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Last weekend the tuesday swim was at sea on the Lea Navigation next to the Middlesex filter beds in Hackney (not to be confused with the area of North West London). I was canal boat sitting for the weekend and in search of my first pike of the season.

My pike fishing is generally divided into two disciplines, casting dead-baits into lakes usually down in Sussex in the dead of winter and secondly short sessions spent plug fishing on the Lea Navigation and River Lea. Urban or canal pike fishing has a special place in my heart as it suites the targeted species, often the location is as remote and as still as the lone pike. Pike are often described as ‘angry’ fish, I disagree on this matter, pike by nature have to be still, solitary, lurk in darkened holes awaiting unsuspecting prey. When pike target a fish, they do it in the most economical manner, ‘anger’  doesn’t come into it, ‘lazy’ could be used to describe the pike’s behaviour, ‘efficient’ would be my favoured description of the pike.

Arriving at the boat a perfect scene lay before me, the moon was just rising, a warm wind blew, perhaps a little too warm for my first pike session but as darkness fell I cast out a blue Abu HI-Lo plug.

As the canal deepened it tone from grey to black, some kids opposite in the local park started up a mini-moto and put pay to the peace for the next hour, so slightly irritated I packed away the little bait-casting rod and headed inside the boat and lit the wood burner. After an hour or so the mini-moto had been ridden away into a nearby estate and I stood alone on the boat with wood smoke in the air with a cool light breeze …stillness had returned and the moon appeared almost in a full phase.

The next morning I was expecting visitors including various kids, so the fishing became more of a tutorial in casting and pike location, in the end our efforts were fruitless but the blustery autumnal day fired my hunger to seek out a lone esox lucius on another and probably a more wintery day…

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