Back down on the banks of the RMC, well before sunrise, ensured I was able to get my baits in position long before "bite time". As it happened bite time didn't produce a single bleep from the alarms and I was convinced that another blank was on the cards. However, two Barn Owls helped ease the situation, plus at least three Badgers which were picked out in the beam of my head torch as I got the rods set up. Pretty sure that the sound of the alarms caused these animals to come and investigate the source of the high pitched bleeping? It was just before 09.00 hrs, whilst chatting with Kevin (& Mac) that my right hand alarm signalled a bite. Sadly, after going through the time tested ritual, my strike only resulted in a small Pike rolling on the surface prior to shaking its' head and ejecting my bait, complete with hooks. Having seen the fish I wasn't too disappointed, although it would have been nice to add another number to my campaign tally. Kevin and Mac headed back towards their car and I was, once again, alone awaiting something to happen.
I rang Bev, shortly after 09.30 hrs, and stated, during our conversation, that I'd be packing up around 10.45 hrs. She had just said "see you when you get home" and rung off when the alarm on the middle rod burst into life. This time there was no mistake. Over with the bale arm, tighten down and fish on! A very spirited encounter ensued, as the fish had no desire to see my unhooking mat. Fortunately, the tackle was up to the task, my prize drawn into the landing net at the first attempt and, therefore, I was able to go through the well rehearsed drill of unhooking and weighing prior to placing it into an ET Pike Tube to recover. At 14 lbs 2 oz, it was another double closer to my target, I'd worry about trophy photos after packing the rods away.
I now feel at least some of this RMC conundrum has started to unravel. My bait choices & presentation, rig mechanics, bite indication methodology and, most importantly, fish location are all beginning to make sense, purely on the basis of my results. I've now undertaken eight sessions during January which have resulted in just six bites (from Pike) and five fish landed - four doubles and a twenty!! Knowing that I set my stall to cater for the pre-spawning females, this level of success would indicate, to me, that I'm not a million miles away from cracking the code? Effort equates success, and I have no issue with this mind-set, however, single minded obsession shouldn't be confused with effort. If unable to ring the changes and accept failure, even the most myopic of angler will enjoy a moderate level of fishy action. For me it has to be about pushing boundaries, constantly questioning what and, more importantly, why I'm doing whatever it is at the time? I've said, on many occasions in the past, "it's no good getting old if you don't get artful?" I'm sticking by this sentiment, purely because there are no short-cuts to experience. You have to have lived in order to learn from the journey, thus lessons, your life has provided. With this as my base line, I'm one lucky man. Life has been extraordinarily kind to me.
I have every intention of sticking with my current campaign right through to 14th March. Quite how close I'll be to my targets is anyone's guess. Three "twenties"? I would like to think so. Twenty "doubles" - possibly in the bag by mid-February? One hundred Pike - not a hope in hell. Three sessions a week until mid-March, means there's potential for an awful lot more twists and turns in this campaign before I cross that finishing line. Onward and upward!