Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Magic chicken doesn't spell 30lbs pike in the Fens

A huge swirl rocks the margins 20 yards up the drain, scattering fry in all directions. That's some pike, I tell myself as I reel the rods in, grab my rucker and hoof it down there. Moving swims requires two trips and the best part of five minutes by the time I've stumbled down the bankside undergrowth and found a couple of gaps to poke the rods through.

As I'm baiting up the traces, the pike stages a repeat performance. I see it's dorsal fin and tail lobe this time and it's a big old lump. The first bait goes bang on the nail. I drop the others on either side. They sit there for an hour, as the breeze gets up into the beginnings of a blow and the rain starts falling.

A large chicken walks past on the opposite bank. I've never seen a large chicken walking on the opposite bank of the drain before, so I wonder if it's an omen. Perhaps it's a magic chicken, which only appears when you're about to catch a thirty.

Maybe a mate who caught one on this drain a few years ago saw a chicken immediately beforehand, but neglected to mention this detail when he finally 'fessed up to where he caught it. The chicken ambles off. The bungs remain motionless.

My phone buzzes. "Caugth any fing yet 4eyes?" says the text. No, I reply. But I've seen the magic chicken. The car's only around the corner, so I reel the baits in and run back for the stove to get the Charlie on.

It lights first time, despite the fact it's been festering in the back of the car for six months. As I'm stirring my capuchino with a baiting needle, there's a massive swirl in the swim I vacated earlier. I debate whether to up sticks and leg it back there, but I recast the baits and sit on the floodbank nursing my coffee instead.

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