Sunday morning saw me attempting to prise Isaac from his bed at the unearthly hour (for him) of about 0730, “Just five more minutes Dad…”. Half an hour or so later we stood on the banks of the Marsh surveying the scene. As ever there were a few Carp anglers in residence but the swim I wanted to fish was free on this cool, grey morning. We were attempting to christen Isaac’s Pike rod which he’s had a while and used a couple of times but without managing to hook a Pike on it. This was a priority for us this autumn, the Pike police will say we’re a bit early and ultimately the weather may have been in agreement. However we’ve had our fill of Carp and I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to go fishing with my son while it’s still warm enough for him to relax.
I set Isaac’s rod up first and after a quick reminder he set about launching his float legered sprat out into the lake. His cast went further skyward than it did forwards but it plopped on the edge of the sparse lily pads, just where we wanted albeit with a bit of a splash. I chucked a lump of bluey to the left then commenced setting up the whip. With maggots as bait and a little bit of groundbait it was bite a chuck from the off, Rudd up to 4ozs which made ideal baits. We soon had one mounted on Isaac’s rod, switched to a paternoster and this too went on an upward trajectory and out into the lake. I decided not to use a live, if there was a Pike about I wanted it to take Isi’s bait and would probably have let him wind in any that took my mine.
We both soon got tired of catching Rudd so put the whip to one side and chatted while we willed a Pike to take Isaac’s bait. I was brought up to speed on the latest computer games and tried to explain why we hadn’t caught a Pike yet. When nothing had happened after the first hour I became resigned to it not happening at all, had I been fishing alone I’d have moved but… A good reminder should I actually fish here alone at another time. A cup of tea a bag of crisps later we decided to give it best, I tidied away slowly leaving Isaac’s rod till last but his chance didn’t come today. Happily he’s still determined to christen his new rod and quizzed me about “places with more Pike…” for next time. I’ll have to have a think.
Matt Hayes has been stirring the pot through his social networking sites over the weekend, offering honest opinions on the state of angling today. Fish stealing, Otters, Match fishing and the tackle trade in general have all been criticised. His comments about bait companies not actually field testing their products rang a bell. When I worked in that trade I witnessed very little actual field testing but colleagues and I were keen to put this right so did it in our own time. Some of the baits we came up with weren't up to scratch but a few were very effective, our "Instant stick mix" for example. None ever saw the market however as they were “too expensive”. On the shelves of tackle shops around the country is a product that proudly boasts the effectiveness of an ingredient that doesn’t actually exist, under that name at least. Around a decade ago one of my colleagues also had a phone call “offering” him a record Barbel that had recently been caught, it was eventually reported to be caught on the bait of the highest bidder…. (allegedly…). From my experience Matt Hayes is a nice bloke and I agree with very many things he said but I can’t help thinking he’s bitten the hand that has fed him very nicely over the years.
The traditional Pike season will soon be upon us and the curtain raiser comes this Saturday, Saturday 22nd September sees the annual PAC convention at Harrogate, see link below. This is by far the social event of the year for British Pike anglers both on the event itself and in the bar afterwards. For some reason it often coincides with the year’s worst hangover too. If you’ve never been you don’t know what you’re missing but don’t take my word for it, go see for yourself.