BIg Pike - Attempt No 12 ( Fens, Boston, Lincs)

If you look back into the blog, tench and grayling have been a particular struggle for me in the diaries but thankfully today is pike fishing.  The good news for today though is that piking is one of my better fishing specialisms having been fortunate enough to catch an awful lot of doubles over the years.  

However, a 20lber has eluded me for a long time now, which may be because I have predominantly fished Bala Lake and other North Wales lakes/reservoirs such as Llyn Brenig and Llyn Aled Isaf. Whilst I love fishing these big venues, they are so deep and often in desolate upland terrain that I don't actually think that they hold the density of prey fish that you would expect and really big fish are comparatively rare.  That said my brother and Mrs Fish have both manged to land 20lbers when I've been piloting the boat and I did lose something huge (at least 25lbs...) when trolling off the "Red House" on Bala Lake.  If you catch it let me know...

Anyhow, one of my mates used to fish the Fens as a boy and having read avidly about Dave Horton and Steve Rodwell's catches there in "Ultimate Pike", I've always wanted to try leap frogging down a wind swept fen looking for really big old girl to cheer up a cold day.

I've been invited for a day's shooting near Boston, so it's time to kill two birds with one stone and fish the day before on the West Fen to try out fen piking for the first time.  The books weren't kidding when they said each drain could appear featureless though....

Luckily, we had some local knowledge in that my pal Damian caught his last pike and also a PB of 26lbs from the swim we were planning to start from.  Now although that sounds a red hot tip, I should point out that he was 18 when he caught that fish and is 40 now so our intel is only 22 years out of date then...

Not to worry, I've set up two 3lb test curve rods, one on a straight lead with two size 6 trebles attached to a half mackerel, while rod two has an overdepth Fox deadbait pencil baited with my No 1 deadbait of a fresh sardine - oil tastic!

I'm not really sure where to start as I'm used to staring at 500 acres in front of me rather than a drain only 15m wide.  One on the far margin and one in the middle seems sensible and we're off.  The pencil is in the middle and although lying flat is twitching after only 30 seconds.  I'm trying to sort rod two onto a buzzer when the float lifts a little then lies flat again.  I decide to park myself in the mud next to that rod for a few minutes and just after sitting down the float starts to cock again and I wind down and strike as it starts to sail away.  Literally first cast and after two minutes we're off.

Now, I really was not expecting what happened next, no chug chug of a jack; no snag; the rod is just taken straight to it's test curve, starts violently bucking in my hands and the drag is giving line straight away as a very heavy fish bolts up the drain.  Ten arm wrenching violent minutes later with Damian up to his knees in mud he net's my first fen pike....

Plus at 20lbs 4oz, my first 20lb Pike and what a belter too.  Chuffed to bits, I do my best to fish with enthusiasm through the rest of a miserable cold winters day but despite losing a jack, it's all about the first 5 minutes and I can't get the smile off my face.  20 years later and it's still a prime catching spot. Location, location, location as they say! 

Mr Fish

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