Wednesday, 24 February 2010

A Birthday Present with teeth

Whilst a birthday is something I don't generally like too much fuss over, I do always try to wangle a day off fishing. Can't remember ever having a very brilliant birthday bash however- until today!
I'd had an eye on a return to the Exe for a while; only I seem to either hit it wrong or find others already in position where I'd like to fish, these river pike being fairly pressured at present. Today was a case of extra effort, a decent walk and a start at silly o'clock to see if the pike would play ball. It wasn't exactly hectic and with muddy water, stinky sea dead baits seemed logical. Having dropped something decent after the only run in a couple of hours I was still kicking myself when another bite developed.
I have to be honest- the fight was pretty poor aside from a nervous roll or two at the net and I was surprised when a much larger pike than expected loomed into view- a fantastic birthday bonus of 23lbs 5oz! Sporting a few old battle scars she wasn't the prettiest, but a really deep fish with a fearsomely pronounced lower jaw. A real old character you might say, and I was thrilled to bits.
After a quick couple of snaps and a fittingly toothy souvenir on my right index finger, I got her back quickly. Not for the first time this season I thanked my unhooking mat for a safe release- the muddy, steep river banks are horrendous in places and I had a minor stumble getting her back to the water. But with the fish zipped snugly in the damp, padded mat the only consequence was muddy knees- I'll say it again, unhooking mats are ruddy brilliant. No, essential.
So, a muddy but glorious birthday bash in place of the more usual blank. A smaller but curiously much harder fighting pike also livened up the day before it was high time I took a hot bath.
When I've got all the mud off, I hope to see you all at The Barge, Halberton on friday from 7 30pm for the PAC meet (non members also very welcome)... looking forward to seeing everyone and sharing some fishing stories from off the beaten trail and plenty of pictures from the last year or so.


Steve said...

Happy Birthday Dominic, what a cracking Pike for your efforts. Couldn't agree more about your comments on unhooking mats. I bought a pretty bog standard Carp mat, where the fish just end up flapping about and come off it, so invariably I unhook in the net and on soft grass to avoid damage and that's without it being an angry Pike as yet. I need to invest in a zip variety. What make do you recommend?

Tight lines


Dominic said...

I think my mat is a JRC? Basically, any mat with some padding and also, critically for pike, enough length . My landing net zips inside my mat for easy carrying and I just wouldn't go poking without both!
The Exe is a treacherous place though, with steep banks and thrashing pike a tricky combination- better to learn the ropes somewhere a little friendlier really, like Tiverton. May even get out Saturday morning The day after the PAC meet if you're interested?

Oli said...

Cracking fish. Happy Birthday.

Steve said...

Hi Dominic, thank you for the information and the kind offer to fish on Saturday. Unfortunately I will be back on my night shift run again on Friday night. Good luck if you get out yourself, and I will look forward to reading about it.
Tight lines