Saturday, 12 April 2008

A trip to Lake Windermere with Gord Burton

The Pike Pirate
A man of a thousand faces
Early morning Windermere

Sandwiches and a days supply of food was already packed by the door. The alarm was set for 3.30am, but how was I going to sleep? An exciting adventure lay ahead. I'd finally done it! This Saturday morning I had arranged a fishing trip with Pikeing legend Gord Burton. I arrived at his house at 4.45am, any early doubts that he'd forget and be still in bed were soon quashed. He was ready and waiting for me at his front door. His trusty boat of 28 years service 'CHUB CREEK' which is so named after a classic lure, was already loaded onto his car. My rods were soon packed, and 5 minutes later we were off. Our destination was Lake Windermere, a very well established Pikeing water. For any thrill seekers out there who fancy a day out but are not into Pikeing, then I would very much recommend Gordy take you for a drive which he affectionately calls 'Brands Hatch' This is the final stage of the journey that will eventually lead you to the boat launch site. A very narrow country lane that is just about wide enough for one car. As we turned into each twisting corner I was sure we were about to meet our certain death. I need not have worried though because Gord knew the road like the back of his hand, a journey I'm sure he's made thousands of times. We were soon on the water and on our way to one of Gord's hotspots. The water was very calm and without a ripple, but the dark skies above held clues as to what was to come. Static dead baits were the tactics we were to use, and the chosen baits for the day were Joey Mackerel's. We stayed in the same spot for around two hours. There was no action here so we moved to another notorious spot. It was now that the once threatening sky decided to unleash it's fury, a downpour that would unless you were dressed appropriately would soak you to the skin. It was at this spot that Gord struck into a hard fighting Pike, a battle ensued but there was only going to be one winner. I was given the honour of netting it for him. Moments earlier Gord had explained to me that one of his last guides apparently fumbled with the net and cost him a very good fish, so no pressure here then. Thankfully moments later a 14lb Pike was lying at my feet. Job done! The Pike had already gone through the rigours of spawning, and Gord estimated that a few days ago she would have been a good 20lb. We stayed here for about another hour, as well as dead baits we employed the lure rods. But no action was to be had. The weather was still being very unkind to us, and Gord was not holding out on today being a productive day. We came across two other Pikers that were known to Gord. Who earlier in the week had been through a very frightening experience, as their boat had capsized. They were not wearing life jackets, a lesson learned as they were sporting brand new ones today. We moved on to what was to be the last Hotspot of the day. Once again we dead baited this area for around two hours. The weather was still overcast, it was time to admit defeat. We had been beaten. It would seem that I had picked an awful day weather wise. Alas I didn't catch my Pike of a lifetime today. I did though have a cracking day. Gord is fabulous company and is never short of a word or two. He is a mind of information, I now call him Mr Memory. Name any fishing trip he's been on and he'll recall all the detail without a struggle. He will tell you a hundred stories or more, and he has an answer to any questions you may ask him. Will I go again? Does a Pike have teeth?