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Better to be lucky...

On recent trips to this stretch of the river it's fair to say that luck has deserted me. Well, not so much deserted, as changed its name, appearance and upped sticks to a completely different county without leaving so much as a forwarding address.


But never let it be said that I'm not a sucker for punishment...
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It's raining...

Sometimes it feels as though the rain has settled in for the summer. It’s had a good look round (the wettest April to June since records began) and likes what it sees, so it’s hunkered down and is here for the duration.


Fortunately, although the weather may be poor for anglers, it turns out that it’s rather good for angling...
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Traces

About this pike, then. I've had it in my head to go pike fishing for months now, but as is the way of these things, have been put off by something simple - I'm too cheap to buy ready-made wire traces and I can't get the hang of tying my own; yet having spent a tenner on the all the required bits, I'm loathe to just give up...

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Jupiter and Venus

The close season has snuck up on me and looking back on the entries to the blog, I can only give myself the following mark: must try harder - maybe the fishing book and a succession of articles for Waterlog have wrung all the stories from me.


Yet I know that can't be true...
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The River Where?

Well, we've been here before, scrambling through eyebrow-high stinging nettles and strange rhubarby plants with big pink flowers on them trying to find the river. I know it's over here somewhere because even a river can't change its spots that much. Mind you, I didn't manage to fish here at all last season, so you never know...

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...a sudden hot sharp stink of pike...

Returning to the river with Ray I feel like a footballer who's been injured and thus missed pre-season. He already has two trips under his belt and moves assuredly from the car to the stile, points out the long-rotten but newly broken slats over the little bridge and aims for a path that's been knocked through the long grass of a wild meadow...

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Thirty years

The river was alive tonight. The weather was perfect - warm, overcast and thundery - and all the other anglers tucked up safely in front of the television. My plan was to fish and move, fish and move. As soon as I caught something, I'd up sticks and move on to the next swim.


That lasted five minutes. I got a cracking tug first cast and missed it. Second cast I connected, but after a few moments it came off. Fish and move, fish and move. I stayed. What a tonk.

After a biteless half an hour I went downstream. Caught a chub. These chub are shrinking. Two or three seasons ago you could regularly take between ten and 20 fish a season that were 2lb plus...some went over 4lbs. These are good chub for a river this size, but in recent years they seem to have vanished.

To the third swim. This looked fishy. Slightly wider, on a bend, the current slowing down. There are carp and tench in here, you know. But not for me, not tonight. Then, as I was reeling in, there was a swirl and a tug as something took the luncheon meat on the retrieve. A chub? Nope. A pike. Sadly, like the chub, he'd shrunk until he was a perfect miniature pike, right down to the I-know-what-I'm-all-about-how-about-you? grin. My first pike in over thirty years. After that I didn't even mind catching an eel.
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