Thursday, 21 May 2009

Myth in the making

Big pike have a way of assuming legendary, even mythical proportion in waters where they are least expected to be. Take my encounter with a truly massive pike just a few days ago as an example of this myth making process in action - I have told people about this pike, as you would because there is nothing quite so juicy in fishing as a monster pike story
, and although they do believe what you say up to a point, there is always a natural disinclination to take all your words as fact, indeed there is a natural inclination to take all your words as exaggeration and therefore your story is only ever going to be little more than a heavily embroidered fact, a fisherman's tale, a bankside anecdote...

And it will be forgotten soon enough, consigned to the dustbin of untrustworthy accounts, dismissed as anglers puff, but when someone else witnesses the same thing too, and that person not only agrees with your account but actually adds to it, then the myth making process has started in earnest!

When I left the scene, the giant pike having vanished in the wake of the boat, I walked home along the canal and half a mile along the towpath I stopped to chat with one of my fishing acquaintances who happens to live on a narrowboat moored in Longford. I told him about the pike, that it was headed his way, and should, if its progress along the far bank was continued at the same stately pace, reach him in about an hour or so. Of course he took my words, as I have said before, with a healthy pinch of salt.

Well, on this morning's dog walk he was on the towpath and even from a distance I could tell he had something to say to me. He'd seen the pike, about two hours after I'd left him, calmly moving toward Coventry along the far bank, and though he agreed that it was indeed a very big fish he took issue with my estimate of its size. This was no thirty pounder, he'd seen one of those on the bank and impressive though a fish of that size was, this pike was not even close. No, this fish was nothing like a thirty pounder! My eyes must have deceived me, he said, caught up in the excitement of attempting to hook it I'd lost sight of true proportion...

This fish was no ordinary monster, more a leviathan, forty pounds at least!

He'd witnessed the fish, grabbed his whip and fished for bait off the side of his boat whilst frantically tying up his carp rod to pike gear. He caught a small perch a while later, mounted it on the snap tackle and went after the pike, estimating its present location from gauging its rate of knots. He cast the unfortunate perch well ahead of his estimated location of the pike, hoping it would encounter it en route, and stood there waiting. The big pike did not appear, it had sunk in the water and he couldn't locate it, but then the float bobbled and started to run!

He then, with his heart in his mouth, wound right down and prepared to strike the trebles home hard. Deep breath -one-two-three....the strike was made, he drove those hooks home, but unfortunately just a little too forcefully for the pound and a half jack that he almost propelled into outer space!

Now of course, everyone local is getting wind of the monster pike of Longford, and as you can imagine, this already huge fish is one of a strain of pike that grows extremely fast...

By next week I expect it will have put on a pound or two, in a month it will reach fifty pounds, and soon enough it will be well past record weight and of fabulous, incredible proportion!

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