BRIAN SKOYLES AT THE JUNIOR PIKE ACADEMY

I’m stood with Dave Mutton in the torrential rain, staring out over a wind lashed lake. I’d recently had a conversation with a somewhat depressed organiser Clive Melhuish and the junior pike academy was going ahead despite the appalling conditions writes Daiwa Consultant Brian Skoyles.

In truth I felt really sorry for Clive. Clive, on behalf of the PAC and Derek Pye, Fisheries Officer for H&DAA, put a lot of time into these events and they didn’t need this horrible weather, but juniors were turning up and if they were prepared to get wet and cold we needed to do our best to help them catch a fish or two.

Fishing wise I sort of wimped out. I had intended to wander about with a lure rod which usually the youngsters really enjoy, but in the conditions, I changed my mind. A couple of dead baits and the shelter of the car’s tailgate seemed a more sensible idea. With the rods, ready to cast out I also decided to go for range rather than fish the margins. I reckoned that with a lot of anglers fishing and the increase in bankside disturbance the fish might move away from the margins and I had a strong wind to help me fish well out. One rod was baited with smelt, one with a joey mackerel.... The traps were set.

From time to time helpers and youngsters walked past, lure rods in hand, looking wet, looking cold, but full of enthusiasm, but as the time passed no fish to report. I’m always impressed with how keen these youngsters are, nothing seems to dampen their enthusiasm, we just need a fish or two and at last one of my buzzers sounded, my smelt had been picked up. Time for a pic of a nice double and a very wet junior!  The rod was put back out this time with a lamprey tail. Whilst we were waiting Dave Mutton and myself did a bit of basic rig instruction with Oliver and dad Rob and they set-up in the next swim. (I think we need to give a big thank you to the mums and dads like Rob that go that extra mile to bring the youngsters along so they can experience fishing for themselves). It was getting near packing away time when once again my buzzer burst into life, another steady run. I checked the clutch, gave the rod to Oliver and he was playing his first pike. I stood next to him and it was great to see his excitement and concentration, suddenly the misery of the cold and wet didn’t matter! It’s getting heavier all the while said Oliver, and I knew why, it was a good fish, but nothing went wrong and gently Oliver eased the fish over the net cord ..... Magic!

I helped Oliver hold the fish, all fifteen pounds of lovely pike, then it was time for home. Despite the weather, it had been a good day, perhaps next time we might even get a little sun. As usual a big pat on the back to the local PAC and H&DAA for organising these events, they really are a great way of introducing youngster to our sport .... Top Job!