Friday, 23 March 2012

The Kiss of Death

From time to time I take someone out with me who I don't really know that well. Usually, they've won a day out with me in a raffle or it's as a thank you for doing our PAC region a slide show or something like that but it doesn't always go well, in fact, it almost always goes badly! What usually happens is that I go fishing a day or two before I'm due to take them, suss out how well the fish are biting and then hopefully give them a good day out. Invariably, I catch well during my reccy and then the pike don't come out to play for the guest.

This week I took out Andy Cooke from Wigan who won a day's fishing with me in a raffle. I decided to make a full week of it, partly because it's close to the end of the pike season (the end of March for me) and partly to give myself chance to find the fish well ahead of Andy's arrival. I arrived at the lake on Monday afternoon with the intention of staying until friday morning. Andy was due to join me on Thursday so I had plenty of time to prepare for that. I had a personal target to aim for as well, I was sitting on nine twenty pounders for the season and I very much wanted to get to ten.

It didn't take long. I anchored up on a nice plateau in blustery conditions that made it uncomfortable to sit in the boat but that was soon forgotten when the first float dipped and I pulled in a hard fighting fish of 20lbs 9oz, fat as a pig and in excellent condition. You can see that I mucked up the picture once again, something I've done too much of this season but at least I know what caused it this time and I'll not have that problem again. I only got chance to take one snap before a second rod screamed off and I was forced to put the twenty back while I battled it out with a nice plump 17lb 12oz fish.

No more fish came that day but I was out bright and early the next morning and had a great start to the day with a 21lb 4oz pike which took a whole herring in 35ft of water. I fished lots of swims that day and had several more fish including doubles of 13lbs and 16lbs 6oz along with some smaller fish before latching into a super spawned out 20lb 7oz pike. That was my fourth brace of the season and brought my total of twenty pounders to twelve.

Next day, Wednesday, brought no more big fish but at least I did catch six double figure pike, the best two of which were both around the fifteen pound mark and when I spoke to Andy on the phone that evening he was so excited I could hear it in his voice. I told him to be there for six the next morning and that the fish were really having it.

Thursday dawned and Andy arrived but so did something else, the sun! I had had three days of heavy cloud cover and cold, breezy conditions but this day was to be different. With little in the way of wind and a cloudless sky, the pike were nowhere to be seen and as we fished swim after swim, including the ones I had taken the big fish from, the time ticked away and we remained fishless.

Eventually Andy had a run on a big bait. He picked up the rod, wound down and struck, only for the rod to buckle briefly before springing back, he had lost the fish. He told me that it had felt heavy, maybe that twenty pounder he craved.
We fished on and soon enough he got another run. he boated the pike this time, a twelve pounder and it made up a little for the lost biggie but it was a shame about the lost one.

I had avoided even fishing for most of the day. Time and again when I've taken people out I've ended up being the one who catches the fish so with no baits in the water that wasn't going to be possible but Andy felt uncomfortable with me not fishing and he badgered me to put out a bait, so I did. The inevitable happened of course, that one bait was taken, and by the biggest fish of the day. It was only fourteen pounds or so but I'd have been much happier if Andy had caught it.

Andy went on his way and fished elsewhere on Friday. I was determined to pack up at eleven so that I could get back home and get cleaned up but what do you know, the fish were feeding again! I took a twelve, a seventeen and a nine pounder in those few hours.

The moral of the story? Don't win a day's fishing with me, it's the kiss of death!

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