I am not going to lie here, although it would be easier to and wax lyrical about my undying love for this species that has lay dormant for years, but the truth of the matter is that these early days taught me the basics of pike fishing like how to handle and work around the dentistry of a pike but it was not till a few years ago when I started river fishing and i began to brush shoulders with the big wild crocodiles that inhabit the river that i began to not only enjoy catching the fish but started to fall in love with their enigmatic personality and their fantastic colourings they have to be one of the most beautiful fish the live in our waters.
This year esox-lucious has crossed my path a few times that has allowed me an insight as to where there are good numbers of pike to be had and none more so than on the Bridgewater canal so apart from my river outings targeting this species i am also going to try and spend some time on the local canals and my aim is to target them with dead baits which again will be a whole new world of discovery or me and as some of you may have guessed over the years i am always trying to improve my angling knowledge and skill in all areas of this fantastic sport we all love.
This week there has been a few things that have taken me away form actually writing this weeks blog well one thing in fact GTA5 cough cough which has meant I am now writing my blog late on a Friday evening whilst now being distracted by Matt Hayes's new 24 hour rod race on Discovery Shed. I had planned to talk about my plans for this upcoming weekends fishing but after just watching this programme i have got to say how impressed i was by the fact this programme was aired it must have taken a lot of guts for Matt Hayes to go ahead with allowing this programme to be aired given the fact the hour long show see's him struggling in freezing cold conditions with only a few small grayling to show for his efforts.
In these times where angling shows are full of fish after fish being landed making our sport look incredibly easy I think it is truly inspirational for one of the greats of our sport to show that along with all us normal everyday anglers the professionals still have days where they struggle, hats off to you Mr Hayes. I do understand that this concept does not work week in week out but its great that this series shows a true representation of what the angling year is truly like for an all seasons all weather angler.
I am often asked for hints and tips for people wanting to start up writing a blog and for me personally writing a blog that is successful you have to have a love for the sport and be willing to put a lot of your own time into it as it really does take up a lot more time than you first think when you start writing one. The blogs that capture me are always the ones that are updated regular whether the catch or blank as i feel more connected with the writer and the fact that when they do succeed me as a reader can fully appreciate the effort that has gone into catching that fish and this is something i always aim to achieve with my blog.
Finally before we get into this weeks fishing i visited Stapley Water gardens today (Sunday) to purchase some supplies for the upcoming season ahead, why not support your local tackle shop? well i do shop at the local tackle shop each week for my bait and bits and bobs but believe it or not one of my local tackle shops no longer supply size 20 hooks as there is no demand for them! So i decided rather than risking being caught short i went to stapley today where i can walk round and try things out, well needless to say i spent more than i intended but the basics where covered!
2 spools of 5lb Drennan Float fish line
1 spool of Bayer Perlon 2lb line
2 paternoster pike rigs
2 x Animal size 18 eyed hooks
4 x Animal size 20 eyed hooks
1 x number 8 weights
1 x number 10 weights
4 floats covering 8 no 4 to `10 no 4
3m landing net pole
and the purchase i did not go for a new Shakespeare reduced form 45.99 to 29.99 :-)
The above should see me through a few months fishing all that remains now is to sort out another bulk buy of hemp seed to see us through the winter and a few more wire traces for the piking and we are all set for the winter season to come.
on to this weeks fishing:
Maybe Maggots Was not the Best Idea...
With our usual haunt the River Dee very much out of sorts we where a bit stuck this week as to where to wet a line it was a real battle between our heads and hearts in a choice of two venues the River we night fished a few weeks ago or the sankey canal in Widnes. In our heads we knew the sankey canal would see us catching a steady net of fish and no doubt consistently through out the day to boot but our in our hearts we both wanted to fish the river the only down side being the river we where thinking of fishing can be very hit or miss and could see us completely blanking all together.
We decided to go with our hearts and two pints of maggot and a hemp was purchased but i also popped into my bag a few frozen sprats as last time we had seen a few jack pike patrolling the inside margin so the plan was if one of these turned up we would try and tempt them with a sprat using the sink and draw method.
We set up in the deeper sections of the river that just screamed out chub and dace and had a good 40-50 yards between our pegs. We settled down in our swims and i decided to go with my 17ft float rod over my smaller 13ft rod and this was just down the the fact i wanted as much control as possible and to be able to hold that float back hard over my bed of hemp seed this 17ft rod would cover at least half the river but would give me this much needed extra control over the line and float. With the chance of a barbel and chub and not wanting to loose any fish i hooked i went with my main line all the way through instead of my usually 1lb 7oz hook length i normally use on the river.
I kicked off the swim with a few good bait droppers full of hemp seed and maggot to make sure i had a decent amount of food on the bottom of the river and began trotting away fishing slightly over depth so the bait trickled along the river bed at a slower speed than the river, this was a method that has worked on this river before so i was confident it would catch me few fish.
The method worked all right and caught me endless amounts of fish the only problem being they were all small "barry minnalows" time and time again the float buried and on the end was one of these small fish. When you look closely at a minnow its amazing to see just how colourful these fish are i have never really taken the time to take a close look at these smaller species of fish in our rivers they really are a nice looking fish and if they went to a couple of ounces i am sure you would struggle to find a more colourful species of fish swimming in our lakes and rivers.
I was not too bothered by the minnows as i have fished the River Dane for a few years now and on there you can catch minnows for quite some time and then you will trot through a few times with nothing and you know that a group of chub have moved on so i was working on that principle on this river. Three hours in and there was no let up on the constant stream of minnows and i was more shocked at not even getting a dace or a perch like i had last time the only consolation i had was if i was getting the minnows i knew i was going down on the same line as my bait and surely it was only a matter of time and with that same thought in my head i thought maybe giving the swim a rest might do the trick so i fed two more droppers of hemp and went to see how my uncle was faring.
Settling down into my uncles peg with my flask of hot vimto in hand we discussed our predicament as he had experienced the same session as me apart from the fact he had caught a few dace. It was during our chat we both saw a pike lying towards the bottom of my uncles keep net and then it literally rolled on top of his keep net, never seen a pike literally lying on top of a keep net before, i have seen the attacking the net trying to get at the fish but not just lying on the net, a quick movement from one of us saw the pike shoot off into the river even a jack like this could be the reason the fishing was so slow especially on such a narrow river. We both decided to give it another hour in the swim before we would consider changing swims.
Returning back along the path to my swim i glanced through the trees at my box and low and behold sat on my bait waiter as bold as brass was a young robin just helping himself to my box of maggots. As i approached he nicked one last maggot and made a fast exit from the swim. As i settled back into my swim this cheeky chap kept on nipping back to my side tray but could i get a picture could i hell as like! I did manage though over the next hour to get this video of the cheeky chap.
The hour passed with little change so i quickly packed away my gear and got out my pike kit and one of the deadbaits and headed off to my uncles swim. He had also not had any joy but did say the pike had been about again, he let his fish go and i had a quick 10 minutes trying for the pike, it took two casts to trick the little jack into taking and boy did he fight above his weight! finally on the bank he was a beautifully marked little jack and as you can see from the bottom picture even at this age he is more than equipped for the job of eating other fish.
We moved onto another swim and in this swim we could literally see each other fishing as we where only around 20 yards apart. My uncle got the ball rolling with a few grayling and dace and of course more minnows while i had around 10 minutes of catching minnows before i struck into something solid and like an electric shock up my arm i felt the fish kick and go hard for the roots of a tree it did not half wake me up as all morning i had been striking into no resistance so to be smacked round the face with something so solid really took me by surprise.
i kept the rod low and dipped the tip under the water to reduce the chance of the fish snagging me on any roots and held firm putting my faith in my knots and the size 18 hook on the other end in these situations you have to give no quarter at all and only give line if you really don't feel your gear is going to hold. The line and hook held and the fish moved slowly into the middle flow and i got a glimpse of a golden flank but not enough to show whether it was a barbel or a chub and with that the fish made another break for the tree roots which luckily i managed to halt and that run seemed to take the fight from the fish and a big pair of white rubber lips surfaced as the chub took a big breath of air and slip over the landing net! on a poor days fishing this was a result and i was made up.
At a smidgen under 4lb it was not the biggest fish but more than welcome on a day like we had experienced and goes to show a few minutes in the right swim is work more than hours in the wrong one and with that i decided next time we fish this river i am going to be a lot more mobile and fish as many swims as i can during the day as the one swim approach just does not seem the way to go on this river.
Sunday: Rixton clay pits 7am till 12
This weekend i managed to get out on the bank on both Saturday and Sunday which has been unusual for me since the birth of out little girl because i always like to spend the Sunday with the family but this week was different as there was a short window on the Sunday for me to wet a line.
With only a few hours available in the morning i chose to fish rixton clay pits on the pole i fed a line straight out in front on maggot and a swim to the tree line margin to my right where i pinged over the odd few casters. To be honest the action was slow and it was not till the last hour and a half the bream moved in and i caught the majority of the fish. I think it was down to using maggot as i have experienced a few times on this water that pinkie can be what they want and they just don't settle on taking maggot and on reflection i am almost certain this was the case on this session as well.
The session was an enjoyable one none the less and it was great to get a few fish on the pole but the session really did fly by and it was time to pack up in no time what so ever.
till next week