Today was my first day on the river this year. It was cold and windy but dry. A relief after a few days of very heavy rain. The river was flooded, fast and coloured, it didn't look good. I was fishing with a couple of very heavy tungsten bugs to get down deep quickly.
At the bottom of the beat there is a large area of calm sheltered water. I cast just a few feet from the bank, shook some slack onto the water and lifted the rod for a roll cast. Bugger, I've caught the bottom or a waterlogged branch. I give it a tug, no joy, so I reel in some slack and give it a real good pull. The branch pulled back, and then started to move out into the river. At this point I realise it's not a branch, or any other debris washed downstream, and it's definitely not a grayling, my target species. After 10 minutes or so with my rod bent double and my arm screaming in pain I managed to get this mysterious brute close enough to see. I assumed it would be a salmon, but no, it was a pike (around 24", not huge but big enough). She had my lovingly tied, size 14, hot pink tungsten bead nymph firmly attached to the side of her huge jaws.
Now I start looking around hoping there is someone, anyone, around to help get her out of the water unhooked and sent back on her way. Unfortunately I was all alone, not a sole in sight, with no net and no way of managing this beauty.
As the banks were so flooded I figured I'd just walk back and try to gently get her onto the bank.
Now while she was in the water my 5 wt rod and 4X tippet was able to offer some control but as soon as she stared coming out of the water the tippet snapped and she slid back into the water.
I was both relieved and frustrated I know a small barbless hook will soon be discarded but I would have loved to unhook her and get a photo or two.
I'll be going back very soon equipped with appropriate tackle to do battle again!.