It was a mild day way back in 2004, I was fishing a small urban river somewhere deep in North Londinium!
The day had been quiet, various swim changes had yielded no pike and I was getting a tad impatient! On to the final swim move of the day, a nice long shallow stretch dropping off from the 2-3ft shallows into around 5ft of water. At the tail end of this deeper water there the remains of a lily bed that I could clearly see, as the visibility was good,I pretty much could see the whole lot, including a buried half oil drum resting on the bottom.
A good hour had passed with no interest in the static morsels I was offering, so I rummaged around the cool bag and found I had little bait left, finding a small smelt I decided to try wobbling for the last hour or so of daylight.. 5 or 6 cast’s in a long dark sleek shape appeared from nowhere and followed the smelt, but she didn’t take!
I had her twisting and turning showing a lot of interest in the wobbly smelt…almost like she was dancing in front of me, figure of eighting so to speak….alas she would not engulf my bait!
Mega frustration set in!
I came up with a plan, I decided to leger and pop up a 6oz bream deadbait and I had it sitting perfectly mid water. It almost looked alive as it swayed in the flow. After around five mins of casting the bream out, the sleek long predator appeared again. She swam straight up to the bream and took it !. I watched from my position behind a cluster of bushes, as she did this, an awesome sight which I was to better later. As I reached for the rod however, she dropped it !.Had I spooked her? Maybe she wasn’t in the mood today day I wondered?
I packed up there and then and vowed to come back the following week…
So a week later it’s just gone dawn and I’m back!.Armed with one rod, the same rig as the previous week and a bag of fresh oily sardines.
Approaching the same swim in complete stealth mode. Remembering the previous week I stayed low and kept well off the skyline. The swim itself was quite open with only small cluster of bushes for me hide behind.I crept into the swim staying behind the bushes and out of sight. Donning my polarised specs I had a look in the swim. I could see everything in the swim but no pike, I was thinking and hoping she would still be there?
I quietly and carefully dropped a legered popped up sardine into the swim, again I had the popped up bait set perfectly mid water gently swaying in the flow like a real live bait holding station.Looking into the swim again I could see my rig, bait and popper….crystal clear!
I caught sight of something emerging out of the old lilly bed…is that what I think it is?...sure enough it was the same fish, without any hesitation she swam towards the bait, locked on like an Exocet missle!. She appeard side on to my bait, then she suddenly turned and engulfed it, an amazing sight to watch!
Winding down I hadn’t spooked her and she was sitting on the bottom with my bait across her mouth as I struck and ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!. I have never before had a pike go off like it on hooking up, she charged around the shallow run above the lilly’s like a maniac! Round and round and up and down, I managed to turn her as she made for the lily’s and netted her at the third attempt. As she came towards the net the second time, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as alongside her was another fish, a bit smaller but a double no doubt.Wow!…I had never seen that before! . I hadn’t seen this other pike the previous week! On the bank she was one pristine Queen…dark green in colour with vivid yellow spots and awesome striped markings along her back, just like a tiger, she had also fought like one!
One of the best looking pike I have ever caught…and an Urban queen too boot! She weighed 19lb 4oz and I was pleased as punch!
I got her, one week after discovering her, I had caught her, mission accomplished…jobs’a good’un!
To some a 19+ is not a great deal, to me it was a fish I did well to catch and inside London a 19 is a beast!
Long Live The Urban Esox Queen’s!