The cold week that was (pike article, entry 73)

No wonder the weather is a constant topic of conversation here in the British Isles. Last week I was fishing in temperatures that were in double figures, just a few days later even the three sessions I had in the week just about scraped that between them! With my angling being limited to daytime sessions, I decided to tackle pike on a local lake.

The first trip actually saw a number of runs, but just the one fish as a result. It was only a small one, but when you are struggling then they all count! And as it literally came as I was starting to pack away, it was particularly welcome, as it avoided a blank. Not that I mind blanking, but given a choice I would sooner catch something of course.

By the time the second session came round, it was even colder. However, I have recently acquired a new all-in-one suit, and that did the trick in keeping out the freezing weather. Like all my fishing tackle, my old suit had really been through its paces, and was literally dropping apart. When your wife feels so sorry for you that she tells you to go and buy a new one, you don’t need prompting twice!

With a nice new fleece under-suit as part of the package, I was as warm as the proverbial bug in the rug. My feet were cold though, and even though I shuffled and jiggled them around more than a dancer at a Northern Soul disco, it was still a battle that I never quite won. But there’s nothing like a pike run to distract from your own hardship, and so when my float started to tremble it may as well been the middle of the summer for as much as the cold mattered.

It wasn’t a massive fish, as the photograph shows, but nevertheless it was a beautifully marked pike. I do think that all fish are wonderful examples of God’s handiwork, and none more so than the pike. It would take a talented design artist indeed to devise a fish that encapsulated the features that are found on the species. You may believe in the theory of evolution, and whilst I truly respect your views, to me when I admire all that is around me, it simply confirms my creation beliefs. Returning the fish, a sudden swirl and it was off, back into its watery home.

As well as my new suit, I also had a new camera, and again with my wife’s blessing – what a woman! Like anything new it takes time to get used to these things, so as the fish action slowed down in the afternoon, I had a little play with my new toy.

As a group of Mallards swam in front of me about forty metres away, I zoomed in on them. I was quite impressed with the result, even though there was a slight blur; nevertheless you could make out the birds quite clearly. And with fish being at a premium, perhaps the option of adding a few bird photographs is not such a bad one after all! However, I did catch another pike right at the end. It was certainly no more than 5lb though, so after unhooking it, I by-passed the weighing and photography stage, and it went straight back into the lake.

To round off the week, and to bring me right up to date, I had a Friday afternoon session. The Thursday night had been well below zero, and with a few local ponds iced over, I was wondering whether the lake would be too. However, larger bodies of water cope better and so, apart from ice in the margins, it was not affected by the weather as far as freezing over was concerned.

The water itself though was icy cold, and so it will be no surprise if I tell you that I blanked. With just a handful of small pike this week, it has been a struggle. We all like to blame something other than ourselves don’t we when we fail to achieve, and so in this instance I am pointing the finger firmly in the direction of the weather. However, in all fairness to myself, I think that I am right in doing so. It certainly was ‘The cold week that was’

(Originally published December 2004)

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