And so it came to the last weekend of a tough season. It’s been grim North and East winds and cold, raw weather for weeks on end but by now it was raining. The weekend forecast was equally grim, basically more of the same but getting even colder. By the time I launched in the evening it had been raining for hours but I was undeterred. On the water easily and after the darkest crossing I can remember I tucked myself away out of the wind for a few hours fishing with TMS cricket on the radio. England fought back nicely in the test but no Pike disturbed me so I wound the rods in and crashed out for a few hours.
Awake before dawn, it was still raining and very gloomy. I chucked the rods out again while I boiled the kettle and tidied the boat. The light was just growing when one of my rods rattled off. I set the hooks but there was little resistance still any Pike is welcome and a lean jack was unhooked easily. This bonus fish saw no change of plan, as soon as I was ready I knew where I wanted to be. A little journey on the engine and I was soon dropping four baits into a favourite place. An Otter circled the boat only a few feet away hissing in my direction, I didn’t feel welcome.
However, previous experience told me I was in with a good chance in this general area. The day drifted by with a couple of short moves but no Pike. I kept active, twitching baits and trying to make something happen but nothing did. It was still absolutely pissing down and the water was rising visibly. It was high time for a rethink and a change of plan, a proper move was in order. Only it would have been if the engine had obliged me by starting! Which it didn’t.
The immediate forecast was manageable but a strong easterly and possibly snow was predicted for the following day. No bravado this time (that’s another story…), the only sensible choice was to row back closer to base and get the boat in a sheltered position. Easier said than done as most of the journey was against a freshening wind and the bloody rain (from which I now had no shelter), was unrelenting. I arrived soaked to the skin through rain and sweat, I was totally knackered. I chucked the rods out and made a brew then sat back to assess the situation. Light was fading, I was getting colder, I was wet and uncomfortable but it was no longer raining. It had in fact begun to snow. After a brief flurry of sleet it began properly snowing. At this point I knew I was beaten for the day and for the season. I packed up with freezing, claw hands, said goodbye then rowed back to the slip.
Sunday came round again and after a lazy morning I convinced Isaac it would be a good idea to venture down to the lake for a final Pike session of the season. The weather was dull and gloomy with drizzle and a fresh southerly wind and milder temperatures than of late. We shared three rods and fished three deadbaits along the marginal shelf. The plan as usual was for a short session, I sat back in the chair to chill out but Isaac busied himself investigating the flooded margins. He found an elevated position which gave him a good view of his float then discussed the possibility of building a den there but building materials were scarce.
Today the fishing wasn’t holding Isaac’s attention, the Pike have been far from prolific here this season and he’s already looking forward to catching Carp and Silver fish in warmer weather. I kind of agree with him there… I’ll have to get thinking of somewhere different for next seasons Pike fishing, somewhere he’ll see that float pop under a bit more often. After some debate we reached a consensus that the Lord of the Rings films are better than Star Wars. We also agreed it was getting cold and we’d had enough for today. Walking back to the car I noticed a few green shoots poking through and there are snowdrops in the woods yet spring still doesn’t feel close.
When I got home I set about sorting the shed. All the boat and most of the Pike fishing kit was put to the back and all the summer gear brought to the front. I also discovered more evidence of the vermin that had squatted in my shed through the winter, more chewed bait boxes and an old holdall. The poison done the trick in the end, he who laughs last…but next year, no prisoners. I got on a roll and ended up rigging up my Carp/Tench rods and sorting all the kit out. I’ve had enough of Piking for a while, it’s been a tough old winter that seems to have lasted about eighteen months. Wherever I’ve fished this season it’s been challenging and Pike have been hard to find but happily I’ve found one or two of the right kind. Now for something completely different.