Caught by the River

Neil the Pike

12th January 2009

Hey JB

Hope you had a good festive period.

I want you to meet my new mate Neil. He’s a pike and we kind of meet every year, around Christmas. Well, more specifically we usually bump into each other at 4pm on the 28th December on the same 20 yard stretch of river. I didn’t recognise him at first this year, he’d put on a few pounds since we last met, but a strange looking scar on his flank gave the game away. We’ve already made arrangements to meet same time, same place in ’09 by which time he should have the makings of something of a monster for the River Till.

Another few days piking at my mum & dads place up in Lincolnshire. Not as successful as last year, just my old mate and a small jack of about 4lbs – think the cold weather even made the usually voracious River Till pike want to stay in their beds.

Had something of a monster follow the lure in but the old sod turned away with an almighty crash when he spotted me at the other end of the line. Great wild fishing as ever fishing on into the twilight; stoats, hares and the local resident barn owl, the sight of which heralded the capture of Neil (I’m getting something of a thing with raptors this year. Every time I spot one fishing I usually bank something decent within minutes; red kite and the osprey at Kirtlington followed by carp on both occasions, a kestrel at Padworth followed by a decent barbel & the barn owl on the Till which has accompanied catches on the last two Christmas’).

Got chased by a trio of rather wild horses which the local gypsies (can you still use that term?) keep on the river bank: the sight of me hurdling a ditch and leaping over a fence weighed down with rod and landing net must have been something of a comedy moment.

Apologies I didn’t get around to a Shadow & Reflections, was feeling a little crumpled by the end of last year so didn’t feel too inspired to write about ’08 – needless to say, if I had have summoned the inspiration to put pen to paper the brace of early Autumn barbel on the Kennet and pollock fishing with my two lads on the rocky shore of Loch Duich would have figured highly!

However, a bracing dip in the icy waters of Tooting Bec Lido and a spin on the bike this morning have certainly helped start ’09 with bang.

Can’t do Sunday I’m afraid so maybe look at the week starting January 12th for a trip out? John Andrews is keen on a trip to the Mill – let’s hope the weather warms up.

Anyway, here’s to a successful year on the bank in ’09.