The margin rod went first after about half an hour - a long, skinny fish, but I was off the mark. Had two more runs on this near rod in quick succession, a jack and one of 9lb 8oz.
I was just about to pop the last one back when a matchman came past pushing a trolley loaded up to the gunnels (I thought carpers had a lot of gear!). After we'd exchanged pleasantries he mentioned that he was down to practice for a big European competition at the weekend, but that he was heading upstream so wouldn't "spoil my fun". Unfortunately, judging by the number of vans that had suddenly appeared on the lane, he wasn't going to be the only one. A group of lads had just started to walk up the towpath towards me when the far rod rattled off. This felt much better and turned out to be a short, but incredibly fat fish of 12lb 10oz.
One of the lads was kind enough to take a photo for me, but then told me that the whole section had been booked for the match practice (not true as I learned later). Vans and cars were now stretching back along the lane as far as I could see, so I had a choice - carry on fishing until I got booted off, or get out while I could still move my car. Whilst I was loathed to leave as the session was building up nicely, I chose the latter option. Rather wisely as it turned out as another 5 minutes would have been too late and I would have been there for the day! Chucked the gear in the car and headed to Kegworth to my second choice venue. Headed to an area that I'd not pike-fished properly before, but where I'd had a few whilst perching. Sent a bait over the far bank into a slack behind a tree and it was off before I'd even picked up the other rod. Just a jack this time.
Had another next cast, then lost a couple - one coming adrift mid-river and the other going straight into a sunken branch, which I managed to retrieve minus fish. Went a bit quiet after this, so I moved downstream. Initially popped both baits over into a bay upstream of a houseboat. However, when the resident left soon afterwards with a suitcase, I took this as an invitation to fish the most obvious feature! Put one bait off the back of the houseboat, finding a slightly deeper hole scoured out by a land drain, and the other down the side. It was the one off the back that went first. Thought it would scrape double figures as it had a big head and gob on it, but made do with 9lb 13oz.