A pikers "dream" session

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Post  piketastic on Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:38 pm

A Pikers “ Dream” Session.

I would arrive at work in the factory we worked at in those days, for a 6 a.m start , the usual routine 6 a.m until 6 p.m. There was always plenty of breaks throughout the day and breaks either consisted of playing cards or going up to a different section of the factory to see my friend Gary.  
Gary was a carp angler , very meticulous , very passionate , very secretive , but he knew that I shared his passion , albeit for a different species of fish , I liked PIKE.
I could and indeed still can listen to his tales for hours . I had gone along with him on a few carp trips in the early 90s and loved his company , I also knew that if I listened to what he had to say , not only would I learn a few new methods of angling , also I would catch bigger fish.
We had fished together a few times , mainly me tagging along to venues with him around Yorks, Lincs and Notts and although I loved it , it wasn't the same as fishing for my beloved pike. But he had showed me a few important lessons in those early days , location was paramount to catch a big un, tackle had to be geared up for the task and he had instilled me with even more watercraft than I already had .
This particular day he told me that he had joined a carp syndicate in south Lincs , he could take a guest 3 times over the season, but also that the syndicate had limited spaces from October to March because the water he had joined , as well as some beautiful looking mid thirty pound carp , had some pike over the magical 20 pound barrier .
Bearing in mind , in those days my PB was 16 pound. I didn't know many other pike anglers as such, so a chance to fish in private , with good company , him carping and me piking ,
bivvied up , next peg to each other with more time on the bank was one I couldn’t turn down.
It was February so there wasn't much point in me paying the money for the October-March ticket until the season after, so Gary suggested I came as a guest. We were to do a day night day session.
I still get excited now at the thought of going to that place, my younger self was more keen than I had and have ever  been . I jumped at the chance !
All the tackle was ready and packed for the 4 a.m. start, to drive to Lincolnshire in time for sunrise at pike o'clock .
This is the truth . I went to bed, got up , flashed the car lights at Gary's car at the meeting place and followed him to the venue 90 minutes away. It was absolutely awesome , although it's now 18 years or so ago , I still remember it vividly. There were pine trees sweeping across the far bank, in a diagonal level slope down to the water , they went on for as far as my eyes could see. It was gorgeous. It was like a long corridor of water, with ripples that lapped at my feet and as the day went on , the sunlight made the whole scene into a perfect countryside setting. The sort of place I imagine Sweden or Norway to be. My bank was somewhat beach like with my unhooking mat, on the soft sand and the bivvy set back where the bigger rocks started. I decided just to float fish a dead roach at around 3 rod lengths out . I can remember the golden sunlight beaming down on the float and then in an instant, that float disappeared . The fish,tail-walked  immediately, it was long and slim and athletic , heart in your mouth stuff. The smile and anticipation as I put the net over it was a feeling that all fellow big fish anglers can relate to.
I laid the pike on the unhooking mat and unraveled the net to see my prize.

Then it happened, a weird turn of events .

The fish was no longer , long and thin , it was still fairly long but believe it or not it was see through , yes I could see through it   I could see in from its flank into its stomach , inside its stomach were pebbles ! Pebbles , what's this all about ? Then as I was weighing it , the fish went from around 16 pound to about 25 pound and all these pebbles ( golden pebbles at that 😀) were  piling up in its stomach and making it heavier.
If that's not weird then I don't know what is! But anyway I woke up , was still in bed in Sheffield and the alarm was a few minutes away from going off .
I had dreamt it all , I had just got my PB and it had been a dream, well I told myself that it was a sign, an omen for my next couple of days .

The venue was lovely , we had our own key to get in and out , cars could be parked only a small walk away from the pegs . I chose a likely looking swim with a small bay on one side to the right , an area of a couple of acres of open water to the left and a small adjoining drain like length of water in front of me with an island that made it accessible for me to fish 3 rods easily and 3 different methods at that if need be. The weather was overcast , it was freezing and I knew that the wind on my cheeks was a proper indication that this time it was no dream 😀.
I cast a mackerels head down the side of the island with a perfect cast that landed in a couple of feet of water , I had a whole herring , sunken float paternostered just a few feet from the bank to the left of me in around 8 feet of water . Then in the likely looking bay to the right, I  had a tiny smelt also sunken float paternostered in only a few feet of water , tight to an old reed bed with all those light brown dying reeds , that somehow suggest pike city, all surrounding the bay .
A pikers "dream" session Bay11
I had set the bivvy up  at the other side of the small bay . The idea was to fish the 3 rods off  the island peg during the day and as it got to tea time perhaps move over to be closer to Gary's peg on the next bay and just fish the one rod into night. Although I would be moving myself , it meant that actually the small bay rod would be fishing in the exact same place.
The carping was by no means easy,  the lake was 5 or 6 acres and it wasn't a place where Gary could say “ yes , I will definitely catch one today “, but he knew that I was capable of catching a pike or 2, not only that but there was also chance of a PB for me.  So when my old optonic alarm started making that now unfamiliar piercing sound , ( I used to love optonics ) Gary was as pleased as me when he placed the net over my first pike of the session, it weighed 12lb 10oz and had taken the mackerels head . I even think now that mackerel heads,  might get overlooked by a lot of pikers, it's the ‘done thing ‘ to use the tail and not the head as much in my opinion , but then again that might be just me . But it was the first time I can remember catching on that bait.
I was chuffed , get in there . There's always something special and satisfying about catching, A) at new venues and,  B) trying out something new , that actually comes up trumps. I'm sure you can all relate to that.
Anyway , quite pleased with myself , I sat on my chair and took in the midday scene. There was no flicking through the photographs on my camera or phone in them days . So I just sat and was debating to myself wether the pound or so herring that was dangling paternostered a few feet from me was too big.
The answer came within seconds , it was away !  How big might it be if it's got that massive bait in its mouth? I wondered. As I began to shake. I picked up the rod , whistled Gary over and struck into what I knew was my biggest fish ever.  Although I had deep water in front of me I knew that I was relatively safe as long as I could keep it away from an expanse of weed perhaps 10 feet away . The weed was thick and perhaps 20 yards square so I was grateful to Gary when he slipped the net under the long green predator. I instantly knew it was my biggest pike.
We weighed it and I had another lovely broad smile , it went 18 and I was over the moon, the feeling that only a PB that you've been chasing for years can make you feel . My experience PB wise over the last few years is few and far between , zilch , so it's a moment most of us like to savour , although some anglers would say otherwise!
Anyway , for me there's like a period of time shortly after where you get like 2 feelings , one is almost immediately , let's go and  catch another one and I get so intense and every twitch bleep or even nudge of the indicator in the minds eye becomes a fish. Or , the slightly dangerous , lackadaisical approach of, ‘this is easy I can't do anything wrong’ , where believe me, you can come back down to earth with a bang . I reckon a few of us will have had that feeling too.
It didn't affect me at this point because the afternoon sped through with nothing else to report except that it felt like my face had been stuck in one place with superglue giving me  a permanent smile . Now I know that some of you definitely know that feeling !!!
So it must have been around 6 pm when I moved all my tackle round the bend to the other side of the bay.
This was the bay that was surrounded by decaying reeds , there wasn't a peg as such and I poked the single rod through them , the line from the rod then had a few feet to go before it cleared the reeds and into the lake which in this area was relatively shallow and still had a fair bit of a weed blanket.
It had just gone dark and I had a little bleep on the alarm , I stood over the rod , there was no wind now and although the rod and line was set amongst the reeds I knew there was a fish about .
Probably a jack messing about in this shallower water .
The odd beep, beep sounded and a steady run unfolded. Due to the blanket  thick weed it didn’t have much open water to swim into, so I seemed to be fighting , rod high in the air , with a fish on the other side of the reeds that seemed stubborn but didn’t appear overly big .
“Keep that rod high” I was glad to hear Gary was now holding the net, I could see him trying to suss out how he could land the fish because the water was 6 to 10 foot away from us, the decaying reeds and soggy undergrowth at our feet.
He had his waders on and tentatively tried his feet on top of the brambles and reeds. It was fine , he could get the net into the water flattening the sparse,feeble reed branches down beneath it . Crouched low, he talked me through and helped me guide the fish, all the time with me unable to see how close he had the net to the fish.
“Hello” , I thought , “ this might be a little bit bigger than I had first anticipated”.
I walked backwards a few steps and wound a few more turns on the reel , almost bullying the fish not to go anywhere else.
Fifteen perhaps twenty minutes the fight lasted , the pike had felt awkward more than big and I had put that down to me choosing a pikey spot in a ‘ not so accessible’ area.
“ it's a bit bigger than you thought mate “ Gary smiled , has he enveloped the net round it and put the net with pike at rest in the deepest part of the shallows.
“I think you better come and have a look “
I peered down to see a lovely big fish in the net . I knew it was the biggest fish that I had caught because my previous biggest had only come 4 or 5 hours beforehand.
At 23 pounds 15 ounces she was amazing . Beautiful , I was gobsmacked, overawed, shocked and elated all in one go.
A pikers "dream" session Untitl11
My first ever 20 pounder , I can honestly say my mate Gary was as pleased as me and he was carp mad.
The fish was photographed and released . My rod was put with my others at the side and I can remember about 7pm driving to the phone box a couple of miles away to ring my sons and my mum and dad and my mates just to tell them that I had finally caught a 20 .
I drove back and settled down to a night in the bivvy with my mate Gary and my mate John Smith to celebrate .
I had no weird dreams that night , but I did wake up thinking, right you are still on a session here , go and catch some more . So I moved the rods back into the previous day's swim and fished them exactly the same.
We were leaving at around 4 or 5 pm so I had a good chunk of time to get the baits just where I needed them, giving them plenty of time for the pike to come on the move or on the feed and find them.
The indicator fell to the bank stick  on the left hand rod with the large herring on again. Up until this session , when I fished the sunken float paternoster rig I had always used small sprats , roach , perch etc but now I was getting runs on pound herrings – different ball game. I was amazed. After a short fight , the net was placed over another 18 pounder , could have been the same fish I suppose , but I don't recall .
What a session it was,  I had had days with my dad Jack and his mate Chris and his son Darren (pikehunter20  ) when I was growing up fishing  the Lincolnshire fens and around Boston where we had put 20 or 30 pike on the bank between us during a day but none to this size. No sessions that had caught my imagination like this. This had got me !
I didn't want it to end. All the stuff I didn't need was packed away in the car ,the rods were all away except one , the forceps , unhooking mat, landing net and camera was all I had left to shove in the boot.
“One last fag then”I said to Gary “ then home time” .  I've never smoked but for some reason over the years and with the lads and friends that I've fished with that tag line has come to represent just five more minutes.
I walked and stood over the rod and willed it to go …. It went ….. Never will I forget that!
What a session , it was easy , the herring had been engulfed again and I struck into another good fish. It took a bit more line than the other fish had done and headed out into the water, I was at this stage very pleased with myself , I had got this piking lark off to a tee and there was no stopping me.
I had found the way to catch them , the perfect baits , the best rig to use, and oh yes I loved it, but then……  that's right ….at that point, the pike opened its mouth and shook its head 20 yards out and let go of the bait . I could have just lost a 20, I  reeled in shaking , gutted and thinking what an idiot I had been for thinking how easy it was. It brought me crashing down to earth. I  honestly did get cocky and I always like to remind myself about that time. The rod went in the car along with the final few items.
Four fish in the session with three of them over my previous PB . Fantastic .
At 23 pound 15 ounces , this was my biggest pike of the last century 😀!

A goal had finally been reached with my first 20. I've just checked in my photo albums and it was the 1996/97 season . Over the next 3 or 4 years I concentrated on the venue , joined the syndicate . Although I caught a fair few 19 pounders and lots and lots of doubles and upper doubles , I never caught another 20 there before the place finally got closed down due to foot and mouth disease during the 1999/2000 season. I miss that place.
Another point to bear in mind is although I have caught a few twenty pounders since that session, it took me until November 2015 to have a new PB, to have that new PB feeling and the new PB  smile again.But that as they say is another story.
God only knows wether or not my dream 18 years ago was a sign of what was going to happen the following day, weird I know , but completely true!

Cheers Craig.


Last edited by piketastic on Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:17 am; edited 2 times in total
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Post  adie1200 on Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:05 pm

Brilliant read Craig Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
I've added the photos for you and I've lightened them up a little as they were quite dark Wink
look forward to more from you and some more of the lads Wink Cool Cool Cool Cool
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Post  fatcaff on Thu Feb 25, 2016 12:21 am

Cracking read mate.
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Post  nopikehere on Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:36 am

Great read mate,you set the bench mark high

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Post  pikehunter20 on Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:44 am

Would just like to say that's was a damn good read mr barns I think mr Crabtree would be proud or is that just showing my age
When do we get the next chapter ?
You know the one where you blank like the rest of us Smile
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Post  MAD BAD ANGLER on Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:40 pm

nery good read, should be in pikelines Very Happy Very Happy

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Post  piketastic on Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:59 pm

No pike lines , we will save them for here first Gaz . Darren I don't think there's many on here who will have blanked more than me mate 😀 . I know a few of us who could tell a good tale on here , and a little birds tells me there will be a great story coming out in the next few days aswell . Thanks for all the thumbs up...... I've got a few more up my sleeve anall 😀
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Post  lowdouble on Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:12 pm

Well I had totally forgot about reading this Craig. sorry mate but fishing took over from reading about it lol. Very very good story and love the atmosphere and imagery of the "dream" section Razz We are a weird group of people arent we. Brilliant story told from the heart. I might just read it again sometime when i need some inspiration Very Happy
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Post  nopikehere on Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:07 pm

just re read this and enjoyed it just as much as the first time mate,
when do we get another instalment

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Post  piketastic on Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:50 pm

I wrote that from my sickbed pal. It got me writing again after a 30 years gap 😀 Anyway I do have some more instalments, 9 of them to be precise, ( I've been busy ) , but I'm trying to get them in a book. I find out by Monday or Tuesday next week if I've been successful. Fingers crossed.
I will try and think of one I can put up in the next week or 2..... to get us ready for October 👍
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Post  adie1200 on Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:57 pm

Good luck with the book Craig i'm sure it will be a hit :-) Wink
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Post  Thepikey on Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:10 pm

Cracking read

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Post  Pikeypete on Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:55 pm

What a story that's me inspired
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Post  silkmen on Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:13 pm

spot on read that mate nice1
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