I am dead baiting for pike. For a lure builder this feels like surrender or the start down a slippery slope. I take comfort in the fact that at least I have made my own float from a couple of corks and some bamboo. This is the second swim I have tried and despite the sunshine it is bloody freezing and I am conscious that I may be found frozen to death with a rather healthy tan.
My float is finally showing some signs that the mackerel a few feet below has drawn something’s attention. I wait until whatever is down there has decided to don a napkin and tuck in. The float starts to move as if propelled by its own outboard motor and then like Nemo’s Nautilus it sinks below the surface. I wait for what feels like an indescribably long period of time but probably amounts to a couple of seconds and then strike. My rod is bent and there is a thud of fish while simultaneously the cold that has been gnawing at my toes disappears. I attempt to wind in but nothing seems to move and there is crunch inside the reel housing, I try again while the fish continues to exert some pressure on the rod but the reel is not moving.
I have one quote that I keep for moments like this, it comes from that literary masterpiece, The Viz and was often used by Timmy Timpson (aka spoilt bastard) when things were not going his way; here goes “bugger, bastard, bugger , bastard, wank”. I consider hand lining the fish, but with branches touching the water either side of me it wouldn’t be the best of approaches. Realising I have only one barbless treble connecting me with the fight I tip the rod down and wait, the pike takes the float for a tour before managing to slip the hook . Never mind, I walk back with the rod up in the air and get the bait out of the water before pissing round with the reel ; my feet are suddenly cold again.