Tuesday, March 19, 2013

So long, then, 2012/13 - and roll on autumn

Summing up the 2012/13 season in a bankside banter the other day, I said it was a winter when I caught less pike than I've had out in a weekend when the Fens were fishing well.

One twenty, three doubles and 28 jacks from 46 trips, in other words - or 221 hours on 13 different waters, driving 2,573 miles for a best of 22lbs 4oz.

The high point was seeing Ashley's thirty and photographing it for posterity. One person who left a comment said it was "worth ten times some lump of lard from Chew".

While friends have had big fish both from Chew and other trout ressies, the comment's not far wide of the mark when it comes to the significance of a fish like that - not to mention the hours and hours that went into catching it.

A wild thirty from the Fens is a rare fish indeed. It may have been the same fish Rob had out at ounces under 26lbs, some 18 months earlier. It may have been the fish of the same weight we're sure was a different specimen that I caught around the same time.

Either way, I wonder where she's been between the two captures - and what the odds are against it surviving that long, let alone someone catching it again.

Ash gets on his toes and does his own thing. In a way, he deserved to be the one who connected with her, because he works harder at his fishing than the rest of the rag-tag band that haunt the system and pool the odd snippet of information.

We all had a go in the final days of the season, like you would if you had a rough idea where a thirty was. But off she went, and - as far as I know - didn't show again.

Perhaps that fish shows why it's worth carrying on regardless - no matter how slow things get. One run - or in this case, one hit on a lure - is all you need. But it's needles and haystacks out there in the bayou these days.

One or two mates had a better season than me. One had three twenties. Another had a good run of doubles from a neglected stretch but didn't manage a twenty.

My piking hero is probably Hawkeye, who looked me up after he retired and got back into fishing because he wanted to catch a pike. He managed half a dozen doubles to 16lbs in his first few forays, including a double on his first-ever trip to a drain with me and Matty.

His enthusiasm rubbed off on me, along with Ashley's smile as I looked at his thirty through the camera and took a few quick pictures before he lowered the Queen of that part of the system back into the water to continue her wanderings.

I may chase one or two other fish over the summer and file the odd despatch here and there as I kill time over the next few months.

But  I can't wait for those misty dawns when the skies fill with geese and we pull on our boots and our thermals for another season's ramblings. That's where my heart is, if you haven't already worked it out.

Click here for a review of 2011/12 in the Fens.


  1. Your season sums mine up too. One fish that scraped into the low twenties and lots around the ten to twelve pound category. Perhaaps the highlight was a ten ounce pike on an eight ounce dead roach... it looked like a green lakeland colouring pencil. Not a bad season but certainly not a good one either.

    Looking forward to the frustrated ramblings through the summer! All the best,