Sunday, 2 March 2014

Dead Baiting For Pike: Blinding Piking But The End Looms

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update.  This weeks has been a right mixture of rain, wind, sun and if we believe the weatherman tonight snow may well show its head before the week is out which i think if it did arrive would certainly see our chances of getting on the River Dee before the end of the season severely in jeopardy indeed.

This weekend i am hoping to get out to Norwich and become a member of Norwich Anglers Association, this purchase is primarily for fishing the river after the rivers reopen in June but i am sure it will see us visit one or two of the still waters in between that time as well and hopefully we may get a chase to have a sneak peak at its potential sooner than we think if we get it all ironed out by this Sunday so look out for that in next weeks update.  With regards what i want to achieve from purchasing the card, apart from the obvious savings on petrol i have mentioned in other updates, i am really looking forward to trying to capture my first ever pike from this water next winter time and i think that would a great challenge for myself and would fit in nicely with both mine and my uncles fishing as it gives him the option to go for silvers while i can target pike, also the slower nature of this river will make it much easier for my to put out a sleeper rod for the pike while I'm silver fishing than it is on the Dee where the faster flow can cause problems.   It is a card i am both excited and also nervous about fishing as the weaver is a river i have never seen let alone fished!

A few people have asked me about what i will be doing around the Warrington Anglers licence this year and i have come to the decision that i will be renewing my licence for Warrington this year as one i will need it for a little project i have coming up in the next weeks and also i want to investigate some of the waters i have not ventured onto yet on the card in this closed season such as some of the lakes around Wigan.  I did have the mount as a venue on this list but i am hearing this week that a lot of the carp stocked a few years back have been slowly netted and stolen over this time and this again leaves me asking the question that do Warrington Anglers need a dedicated bailiff team instead of relying on member to bailiff?  If you read the licence it states that the Secretary of the club is entitled to a yearly wage for their work so maybe this full time expenditure on human resourcing needs to be expanded to include a dedicated paid bailiffs team as every week it seems there are problems on all WAA waters from the Sankey canal pike being killed, people being robbed at gun point and the general consensus that you don't need a licence to fish as you ill be never asked for a licence to fish being actually stolen form waters, is enough enough now, also begs the question what on earth goes on, on waters miles away like the river Wye?

A few weeks back I broke the news that WAA had added another stretch of the River Alyn in Wales to the card which at the time i was really excited about, local anglers reported on the stretch this week and the news is that the stretch being leased is really shallow and contains no fish and will need a full stocking of fish, as a river angler in this club i give up sometimes as it baffles me how little research goes into some of these purchases, one things for sure i wont be keeping the card for the river fishing on the card as it is an absolute joke.  I must say though it did give me a hint of hope this week when it was announced that there will be bream and roach stocked into Offiahs Dyke along with the carp so at least it may be a fishery that you can fish all year round, this extensive stocking though does make you wonder

Whilst still on the subject of licences the design for this years licence has been released in that most seasonal of fishes the tench a great choice and i wonder if it will feature as heavily as last years picture of a pike did in my fishing this year.  Tench are certainly a fish for me that signifies the end of the river season and the start of Spring as those tiny pin prick bubbles of a tench feeding in your swim leads to the bite alarm screaming off and eventually the slimy green flanks, teddy bear eye and paint brush tail slide over the rim of the net you know spring is here, i cant wait and the changing seasons are one of the great pleasures of being an all year round angler.

Those lazy days tench fishing may be a few weeks away yet but already the signs of spring are all around us for anyone willing to wander off the beaten track and look for them.  On this weeks trips i was met with huge beds of snow drops and the lovely purple flowers of these crocuses above a heart warming sight on any cold trip to the bank.  Investigating the hedgerows further whilst waiting for the floats to sail off revealed that some of the trees are already starting to show the first buds appearing meaning it wont be long before the brown dull hedgerows are covered in a thick blanket of green.   Spring is not far off now so here is the the changes and the fishing to come.

And with that its on to this weeks adventures:

Saturday 6.30am till 12.30am : Dead Baiting For Pike- Blinding Result

Being in regular contact with a seasoned pike angler has really made me aware of the strict time line that predator hunters count down to each year, spawning,  a process i was aware of from my piking on the river days but little did i know how it effected the pike fishing.  I have been told many stories of how you can tell when they have gone to spawn because the bites just disappear and are replaced with long blanks.  With this information stored well in my head and the ultra mild conditions i knew that this spawning would not be too far away now so time would be of the essence and i knew i had to take full advantage of any time on the bank i could, even if it was just a few extra hours.

My first session of the week was a cheeky early dart from work on Wednesday at 15.45, sat in work the conditions felt right it was overcast and cool and i knew just a hour or so into dusk would be enough for me to sneak a bite from a fish if there was one around and with that i shot out of work grabbed the minimum of gear and literally ran to the peg hoping to get the full two hours in till 6pm.  I was joined by Garry hoping to lure a perch spinning and apart from a dropped run that took me into some reeds straight away, i think in hindsight i gave it too much time to run and was concentrating more on the float and less on where it was heading, still an enjoyable evening and again provided me with plenty of confidence my tactics are working.

Saturday came around and after a long week in work it was more than welcome i can tell you, as always i had from daybreak till round 12am and initially i set off for a location i had caught two pike from in the past on the dead baiting but after two and half hours and not so much as tremble on the float i decided to head off to another spot.  This second spot i actually had earmarked for a full day session on the Sunday but i thought an extra few hours would not make a difference.

The car parked i was soon set up and cast out into the first swim with a herring and mackerel tail my chosen baits but alas there was no obliging pike in the first swim so at 11am with an hour to go i was firmly in last swim and last chance saloon.  The bait placed up the side of a reed bed it just did not feel right so i brought it round the front and in the deeper drop off and that proved to be a sweet move as i had literally had time to put the rod down and grab the camera to take a picture of a pair of buzzards when out of the corner of my eye i saw the herring float slide slowly away.

A solid take as the float slid into the middle and i gave it a few second count before striking hard to set the hooks home.  I would like to say it was an epic battle where i had to shout "we need a bigger boat" but the truth was it was a flat fight where the fish just ebbed into the edge and i chinned it out, now this is when it woke up and went mad on the bank and at one point managed to slap me around the chops with its tail, watch out for the teeth they said, its the tail where its at!!

The fish unhooked and ready for its photo, it was during this time i noticed it was blind in one eye.  At a smidgen under 9lb its testament to the prehistoric survival capabilities of this species that it can survive and survive quite well.  Some will say this could have been a bigger pike that was on the decline from a larger weight since this injury and that is certainly not the case as along with passing on hints and tips teaming up with another angler you can also compare captures and this pike was caught from the same swim last January at around 8.5lb so its a fish that is maintaining itself quite well indeed, a sucker for a dead bait though it seems.

Sunday - Dead beating for pike: Location, Location or Presentation?

Still riding on the success of the previous day i was up bright and early on Sunday and driving to the swim the car was all over the place with the ferocious wind and in my mind i knew i was in for a tough day on the bank so i decided if i was going to stick with my plan i was at least going to be comfy so i headed home for a brolly, flask of coffee and my chair.  Arriving at the swims to gale force winds i set about setting up a base camp of sorts the picture below and video showing my home for the day and the wind.

The umbrella held off the cutting wind but it had detrimental effects on the fishing as it made it impossible to present a bait off the bottom as instantly the bait was dragged out of position by the wind pressure on the line.  A hour of so in the wind hit the back of the umbrella with a big gust and it bent the metal pole holding it in place.  The water in front of me was being whipped into a foam but with some success the day before i just knew there was fish to be had here but as time went on towards dinner with no signs i was beginning to think i was just waiting for the inevitable blank to come.

Pike fishing does offer you some slack weather wise in the fact you are using such robust tackle you can fish and hold spots better than if you were fishing for silvers in the weather but inside i knew the baits where not being fished well so around 12pm i decided to move to a more secluded swim.  This move paid of instantly as no sooner had i cast in the float was away and i struck into a small jack that unfortunately come off mid water, i instantly replaced the bait back on the spot and cursed my luck.  To my amazement the float instantly again moved off, this time i gave the fish enough time to take the hooks into its mouth before striking hard and i was again into a small jack which was covered in leeches.  So was it a case of location or presentation?

a welcome jack pike

of course the best part is seeing them swim off

The pike returned i settled into my swim, this swim was not completely wind free but it was a dam site calmer than the previous one, i sat back and poured myself a celebratory brew, it tasted so sweet and i don't take sugar!  I set my self a finish time of 4pm and i was optimistic of at least another fish as these past few weeks has taught me that the jack pike don't normally travel alone like some of the bigger fish seem to do at times and i also knew that it was highly unlikely it was the same pike that came off that took the bait the second time so i knew he was also in the area and feeding.

As most of you can tell i am always optimistic on the bank and although i may not know exactly what i am doing is right all the time i always give it a 100 percent and i always am expectant of a bite every time i go but i was very surprised that it took until last knockings at 4pm for the float to slip away again and i was rewarded with my second fish of the session, a jack pike and boy had he been lying up as he was festooned with leeches and big ones to book as shown below.

Tuesday : 4 rods and have they gone to spawn?

Tuesday was a session i had arranged with Garry a week or so back and one i was really looking forward too as we were heading back to scene of my Personal best pike  few weeks back.  The night before i struggled to sleep with the excitement of what lay ahead, what can i say i really am a big kid at heart.  We arrived at the swims and with shaking hands i hooked up my baits onto their trebles and took great care in making sure i was fishing the right part of the swim.  Garry was first to bet a bite which saw his 2.75lbtc rod bending down the the handle, what surfaced could only be described as a "log-viathan" as from the depths he pulled up a tree, a whole tree, no wonder his fish never come off!.   Joking aside it was actually the apprentice that struck first blood as a series of knocks and dips on the right hand float resulted in a dropped run only for the second float then to start getting the same attention as if the fish had gone from one bait to the next, a swift strike confirmed what Garry had suspected in that it was a small jack picking up the bait and dropping it and this was confirmed as a small jack came to the top and at the last minute spat the bait which we think it had just grabbed and not taken down.

Little did i know at this time that this run would be my only action of the day and despite travelling to 3 well known spots it was not till last knockings and on a random spot we had never fished that Garry had a bait taken as he reeled in, our state of pike-less madness evident in the video below and yes that is Garry laughing at the end of the video and between me and you it was also twinned with a little dance :-/.

The day, although lacking pike activity was a good day on the bank and it is so much easier to go Pike fishing for a day when there is two of you there as you can talk over tactics and work your four baits in conjunction with each other so you are covering as many options as possible.  It was also great that he took time to show me how to tie my own pike traces and also threw me in the deep end to tie my own from scratch, not a bad first attempt if i say so myself!  A rig i am actually too scared to put on as i don't want to lose it, in fact i feel like framing it, el-saddo i know.

The lack of activity and the fact what fish we did catch were below breeding size had us thinking that the fish may have now moved to spawn and the mild temperatures over the passed days leading up to the session could have also saw this being a major possibility.  in all honestly this session saw me leaving the bank thinking that could well have been my last pike session till next winter.

Well that pretty much sums up another week on the bank for myself thank you for taking the time to read my rambles and tight lines if you are out this week!!



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