I took up the challenge of Scottish pike fishing in May 1982, inspired by the enthusiasm of Lester Strudwick. He was a "big fish" angler, and member of The Tring Syndicate, of massive experience and his stories of Scottish pike angling were inspirational. He also took a decent photo, so there were plenty of images to back up his extraordinary exploits. He, and his fellow members of The Carpike Specimen Group, fished Loch Lomond around The Endrick and caught some magnificent pike. It was some time later that Eddie Turner cast a few doubts about the stories that he told but Lester remains, to this day, the most influential figure in my development as a pike angler and I am eternally grateful for his friendship and positive contribution to my journey.
There was a point when I'd almost given up on this particular challenge, a Scottish 20 - I'd had enough of failure, although with hind sight (what a spectacular gift!) I couldn't have done much more? I had seen Benno, Tom and Simon achieve this target, actually putting the landing net under two of the fish.
|Benno, in 2011, with the first Scottish "Twenty" I'd ever seen.|
The answer was to remain positive and concentrate on the basics. Get it right, to the best of your ability, and then trust in the angling gods! The harder you work the luckier you get? Sounds familiar and it can be applied in any aspect of life. Despite the fact that I'm the best part of thirty years older than Benno & Luke, I was the first one up and fishing every morning. I had made the effort to get to Loch Awe, now I wanted to make the most of it. Effort equals success - I only caught five fish, all week; four doubles! My whole approach was geared up for that moment, the one when destiny delivered the goods. I realise that there is no way that anyone can place a label upon a bait stating "twenties only" - if it were possible I'd love to put "No Eels" on my barbel baits. I still remain convinced that my approach was one that targeted the larger fish? Benno and Luke fished their socks off and caught thirty-odd fish between them, just six doubles. I am a static dead-bait angler, but I ain't into chuck and chance. My bait is where I want it, because that's how I read the situation.
|The fish of my dreams! 24 lbs 10 oz of Loch Awe magic.|
So magic, in fact, that within a week, it had put on eight pounds!"***!
|One of our custom built bait boats. A very simple hinged door at the base of a sloping deck allowing |
us to slide our baits off of the boat by simply tightening the line as we release the door catch mechanism.