The Jack and the Knave

An almighty swirl out in the mid­dle.

Anglers Mail - - Informant The -

THERE’S some­thing about au­tumn that makes us want to go preda­tor fish­ing. There’s a bloke that I know who doesn’t fish for any­thing else. He puts his rods away when the weather warms up, and dusts them off again when the kids have gone back to school.

I usu­ally have a few out­ings with him in the cooler months, but like a lot of preda­tor spe­cial­ists that I’ve met, you never quite know where you are with him. He’s got a way of look­ing at you that’s like a pike look­ing at a roach.

One of the rea­sons for go­ing fish­ing with him is the ac­cess he has to pri­vate wa­ters. Over the years he’s knocked on strangers’ doors and asked if he can fish their lakes, and in amongst the re­jec­tions and an­gry dogs he’s se­cured some gems.

One lake has some very big pike, and he’s the only per­son al­lowed to fish it, apart from oc­ca­sional guests, such as me.

On a re­cent visit I opted to fish with lures and rove around, while he set up in a reed-fringed bay to fish dead­baits.

I started along the bank from him and be­gan cast­ing a large, sil­ver Shake­speare Big S plug in the mar­gins. I was try­ing to get my plug as close to the veg­e­ta­tion as I could, and then the in­evitable hap­pened and a cast went slightly astray.

The plug landed in the wa­ter okay, but only af­ter it had gone over an over­hang­ing branch, leav­ing the line ly­ing across it.

I flicked it a cou­ple of times, but the line wouldn’t come off, so I de­cided to reel in slowly across the sur­face and try to inch it back over the branch with­out snag­ging the hooks.

I had only moved it a cou­ple of feet when a pair of jaws shot out of the wa­ter and grabbed the plug, neatly free­ing the line as the branch bent down when I struck.

A jack pike of about 5 lb was re­spon­si­ble, and I felt grate­ful to it for sav­ing my lure, which was firmly in the scis­sors and needed for­ceps to take out.

My host put it in his land­ing net to re­cover in the mar­gins, and I car­ried on along the bank, cast­ing the plug to likely spots.

A few min­utes later I heard a swoosh as he struck, and an almighty swirl out in the mid­dle of the lake that sent spray into the air and rip­ples rolling across the whole of the sur­face.

I hur­ried along the bank, ex­pect­ing to see a bent rod, but he was swing­ing in his float and end tackle.

“That sounded like a big fish,” I said.

“Yes. Bait came off.”

I no­ticed that his land­ing net was no longer in the wa­ter.

“Did my pike go back okay?” He didn’t re­ply for a mo­ment. “It swam off strongly, yes.”

It was then that I no­ticed his treble hooks, which he had ad­justed on the trace to be about 18 in. apart.

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