I hadn't pike fished the River Bure for over ten years and, with recent reports of good catches, I felt it was time I re-acquainted myself with this beautiful waterway.I decided the best way not to waste my valuable fishing time was to book up with a local angling guide. I met up with my pike guide for the day at 8am, at a predetermined spot on the tidal River Bure at Wroxham.Mark works for Wroxham Angling Centre in Norfolk, where part of his duties are to take punters out pike fishing during the autumn and winter months. Mark's customers are usually pike anglers.Today, I was to be Mark's punter; I'm not sure what category I come into – probably 'old piker'. I hired his services, which included boat, bait, tackle, life jacket and insurance – the latter something you should have but isn't always provided by other guides – but most of all, I will get the benefit of Mark's vast experience and knowledge of the River Bure.Mark had made an early start to the day and had already been out catching live-baits to go with the sea dead-baits he provides. With the river running very clear, the pike were preferring live fish; dead-baits come into their own as the water cools and colours.We made a start outside the Connoisseur boatyard, just a short distance from my picking up point. After mooring up, baits were spread around the boat – three live baits and one very dead smelt. Little happened until we upped anchor and started to trail baits behind the boat and an 8lb jack took a chunk out of my live roach, at the same time impaling itself on a treble. Mark dealt with it expertly unhooking and returning it within seconds.We moved again, Mark working hard at the oars as the wind started to pick-up. Under the old Wroxham Bridge we got a scare as a pike chased one of the live baits but failed to connect and left the perch unmolested.We travelled on downstream past the impressive Hotel Wroxham, too early in the day for customers to be on the riverside terrace eating and drinking. Another jack hit my perch live-bait hard, careering out of the shallow water. It looked to be around 9lb and Mark gave it the quick fire unhook and release. Mark was really working hard, baiting up, netting fish, unhooking, photographing, returning fish, upping the anchor, rowing and clearing the fallen autumn leaves off the line. 'I could get used to the silver service life; pass me a cup of tea mate!' I said, only to get a reply of 'get it yourself, I'm your guide not your wife!'I had countless single figure fish before I hooked into a lump. We had just arrived at the entrance to Wroxham Broad when my lively perch bait float did a few jigs before going under hard. I picked up the rod waiting for the line to tighten, but the fish wasn't going anywhere and when I increased pressure on the bait it came back unmolested, probably a false run.Two minutes later and the same bait was off again, I thought 'I know your game mate' and slowly began to take in the slack, when the rod was almost wrenched out of my hands.Before I had time to strike, the big pike was bumping hard on the line and I thought 'yes'! And then 'no'! As I got the bait back, this one had definitely been on the wrong end of a chomping.A little while later I snagged the bottom and retrieved a landing net complete with pole from the river. I suspected a holiday angler had lost this off a hire cruiser, probably without knowing. It had obviously been under water for some time as the net was covered in zebra mussels -- the continuing increase in the tufted duck numbers are blamed for the spread of this damaging alien mollusc to many rivers in Great Britain. It was now mid-afternoon and the tide was on the turn, so Mark decided it was time to turn the boat and head back towards Wroxham, stopping off at a few of his favourite big fish hot spots.I'd had enough jacks for the day and it was time to stick my hooks into, hopefully, a 20lb plus pike. Mark's hotspots are top secret, for his customers only, and I was sworn to secrecy. If I could not keep my journalistic mouth shut I would have to wear a towel over my head until we reached our destination. I didn't fancy the towel hoody as it ponged distinctly of fish and was orange, and orange is just not my colour - I'm more of a cerise man myself!The first swim was close to a 4mph sign, of which there are several on this river, so I'm not giving anything away there.I failed to get a tug here but spotted plenty of holiday cruisers speeding well over the limit – speed limit that is – although I suppose one or two of the 'captains of the ship' had had a tinny or three.Talking of drinking, I hadn't been to the 'little boys' room' all day and chaps of my age need to go wee more often than most.After another big fish or bust swim failed, Mark suggested we motor back into town and try close to a line of moored holiday cruisers. It was here that a few days earlier a couple of his customers had failed to land a pike that looked all of 20lb. We anchored up just above the top cruiser. The flow of the river would enable me to stret-peg a live-bait down to the waiting 'Jaws'. There I was, hanging on to my wedding tackle with one hand and working the perch bait down with the other. It took a couple of trots before a flash in the clear water told us that the pike was 'having some of that'. My float disappeared and the floating braid was heading towards the boats. I pulled hard into the pike and straight away knew this was much better, decidedly lumpy.I managed to get the pike away from the boats and in to seven feet of snag free water. It wasn't long before Mark used his landing net for the first time today. Out with the hooks, onto the scales, 19lb, photos taken, fish returned, a congratulatory shake of hands and a big thank you to Mark for a cracking day's sport, meant I could now go and relieve myself.