Yesterday we went fishing on the Thames near the beautiful, polite riverside village of Pangbourne. Our friend Martin recently bought himself a little boat and asked if we would like to join him for a spot of pike fishing in a weirpool just by Whitchurch toll bridge (the other privately owned Oxfordshire toll bridge which legally rips off the travelling public – for 40p a time, would you believe).
Three lovely men in a boat: Martin, Moth and Rupe
I joined them after having visited Martin’s lovely wife Nat. The river was alive with birds; herons, grey wagtails, kingfishers and even a pair of Egyptian geese.
But it was the fish we were after, and when I joined them after they’d been fishing two hours, they hadn’t even had a bite. As the afternoon sun sank lower signs of life in the water became visible; a few bubbles here and there, ripples from little fish scared up to the surface by predators. There were fish down there all right.
Finally, Rupe was ‘in’ and judging by the bend on the line, it was big! He played the fish for a few minutes and finally got it close to the boat.
As its head surfaced, I thought it looked more like a crocodile than a fish; the diameter across its head was six inches, and we could see it was three maybe even four feet long! That must weigh 15lbs, we reckoned! Martin reached for the landing net, got the net underneath the monster (which was going to have bend a bit to fit in it) but at the very last moment, disaster! It came off the hook and disappeared back into the dark water. Luckily, Moth’s photo shows I’m not exaggerating:
We were left with only the memory of the one that got away.