Just a couple of trips to report on: One was a day on the Kennet with my good friend Alan (spit) Tomkins, roach king of the lowlands and Edward 'the Obscured' Adcock. It was a day when the floodwaters were at their height and I fully expected the river to be a mile wide. No. It was probably in the best condition I have ever seen it and well within it's banks. To be short and sweet, I never caught one roach. In fact the only coarse fish I caught all day were a grayling (is that really coarse?) and a healthy fat dace of around half a pound. Trout were in abundance though - and although out of season they were in very good fighting shape. All three of us had at least a couple of dozen, both browns and rainbows, with the largest fish in the 5lb range. I loved it. Alan didn't. He doesn't like the swims to be disturbed by a hard fighting fish, to me however that's the whole point. A roach is, after all, just a rainbow variant, is it not? Oh. No? That's right. It's not. Still, I don't care and at least Alan did catch a couple of redfins.

A week later I was driving through the blackness of a rain-swept night around the edge of the inland sea that is Rutland Water. It was like a scene from one of those Loch Ness monster movies. In the pre-dawn light the mist over the water parting briefly to offer a tiny glimpse of some prehistoric monster. Red eyes glowing like tail lamps… oh. They are tail lamps. I'm following a car and I'm still half asleep.

It's all that Ian Wakeford's fault this time, getting me up at 5am. I forget the last time I had a lie-in. And that's another thing about pike fishing. As well as the cold you have to suffer very early starts to get the best chance of a fish. Well that's what I told them last night anyway, me and my big mouth. I might have gotten away with another half hour in bed otherwise. Still, here we are en-route to Bainton Fisheries for the first Internet Angling Club pike fish-in for ages.

Bainton is a group of lakes that Ian took over last winter. There is a huge amount of water here and it is hard to know which lake to start on; The 'Big' pit, The Orchid, The Match, The L-shape… Blimey. There are loads of them and all full of fish, mostly these are native species but Ian was telling me that he has put some small catfish into one lake. That'll be fun in a year or two's time.

The fish-in was an excuse to meet up with the various members of the email angling lists and would also hopefully raise a few bob for the children's angling charity, Second Chance. (Incidentally, Second Chance have just opened the first ever fishing-tackle-only Charity shop at their Somers Road Bridge, Portsmouth office. It's in conjunction with the Bivvy Hospital so there should be heaps of discounted carp stuff in there - if you get the chance, pop in and check it out).

Back to Bainton. Most people were going to fish on the Saturday but due to work commitments I had to make do with a couple of hours on Thursday afternoon and the Friday morning. My fishing partner for the trip was the amazing Harold of Twickers who has the most sophisticated radio controlled boat I have ever seen. Built by Angling Technics, it comes complete with a built-in depth sounder. A very special piece of kit that can put a live-bait in pristine condition on a feature at 150 yards distance. Think about that. All those swims on that 50 acre pit suddenly become viable.

On the Thursday afternoon, out of necessity, I had set up in the first swim on the first lake I came to. This was because I had very little time to get my gear sorted out before darkness. To be honest, I expected it to be a bit of a chuck it and chance it affair but the swim looked very pikey indeed. Sunken trees on my left and huge rushbeds on my right. I was sure there were fish there but nothing seemed interested that afternoon. Retiring to Ian's house for too short a sleep (as usual) the Friday morning found all three of us on the L-shaped lake. Ian was unable to fish for the morning as he was too busy welcoming the arrivals. We went from having seven lakes to ourselves to seven anglers in one corner of one lake. Sociable? Who, us?

The fishing? No, that's not what it's about. Oh. It is? Okay then. Well, it was a little slow to start with. I had a chance at the pools win with two early jacks in close sucession and Mat Hilllman had an 8lb by mid morning . At midday I packed up as things appeared to start moving. Rob Stubbs took the first double as I left and later I heard that the best fish of the day went just over 20lb. Saturday was the busy day with most people fishing and this also produced a, slightly larger, 20lber. Great fun was had by all, a few quid raised for charity (£300 ) and now we can't wait to do it again.

Let's see. How about a grayling trip next? Interested in joining us? Then go to the Internet Angling Club Website at http://www.fish-on-line.net

More details on joining the Bainton fishery? Contact Ian at ian.wakeford@predator-fishing.co.uk
Ian has also written up this fish-in at http://www.predator-fishing.co.uk/articles/fishin2000.htm


Second Chance Charity? Contact : second.chance@ukonline.co.uk