Friday, 14 February 2014

DeadBaiting For Pike: Blanks, Dropped Runs, Great Laughs and a New PB

A warm welcome to this week's blog update.  I am sure by now must river anglers are sick of the constant weather conditions, well that is unless you are Martin Bowler and see this as an opportunity to fish tied to a tree, truth be told the past few days will have seen most of those river side trees at a high risk of ending up horizontal across the very river they shade so well in summer.  My uncle, a river man at heart, has not been out since the floods began and the last i hear he was seen casting out of winnick mental health centre windows hoping to land in the Mersey, joking aside his not travelling to the bank is primarily down to the fact that piking just isn't his thing at all but the length of time i have been doing this piking now, getting on for 7-8 weeks, is testament to just how bad the flooding has been.

This picture below testament to the high waters experienced down south,  time to think about moving when you expect to see the local fish populations through your bay windows.



This flooding has only touched myself from a fishing point of view and even as a selfish angler who thinks solely about how this is effecting his fishing i cant help but think if all those houses and businesses that have been effected by these catastrophic floods that in all honestly looking at the forecast for this coming weekend look like they are no where near their conclusion with another band of heavy rain and high winds hanging just of our coasts waiting to move in.  I wish all those effected by these floods the speediest of recoveries after the waters recede and lets hope the government are having the fore thinking to get plans in place to make this recovery as smooth and as stress free as possible.  It was pleasing to hear on the news this week that the most popular insurance companies are already in the area waiting for the waters to recede to set up stalls so claims can be assessed and processed as quickly as possible to allow people to get money from their claims to get the work carried out on any damage.  We all think of insurance companies as these places that shy from paying out so its great to see them being so proactive and visible when they are needed, anyhow this is a fishing blog not a insurance comparison site so that's enough of that talk, underdog, although if anyone wants me to review a meerkat toy, just get in touch ha ha.

Another post i saw on social media that made me laugh a little was the picture doing the rounds of the Osprey that had caught a fish, nothing new there apart from this fish was unusually a carp.  The humour from myself came not from the fact a carp had been caught as i never like to see any fish being harmed but the fact it made me think back to the days on Warrington Anglers Facebook page where the constant stocking of carp was justified or sold to the members by a cop out clause that stocking carp at 3 to 4 pound would see them immune from being predated like roach and bream would have been.  I sincerely hope this new development does not see licences increase due to the fact they may need to know stock 8-9lb carp instead due to predation, it does make me laugh the short sighted reasoning people who don't fish the waters in the club they run use to justify their endless ambition of creating a number of runs waters to attract more people to buy their licences.  In my eyes they should just spend the money on buying a commercial like Bay malton did with Border or spend the money doing up a venue like the moat in frodsham that if money was invested would make a fantastic location for a venue for both carp and river men if it was invested in and stocked correctly as i am sure the serious anglers who fish Sandiway hoping for an elusive big twenty or possibly a rogue 3olb fish are not going to welcome the mass stocking of fish around the 3-7lb mark i know this approach was not welcomed with open arms by regulars on appleton Reservoir or the Mount.



Me saying how much i am missing trotting a float down a river has been a regular paragraph of late in these blogs but i guess as this blog is a true representation of how i am feeling about my angling life it was always going to be.  This week i have been watching a few of the stick float videos on Youtube, a activity that in reflection just makes it worse and as i am a glutton for punishment i also spent one evening reading over some of my older posts from sessions on the river gone by, again this just made me think about what i was missing even more.

Trotting for dace post: http://www.satonmyperch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/river-dee-dace-and-hungover-chub-chase.html

Moving onto developments away from the the main blog but still concerning my blog i have started to upload all the pictures included in each weeks update onto the blogs Facebook page.  There is currently an album including all the pictures from this winters dead baiting for pike and each picture includes links to the actual post it was featured in.  This should be a great way for anyone to see one particular species or type of fishing they are interested in whilst also giving me a solid back up of all my pictures so i can Free up space on my phone i use to capture the pictures for the blog.

A link to the blogs Facebook page is here: DANNYS ANGLING BLOG FACEBOOK PAGE

Before we move onto this weeks adventures on the bank i would like to share with you all a book that Garry was kind enough to lend me this week.  The book is called Fox Guide To Modern Pike Fishing and i have to admit this book has really taken over my breaks in work.  This book is fantastic for anyone new to pike fishing it goes into great detail breaking down the different type of venues,Rigs, Baits, unhooking and handling pike and terminal tackle to name just a few of the topics included in this fantastic book.  As the name suggests it pushes all the fox products but after seeing some of the tackle Garry uses that comes from Fox i personally have no problem with that as the tackle i saw him using looked first class especially the interchangeable egg sinkers.  I can safely say one thing though come next winters piking i will certainly be putting together my own treble wire traces after discovering what exactly you have to do to construct these rigs.  I was going to photocopy this book before passing it back to Garry next time we meet but i am that impressed with it i am actually going to purchase this book myself as it is invaluable in my opinion.



And with that its onto this weeks fishing:

Saturday Morning - Time To Find A New Spot??

With a short window of opportunity arising on Saturday morning to fit in a few hours i decided to visit the location i fished into dark after leaving Garry on Wednesday.  This is the only area i have been adopting the method of baiting up before my visits on and i arrived on Saturday morning full of optimism.  I fished from first light till around 10.30am in this spot with not so much as a touch on the floats and to be honest looking around i saw no signs of pike striking or even silver fish topping.  The conditions where far from ideal with a strong wind gusting along the towpath but as this was a location that i have had 4 runs and 2 decent fish to double figures i was confident that float was going to go at any moment, unfortunately it didn't so at 10.30am i decided to move to a completely new area hoping to locate the fish if they have moved or even find a pocket of fish.  It is very apparent with this dead baiting for pike that you can be only a few hundred yards away from the fish and not get a bite so i adopted the approach of if you don't try new areas you will never know and tried a completely different area with unfortunately no success, i headed off home wet and battered but still determined.   The time stood patiently looking at the rods gives you more than enough time to think your tactics over, too much time if I'm honest and its got me thinking .  Pike at this time of year will follow the bait fish which do shoal up in certain spots and maybe the pike have moved on from here and its time to cut my loses with this location now and concentrate on the other spots i have been fishing.

The waiting Game:




Sunday first light till 2pm  - Putting The Hours In And Missed Opportunities Really Linger

After the tough conditions on Saturday i groggily rose from my bed and began to pack the gear into the car, a job that with this piking only takes seconds,  i set off full of hope more than anything after 3 blanks on the run i was unsure about my tactics and if my spots where even places i should be fishing. my confidence low and expectations a little lower i was at a crossroads with the piking and unsure what my next move should be.

When i say crossroads please don't confuse this with me thinking like i should give up and call it a day i only mean to use that phrase to refer to the locations i was fishing and whether i thought they were the right spots.  I had made a conscious decision a week ago not to fish the spot that i know will produce a few small jacks and try and concentrate on the locations that would not produce as many runs but then they come along you are almost guaranteed a better quality fish, its these locations i was unsure in my mind about.

Thinking on a problem for too long can sometimes see you make the wrong decision and on Sunday morning i pulled up at the spot i fished around 6 weeks ago when i first started this dead baiting adventure, a place i have fished 3 times and put many hours in without a bite and it was only as i walked the bank getting battered with a straight in your face gale the penny hit and hit hard.  A voice in the back of my head suddenly appeared like jimmy cricket in Pinocchio and said "what are you doing even contemplating fishing here? A location you have not had a bite in and you are going to get battered by the elements for your trouble."

As some photos on this blog will testify i am a man that follows his gut ha-ha and i promptly turned round and headed back to the car and decided to go for a drive.  I knew instantly what i was looking for, a brand new location, it had to be look pikey and it had to be relatively calm i wanted a comfortable days fishing in a  completely new location and it was not too long till i found it, it cost me a bit of money in petrol but instantly i knew it looked like a place that could hold a pike.

The baits for the day where a mackerel tail on one rod and a sardine on the other both presented on the bottom.  I settled into the first swim and as normal now on these sessions after around 2o minutes i normally update the blogs facebook page with a picture of where i am or what i am doing and i was half way through typing when out of the corner of my eye i saw my left hand float dipping and slowly moving towards myself.  The fish moved towards me causing the float to go under quite quickly so i gave it a few seconds before striking.  I struck hard and connected with solid resistance of a fish that felt really nice and the fish started to move slightly to the right before i felt the fish shake its head and it was off......Gutted!!.

I continued to fish this spot for 2 hours hoping the fish would return with no luck and then spent the next 3 hours leap frogging along the stretch but that first run was all she gave up.  I am not going to lie this fish loss left me really gutted as i replayed the scenario time and time again in my head and as is always the way you work out a number of reasons where you have gone wrong in the vain hope you can learn from it.  In hindsight i think me error come in striking too soon and not reeling down to the fish before striking.  Runs on these venues can be hard to come by and you can do a number of blanks before finding a few fish and i knew i had just blown a great opportunity.  The session another blank i left happy i had had a run but upset i hadn't converted the opportunity.

Tuesday - Two's Company And The Odd Pike, Three Is Just Great Fun And Pike Chaos

Tuesday and it was a session i had looked forward to all week, a social pike session with Garry.  All pikers will tell you that they are as solitary as the pike they chase and it can be quite a lone chase at time hunting pike it is certainly a part of this piking i have found very difficult to come to terms with, i suppose anyone would, but myself i feel has felt it more having gone fishing for the past 3 years with my uncle week in and week out.  Unloading the gear from the car Garry kindly passed me over the Fox guide to modern fishing book, at this time i had no idea what a real gem this book was, whilst checking the gear another car pulled up and it was Ste.  Ste is a guy who along with Garry i remember from my days on the Warrington anglers Facebook page, both genuine anglers who i hold in the highest esteem who always posted their captures on Facebook for all to see and are one of the few anglers who did this from what i can remember.  To understand this you have to understand that the warrington facebook page had over 300 live members at the time yet there was only around 10-15 maximum ever posted any information the rest just sat in the background taking, taking and taking a bit more, gleaming off other anglers captures for their own personal interests to try and fast track their angling exploits, either that or being hyper critical of any photos posted and whenever i check back in these nothing much has changed to that effect, maybe some of them do more fishing on the Internet than on the bank, anyhow i digress, again.

Three of us on the bank and it was almost like a pyramid of experience as Ste who has many years of piking experience had helped Garry out with his piking and below that Garry had helped me out so although i had done quite a bit of river piking i felt a little out of my depth to say the least and i suppose my nerves showed with the amount of talking i did ha-ha.  All six rods out Ste loaned a bait from Garry while his defrosted, quite cheap as he loaned it for free and we all settled into chewing the fat on all things piking.



From the off it was apparent the pike where active with plenty of swirls and pike crashing into fry on top giving away the pike where certainly feeding mood and our optimism levels rose.  Garry was the first of us to get a run as his float drifted slowly along the top before slowly disappearing way, a strong strike and the fish was on and putting up one hell of a scrap.  The fish in the bank it was swiftly unhooked and photos where taken by all and the fish was returned to its watery home.  The fish was beautifully marked and it surprised me just how vibrant the colours on this fish where and at 8lb 9oz a solid fish and start to the session.

Not long after returning this fish, well i think we were still checking the pics of Garry's fish we spotted that my float fished sardine was getting some interest as the float bobbed slightly and began moving off, i gave it a bit of time before striking hard and the fish was on and felt a nice fish that we got a few good glimpses off during the fight and then around midway into the battle the fish was off.  I lowered the bait straight back down and to my amazement the fish again picked up the bait and moved off but dropped the bait, a few twitches saw this fish of around 6-8lb lunge at the fish but after leaving the rod a good half hour nothing materialised.



Ste was next to get a run as a fish took the bait so confidently if literally swam off with the bait under a overhanging tree branch and we could see the fish come up in the water as it began to turn the fish ready to eat.  Ste struck and you saw a mixture of green and metallic blue as the fish lit up on the far bank in a stand of pure defiance but the game was well and truly up for this fish as it was played into the waiting landing net to be unhooked.



Garry was the next to connect with a fish and i began to regret my missed fish a little as i knew this feeding spell was not guaranteed to last and i knew i had missed a big opportunity to put a fish on the bank.  At this stage i began to think about that missed fish on the Sunday session and if my set up was wrong.  Garry s fish was again a lovely marked fish and its amazing looking at the pictures of this fish now as i do not recall it having so many lumps and bumps on it at the time, it was at this point me and Ste began to worry as we caught glimpses of Garry erecting signs saying the bait that was doing the business was now going up to around 100 quid a fish.

A quick check of our watches and we were amazed to see it was only 9.30am, four runs and three pike in a hour and half fishing we were doing quite well and it was great for my understanding of dead baiting at this point as Garry and Ste both took time to show me different methods and floats they have at their disposal and it really opened my eyes to just how refined pike fishing can be.  We were stood at Ste's rod around 20 yards from my rods and it after scanning back to my rods constantly while chatting i noticed my left hand float not bobbing but tearing off along the top, i sprinted that bank like Usain Bolt and full of adrenalin i picked the rod up and i knew straight away there was no need to give this fish line so i quickly wound into the fish and struck for all my worth and was met with solid resistance unlike anything i had felt so far this winter the rod unlike other battles hooped over as the fish stayed down deep demanding me to give it line and as this was not a fish i wanted to come off i grudgingly obliged as the fish made run after run.  I should have not been so generous given the amount of snags in residence but at the time i was trying to concentrate on not shaking ha-ha.  The battle like with all nice fish you catch felt like it lasted a lifetime but in reality it was probably no longer than a minute before the fish was in the landing net and all i can recall then was a feeling of relief and either Garry or Ste saying "you got a nice double".  The were not wrong a 13lb 8oz fish i was over the moon.  I must say at this point a big thank you to Ste and Garry for the shots they took on their cameras and sent me later on, thank you.





This is a moment when you know you are out with true genuine anglers as what happened next meant a great deal to me, both Ste and Garry came over congratulated me on the fish and shook my hand.  Its a thing myself, Azza and my dad do regular when either a nice fish is caught or a fish you know means a hell of a lot to the angler involved and it was a really nice gesture of them to do that, thank you guys.  I must say the capture of this fish took a while to settle in and it was not till later on in the day i snook away from the group to sit and look at the pictures on my phone it began to settle in that i had just caught my a new still water personal best pike and in a solid double a fish i never dreamed i would catch this year, from blanks to lost fish to a new personal best show the highs and lows of a weeks pike fishing.

The next half hour we all caught personal best branches that came literally one after another with i think Ste taking the unsavoury award of "log of the session".  The branches unhooked and rested in the margin before being slung up the bank we awaited more action and at this point with us all having landed a fish felt the session could not have gone any better.  The fish began striking under the water again and from no where Ste  pulled out a rod and was suddenly flicking twitched dead baits just below the surface, think it was second cast he had a take and connected with the 5th fish of the session and a fish that rewarded Ste for his quick thinking and actions, still only 11am we were surprised the spell had lasted so long.



Again the fish released the fishing stories rolled freely in the conversation from rivers, to ponds and gudgeon to carp all manor of stores where shared and it was during one of these chats that Garry's bite alarm sparked into life that saw Garry sprinting the bank as i had earlier in the morning i had sympathy for the lad running in wellies as had earlier and we man Ste joined Garry to net a fish of 9lb 7oz that shocked us all did not go over 10lb as it was easily the longest fish of the day again its colours where reminiscent of those from a river the colours where fantastic. A cracking fish and move us onto 6 fish for the session.



The action then really slowed up completely for a good hour or so and it was not till around 12.30 the next run came to Garry's rod, me and Ste considered converscating Garry's bait while he was playing the fish as it was getting out of hand and suggestions if underhand tactics where suggested from all corners.  Joking aside this fish turned out to be the fish of the day it had some of the best marking i have ever seen in a pike its tail was so vibrant and colourful and i remember how jet black its marking where in the flesh and just what a vast array of colours it had from yellows to green and blues it was a fantastic example of the species the nicest pike i have seen colour wise that has not come from a river.



The session sadly ground to halt as we all tried more than one or two last casts hoping for a final fish but none where forthcoming.  We left the bank over the moon not only with the fish caught but it was great to share a morning with two really genuine anglers and i am sure this wont be the last session we have out together piking, maybe not this season but in years to come as if this warm mild weather continues it could see the pike spawn sooner rather than later, bring on the frosts!.

till next week its tight lines from me

Danny



 



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