As expected May (the month, not the evil politician), has provided few fishy opportunities but I managed a couple of short sessions. The first was more of a reccee than anything but I managed a solitary Roach. This was the first visit of the year to a new favourite summer Tench haunt. A second trip a few days later saw a couple of Rudd hook themselves on fake corn but I was on the water at the right time to photograph a well deserved PB Tench for a fellow blogger. A beautiful big fish that provided a much needed confidence boost on a tricky water.
Saturday was a father and son day which meant ten pin bowling in the morning, a typical American game, all brute force and ignorance but I’d forgotten how much fun it is. Neither of us are any good but that wasn’t the point, we had a good laugh and that was the only thing that mattered. Back home for cow pie ‘Desperate Dan’ style then Isaac disappeared into his room while I spent the early afternoon sorting a few bits and pieces out for part two of the day. It's a bit of a drive to this water and as we raced along Isaac's 'Guardians of the Galaxy' soundtrack was playing. We both sang our hearts out to "Mr Blue Sky" and the heavens responded in kind.
By 1630 I was rowing a laden punt into a weedy corner, the fresh south westerly wind made this a good work out and it took two goes before I was where I wanted to be. A few balls of an Expo mix, laced with maggots and corn, were plopped out in front of us and we commenced fishing. Isaac used maggots on a whip while I used a waggler with a grain of corn on a size 16. After a showery day the evening was clear and bright but the wind meant a jacket was required. Nothing happened to begin with so I had time to set up a second rod baited with fake corn and a 10mm tutti. This was dropped into another clear patch and the area fed with half a dozen pouches of mixed pellets. The baitrunner on the ancient Shimano would alert me to any interest while I concentrated on the float rod.
The session began slowly; Isaac had a little trouble controlling the whip in the wind to begin with but soon got the hang of it. After half an hour or so fish began topping in our swim and soon after Isaac started getting bites. At first they were intermittent but these became more frequent and he swung a succession of Rudd into the punt. On my side things were much slower but the one Rudd to suck in my corn was bigger than most of Isaac’s. Time passed, fishing for Tench from a punt on a late spring evening sounds idyllic and it almost was, except for the wind and the lack of Tench. As usual we saw loads of water fowl, Cuckoos provided a soundtrack and a Marsh Harrier hunting the fields was the avian highlight of the evening.
An hour and a half into the trip and Isaac’s catch rate on maggots had slowed but mine on corn had increased considerably and what’s more my fish averaged 6ozs or so while Isaac was catching all sizes. The swim was alive with fish rolling and topping and I hoped all this fishy activity would draw larger, more interesting species into the area. This may have happened given more time but all too soon ours was up and I was rowing back to the boat yard.
Elsewhere in my fishy world it seems ‘Pike & Predators’ magazine will be folding this summer. An announcement appeared on Facebook which disappeared very soon after but there has been nothing since that contradicts this. The late James Holgate was the man behind this magazine which grew out of the ashes of ‘Pike Fisherman’ which only lasted for a year or so. In the early days both these magazines were inspirational and it’s fair to say they played a major part in the rise of boat fishing and the realisation that lure fishing really was a serious method of catching Pike in the UK. I only met James on a couple of occasions and he seemed a quiet, shy but thoroughly pleasant kind of bloke.
After James untimely death Neville Fickling took on the role of editor and after a dodgy start he done a decent job. James Holgate managed to resist the blatant commercialism present in almost all angling magazines, but when he had gone this quickly took hold to the detriment of the mag. In my opinion the content was a right ol’ mixture of very good, totally indifferent and utter shite. Most months the best articles were those penned by the editor himself and it was Neville’s words that were read first and usually read again.
Unfortunately in the latest ‘Predatorial’ Neville has let himself down by penning a character assassination of another well known Pike angler with whom the editor has an axe to grind. The angler on the receiving end is not named but referred to as ‘Ernie’. Very few people really know the truth behind the stories featured, including Neville himself and this alone makes publication unfair at best and cowardly at worst. I know both Neville and ‘Ernie’ a little and find them both to be pleasant, likeable people so I find this one sided war of words unsettling but its giving the little world of UK Pike fishing something to talk about through the summer months. I think this piece would not have been published if there was any future for ‘P&P’ magazine.
In terms of decent angling magazines there is now only one Pike fishing publication available now and ‘Pikelines’ magazine has been the absolute best since Stephen Harper took on the role of editor. This is quarterly and available free to members of the Pike Anglers Club. ‘Catch Cult’ magazine is head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to an all round fishing mag and issue two should be available to order later this week. This latest edition features an untold story of a capture of the infamous ‘Black Mirror’, possibly the most iconic Carp ever to swim in British waters. Anyone interested in either magazine will find links on the right hand side of the page.