Fired up by Chris Turnbull's chapter in his Harper published Reflections about a 29lb pike from the top end of the Syndicate stretch I set forth with a plan to pike for 2-3 hours then trot the pool below the bridge as a recce for the last day.
Some what dismayed to find a pair of anglers making their way down the stretch in a boat that nearly scraped each bank so intimate is the river up here. Smug probably better described them than my more colourful language.
I stomped off up the meadow and put a half a smelt out above the first bit of far bank cover below the mill. Very narrow up here and lots of clean sandy runs. Which meant hunkering down out off sight, and not staring at the smelt on one of those clear runs
Had just set up the net (not the thing of beauty, that is being saved for the Fens tomorrow) when the float showed signs of life. 5lb or so, plump and a game scrapper. As well as leeches it was carrying a dragon fly nymph.
After several fast dropped takes a smaller pike, all tail walking and head shaking hung on long enough. Perhaps he was trying to get some protection from the otter
Otter or not a good lob to the head of a raft produced an instant result. Surging up and down it revealed a yellow belly and spots. A decent brown that took a dislike to the net. Probably looking for one of those tiny cane spoon nets with a 12 inch handle.
Had had a run in with a pike or an otter recently but a very firm 5lb 4 oz. That is the imposing Oxnead Hall in the background and could easily be a location for something like Endeavour.
This pool could be on the Kennet
On the phone sorting out an early start with Lord Lite tomorrow when the downstream half a sardine was away. Big spade tail showing during the fight in shallow, fast water then a familiar white wound and it seemed that Jasper Farqhuart Brown-Mug really did prefer a brutish working man's cod net.
I have always said trout are stupid.