I only dropped it down there, right in the edge, shrugs Hawkeye as I bash through the reeds with the net and slip it under the pristine double. Down there, right in the edge, is the only bit you can fish as the drain rockets through.
Catching anything in these conditions is an achievement - let alone your first drain double on your first-ever trip to a drain.
I guess the fish at 12lbs and it goes 11:12 when we give it a bounce. Hawkeye admires her briefly and I grab a picture before he carries her back to the water and helps her nose her way out of the sling.
When we rolled up around 9.30, the drain looked like it would be good for a few fish. Clear day with high cloud rolling along on the breeze, after a sharp frost. It was forecast to cloud over as the day wore on.
We spread out along the bank, me, Hawkeye and Matt. Baits are in near and far sides, floats bobbing in the breeze, all looking good. Matt's soon away on a lamprey close to the marginal reeds. Pretty jack. He misses another 15 minutes later.
We move down the drain and again fan the rods out. No joy, so we walk back to the very end of the stretch and do the same there. Suddenly, the surface boils and six floats swing around in unison. The gates are opening, the drain's running off.
The flow picks up to a walking pace inside 10 minutes. Rafts of floating weed come sailing down and within half an hour, the only way you can fish is find a slack spot in the reeds and drop the bait in that.
We try a couple of moves and Haweye's in. Matt watches the rods while I run up with the net, sling and camera. It's the only action of the afternoon, but Hawkeye's not bothered.
As I lift the net, the fish shakes her head and the hooks fall out. One head shake as she wallowed on the top and she's have come off. I've decided Hawkeye is Mr Lucky. I may well get him to choose my lottery numbers in future.
"You know what, I'm getting really hooked on this pike fishing," he says as we pack up and head for home.
Today's almost certainly my last pike fishing trip of 2012/13. A rum old season, as you can tell by the stats. I'm going to take a break and then start getting set for 2013/14 by reccying a few places. I may also do some sea fishing or even have a crack at some tench over the summer.
I'll put the inevitable review of the season up in a day or two. In the meantime thanks to friends old and new for making it enjoyable despite the lack of fish caught.