Three consecutive holiday afternoons where my nephew and I could sneak out for a few hours pike fishing and sneak out we did regardless of what the weather was going to throw at us.
The first choice venue on Thursday was completely iced over which was a little bit of a hint as to how cold it was. Nick fished using bass lures that he uses to great effect where he lives on The Lizard in Cornwall and they paid off with their weedless hook rigs enabling him to catch two reasonable jack pike while I contrived to miss four takes on a wobbled roach. Those black latex minnows have distinct piking possibilities
However that was the total catch for the entire windy, clear and freezing cold afternoon session, our fingers were so cold we could barely take down our rods and pack the gear away. A pint in front of the log burner began to seem like more and more of a good option.
The next day we were going to fish an estate lake and the rain was pouring down. When we arrived I saw that the lake was an awful turbid cold green colour with the run-off from the surrounding fields but we persevered, fruitlessly. The sum total of our success was a couple of half-hearted knocks on the minnows, one run on my ledgered dead roach and a thoroughly good soaking for both of us. Marvellous.
Saturday dawns with a mild hangover and the weather is a lot milder but there is still quite a lot of ice on sheltered parts of the drain and, as a bonus, the wind is steadily rising towards towards gale force. When we get to our chosen stretch we realise that because of all the rain running into fenland from the surrounding counties the pumps are working, in fact the pumping continued all afternoon so an impressive volume of water was being moved onwards towards the sea.
While we were fishing I was praying that the pumping would stop because in the past when the pumps have been switched off and the flow slackens the pike seem to switch on. But they continued pumping, remorselessly moving water and lots of weed debris.
We even saw two people out on the fen too, in five years of fishing this particular stretch I've only ever seen the farmer in his tractor out there, very unusual. Perhaps I imagined it?
The lures didn't work but my drifted dead roach was taken twice and on each occasion we never saw the pike or the float until the fish shook themselves free, despite the loss it was good to see a big bend in the rod.
Next week I'll back on the drain, Nick will be back flying his fast jet, and I'm sure we'll both be full of optimism about pike and bass.
Onwards into the new year it is then.