Myself and Darren hit the river for the last hour of daylight and the first couple of hours of dark, and it wasn't looking good. Just one missed bite to me and we'd just conceded defeat when Darren's rod knocked round. It only takes a second to make a winter trip! A 3lb 10oz barbel on a winter evening, great stuff!
It's too cold for barbel, so I didn't bother to go fishing. But finishing work just before 3pm I decided to walk down and see how Darren was getting on. Seems I was right, not a knock all afternoon.
Still it was nice to be on the frosty river and we chatted away until packing up time as it was getting dark. Then his rod slammed over, great stuff! At least I could do some net duty... Ah, he forgot the net... At least I could get muddy, wet and slimy handing it out... Love it!
And a 6lb 0oz barbel on a proper winter's day. Nice one Darren, I'm glad you proved me wrong!
I'd caught quite a few pike, and become a dab hand at unhooking them, even if they had swallowed the bait. I found myself unhooking fish for other people, catching bait, taking photos... But I was stuck in jack-land, I couldn't beat my best of 10lb 8oz.
Then it happened, for some reason I knew it was going to be a monster from the moment the float bobbed. With shaky legs I played the fish in and beached it on the muddy bank. Unhooking duties were complete by the time my Dad arrived for weighing and photos.
Scales weren't great but I think we settled on 12lb, a proper pike! A quick photo before she was released and I headed home to file an extensive report with my Mum, brother and my fishing pal Steve.
There were six or seven photos left on the film which I quickly used up photographing the cat. Time for a dilemma... I could get the photos developed the next day in town, but if I sent them off it would take 10 days but I'd get a free film - I opted for the second.
The photos arrived... And... Gutted... Still, it was the only one on the film that came out at all. A new camera was top of the Christmas list that year!
Pike Fishing 2012/2013
Well, the season has been a shocker so far, only 5 pike landed and only 3 of those by design. The river has been too high to present a bait well at Penton Hook since October, most trips being cancelled before they've begun. And the Wye was completely flooded out over Christmas - I do prefer fishing in rivers.
But the river levels have dropped and hopefully this cold snap will make the bait-fish shoal up (a flood tends to spread them out). So fingers crossed for a productive end to the season!
Dan and I decided to try and get our first fish of 2013, we were after a January barbel. We fished the last two hours of daylight and the first two hours of dark in a leap-frog fashion, covering as much water as we could.
And it wasn't looking good, we arrived at our second-last spots in the dark without a bite between us. My first cast did get some attention, but it looked very chubby. Then Dan started getting a mini-bite, after a few knocks he hit it, barbel on.
A large stick caught on the line which made things tricky but after a couple of minutes barbel and stick were landed. A 4lb 8oz January barbel, nice one...
Running out of time we both fished the last spot where I was briefly in the action, felt like a good fish, until the hook pulled - can't win them all. I need to crack on and get my January barbel before the cold weather arrives!