Yesterday Darren, Dan and myself journeyed to Penton Hook on the River Thames. I had been looking forward to it for weeks, it was a 5.30 start and a 20 minute bicycle ride to the train station. I had no problem with the early start but the bike I was riding is nicknamed The Beast.
The Beast I am the latest custodian of The Beast, rumor has it that it was forged in the fires of hell and once belonged to Satan himself. It has 15 gears but only one works, The Beast picks which gear that will be at the start of the journey and occasionally, randomly, will choose another when you least expect it. Breaks are a similar story but the worst thing is the razor blade saddle, it's no so much sitting on it but wearing a bicycle up your arse! And with 20 minute bike rides either side of the stations I was going to be on it for over an hour - I must really love fishing!
The Hook Penton Hook looks great, we crossed onto the island and had a quick look round, there are two weirs, narrow fast water, deep slow water, a little slice of everything Thames. And we saw bream topping, carp fizzing, pike swirling and big shoals of silver fish. Exciting. I did take a lot of photos but unfortunately I dropped my phone in afterwards, it's drying on my windowsill.
The Fish We set up in the first swim, a wide shallow peg where we had seen bream and pike topping, and decided on a £5 sweep stake on the biggest fish caught. We all started feeder fishing for the barbel and bream (I was secretly after a bleak for livebait). An hour or so passed without a bite so we moved to one of the weirs.
Dan decided this was enough messing about and switched to meat and targeted the barbel, me and Darren stuck to feeder fished maggots. Darren soon started picking up roach and dace to about 8oz, I couldn't get a touch so I borrowed a little dace and went in search of a pike. I hadn't been fishing long when there was a swirl under my float and a cheeky cormorant made off with my fish. Darren's fishing had slowed right down, Dan and myself couldn't get a bite so we moved again.
A narrow fast swim that cried out barbel, and Darren's first cast met with a big bite and a good fish on. Our first Penton Hook barbel? No. A 5lb 11oz pike on maggots, hooked fair and square in the mouth. A cracking fish and good lead in the sweep stake. The first Thames pike I had seen... I wanted one...
While Dan went in search of a barbel, Darren continued to catch dace and the odd roach while I caught a bleak and tried to find a pike. Run first cast and a little pike that threw the hook as soon as I saw him. Another bleak and trotted him back to the same spot, run again, this time a nice perch about a pound.
I continued livebaiting and lost count of how many runs I had - how often can you say that? Landing a total of 4 nice perch to a pound. Darren hooked into a good fish casting across the river, but lost it, a dace covered in tooth-marks came back, there was a bigger pike in his swim. He put a pike bait out and hooked into it twice more but unfortunately the hook pulled both times, we'll get her next time.
Despite pike and perch on the menu Dan stuck to his true love and searched out a barbel, he explored far more of the island that me and Darren but didn't find his fish. He has however found some great spots and is formulating a plan to get one next time.
Both myself and Darren were now firmly focused on pike. Darren switched to lure fishing for the last hour and I tried a float fished livebait under some far side bushes, I had one run and a very acrobatic pike... Was it going to beat Darren's pike, the scales pulled round to 4lb 5oz, Darren had won the day and the £15. I wasn't disappointed I'd got my first Thames pike, fantastic!
We left the island with plans to return, Darren and myself after double figure pike and Dan after a double figure barbel. A great day's fishing.
We got to the lock and unfortunately nobody had stolen my bike... So I stuck it up my arse and cycled to the station...