Monday, July 09, 2012

My first 30lbs pike from the Fens - well, sort of

I've never caught a thirty. While I've caught a couple of pike others went on to catch at over 30lbs, this fish remains the only thirty I've ever seen weighed and witnessed, in the flesh as it were.

+++It was, at the time - until I photographed Ash's thirty in March 2013 *linky*.

Leafing back through some of the pictures on an old lappy, I thought the story worth an airing - partly because I don't think it's ever had one before. Seeing a pike in another league to anything you've ever caught spurs you on so much when it happens - it sparks a hunger that gnaws away, a craving you just can't kick.

Turn the clock back a few seasons and I got a phone call, out of the blue, from someone who had some gravel pits in the Fens which friends and I had shared the odd day here and there on.

One or two of us had caught fish to low-twenties from them. But the owner reckoned there was a much bigger pike in one of his waters and he wondered if we fancied having a day on there, to see if we could catch it. A few phone calls later, we had a firm together and off we went, like you do.

I wasn't in the biggest hurry to get set up. While I was having a mardle with a couple of mates and getting a brew on for all and sundry, my mobile went. It was the owner.

"Hey, Chris - got your cameras on you..? Well bring 'em round to the corner, because XXX's caught it."

Off we trekked, at the double, leaving the tea to its own devices. When we got to the corner there was the captor, looking totally blown away. One look in the tube in the margins told you why. As he hauled this thing out onto the mat, one or two of us were lost for words.

There were pats on the back and the obligatory few digs, as the scales went round to 32lbs. The owner wanted it hushed, so mum was the word for a few years afterwards.

Looking back at the pictures, I've long forgotten the finer details regarding who was there and what else we caught. But I remember the feeling I got, as I framed the picture with one of my old Nikons and worked out how much fill-in flash to give it, with people telling me to blur the background.

It was the same feeling I had more than 30 years ago, when I saw my first twenty as a teenager. I'd seen the guy catch it and drank in every detail, wishing I'd been the one who caught it. It inspired me so much, yet it took me years to catch a pike to rival it.

I was like a kid again, when I photographed this pike. I just so wanted to catch one like it. And I still do, every time I go fishing. Every time the float goes or the alarm sounds, I still wonder - is this going to be the one, as I pick the rod up and wonder if it's the day my dream comes true.


  1. Saw my first Wye 30 as a teenager, been on a mission ever since!

  2. Never know four eyes could be your year ;)