The previous day I bought a bag of ground bait, it looked more like a small bag of cement. Turbo black they called it. Sounded more like an additive that some snotty nosed boy racer would put in a Jap import rather than something you'd throw in the river to attract fish. The obligatory can of corn, a few of the gardens best worms and a quick covert op. to sneak my own pike gear along for the ride. We were all set!
Expertise from my good friend Frank the plasterer was our GPS to the local hotspot, Roach, Rudd, Perch, Dace and a selection of hybrids were all in our grasp, any wonder the Barrow is deemed a mixed fishery.
So the "bag of cement" (well about half of it) was mixed with some corn, a few chopped worms, a drop of water and chucked in the swim. We plumbed the depth and got under way. Watching my son sitting there waiting for action reminded me of my own youth, helped by my father, watching a small cork float working its way downstream as it searched out wild brown trout in the small rivers of the Wicklow mountains.
We sat there for a bit, then as if by magic the float started to twitch...My son's eyes light up in astonishment. The float twitched again... just a bit, there was a nudge, another twitch.... then it zipped under the surface as if, all of a sudden, it had a life of its own. He struck and hooked up. The fish had arrived in the the swim!
We kept feeding the swim every so often when it went quiet. I don't know how many he caught (we just released them as we caught them) in the few hours we were there. It wasn't match standards but he must have landed fifteen to twenty fish and probably lost another half dozen. Maybe a keep net could be arranged if he was to get serious about this.
As he caught fish after fish I was left to ponder this famous theory about pike moving into anglers swims during coarse or match sessions as they prowled around for easy pickings. None of the pike were taking advantage of the activity we stirred up in our swim. I brought the deads in and tried a variety of lures.....still no takers! It didn't really matter, it was his day, he caught plenty of fish, had some great sport and I was thrilled for him. The Barrow pike may rest for another day or two!