My old mate Peter Coates, from Eynsham, has caught one of those elusive pike from Farmoor Reservoir, writes GERALD STRATFORD.

The big fish, in pristine condition, weighed in at 19lb 14oz and was caught from Farmoor I on an eight-inch lure made by ABU.

Hats off to Pete – many anglers would have been tempted to round it up to 20lb, but not him.

And he deserves his success after countless blank sessions since buying his season ticket, which runs from November to March.

He told me it was a typical trout-water pike – short, fat and in perfect nick.

I have heard of four pike coming from the two reservoirs since they opened up for piking this season and this is the heaviest so far.

The real monsters from the deep – fish in excess of 30lb – remain as elusive as ever.

I HAVE to confess that I have not been fishing since Christmas.

I have moved house and it has taken all my time and energy, but now I’ve got this spring and summer to look forward to.

It will be interesting to see how our lakes and rivers perform after the wettest winter on record.

I think the mature fish will be OK and by June 16, they should be back in their same old swims.

However, I fear that the small fish spawned in the last two years may be lost.

There is evidence of small dead roach and bream turning up in our estuaries and off the coast.

On the gravel pits where sewerage may have got in, there will be a chance of nutrient enrichment which means there will be an increased risk of blue-green algae.

We don’t want that – it makes fish sick and they don't feed.

But after all the doom and gloom, there is always some light at the end of the tunnel.

Over the next two weeks, especially on the Thames, if you can find the fish, you’re likely to have a red letter day with all species.

If I can find my gear amongst all the other stuff, it might be my turn!