He’d caught one on the bottom and one on a drifter float, so I unloaded the car and moved the pile of tackle (where does it all come from?) into the next swim, to Harry’s right, putting two rods on the ledger and one on the drifter. One of the legered baits was popped up and one was flat on the bottom in an attempt to cover all the bets, but they were only just beyond the margins, about 5 or 6 yards out, whilst the drifter was set at around 8 feet and allowed out to about 50 yards. The water here is deep, about 8 feet in the immediate margins, shelving down to a pretty uniform 16 feet or so about 10 – 15 yards out. There are shallower areas, but I think that the pike follow the shoals of bream around and they seem to patrol from 30 yards and beyond.
I was drifting a half herring, and at about 3.30 or so I was retrieving this bait when I spotted a pike following the half herring all the way into the margin. The water is incredibly clear and I watched as the pike lost the bait as it sank below him for a second. He seemed to have a puzzled look on his face – I swear it looked like that – but as I lifted the bait into his vision again he grabbed at it, almost gently, and held it in his jaws for a second or two. Then he turned it and as he did so I lifted into the strike. It was interesting because I could see the moment he had the hooks where I wanted them and when I landed him the hooks were in the scissors and the roof of the mouth. Good stuff! The fish weighed about 5 or 6 pounds and went back immediately it was unhooked.
About an hour or so later, the drifter float was about 50 yards out when the float slid away to the right and out of sight. I lifted into the fish which initially felt larger, but alas, inexplicably came off after a few seconds. They don’t seem to mind drifted half baits, which given the clarity of the water, had bothered me at first, but maybe we credit the fish with a little more discernment than they perhaps have.
That was it for the day, we both packed up at dusk although next time I may stay on into dark.