I nodded as we set off on our first troll of the day, deftly steering the boat along the reed line with that combination of experienced hand and eye which kept my lure chugging along in the killing zone and my mate's waddling around near the middle of the river.
Once or twice, I swear I heard a scrabbling noise, but I am concentrating on my trolling. Three or four jacks later, I hook into a bigger one. A need the net for pike, pushing double figures.
My mate begins unfolding the net, before he recoils in horror. No way man, as in no way am I touching that, he says like a total girl. The net remains in a heap in the bottom of the boat, while I chin the fish and flip the hook out.
Get it out man, just get it off the boat. I can't stand 'em. I pick the net up gingerly, not knowing what to expect. As I unwrap its folds, I find a small, furry rodent strangled in the mesh.
I check it has gasped its last, before I flick it over the side with the forceps. A black-headed gull dives down and flies off with it. I look at my mate's horrified face. Then I laugh so much I nearly fall out of the boat.