Good things, so the aphorism tells us, come to those who wait, and the wait to wet my first line of 2015 had lasted over three weeks. At the time it felt, if not unbearable certainly irritating, but as things transpired was probably very fortuitous. With today being the mildest day for ages the stage was set for Pete and I to spend the morning and early afternoon in pursuit of pike. We elected to fish an area Pete discovered for us recently, and which we already (or at least, I do) refer to as "Pike Alley". The first time we stumbled on it we were only there for 10 minutes at the end of a session, but in that 10 minutes Pete landed a pike of about 8 or 9 pounds. Last week, he sneaked a cheeky little hour long session at "Pike Alley" on his lunch-break and landed a fish of around 5 pounds, and today we were back and meaning business. We decided on a two pronged attack, with livebait and lures, which meant that the first job was for someone to catch the livebaits.
As is often the case in winter, catching the livebaits proved harder than catching the pike, but a few small fish were procured, as well as this nice bonus perch which was returned straight to the water, having been deemed far too big and handsome to be used as bait.
Pete was the first into a pike, the float hesitantly standing up from its flat position and bobbing erratically before moving away. The result was this nice fish, which had obviously been laying up on the bottom relatively recently as it had lice on its flank, which were removed before it was returned to the water.
I was the next to catch, with the livebait once again producing the goods. A similar run saw a slightly smaller pike join us on the bank to be admired, photographed and then let loose to devour more roach and perch ...... or more likely to sulk in protest at its capture.
After the second pike things quietened down, and- in honour of the new season, Pete and I enjoyed sampling an example of Cuba's best export produce; I take my lead in this matter from the great Baptist preacher of the Victorian era, CH Spurgeon who once declared that he liked "to smoke a cigar to the glory of God". Amen to that.
Cigars finished, Pete went off to catch some more livebait and I decided to try spinning. Earlier in the session we'd tried a variety of plugs and rubber lures, but with no success, so I opted to go for a large spinner, a Rublex Ondex in a size 6. Ten minutes later and I was playing a fish clearly much larger than anything else we'd connected with on the day. A very spirited fight eventually resulted in the biggest fish of the day being engulfed in the landing net, a fish which brought the needle on the scales round to 14 pounds exactly once the scales had been zeroed to the weight of the net. To say that I was pleased would be an understatement; the nature of pike fishing is that you have to wade through numerous jacks for every better fish, which makes any pike over 10 pounds, to my eyes, a very special creature.
Pete decided to join the fun, and had three pike come off his hooks (including one that looked to be a double), before successfully landing the smallest pike of the day, a game little jack of a couple of pounds which took a liking to his Ondex.
All told, with mild weather, co-operative pike and good company it was a great way for me to begin my 2015 campaign .................. guess where Pete and I are planning to be next Monday? Esox you have been warned!