Yesterday saw our third eagerly anticipated trip to Penton Hook. Once the customary early start (4.30am), cycle, train, cycle journey was out of the way the early morning water looked great. We agreed on the usual £5 sweep on the biggest fish, although this time we agreed a minimum size of a 2lb fish (we didn't want it to go to live bait size).
Dan and Darren were after barbel, I was after a pike with my sights set on a double. The first spot saw a pike swirl as a tried to catch a live bait, a good sign. First cast I lost my bleak and a pike grabbed the stunned fish from the surface, they were feeding! The next bait was trotted back and forth, round the snags for hours and remained ignored!
Dan was getting bites on the meat and Darren was picking up small fish on feeder fished maggots. Several hours passed when Darren connected to a big fish, after a good fight if found a snag in the side and was stuck hard. He put his rod down and waited, eventually the fish swam out and the fight continued... Before the hook straightened out and the fish was lost unseen... What it was will remain a topic of conversation, my money is on a very big carp, but we'll never know...
Then out of the blue I had a run on a float-fished bleak, I wound down and struck and was greeted by the smallest pike I've ever had on live bait, about 8oz. Next cast produced an instant run and an identical 8oz pike (not the same fish). Two pike for a combined weight of a pound!
Darren was still into the small fish, good dace, skimmer bream and small roach, but we didn't look like we were going to beat the 2lb bet limit. He did manage a 1lb 4oz perch, the best fish so far. So we stocked up on a few live bait and we all headed off to some new water for a couple of hours piking. Yay!
We found some pikey looking water, myself and Dan tried live baits, Darren tried a plug. I put a cast out to a feeder stream and soon my float started to bob, it slid under and I struck. The pike put up a cracking fight, and looked like a ten pounder in the water, an eight pounder in the net and a six pounder on the unhooking mat! It went 6lb 12oz, my new best from the Thames, and it looked like the £15 was mine!
With time almost up Darren switched to live bait and had a run, my £15 wasn't safe, but somehow the pike bit through the line before Darren could hit it. I'd won, but more importantly I think we've located some more pike for next time.
We headed home again making plans to return. Next time I think all three of us will spend more time piking and exploring more water, I'd really like to see a double!
And hello to the guy we met who reads this blog, I'm sorry but I didn't catch your name. But it was nice to have a chat, and you recognising Dan as the barbel-double-man made his day!