It was a bit like casting a brick and every bit as attractive. I ducked as the large zonker passed me and landed with a particularly dramatic “plop”. I'd been busy, so busy in fact that I hadn't had a chance to go fishing all week, which would almost have been excusable if I didn't actually live, quite literally, upon the banks of a river.
It's Sexyloops you see: we have unwittingly moved up yet another gear, we're certainly getting better at this and it definitely looks like we know what we are doing (which is ironic if you ask me; how can you know what you're doing if you don't know who you are?).
And the fact that I actually enjoy Sexyloops and therefore "work" sure comes as a problem to some people; apparently it's not "work" if you're enjoying yourself… (how sad).
First duck, then cast
So the zonker landed like a brick.
Pleased with myself, that I had survived the cast and not died (it's like that when you cast one of Hechte Peter's pike flies – the result always being in question, making it best not to think too much about it - or at all; just duck and let things sort themselves out) I straightened up slightly and gave the fly a tug.
There followed a miniature eruption from the other side of the sedges and a particularly large and ferocious pike leapt towards my lure and with a twisting thrashing movement completely engulfed it. If I had blinked I'd have missed it.
Astonishment is not the word. Technically I should have fallen in. That I didn't, reveals my true abilities as a professional – you won't catch me falling in out of surprise; no these days I only fall in through stupidity.
So here I was (professional fishing dude) living next to a monster pike (of about seven pounds which for this size of river I think is a monster – but for all that it matters it could have been a mugwai) whose mere existence was completely unbeknown to me (see?), who decides upon my very first cast to completely obliterate Hechte Peter's pike fly.
Pike fishing rocks
In America they'd say "Pike fishing rocks" - here in England we say: "it's the dog's bollocks".
Of course my camera battery is under the bed in Ireland where I left it (don't ask) and the replacement I ordered has not yet arrived and so you will just have to imagine the dramatic and exciting fight that ensued. That the fight of a pike is neither dramatic nor exciting (until you start handling them) is neither here nor there.
Actually the thing about pike fishing (especially with the fly) is the take. Because pike live in the slow lane for pretty much most of the time but have an amazing ability to leap into the fast lane and with a fury akin to a miniature volcano it really is the duck's nuts.
I returned the pike back to the slow lane and noticed another, slightly smaller one, swimming around the tail of the pool looking slightly bemused. I ducked and lobbed the fly in its general direction. Now look, I don't want to leave you with the impression that I actually know what I am doing here, because I don't.
That the fish instantly took I have Hechte Peter and his fly to thank. That it came immediately unstuck again was of course completely my own fault. That the fish then took immediately upon the very next cast I'll thank God, for whatever that counts. That it came off again almost immediately, I will once again accept full responsibility. Pike really are very stupid creatures, or if not stupid then I am either incredibly talented, lucky or it was just a co-incidence, but this pike was now swimming around wondering what had happened to it's meal and how come it kept disappearing (I could tell what it was thinking; that pike looked confused and that's a state of mind with which I am completely familiar) and so I lobbed him the zonker for a third time.
A meeting of moments
The pike looked happy once more and engulfed it.
It may be of interest to American readers to learn that, although we don't actually have an expression utilising those immortal words "it really is the ram's testicles" we do have a very famous fly involving the fur from these parts. The ingeniously named "Tup's Indispensable" - first tied by R S Austin was named (I believe) by Skues. Tup is another name for ram by the way and it's a very good imitation of a Pale Watery Dun in larger sizes (and not at all bad for Caenis in smaller ones) but getting hold of the materials can be a bit of a problem, especially if there is only one of you.
I returned this fish with some difficulty since he seemed especially anxious to bite me for my troubles. What was interesting was that the first pike had obviously had a bit of a go at him. That would have been an interesting contest to witness... almost as interesting as Mr Austin's first fight with a ram and the subsequent trip to hospital.
I'm starting to quite like pike by the way. Once you have got over the initial alarm of handling something with an enormous mouth full of teeth and who, by and large, appear to be somewhat ugly (of course that's just my opinion; pike I'm quite sure have a different perspective on piscine aesthetics), then they can be good fun. I've been meaning to go over to Ardleigh Reservoir and see what sort of brute I can encounter there, but in the meantime there is quite some river left to fish and it has suddenly taken on a new and interesting dimension.
Pic of the Day
Talking of pike, Mario is a pike fisherman too. You may have noticed that I have been running a series of flycasting PoD's just recently involving Mario and I. Mario is a really nice guy, albeit one let down slightly by his choice in headwear.
I feel that this approach to PoD works quite well and was initially suggested by Steve after the first Mario pic went in. You can find the complete series as part of the flycasting Pic of Day archive. There are a couple more left to go and I'll be starting a new series on Wednesday.
Sean has already expressed his alarm.
I have been quite busy this week doing that other thing that I do: teaching sexyloops. There are some techniques I use and teach that I don't feel that I have emphasised enough on these pages. This week you can expect the flycasting section to have an explosive surge of new material. I've got some casting demos lined up next month, both here and in Spain, so I'll be spending more time on my casting. Lobbing pike flies around isn't very good practice as it happens.
By the way, although I teach many different styles of flycasting, I firmly believe that the techniques that I personally use are the best, most natural methods of holding and wielding the flyrod. No one in the UK casts in quite the way I do (thank God) and although many AAPGAI instructors have changed their techniques over the last few years in a reckless attempt to try and match my style of casting, they can only ever be emulators. If you want to cast easily and effectively using my chosen techniques then there is only one person who can teach you... and I'll be in Essex for the next three weeks :-)
Talking of the hard sale you may have noticed a more aggressive sales push on the front page. This is because sexyloops is the Internet leader in European fly fishing sites and because of this we think that you should buy from us.
We will match any other advertised UK price and are adamant that you will not buy cheaper. We offer seven day a week service, prompt and free delivery, customer care, attractive telephone receptionists (huh?), an unrivalled Internet presence and a level of expertise and advice on all subject matters with which all other mail order firms can only watch and wonder upon.
In fact we are about to shake up the market in another way too. Watch this space...
I haven't got any flies. This is a problem. Actually this is not completely true. I do have flies; I just don't have any of my own that work. Although there are very many good flytying sites out there, none of them feature the sort of flies I like to use (untidy ones). Seems like a good opportunity for me to make a mess.
Yes it's all happening and if it wasn't so much fun it would be work of course.
Tomorrow in Denmark or Bust... what it takes to become a great international sea-trout bum, Carl gives us a great driving tip ("hang on") and Chris catches a fish!!