Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Unhooking practice

I need some more unhooking practice, Hawkeye observes in his Mancunian brogue as we head down the coast road towards the Not Quite As Secret As The Secret Pit pits. Should get one or two today, I reckon.

After a frosty start and ice on the car, it's bright, still and clouding over when we rock up on the causeway between two pits. I fancy one, H fancies the other, so we're soon fishing back-to-back in different lakes.

We're on deads today. I fancied a change from lure fishing but it feels strange lobbing out baits on 12ft rods, tightening up to set the blobs and then standing there, staring at them. Half a dozen chucks here tops with the lures and I'd be on my toes.

Half an hour later, a blob goes sailing off. Hawkeye gets his unhooking practice a few minutes later, as a six pounder finds itself engulfed in the net. Both hooks well in the mouth, but he whips them out like a good 'un and slides the fish back.

A move or two later, the bailiff comes along and tells us a fallen tree which had blocked access to another part of the complex has been cleared. Hawkeye reads my mind. Let's give it another five minutes here and move then.

I fancy a move, as the bit you can now get to again was good to us a few seasons back. It was also once the scene of an incident involving skinny dippers of the female variety a few years ago, but this has nothing to do with my desire to up sticks, bearing in mind how cold it is.

I've got the rods broken down, kit squared away for a move when Hawkeye's float bobs and jinks away. More unhooking practice, this time a low-double which puts up a decent scrap before we bundle her into the onion bag.

Hooks out, quick picture. Still fancy a move, asks H. Yeah, best part of the pit, got to be worth a look, I say. I feel a bit bad about this an hour and a half later, when we've tried a deep corner, a shallow bit and a bit in between without another pull.

One last move sees us finish up on another pit. Hawkeye nails one, right next to the tree where you always catch one, where he caught his first pike around a year ago. Since then, he's caught quite a few and has probably got better at it than he realises.

This one's a bit challenging, unhooking practice-wise. The bottom hook's nicked in the throat entrance, so I make a brief guest appearence, and show him how to pop it out by going through the gill arch.

Just before we have to go, as gloaming descends on the Not Quite As Secret As The Secret Pit pits, one of my blobs bobs and dithers 30 yards out on the edge of a bar. It drops it, I pick the rod up and when the line twitches a minute or so later, I wind down and give it a ding.

The rod hammers round, yes good fish, good fish, good and it's gone in a swirl and a bow-wave. Beau locks, as they say in France. I know how big it felt, for a brief instant. When I reel the bait in, the bottom hook's somehow turned 45 degrees, meaning it was never going to plant itself in the fish's gob.

Hawkeye says he's learned a couple of things on the drive home. I just wish I could go back there tomorrow and catch that pike.

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