With a couple of sessions planned for the week, and the rivers being in good condition as far as pike potential was concerned, it was that combination that I linked together. So, the car loaded with my predator gear, I set off once more to fish the River Sow in Staffordshire. Aware that I hadn’t caught a single fish since the pike I had on New Year’s day, I was hopeful that I would catch something, as this was the last day of the month.
But forever the optimist, even though I blanked (again) I comforted myself with the fact that January was now behind me and I could make a fresh start for February. I was quite hopeful though that at least one fish would have felt tempted enough by my rudd dead baits as they lay enticingly on the riverbed. But it wasn’t to be and even though I analysed the situation carefully, I couldn’t come up with an answer. I was in the right place, nothing wrong with my tactics or presentation and confidence was high. But no fish.
This was blank number eleven, and back home, even my wife was saying that I need to do some chub fishing. And as far as logic was concerned, she was right. However you can call it a stubborn streak if you will – although I prefer to use the word perseverance – but I was determined to push on and catch a pike. Therefore, to round the week off, Friday saw me once more up and about in the hours of darkness getting ready to once more tackle the Sow at first light.
With the weather conditions improved considerably over the previous week, I wrote in my diary that accompanies me on every trip, that I ‘must surely have the chance of a fish today’. With water temperature at 7.5C and it being more like a nice April day rather than the beginning of February, I thought to myself that if I don’t catch anything today then I am going to seriously consider my wife’s suggestion of going chub fishing!
I was still in the same swim as my previous visit, but this time was tackling it from the right-bank. There was no particular logic in my argument – in fact the deeper water was on the other side – just that a change is as good as a rest. Well, the change definitely did me good, as I finally buried the current run of fish-less sessions with a pike. Talk about relief – I punched the air with excitement. And after Wolves won away at Norwich a couple or so days before, life was now back on track.
The pike left it late though before deciding to bring such blessing into my life. In fact it was into the final hour that I noticed the rod that was fishing downstream began to tap. The buzzer remained silent and the indicator hung motionless, but the end continued to tap. It didn’t look like a fish though, I thought it was a small clump of weed that had perhaps wrapped itself around the line, as the movement was very regular and in unison with the flow.
But striking anyway, I was more than pleased to discover that there was life, rather than the lifeless weight that weed and other debris brings. Instantly the pike turned on the surface (it’s a shallow river) and as each turn of the handle brought it closer I found myself hoping that it wouldn’t come off. But the hooks were well and truly set, and so with great joy I laid it on the unhooking mat and did the business.
And listening to the radio I discovered that another run of blanks had also come to an end the same morning. Not that I am a cricket fan, but I have been more than aware of England’s dismal performance in the penal colony that is called Australia. But after ten straight defeats they finally came good. So I guess I wasn’t the only one celebrating.
(Originally published February 2007)