Summer has gone and winter is on its way. There is both intrepidation and excitement. The pike fishing season is upon us but will they be in my stretch of the river Wissey? Last year the pike went missing and lots of fishermen struggled to connect. Happily I had good fortune and the momentum has carried my enthusiasm along but alas some people with short memories may never return to the river bank again.
The lack of pike in rivers was countrywide and thus there has been great debate. Enclosed waters seem unaffected so the mystery grows. A hundred and one reasons have been offered. Did the long spell of minus temperatures upset the pike's metabolism. Otters were recently reintroduced into the rivers so are they now doing what comes naturally and eating all the fish. Others blame the cormorants and some the eastern Europeans. No one will ever know for although fishing was once the largest participation past-time it is no longer Premier League. It now carries an unfortunate stigma and is no longer anyone's priority. Perhaps the best approach is not to question and to just look forward for soon the pike fishermen will be out there again and all will be made known!
Because winter is the season for such fishermen they are easily recognised. They are the men with red faces but they also have other attributes. The most important being patience and with pride I can say I have my more than my fair share. It may be lacking at home or anywhere else but alongside a river I am forever content! Time passes so quickly and a whole day can be spent in complete and utter happiness providing rods are to hand and the baits in the water. I want for little else!
Maggots and worms no longer apply. The winter bait of mackerel and herring tails and eel and lamprey sections is already in the freezer. They look stunning in an array of different colours for although it may seem odd a red herring on the right day can make all difference! Tackle is checked and renewed but progress is slow as many happy memories return to be fully pondered
Some people mock and do not understand but fishing is a passion. You either have it or you don't. Although highly contagious it provides a fascinating passport to a whole world of nature. Being quiet in the middle of nowhere enables you to see wildlife that would otherwise be missed. You just sit there and watch! With good fortune there will be kingfishers flashing backwards and forwards. How many people have seen otters in the wild (but how ironic they may be responsible for the decline of my fish!) Sunrises and sunsets provide amazing backdrops to any day and are always magnified by the water with reflections providing double the wonder. Geese and ducks become companions for the duration with the inevitable robin your best mate for a long as you can spare him a crumb. Whilst noises in the undergrowth beg the imagination splashes and plops from the river are always welcome to provide reassurance that big fish are in front of you. All is provided with a kaleidoscope of colours within a perfect setting of peace and quiet!
But please do not be mistaken – it is not quite the promised land! The bible picture with a saint having birds perched on his head and animals at his feet has never yet happened to me! It can be cold and icy. It rains and the mud can be thick. However every day provides good fun so roll on the winter and God willing I will soon find a pike (or two)!