The photo below looks like a knackered old pike lure because, well, because it is a photo of a knackered old pike lure. This knackered old pike lure though is a Christmas miracle, having been lost for something like eight years and assumed gone for good. I say lost, it was in the side pocket of my old lure bag – the sort of pocket where knackered old pike lures go to become lost, the sort of pocket that makes you wonder what that little pocket could be for other than to lose a knackered old pike lure. That something could be deemed “lost” for eight years while sat only a few inches away from exactly where it should be speaks volumes about my ability not only to find lost things but also to lose them in the first place.
The Fox Micro Jointed Rooter in Chartreuse may or may not be your favourite pike lure of all time – up until now it certainly is mine. I’ve no idea how I ended up with one, but I did end up with one – just the one though as they were more expensive than Mepps spinners.. It was one of the first lures I ever bought using my own money, a pike lure that I actually owned, and as such it was the first pike lure I treasured. The gnarled and prodigiously barbed treble hooks are a reminder of the bad old days of my predator angling adventure.
I can’t tell you about the first fish I caught on the Fox MJR but I can tell you there were plenty that followed it – take a look at the punctures, perforations and missing paintwork. I can tell you exactly how to fish it though as I spent countless hours throwing the little guy on midlands gravel pits using a 12′ 2.25lb test curve carp rod and a big pit reel loaded with 15lb Maxima. This wasn’t modern lure fishing, oh no, this was making do with the kit I already owned. The technique to fishing this knackered old pike lure was thus: wang it out as far as possible in to chosen gravel pit, let it sink to the bottom (this might take a while, it’s a slow sinker) and then inch it along the lake bed with tweaks of the rod tip followed by a few turns of the handle to take up the slack. Eventually a pike should whack it – if not find another area to wang.
For a number of years this was done with great success, with one day in particular coming to mind. A foul and blustery late autumn day when the wind speed might have been treble that of the mild air temperature, but stable and consistent in its nature. I was a good few hours in to the wanging and winding process when the whole thing went solid and totally stationery and to be honest right up until the moment the tip thudded round and the drag on the clumsy big pit reel began to purr I assumed I was snagged on the bottom. It was a huge fish, twice the length of my totally inadequate unhooking mat. I didn’t own any scales and my old mobile phone didn’t have a camera so I admired the huge fish for as short a time as possible and slipped it back. Then I went and caught another one that was a good few inches longer on the very next cast from exactly the same place. In the time it takes to boil the Kelly Kettle I went from having never caught a double figure fish to in all likelihood banking two lure caught twenties.
I’ll never know how big those fish were, and that’s ok because as long as I own the MJR I’ll never forget the feeling of having each fish on the mat or watching them idle back to the mysterious depths of the water. I had misplaced the memories of those years in the same way I had misplaced the lure, but in an instant the sight of the cut up curl tail and chewed up wood brought back hours of reflections on great times gone by. Coincidentally I found the MJR on the same day I renewed my club membership for the gravel pits after an eight year hiatus, but rest assured that this guy won’t be getting wanged back in there any time soon -I won’t gamble on losing the lure or the memories of those formative years again.