Saturday, 19 November 2011

Mermaid Award

I've been boat fishing for pike for more than thirty five years now. Safety is obviously very important when you're out in a boat and I never, ever go out without my lifejacket on. Now I've never fallen in from my boat so I've never had to put that lifejacket to the test. We never wear a lifejacket when we're bank fishing though do we?

Denis and I went back to the stretch of river I fished last time. I was the driver but we were forced to split up as each of the areas that looked worth fishing only really had enough room for one person to fish. Our plan was to fish from dawn until noon and then move on to another area, staying in touch by phone in case we wanted to change that plan or in case either of us wanted to stay put.

I dropped Denis off close to the feild with a bull in it and drove off to the place where there's a steep climb. Tackle on my back, I scrambled down the greasy slope and was soon set up with two baits in the water. Before long I gave Denis a ring to check that he'd found the swim I'd directed him to and hadn't been gored by the bull and I was surprised to hear that he'd already had two pike. They weren't big fish but they were at least fish.

Time passed slowly and I was starting to nod off when I heard a rustle behind me. It was the bailiff for the stretch and after checking my licence he stayed a chatted for a while. It seemed that the swim I was in was a bit hit and miss, often devoid of pike but that the swim I'd sent Denis to was reliable and held some big ones.

The bailiff left and I called Denis again, he'd had another pike and he was happy to stay there for the rest of the day, I'd made the wrong choice it seemed. Twelve o'clock came and I decided to move on, there was another good looking swim on the stretch just by the bridge and I decided to try there. This was only a short walk from one of the car parks which was nice but the banks were difficult, steep, overgrown and very slippery.

I set up and cast in my two rods. Nothing happened and after a while I stood up for a recast. It was difficult to tell where the riverbank ended and the river began because of the thick vegetation but by the time I realised my mistake it was too late and I was falling into the ten foot deep icy water. I managed to grab the long grass as I went down and clung on as I felt the cold fill my boots and start to climb up my legs. I was in up to my waist but the goretex bib and brace was being surprisingly resistant and the water was slow to fill it up. I heaved at the grass with both hands and luckily my foot found a purchase on something and I hoisted myself back up onto dry land.

I was quite shaken, I don't mind admitting it. The water was cold and dark and the current was strong and better swimmers than me have lost their lives in such situations. I slumped in my chair and pulled off my boots, emptying them out before wringing out my socks, grateful that I was still around to do so.

In time the light went and I packed up the tackle and loaded it into the car. I picked Denis up at the appointed time - he'd had quite a good day with five pike in all, though none of them were very big and we drove home in the dark.
Maybe I'll start wearing that lifejacket on the bank from now on.

Pastures New
After that debacle I had two days on Blithfield and then I managed a couple of days away on my own to a new river.
Blith was a disaster, with no pike caught either by me or by Kevin although we both came close. Kevin hooked a good fish of around 23lbs on a Bulldawg but it threw the hooks at the side of the boat then a few minutes later I hooked an immensely powerful creature which took off like a train. I got this under control after a while only to discover that it was a pike of around 28lbs hooked in the back! I got it boatside and kevin flicked out the hook with his pliers, letting it sink back to the depths.

The new river was a great venue although with lots of walking around looking at swims and lots of time spent talking to people I didn't actually get in much fishing time but I did manage a twelve pound pike on a wobbled dead roach.

I'll be back there in the near future as there are some very big pike to be caught in the area and when i get one, I'll let you know.

1 comment:

Paddy Pike said...

Well done on the Pike you banked Eric, And the one that was foul hooked i think you can count that as they do tend to fight a lot harder and always seem impossible to get to the net, Now i have said that its good to know you are alright after your plunge into the water, The strangest thing is you have the right equipment like you said but none of us seem to use it on the bank, So i think you will have somthing to say about this in your next PAC talk, Safety is everything these days, Statistics are somthing we just read about,
Glad your safe mate,