I knew that this morning was my window of opportunity, the one I've been waiting for since I finished work for Xmas. The rivers are up and down like a yoyo, and with further flood water currently piling it's way down the wild river, I had to get out. The fact that gale force winds and torrential rain coincided with it didn't help!
Arriving in dark and parking up, I had a bad start with car becoming stuck, which I had to rock out, but eventually after a fair walk, I slid my way down the bank into my peg. Float ledger fished smelt, my favourite tactic, was the way forward, balanced so that any movement on the bait would be indicated. I flicked out to some slack water adjacent heavy flow, alongside a nice crease, and waited for my chance. Ten minutes later, the float moved away before stopping. I held the rod, heart thumping, and waited. It seemed like forever, but in reality about thirty seconds later, the float laid flat, bobbed, and started moving away. I held the rod, waited for the thump thump of a fish, and hit it. All hell broke lose, the fish dictated everything, and using braid I could feel every movement. She went on run after run and It took a lot of coaxing, but eventually I'd tired her and she came over the arms of the net. A beast of 24lb 13oz.
There's very little that's beats river piking in winter. Once returned, I sat in the rain, wishing I had a cigar and a whiskey, with a grin on my face. A great way to see off 2013