Friday, 24 January 2014

Dead Baiting For Pike: Make Mine A Double.....

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update.  It seems to have been an age now since we were last on a river trotting a float on a river with any conviction, we of course had the trips to the river dane but in reality the river was far from ideal and we did well to muster the results we did.  This flooding can see the rivers out of action for a few weeks and sometimes longer if it is the River Dee.  This is one of the reasons i am diversifying into different branches of our sport so i can try and match my location and quarry to the conditions i am faced with for example going out dead baiting for pike instead of fishing a river that is high and like chocolate, i think the past few weeks results piking compared to our trips to the rivers have gone to prove that in terms of fish on the bank this is the way to go and one positive that comes naturally from this is you become more accomplished as an all rounder.

There are many famous people that i follow in the angling world but one that i have to say i admire the most is Martin Bowler, he is an angler that if you follow him on facebook you can see he reads the conditions and then targets the species from there, pike in winter, tench in spring and carp in autumn you can see just what a quality all rounder he is, of course his motives are different than mine with him being a specimen hunter and myself just out to catch what comes along big or small, his way of fishing and being a good all rounder is a way i would like to look back on my fishing life in years to come.  There are of course many everyday anglers that i follow in the blog writing world that showcase these same attributes such as Stewart Bloor, again a specimen hunter but also a great all rounder who is a quality angler in many of the branches of this magnificent sport.

It really made me sick this  week to read on Franks Column about the fact that bailiffs checking on the local Sankey Canal in Widnes were met with the sight of numerous dead pike left on the bank.  This act of chucking pike up the bank was unfortunately common place many years ago where match men saw these pike as a nuisance fish, gladly things have moved on from there and drives to improve knowledge of clubs in this area has seen this practise all but abolished from out sport.  I do hope deep down that this is the reason these pike have been found as if it is just sick individuals catching and then throwing pike on the bank to die then society has hit a deeper low than i thought.  What exactly possess people to commit such a act? i do wonder sometimes what world our daughter will be growing up in, i really do.

 The past few weeks targeting pike using dead bait methods has seen me on a steep learning curve both with the tactics employed for this fishing and also the mental side of things, by this i mean how different it is from the float fishing and pole fishing i do most of the year for silvers in the fact it is a lot more relaxed.  There is no less thought that goes into my pike fishing compared to my float fishing but there is no doubt the actually fishing is a lot less active and mentally draining than the fishing for dace as that constant concentrating on presentation and feeding maggots in the right place time after time can leave you mentally fatigued at times.  I have to admit the pike fishing can play with you head in the sense you have too much time to think about what you are doing.  Patience is one thing the carp quest and this pike fishing of late has taught me as it is an aspect i struggled with at first as waiting hours for a bite was very hard to get my head round at first as i was expecting the float to sail off within seconds each time, the reality was far different but the challenge refreshing.

When on the bank pike fishing i like to be as alert and active as possible always on the look out for silver fish topping or pike striking to give me clues as to if i am in the right place but there are times when you know you are in the right place, your confident in your bait and method and presentation and you know if the fish are around you are in with a chance, i guess this came in the last week or so where i had the confidence from catching a few fish that what i was doing was right that i could relax and take in my surroundings.

The natural world around is is something i feel i have lost in my fishing in the last year or so, i remember when i first started writing this blog my updates used to involve as much wildlife as fishing and the past few weeks have gave me the opportunity to take my camera with me and capture on or two of the visitors to my peg.  I guess if all anglers could have one wish it would be that the fish found us as easily as the Robins do!

Finally on the subject of the piking it was great how well received last weeks blog was, which was great to see for myself as in my opinion there is a  very fine line between friendly advice and seeming like you are preaching.  Being a person who See's themselves as an average everyday angler i find it very hard to give advise on fishing and as such usually stray away from including advise and my way of doing things in my blog so it was quite relieving to receive positive feedback on that aspects of last weeks blog update and as such i was thinking of adding a extra page to the blog to include hints and tips for newcomers to angling with some ideas like how to cook hemp and basic rigs for pike fishing as things to include.

Before moving onto this weeks blog update i did mention in last weeks blog about the help i received from people who follow my blog via Social media and i have to say both Facebook and Twitter accounts are growing nicely, not in numbers as many judge their social media pages, but in general discussions and sharing of information and experiences which is great to see.  For those interested you can find the blogs social media links on the side bar of the blog or on the links below.

Blogs Facebook Page:
Blogs Twitter Page:

On both  pages i try and update at least once a day and if i can from the bank of a weekend, feel free to drop by and say hello and post any of your captures as they happen, its something that has developed as a product of this blog and has been a joy to see it grow and speak to so many anglers who willingly give their time, help and advice.

And with that its on to this weeks fishing:

Dead Baiting for pike: The learning continues - Sunday Session: 

A change in my partners work has seen her shift patterns change from a fish friendly Monday to Friday to a Tuesday to Saturday shift which for me means a big goodbye to my Saturday's fishing trips.  This will still see me having one day a week on the bank but will see me lose that luxury of having the option of a cheeky morning the following day if the previous days action has been poor, what it also means is i am going to have to be spot on with my picking of locations for the fishing to try and make the most of the available time.

For some weeks now i have been trying to pin point locations for the pike fishing and based on experiences during the summer where i experienced pike activity, help from friends on facebook and exploring places i thought pike would be i now have four locations that will be my targets for the next few weeks at least.  These four venues take in a variety of type of venue and pike stocks,one has a high population of small jack pike as a result of big pike being removed many years ago whilst the others may not produce the number of fish but it if i do catch it is almost guaranteed to be bigger than anything i will catch in the other venue, all have their plus points and come together to make the bigger picture and give me plenty to work on.

Sunday was my first trip out but before that i needed to stock up on some bait, my aim this year to reduce my weekly spending on angling so it was great news when a trip to my local supermarket saw me purchase 20 fat sprats for the tidy sum of £1.36, you cant even buy a packet of hooks for that these days.  When i get my baits home i separate them into smaller bags ready for trips to the bank so i am not taking all of them at once.  Sprats are a fantastic bait and especially good on waters with numbers of jacks where anything bigger could result in dropped runs, that is not to say these are the only bait i use and a great part of this winter piking has been seeing which baits are good with certain venues.

The rivers flooded sunday saw me hitting the bank with a game plan, 3 hours working a swim that contained quite a large feature, 40 minutes in each sport around it being enough before trying the next.  The baits out all that was left was to see if any pike where on the look out for a free breakfast.  This venue i know contains some really big pike and could see me actually breaking my overall pike personal best of 14lb if i got lucky and that being the case i am always excited and full of anticipation when fishing these places.

There is something about a pike float that is, well perfect, it sits so elegantly out of the water held in place by a small lead on the bottom it holds station, motionless with only the gentle lapping of the waves form a side breeze causing it to move with any vigour.  How you set you floats up is personal to each angler and every angler has their own preference, mine is to have the float anywhere from cocked in this picture to semi cocked.  I never like to leave the float lying flat on the surface as my biggest fear with this dead baiting is a deep hooked pike so i want to know instantly when a fish touches the bait so i can judge what the pike is doing and you will see me talk more about this later on on this piece where i talk about how important it is to be getting in the mindset of a pike, again i stress how you have yours is entirely up to your own preference.

Sunday mornings are a great time to be out on the bank, all the idiots are either in bed or just cooking their morning fry up and at this time of year the freezing cold mornings means you normally have the bank to yourself, makes me sound right anti social ha-ha but in reality with the work i do and the hustle and bustle peace and quite is what i seek out if i am out early on a Sunday.  It really is amazing what you see when your quiet on the bank what with the bird life and the occasional late night stop out fox scampering home it can be a magical time and a time of the week so many people just dont see.

The rods out it was a waiting began and unfortunately nothing much really happened as the float remained defiantly motionless and the three hours passed in no time at all.  I had decided early on that i was only giving this venue 3 hours and then moving onto the more prolific area with the jack.  The baits out it was no time at all before i got my first run of the day as the float sailed away and diserpeared, a strong stike was met with thin air, how it goes sometimes with this game i have found.  I was not long before the float was away again with another run and this time i know the pike had the bait good a proper as the float sunk confidently into the depths.  Fish on, only a jack, but boy did it scrap for a little guy you really have got to love the tenacity of these fish, so defiant, if perch are the bullies of the school yard then the pike if the hardest lad in the school.

Even at such a small age these jack pike are well equipped for their purpose.

Unfortunately not long after releasing this fish i received some bad news that saw me pack in and head home immediately, i wont go into detail on here as its not the place.

I have said it a number of times on this blog over the years but fishing offers so much more than catching fish, it gives its participants a outlet to relax and be at one with their thoughts and at times like this the bank offers me that solitude to be alone with my thoughts and think things over, almost getting things in order in my head and on Tuesday i just had to get out on the bank and away from it all for a hour or so.  Pike fishing was the gear i grabbed and headed off for a local canal.

Arriving on the bank with the rods already set up i mounted up a mackerel tail on the first rod and began to plum the depths to get the float set just right, all set it was time to grab the second rod and as i turned to grab it i was sure i saw the float in the water dip, the second rod was slowly learnt on a nearby bush as the float again dipped, interest already i waited with baited breath for the run to develop but unfortunately it didn't and the float lay still.  I returned the rod to the floor and set about unravelling my second rod from the bush, not an easy job with a thorn bush.

Given the early interest i was really confident of the float sliding away but after 40 long minutes it still remained still so i brought the bait in and sure enough it was pin pricked with tiny holes from a pikes mouth.  The bait returned to the spot i then set about recasting the second rod, solid and snagged like a good one it was, DAM i thought all i needed, anyway llong story short i ended up pulling for a break which resulted in me getting the bait back but the hooks being left ruined and bent, setting up fresh was the only thing to do, a set up thats not right is no good at all with piking you need your hooks to be sharp and as strong as can be to penetrate the pikes bony mouths.

This is where i was saying about pike fishing not being just chucking it in and forgetting it you need to be switched on at all times and vigilant as it would have been so easy for me to turn my back and set up another rod forgetting about the one still in.  Your mind is on setting up but your eyes are on that float which to my amazement bobbed again signalling more interest.  I placed the gear down and grabbed the other rod and this is exactly what happened.

The float bobbed once and again and then moved around 3ft to the left slowly, enough for you to miss and then stopped.  Now this is where you need to be thinking about things as there is two scenarios that may have happened here 1) the pike has moved and felt resistance and dropped the bait 2) the fish has got the bait in its mouth has stopped to turn it and eat the bait.  When this happens you have to be thinking option 2 all the time and you have to chance your luck and strike as leaving this fish any longer could see the hooks deep inside the pike and you are in real trouble, remembering its best to lose a pike than risk a deep hooked one.

Striking hard i was met with solid resistance and a pike that most certainly was not happy in being disturbed eating his mackerel breakfast, a hard battle began with the pike taking line on a number of occasions as it made for the far bank shaking its head hard in defiance as it did so.  Some pike are quite timid in their fight but others are all aggression and power and this was certainly the latter, i knew it was a decent fish from the runs and power but it was not till she came up to the surface a slowly drifted into the edge i saw what a nice fish she was in the clearing water the net slid under her i let her rest in the margin while i recovered.

The unhooking mat, scales and unhooking tools were already laid out in preparation of a capture again when dealing with pike it pays to be organised.  On the bank i could see one of the hooks was in her scissors, maybe i was wrong and have been lucky, but opening her mouth i could see the second trebles where right in the top of her mouth level with the gills, my gut instinct was right and any longer it could have been a different matter.  The fish unhooked on the scales she went and i was really happy to see them sneak over the 10lb mark at 10lb 3oz, my first double on a dead bait.

As always with my fishing its all about getting close enough to nature you can touch it, admire it in all its beauty and then see them go back strong.

After releasing this pike i quickly packed away as i had arranged to meet up with a mate from work on another venue and with only a hour to spend i was confident of picking up at least one jack pike.  The end result was two runs and one pike on the bank, as expected only a jack and might well have been the same one from Sunday.

That is it for this weeks update, i hope next weekend gives us a chance to get back on a river

but till then its tight lines from me


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