Barrow Piker is back and back with a bang!  Here’s what he has to say………

Summer! Where did the summer go? more about that later, right now I think we should cut to the chase…..
In reality to start piking in October this year would have been car crash material. The river was ridiculously low due to a serious lack rain and still full of summer growth from the unseasonably mild weather. I must admit that I’m not one for farting about with lures up to my neck in nettles trying to tempt lazy sunbathing Pike. I much prefer my piking cold and calculated (literally). So finally the rain came, a fortnights worth… in a week. It lashed like never before, I held my breath as the river shot up and the mercury dropped.
Phones started chirping across the mobile networks as a few of the usual suspects and myself texted covert daily reports on the state of the river, after a few days, the overall concensus was It was time, “The Boys Were Back In Town”

Burkies Whopper!
Burkies Whopper!

After much sorting of tackle and cobweb blowing we arrived at the river on Friday morning with more gear than a subterranean terrorist cell. To say we were ready for the “first” day of the winter season was an understatement. Alan “Burkie” Burke fished downstream. The junior Piker and myself fished a slack above him. Things were quite, very quiet. An opening day anti climax I thought to myself. Then my phone rang…”A NET…. I NEED A BIGGER NET” Burkie screamed down the phone so loud he needn’t have bothered ringing. The junior piker legged it down the bank.
I waited for news, then waited some more… it was uncanny to say the least. I missed a run and then my phone rang, it was Burkie breathless but happy. As it happened he put the bait in the swim and was hit immediately, he couldn’t reach the net. After a major power struggle on a tricky piece bank himself and the junior piker landed a really decent double. Its fair to say, on our first day out since last spring the Biker Piker nailed a WHOPPER and was he nowhere near Burger King. But there was more to come…

The River Barrow Piker and the tail walking Pike.
The River Barrow Piker and the tail walking Pike.

With a double already accounted for we fished on, enthusiasm and confidence had been intravenously pumped into our systems. Even though we were on a high things remained quiet our prey had gone to ground, we fished on ever optimistic. I searched the river and finally decided to settle down once I hit my fifth swim. Some time later my rod gave a gentle knock,  the alarm barely croaked a couple of sedate blips, I squinted at the rod tip through the cold sunshine. Hmmm maybe, maybe not… I struck and was well in, not such a big fish but still this bad boy got 10 out of 10 as he cleared the surface and tail walked across the water. We were gobsmacked.

We saw no more fish that day but what a great start to the new season on the Barrow. I went back to the river on Monday and met another three fish. That story and others will be posted here in a day or two. I headed home for a cuppa thinking along the way, Philo said it well when he said “The boys are back in town”…

Roly Byrne,

Barrow Piker