Pike for all seasons
Shooting Times & Country|November 18, 2020
A fortuitous diversion provides inspiration to try for a pike but will this notoriously tricky adversary play ball, wonders Jamie Tusting
Jamie Tusting
The clocks going back at the end of October confirmed the change of the seasons, and the hour difference brought in the proper English autumnal weather.

The rain was falling and wind blowing hard when I set out on a walk with some friends one Saturday, and as we trudged over Bow Hill on the South Downs, Max and I jabbered away about the one topic we like to talk about more than any other: fishing. We were still on the subject as we stopped for a well-deserved pint at the Hare & Hounds in Stoughton.

The following day, Max and I were rather reluctantly dragged into Chichester for an afternoon of shopping; not an activity either of us were keen to partake in, but probably the least we could do after the numerous weekends away fishing over the summer.

Fortuitously, the heavens opened as we meandered down the high street and the closest shop to take shelter in happened to be Orvis. Our luck was in.

Heaven

I find it almost impossible to walk into a fishing shop and come away without making a purchase. Like children in a sweet shop, we were drawn to a huge display of flies at the back of the store. It was pick-and-mix heaven and while the rainstorm battered down outside, we discussed each fly in detail and agreed the fishing trips we could use them on.

At one end of the display were the pike flies. Huge, bushy, colourful and bright, they were absolutely majestic. Among the rather eclectic pick-andmix selection, I popped a few of these beautiful pike flies into the bag — I had no plans ahead, but it’s always good to have some just in case.

Usually, my pike fishing exploits are reserved for sunny afternoons through the spring and summer, but with the purchase of the pike flies came the motivation I needed to get out on the river, despite the dark mornings and inclement weather. Catching an autumn pike was the new game I decided to sign up for.

The sun was a long way off rising when I pulled on my waders. I stood in the middle of the kitchen, listening to the rain against the window and making sure that I was suitably togged up, before heading out into the dark.

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