Last week of the season and my pike challenge has all but failed, two more doubles and nearly 100lb left to catch. Only one thing for it; head to my home-turf River Wye for the weekend where I'd at least stand an outside chance of bagging up.
I watched the water conditions all last week, the water and weather looked good, but reports of pike being landed we non-existent - had I left it too late?
Saturday: Reccy... An afternoon trying to find pike where they were this time last year. And we did find pike, 4lb above, 1lb, 1½lb and another at 1½lb.
I was hoping they were the jacks gathering around the big females waiting to spawn - but I had a horrible feeling they were juvenile fish and the bigger ones were somewhere else.
I did however find some perch that were up for it, landing six fish to 2lb on bleak live-bait and blue Mepps. Great fun!
Sunday: Assault... An early start and a trek to find some deep, slow holes near spawning gravels, hoping to find some big girls shoaled up for the main event.
And it didn't take long to find one, looked a big fish in the water but once in the net we could see it had already spawned - long, thin and silver. Still a cracking fish and would have been 16 or 17lb a week ago, but a double of 13lb 2oz was still a lovely fish!
More miles were travelled, and we still hoped for a monster - had they all spawned? Two more pike of 2lb 12oz and 6lb 2oz found the net. And two more perch to the blue Mepps, not a bad day's fishing.
Monday: Hope... It didn't look like yesterday's six pounder had spawned yet, so another early start was in order and a few hours before catching the train back to London. And another double was added to the weekend, again this one had spawned but fought like a tiger, a 10lb 3oz pike to finish on.
Buttons, my Mum and Dad's dog had a lovely time and all in it was 8 pike and 8 perch, a great weekend's fishing - and I'd wrapped up the five doubles half of the challenge. Total weigh stands at 142lb 15oz, not a bad crack at the challenge and a lesson learned in not leaving it to the last minute.