What is the single most exciting moment in angling? It’s an oft-asked question and of course there is no definitive answer – but, for me, there is little to beat that genuinely electric moment when a previously stationary pike float begins moving ominously and purposefully across the water…
I was lucky enough to experience just such a moment on Sunday.
I’d arrived on the banks of the Wye at dawn for a short pike session. It was one of those thick, misty autumnal mornings that make even a familiar place seem ethereal.
The bold autumn colours; the aforementioned mist; the smell of slowly decaying vegetation and the clean scent of the swiftly flowing river; the almost total silence – all these elements combined to make it an atmospheric setting as I tackled up.
I’d purchased a bag of sprats from Tesco’s a few days previously and having failed to get to the tackle shop for any more exotic deadbaits, the humble sprat was to be my sole bait option today.
My plan was to simply cast around into likely looking areas before moving on after an hour if nothing was happening.
The first swim I tried was quiet, the current a little too strong for my float fished sprat to settle as I wanted it to. I’m still getting used to pike fishing on such a powerful river. I’ve caught hundreds of pike from a variety of waters and on a range of techniques, but presenting a bait effectively on a river like the Wye is still something I’m getting to grips with.
The next swim looked perfect though, with the current diverted around a little pool that was sheltered by a sunken tree. However after half an hour without any interest in my sprat, I decided to reposition the bait so it was fished just off the crease to the left of the mini pool.
Almost straight away, it happened. First a deliberate and sharp bob of the float. Then that magic moment, as it slid menacingly away, the little orange bob disappearing into the Wye.
It’s those moments, between the first twitch of the float to that split second before you hit into the fish that are so intoxicating. On the Wye it could be a three or thirty pound pike that’s taken the bait, perhaps even larger! That just adds to the excitement.
In this case it was only a few seconds after I’d set the hooks that I realized this wasn’t one of the leviathans of the river, or even an average fish, but instead a splashy five pounder that made my day. My first Wye pike!