Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Goths & Punks

Simon Farrow

After seeing and reading the 'Pike Pool articles', I felt it was about time I wrote something, so lets hope this gets your approval!

Quite a few years ago, more than I care to remember, in the late 80's. I was up working in Norwich. Whilst driving along Riverside Road, which is frequented by match anglers. I clocked a couple of guys whom were my own age, that didn't quite look the 'match type', more the 'Johnny Rotten type' with their weird hair styles. So I decided to stop and go and have a talk with them, ‘Goth to Punk’. So me being me, I asked how they were doing and if they had any spare bait that they would be willing to donate to a worthy cause. Me!

I got a rummun look, then a wry grin, but a really good friendship was sparked up for a fair few years after this meeting and a few baits spared on that day.

From this day, Keith, Eddie and my piking partner Mark and I spent a lot of time piking on gravel pits and estate lakes in the 'Punks' area. Keith’s knowledge was a real eye opener to Mark and me, and we duly refined our pike fishing ways and we never looked back.

New waters were kindly shown to us and good fishing was to be found on most of them. Reputations were also gained, but that’s another story.One such water nearby, which was un-fished as it had both 'NNT' signs and 'No Fishing' signs around it, looked so, so pikey, but as we had fishing avaliable to us on other places, it got put on the old 'must do' list and forgotten about for a few years, but I do regret not trying it out at the time.

A few years later, an angling society managed to obtain the rights for limited angling and as I was a friend’s with Mark, who was a member of the society, we just had to get there before it became common knowledge.Swims were very limited and half of it was a complete no go area. The approach needed to be fairly low profile, as the bailiff, though elderly, he certainly knew what was what, being an angler himself but not a piker.

I risked wriggling fish a few times on it and had a bit of fun one morning when the bailiff came and did his walk around which normally did not pose a problem, but that particular morning he decided to have a long, long chat about his fishing trip a week before. In the corner of my eye the patty rod tip was knocking like a good-un and I was just waiting for the Optonic (Old skool alarm) to say 'hello'.

Soon after, with the bailiff still chatting away...'You got a take' he says to me and that put me in a quandary. I could hardly leave the run, but at the same time, I couldn’t land a fish with no teeth! So I picked up the rod off its rests, tightened down and then told him it was a dropped take. I proceeded to put the rod back, connected the drop off and blindsided him whilst switching off the alarm. If he heard another bleep I would have never got rid of him! Off he trundled and alarm was powered back up and the alarm stayed quiet all day which did surprise me. I really did think that a take would have come from the upset 'wriggler' but it was not.

Eventually things started dropping into place, live baits didn't really produce much which was surprising, but dead baits did do the job and a few nice fish were landed by Mark and I over the next couple of seasons, my best being 27lb.

This fish was a real peach, not a mark or blemish anywhere on her and I doubt she had visited the bank before.

That particular fish did reach a top weight of 29lb, but never got to the magic 30lb mark. Soon word had got out and the increased pressure soon took its hold on the pit as the years went on.

That season, lamprey was the new bait on the scene and the fish at the pit took a liking to them, but in the latter part of the season the pike disappeared and we had no real idea where they had gone. However, having all of the Broadland on our doorstep, we were spoilt for choice and we took it for granted. Working and sussing places out wasn't required as we had so much top quality water at our feet, so we moved on.

The next season was spent afloat getting to grips with the River Bure, but one Sunday curosity got the better of us and we decided to go back to the pit just to keep an eye in and try and find these back end fish. First light came when we got there; we picked our swims and set up with ledgered lamprey and mackerel. After a couple of hours, no fish bothered us; it was obvious that the pike had moved on, so we began the hunt again.

One swim, which we had never fished, well I say 'swim' but in fact it was on an area that cattle drank from, had low slung bows from the Alders. However, it was still possible to get four float fished baits out. We both decided to move in and give it a try. We had to cast underarm to avoid the Alders and get the baits into the clear areas between the weed beds.

Action came pretty much straight away for us both, and we had quite a few jacks and doubles. It was quite hectic fishing and we were both glad we were in the same swim as we could help each other out with takes, unhooking and weighing while watching the other floats. Just as I was about to unhook my 17lb fish, my other rod was away so Mark took charge of unhooking the 17lber as I played a stubborn fish. As this was a small arm of the pit, we didn't really have much room to do a lot, as it was quite shallow, so she came in fairly quickly and once in the net I knew the 20lb barrier had been breached at last. We had found their hideaway area. 

At 21lb 6oz, this fish was again unmarked, infact all fish from there were clean and tidy, something that nowadays you are lucky to see.
Runs tailed off afterwards and we were glad of the rest, as the last three hours had been hectic. So we then had time for a brew and we were able to reflect on the morning’s activity which had resulted in nearly twenty fish n total between us.

As we sat there we then wondered what to do with the rest of the day as we felt we had fished the cattle drink dry. All other swims were deep and probably devoid of pike, so maybe a proper move was in order? We mulled over the places closest to where we were, some we had fished with the 'punks' and some we hadn't, others Mark had and others I had.

Decisions, decisions, that’s what it was like in the 80's in Norfolk before the carp fishing came into the equation. We opted for a pit nearer which was larger than the NNT one, but still not huge. Mark had fished it once or twice before and it felt it was worth a go as he had caught a couple of doubles from it, so off we went.

This was a ticket water, which had no real bailiffing being done on it and over the years I carried on fishing it with no gold passing hands. We got to this place within twenty minutes and we went round to an area which was hardly fished, as the grass was un-trampled and it had no evidence of foot marks, compared to other swims.

We changed the rigs on our rods to a ledger with alarms so we could relax for the rest of the day and take in what we had achieved. I say “we” as when fishing with Mark, we always considered whatever came to us was a 'team' result ', whether it be from bank or boat it was a combined effort in our eyes.

Baits soon went out and we sat back enjoying the rest of the day that was left. The silence was once again interrupted by the bleeping of an Optonic, and on looking down my right hand rod had line peeling from the open bail arm. I ran down the small hillock and wound down to a solid resistance. It had a different feel to the resistance felt on the shallow venues, as this time we were in 15 foot' of water, so the fight was a bit more like it should be. Not spectacular, as I don't find stillwater fish very energetic, but compared to proper river fish which are my favourite.

Anyway, it was certainly no jack, but once in the net I then realised what I had actually achieved or hoped I had. It was again, a really clean, well proportioned fish that took the scales to 22lb 8oz. After a couple of pictures she was sent on her way back to her home.I was well chuffed with our result, and then a short while later I realised what we had done. Two immaculate 20lb+ fish from two waters in one day, I could not have shared it with anyone better than with a close friend.

I very much doubt that I will ever achieve this feat again. They were not massive fish by some standards, but that day left me with a notable memory I'll never forget.

As for the two 'Punks', Keith moved away to London with his girlfriend and as this was before 'mobile' phones, we lost contact with him, but maybe one day he may join the forum, if he still fishes for them.
Eddie, I have no idea about at all which is a shame and Mark he still lives nearby and is still a bloody good Piker.

Happy Memories

Simon Farrow

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