I thought that a fishing trip, not just for the predator fish that I was after was necessary, but it was based on the fact that I needed more fly-fishing practice. Despite catching some fish in the Czech Republic, most of it was not on a fly rod which was why I needed some additional fly-fishing muscle memory retention for what is to come in the future. I won’t say what it’s for but it is coming…. but it’s soon….
Anyway, on a nice late summer day out on the water in the UK, I was going fishing for some possible big Pike or Zander, the top two targeted fish species on this trip. So any practice of hooking up, fighting, and landing the fish would be nice practice for the future. To start off the day, it was incredibly hot. Unlike the last time of fishing in the UK when the weather was a bit more chilly and bearable, the humidity, the burning sun, and rising temperatures were making the conditions a bit too sweaty since this was not the tropics! It’s a bit different feeling when you’re in Mexico or Costa Rica when you expect the high temperatures and heat… just not in southern England! But the good thing about summer time is that the Zander are usually on the hunt. Despite their more willingness to bite during the late afternoon as evidenced with my experience in New York by their Walleye cousins, there are still good chances to catch a Zander in the morning which is exactly what happened to my rod as I felt a bite and the rod started bending towards the water! Fish on! Zander on! After a minute or two, the fish was netted and brought on board! Great start for the day!
After the first fish was in the boat, I would get sparse action of a few “maybe” bites as the fish were really picky and not biting all the way: some bites here and there but nothing concrete until a Rainbow Trout took my fly. Well, at least, I got some action…. so I thought….
So after hours and hours of casting over and over again, a fish took my sunken fly… alright! Some action. A fish is on…. huh…. this… is…. a…. big…. fish! I could feel the full weight of this fish as it would take me to the bottom back and forth as we fight in this tug of a war game! Big fish is on! And after fighting several minutes, I get a glimpse of it in the water – it’s a massive Pike! Game on! Game on! Keep fighting, keep fighting! After winning the battle through my war of attrition of tiring the Pike out after a battle of over 10-15 minutes in total, I finally bring the fish into the net and onto the boat. After weighing it, it was official: I landed my first 20+ pound pike on a fly rod! 22 pounds! Unbelievable action.
It’s a fish of a lifetime! People have tried to land a Pike of over 20 pounds or even over 10 kilograms for years but I have done it in 2 years since the first time I fished in the UK!
The day ended on a low whimper as it turned into slow mode again but I still managed to land one more Zander (my biggest one in Europe yet!) but it appeared that all the Zander bites stopped early on that day. Usually, Walleyes and Zanders will continue all the way into the night but I guess for me, nope. I guess I like to think that my big Pike has told the local fish to stay away from my lines and/or the Fishing Gods have also instructed the fishes that my wishes have been granted so keep out. No more freebies. Fortunately for me, I was fine with that after catching that monster of a Pike! They say in Finland that catching a 10 kilogram (22 pounds) means that you have graduated to master fisherman. I don’t know if I’m truly a fishing master or not, but I’m continuing my fishing education regardless.