when I caught this fish, back in February 2012, I was half-bemoaning the fact I'd caught precious little else all season - other than one belting capture that catapaulted my drain PB over 25lbs.
I not only failed spectacularly to catch another twenty in 2012. The current season is currently the first when I haven't even caught a double. While I learned a lot in 2012, you can mainly sum it up as yet more reasons to add to the litany when it comes to why the fishing's been so bad on what used to be waters where it was rare to suffer more than a few blanks on the bounce.
Fish eating people, fish eating animals, fish eating birds - not to mention fish spawn eating crabs. These are the explanations you hear on the bank, when you actually bump into anyone else out pike fishing these days, for why the runs have become so scarce.
My own view is climate change, in the form of increasingly-heavy rainfall is a more likely culprit that any or all of the above. Sharp fluctuations in flow and levels around spawning time can only impact adversely on a fish which spawns when these factors occur.
My slightly-belated New Year's resolution is to lobby for more research into this - along the lines of the work that fisheries scientist Dr Karen Twine carried out into the decline of barbel in the upper Ouse.
To be continued...