"I, uh, had one or two," I said.
"Was there any size in 'em?"
"Biggest 26½," I muttered. "Six fish, average around 14."
"Is that right?" said Jimmy, flatly. "You won't be wanting the boat on Templehouse tomorrow, then?"
"Well, I thought it might be, uh, just worth taking a look at Allen again," I said. Most of that evening I watched television.
Pat and I had a small but appreciative crowd to see us off at the pier next morning. The word had got round. "If you get a nice little fella about six or seven pound would you bring it back for us, mister?" a small boy said. Next day was Friday, I remembered. Other, slower-thinking, boys pushed round to press their claims. "No more orders," said Pat. " 'Tis unlucky."
We fished the blue plug right from the beginning this time, and we took seven pike for the day, failing, however, to get one small enough to match our client's specifications. The biggest took the plug at 3:30 in the afternoon, almost at the same time the big one hit the previous day. This time it was a shorter, thicker fish that fought strongly but very dourly, keeping deep and sulking a lot and not showing itself until it was almost ready for the gaff. I had a pocket scale with me this time, so we didn't kill it. A shade over 25 pounds.
We put back the pike with care, and it sank slowly out of sight in the dark water. "They'd have made a fine pair," said Pat.
They would have, too, set up in a trophy room. The odds against taking two 20-pound-plus pike in two days must be very high. But I had other things on my mind.
"How the hell am I going to explain this one away back in Ballymote?" I asked Pat.