripple. I raised the rod and could feel the weight of the pike on the end so I took in a couple of turns of line and struck. The hook came back baitless. I could have wept. I tried again with one of the smaller baits but no joy so it will have to wait a bit longer before I have another go.
Disappointed I set off for the next pool, probably the best on the stretch, and floated a fifteen-centimetre bait all round the deep slow water on the outside of the bend for ten minutes or so - nothing! I walked round to the other side of the pool and cast the bait twenty metres across into the shallow slack on the inside of the same bend. I began a slow retrieve and after about ten seconds the float went under with a plop and there was a tell-tale swirl just where it had disappeared. Tighten, strike and it was on. The pike went berserk splashing, lunging out of the water and rushing about the pool and generally causing chaos before I managed to land it. It was beautifully hooked in the scissors so I took a few pictures and slid the fish back.
There was still a big area of slack unfished so I decided to try again in the same spot. Sure enough a couple of minutes later, as I was retrieving the bait slowly there was a great splash and a glimpse of broad green back as another fish took the bait. Again I tightened and struck to feel a much heavier weight. This one did not show itself but simply bored about into the deeper water. It was some time before the cork appeared above the surface and even longer before I had a good sight of the fish - a beauty, again hooked in the corner of the mouth. I landed it on the soft, wet, grassy bank, photographed it, weighed it and returned it - just under 19 pounds.
I put on my last bait and moved up to the next pool but after a couple of casts the bait fell off and I packed in and went home. A good session even if I did not catch the big fish.
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November 17th 2003
On the bank.
The big one.