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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!

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Sunday, 17 February 2013

Un-cork the champers - my quest is over!

I had spent the entire 2011/12 winter period in a quest for a 20lbs+ pike; my chosen venue had been a very intimate east Kent drain out on the Worth Marshes. I failed in this mission, ending the season with a best of 19lbs 5oz. Having been present, landing net in hand, when Benno and Tom took their first 20lbs+ pike, I felt sure that my turn would come. The Royal Military Canal has been the focus for our campaign this winter, Benno absolutely hammering me with his results. We worked out that he'd had 13 doubles to my 2 from the RMC, so far this season.

Over twenty years ago I took my last 20lbs Pike
At 20lbs 9oz - this fish is a milestone that I'd targeted in October 2011
A phone conversation, yesterday, had put in place some rather loose plans; Benno, Tom & Luke were out on the lash in Folkestone Saturday night, but the plan was to meet up at 07.00 Sunday morning - it was never gonna happen! I arrived, early, at the designated car park - a text from Benno announcing that they would be late. I made my way, over one and a half miles along the canal, to an area that Benno and Tom had taken a few decent fish, earlier in the season. I'd been to Tesco's yesterday, obtaining a kilo of Sardines and three Herrings for the princely sum of £8-03. Getting them back home, they were subjected to the usual colour & flavouring routine. Sardines = sweet green, Herrings = red/Cathedral baits Mixed Fish Oil. I was rather worried that I had been unable to obtain any Mackerel, but shouldn't have been.

Showing some spawning scars (the red mark to the left and some reddening of the lower flanks) this fish might have weighed a few pounds heavier if I'd have caught it three weeks ago. It's certainly a lump!

I was at my swim just before 07.05hrs - baits out before 07.15hrs; a 9lbs 8oz fish in the landing net before 07.30hrs! Crazy stuff, my bite alarm failed to register the take so it was fortuitous that I was beside the rod when the bite occurred; sweet green Sardine being the bait. I returned the fish and recast to the same spot. I thought about ringing Benno but didn't bother, instead I took a walk along the canal, some 50 yards, to look at another swim. My back-biter screamed into action, denoting another bite, 1/2 Herring (flavoured and dyed red) - the quivering rod tip showing that line was being taken from the open spool. I picked up the rod and allowed the line to tighten before setting the hooks and finding myself attached to a fish which wasn't particularly happy with the situation. It surged away, taking line, as I back-wound; the rod arched over in full fighting mode. It was an interesting battle, the netting was particularly testing, however, it wasn't until I had it securely in the folds of the landing net that I realised that it was something a bit special. At 20lbs 9oz, it is the first pike over 20lbs I've taken since 16th January 1990; some wait?

Benno with his pike - 19lbs exactly!
Benno was quickly contacted - "get your arse out of bed, I've got a twenty!" Fair play - Luke and Benno rolled up about an hour later - the pike being retained in an ET Pike Tube. They got their baits out, further along the canal, before we set about getting some photos. As you can see, the photos were taken and I was returning the fish to the water when Benno's back-biter sounded. The twenty was already back in its' watery domain before Benno's fish was on the bank. At 19lbs (on the button) it represents his best English pike, by 2oz!

In keeping with our current practise - this is the other side of Benno's pike.
Knowing how these fish are affected by angling pressure - we have decided to get
photos of both flanks of any "doubles" we catch. This might help solve a few mysteries - we hope!
The fishing was effectively over, we didn't get another bite despite remaining at the venue until 12.30hrs. There were quite a few birders around, I was able to put a face to Brian Harper (and his Dad) when they turned up to scan the marshland behind our swims. It was a fantastic day, these two fish providing more than a little comfort ahead of the impending funeral; if mum was looking down, I'm sure that she was smiling!

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