On 23rd December 1984 I peddled my tackle laden bicycle a mile and a bit to my local pit on a gloomy winter day. I peddled home in elation that day as I’d finally caught my first twenty pounds Pike. Thirty four years later I’m driving along the country’s busiest A road with the stereo pounding ‘The Wailers’ – “Rastaman chant” on a similar gloomy day. The same result today would leave me just as delighted, if anything a twenty pounds Pike is an even rarer creature these days.
I’m afloat by 0700 and I don’t even have time to cast a second rod before the first is on the move and a jack brought to the boat. I hoped for more of the same but I have to wait nearly an hour for the next which is a bit bigger. A change of swim brings two more fish in quick succession, they are getting bigger but not by enough! These days nearly all my Pike fishing involves fishing live and deadbaits from a boat and keeping on the move, why not when it nearly always works? Thirty four years ago my Pike fishing was done entirely from the bank and I’d usually sit in the same spot all day. I’d be fishing stillwaters, almost exclusively while nowadays it’s usually a river system. My rods have got shorter but the reels are bigger but in reality I’m still chucking out a lump of fish and waiting for a Pike to find it!
With a few Pike under my belt I decided to go searching areas I rarely fish; the plan is forty minutes in a spot without a fish then it’s time to move, still soaking deadbaits but also pinging a sinking lure about. If there’s room, I like doing this while I’m bait fishing in fact with three (at least) good reasons, it’s silly not to. Obviously I may catch a Pike but if I don’t any fish in the area will be aware of the lure and may move and pick up a deadbait and I also count the lure down to get an idea of the depths. The first spot produced a take and a small fish bumped off, the second spot yielded nothing. Then it was third time lucky with the biggest fish of the day coming to a bluey. Today was the latest in a series of gloomy and sunless skies but at least it was still mild and there was a good breeze. Is it me or is December always like this? Maybe it’s because I have a gloomy outlook on the season of greed and gluttony? I’m sure December 1983 was just as dull, weather wise. Despite the murk the hunters were active, to my right a Kestrel hovered whilst to my left a Sparrowhawk perched high. Earlier in the day I’d seen a larger bird of prey a way off, maybe a Buzzard probably a Harrier but which kind?
The afternoon came and went without me finding any more fish and all too soon the daylight was running out. I expect to catch at last knockings here and my last move of the day brought me two more takes, one dropped but the other made it to the boat and required the net. I kept at, twitching the baits back to the boat in the growing dark until I’d run out of both line and light.