I padded off down to the lake this afternoon to try out the paint brush handle before the water had a chance to freeze up again. I briefly had the place to myself and threw the new lure without my usual restraint, it flew like a rocket. The hardwood and rear weights kept it on course enabling me to place it rather than hurl it and hope for the best. With the rod tip lowered and a steady jerk on the retrieve I could keep it subsurface gliding and bucking with its silver sides flashing. I slowed my retrieve and added long pauses so it sank to the bottom and kept some depth. In among the jerks I felt the rumble of a fish but it had gone after putting a couple of bends in the rod. I cast again and again while trying to remember the sequence of tugs and pauses that had triggered the attack. In the end I contented myself with the thought that it would have all been too much to catch a pike on the lure’s first outing, especially in the middle of winter: it didn't stop me vainly casting along the same stretch of water.
When the Essex boys turned up I switched to a lighter drop shot rig and a soft plastic fearing the water would quickly be covered by a web of carp lines. Moving out of the way while they set up I threw jellies along the reeds. One of the lads asked if I had any old lures going spare so he could do a bit of spinning while waiting on his bait alarm. I fished out a jig head with a soft plastic lure, but he didn’t seem that impressed so I gave him a Phox Minnow that I had managed to spray up in the style of a multi coloured sock. Although I give away lures a little too regularly I still get that nervous feeling that comes from handing over my work to be judged by someone else.
I moved a little further round the lake and continued my campaign to either catch a fish of freeze to death in the process. Back over the lake my Phox Minnow had claimed its first victim a small pike and I headed over while they waited for me. I waded into the shallows and unhooked it claiming it as my own as I had made the lure and was having no luck myself. I wandered back to the reeds and gave a few half-hearted casts before deciding that despite Christmas winter on the whole is crap, so I packed up and headed home.