Friday, 28 November 2014

Deadbaiting For Pike and What Pike Baits I Use....

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  In this week update we talk about what baits i use for my pike fishing, a late evening trip to the bait shop and my planning for the few months ahead.  The fishing this weeks is an all pike affair that covers the blanks and the crazy sessions where its like pike soup.  Lets get into the update....

What Baits I Use For Dead Baiting.....

My dead baiting for pike only started on the 1st of January this year but in that first three months till the end of the season i was really on a steep learning curve both tackle and set up wise but my biggest development in this short period was definitely in the bait department.  In this short period i caught and witnessed pike caught on all the following baits, Sprat, Herring, Mackerel, Smelt, Sardine and Lamprey.  This wide array of baits catching pike meant i never got hung up on one particular bait and as such had supreme confidence each time i cast out into the pikes watery realm.

This year has been slightly different as by the nature of my bulk dead bait purchases it has seen some alien baits to me land in my cooler box such as trout, eel, lamprey (i saw fish caught last season but never used it myself) and roach.  So far this year i have caught fish on roach, lamprey, mackerel, smelt and sardine but i have to admit my piking has been really orientating around the use of roach and mackerel for the early season and it has put me in good stead as the roach is also a fantastic bait for the wobbling side of my pike fishing along with the smelt.

In essence my early findings in the world of dead baiting is almost any dead bait on the market will catch pike, although there are certainly days where certain baits seem to be "the one" and all your runs come on that one bait.  I guess a huge area i need to improve in is changing baits as i do tend to sit on the same bait for the whole session, not really thinking that a pike might want a different fish that day.  I guess that will only come with experience.



Hitting the Shops....

Friday afternoon and after a trip to the doctors it was time to hit the shops, i hate shopping i really do, this type was different though as it involved a trip to the bait shop and the heady almost wet dog smell that comes with opening the door as you enter an Aladdin's cave of fishing goodies.  The purpose of the trip was to pick up some pike drop off alarms for my ledgering set up as on recent trips i had been borrowing Garry's spare one.  As with all trips you can not just leave with what you came in for so I ended up leaving with some bayer perlon hook length line, number 8 weights, size 20 hooks, pike crimps and hooks and two packets of dead baits.



 I guess this pretty much sums up where i am at the moment with my fishing and approaching the age of 30 years of old i think i am finding my part of the angling world in fishing a stick on river and winters hunting pike, in both these area, stick float and piking, i have a great group of family members who have a no nonsense love of fishing.  I am sure other lures like barbel and carp fishing, maybe even match fishing will come along in years to come but for now this bag is where i am at and i have never been happier hitting the bank.

The Months To Come....

There is no getting away from the fact that the arrival of our little boy next month will change my fishing schedule and maybe even my weekly blog writing.  At this moment in time of writing this blog i have a back log of around 6 trips to the bank to blog about and the two fishing trips this weekend after this blog goes live will only add to this list.  I can not remember being so far behind with my blogging as i am now but thinking about it this back log will come as a god send over the coming weeks as i aim to draft up a few updates to publish in the quiet times to come.

I will of course be still trying to get out on the bank and this is where i am hoping pike fishing will come in as with this type of fishing you can just nip out for an early morning trip or late afternoon trip for a hour or so and stand a good chance of picking up a fish or two where as the trotting is more of an all day affair that will need to be planned in advance.

A session with Ste this weeks opened my eyes a little to  how piking can be refined further as we both hit the bank with a wobbling rod, landing net and ruck sack and as i spend more time wobbling i am seeing just how you can dead bait and wobble with the one rod and just use the line for indication.  This also gives you a more mobile approach than carting round a dead bait rod that you invariably leave in one location and don't wander too far from.  On the two hours on Sunday we covered a huge area in the two hours.

On to this weeks fishing trips...

All About Taking Your Chances......

Piking this year has certainly been more of a social experience for me than ever before in my angling life and although some of my piking trips are a solitary affair its always great sharing the bank with other like minded anglers and this year it has been great going on so many piking social trips.  The benefits of two minds and also bouncing ideas from each other of tactics and possible locations to move too is always great but the best part has to be getting the rods out and setting up a joint base camp for the days fishing.

A week of so ago myself and Garry took the chance opportunity of us both being of work to visit a local piking spot we fish.  The location was full of colour from an inlet that runs into this water so as such the normal clear waters more resembled willy wonkers chocolate lake than any thing else.  Our plan for the session was identical, one rod on the deck on a Leger bite alarm set up and another fished on the float.  The floats in position we set about pouring our first brew of the morning.



Garry was the first to see activity as his leger rod screamed off on a long one tone run, lifting the rod he felt for resistance and with line running from the reel he set about setting the hooks.  Striking he met no resistance at all and all that came back was a bait with a small 2 inch bite out of its body, a venue that is known to contain eels we discussed what it could be and then reset the rod.  It wasn't long before his rod was off again and in a repeat of the previous take the bait come back again, surely it had to be eels but it certainly gave us plenty to think over as we warmed our palms with a cup of coffee.

The early part of the morning was spent working the water with lures and wobbled dead baits which saw no interest at all on my rods but Garry working "the judge" managed to tempt two pike into striking at his lure, a great confidence boost that these pike where feeding in the area so we where optimistic of our chances.

Around 11am i decided to check the water levels on the EA site for mine and my uncles trotting session the next day and to my disappointment i found the river to be well up approaching its banks and it all but put pay to our trip the next day.  I jumped onto the phone to let my uncle know  the bad news and to let him know if overtime was up for grabs in work to take the chance and it was during this call my bite alarm roared into life, sods law eh.

With my phone under my ear i lifted the rod from the rest and i could feel the pike on the other end aggressively tugging at the bait and moving off.  I should have hung up then and concentrated on the fish.  I gave the fish a countdown and struck into a nice fish that fought really hard and come up on top really shaking its head aggressively, it looked a possible double figure fish.  In that moment the fish spat the hooks and back came a well gnawed roach bait.  I finished to call to my uncle and reset the rods thinking i would get another chance.

As the title of this section says, the session was all about taking our chances, a lesson we learnt all too well in the next 6 bite less hours that passed till in the dark we packed in and loaded the car to head home.  A session that shows no matter how frantic the feeding is, with pike, a feeding window can be so narrow and i should have gave the fish more time than i did and called my uncle back later.  A lesson learnt the hard way indeed.

Sunday Morning Piking......

With the rivers high and coloured the trip trotting to the river was certainly a no go for trotting a float through so i again turned my attention to pike.  A quick conversation on Facebook saw both me and Ste free the next morning for a few hours so we decided to meet up for a short morning session together. 

Arriving at our location in the dark with only the tawny owls calls for company we set about a short brisk walk from the car park to our swims for the morning.  The temperature was not what you would call low but it was certainly stable with the weather we had been experiencing the past few days so we both where optimistic of a bite or two. 

We both fished a dead bait rod and worked the water with a wobbling rod each hoping to attract the attention of any pike that where not on the feed but could be coaxed by a free passing meal.  No sooner had we cast in than ste had some movement on his dead bait rod, a finicky bite that took a while to develop fully into a take and when the time was right the hooks where set but sadly my short landing net pole let us down again as the fish came off just before netting. a new longer landing net pole is a must for me.

It didn't take long for Ste to attract the attention of another croc as his float fished dead bait slowly began its decent into a pike dark lair.  The fish was a fin perfect example of the species that showed just how beautiful a specie the pike is and a huge part of my love of piking is them few moments on the bank where you get to admire the vast array of colours a pike has.



After ste returned this fish i uttered the words "all i need now is for mine to go", it could not have been timed better as straight away my dead bait rod began to bounce along the top of the water, my excitement levels grew as the float moved off into the deeper water and just on the point of popping the bail arm over to set the hooks the float stopped and up popped the float as the fish dropped the bait, gutted.   "She will still be around pop it in with a heavy plop" said ste so back in the bait went and he was right within moments the float was again away and this time i made no mistakes and set the hooks during its run hoping to find the mouth of the pike before it dropped it.  It worked and a few seconds later i was posing with the pike above, a fish around 8lb.

After this fish i lost one more during the fight ad the fish motored off at speed after striking, only a small jack but what a mad fight it put up and eventually it paid off as it spat the hooks.  The next fish came on the wobbling rod as during retrieve about 10 yards from the bank i felt a hard bang on the bait and a swirl, i quickly cast back out and let the fish die in the edge, a trick that has worked so many times for me.  This tip again came up trumps as within 10 minutes line started ripping from the wobbles rods open bail arm as it lay on the decking,  this fish was moving at some speed and it actually went under my other rods line but with it being floating it did not prove to be a problem as i kept the rod tip submerged during the fight and what a fight it was on my light lure rod.  I have said it before about this rod, it may well bend at the butt but it gets them in and great fun. 

We decided to weight the second pike as Ste felt its stomach was rock hard and full of food and to our amazement she went exactly 10lb. In hindsight we might of been right to weigh the first but looking at the pictures the estimation looks right.



Ste was the next to connect with a fish on his wobbled dead bait and listening to him it sounded like a cracking bite where he saw his bait engulfed by a pike on the way in.  Apart from one motoring take on the dead bait rod that was the action for the morning and stes fish was a nice end to a short session with plenty of action.  Four fish, four dropped runs or lost fish and a fish lost at the net all in the space of 7am till 11am a great mornings fishing.



Not Wasting a Second....

On the way home from the session with Ste i decided to not waste the afternoon and dropped in on another water for the Afternoon.  I always head out for pike with the hope of one opportunity so hitting this second location with 2 pike under my belt from the morning i was all about relaxing and hoping for a fish or two.

The fishing was on fire from the off as second twitch through on the wobbled dead bait rod saw it absolutely nailed on the way in with the hardest thump so far i have felt on this method.  I must admit the more i am doing this wobbling the more i am calming down and doing the right thing when a fish takes.  What do i mean by that? well when i first started wobbling a few weeks ago i had to tell my self not to strike and remember to flip the bail arm over after the fish strikes and resist that urge to strike where as now my automatic reaction is to flick the bail arm without really thinking about it.

These little jacks are great fun on the little wobbling rod and with the warm temperatures around at the moment they are full of life and fight with this one in particular taking to the air on a number of occasions.  He could do with a good meal though.



The dead bait rod remained eerily still all afternoon which really shocked me as the pike where certainly all around as time and time again the wobbled dead bait was followed by a sinister shadow into the bank and i lost count at how many pike i saw tailing the bait in the clear water.   The temptation eventually proved too much for one jack who inspected the bait before accepting my offering.  On the bank i took a second to admire the beautiful colours of this fish as it was so different than the normal pike i catch here and was a fish that if it manages to get to double figures could be a special fish indeed.



The time was around 3.45pm and to be honest at this point i was beginning to feel tired as the constant concentration needed when working a dead bait on caught up with me and i decided to call it a day.  I began by placing my wobbled roach in the edge while i set about breaking the dead bait rod down for transportation.  The trace in the rig holder and the rod safely and tightly packed i turned round to sort the wobbling rod out and as i did i saw the line twitch on the surface and then the line took off at 100 miles a hour as line ripped from the spool.  A bite under my feet moving off at a rate of knows i have to admit i thought to myself if this is the pike i think it is, 11lb blind one i have run into twice this year, i am going to be in for one hell of a fight on this wobbling lure rod.

I tested the drag before striking to set the hooks, my god i need not have bothered as the sheer force of the pike shooting off must have set the hooks solid.  The rod hooped over there was no bullying this fish at all and i knew from this fight of long hard runs i was connected to the pike form a previous session and this was eventually confirmed as a blind eye broke the surface.  I saw a chance early on in the fight to net the fish and knowing how many times i had caught it recently i was eager to get the fish in as quick as possible.  The light was going at this point hence the grainy picture and to be honest i was not hanging about on the bank with the fish as i knew from reading how big pike that are publicised are eventually found dead because they are a species that don't take repeat captures well.



I took even more care letting the fish rest in the net for a good ten to fifteen minuted while i packed the gear down to make sure the fish was fully rested before release.  I must say this fish has left me in a bit of a pickle as i have seen pike in this location around the 8-10lb range and certainly are good numbers of fish there to be caught but this pike certainly is surviving in some part from eating dead fish as its covering large distance and homing on any free meals.

Triple Pike Morning Session Delight....

As mentioned above this blind pike has provided me with a little head ache in that i want to fish a location that holds a good number of jacks and possibly the odd nice pike but i have no intention of catching this pike again both for myself and for the good of the pike involved.  Unfortunately when you cast out a dead bait into this water you have no control over what pike takes the bait at all so it left me with a dilemma.  On this session i got round it by only fishing with my wobbing rod as it is the only method i have not caught this pike on and with clear margins my plan was to move the bait if i saw a pike moving onto the bait that i thought was this pike.

This session i only had a few hours till midday to fish as we had a doctors appointment booked in the afternoon so it was a case of making the most of the few hours available.  The pike challenge to catch 400 pike and 30 doubles is always in the back of my mind and on a personal level i have set my sights on 100 pike for the season and it is trips like this that will keep the total ticking over and i think make the difference come the time of reckoning next march.

This short session was a really frustrating one for me as in the clear water i attracted follow after follow from small jacks and ended the session on 3 fish but it was the lack of interest from the better fish that i found frustrating as i could see them set in hunting mode on the bottom in the margins but they were not interested at all in feeding and no amount of coaxing was fooling them to the point most of the time the just moved off away from the area almost scared by the dead bait.

The three jacks where great fun and as mentioned above kept the total ticking over and left me 36 pike for the season so far.





The challenge at this point if the blog stands at 105 pike caught, 95 singles, 10 doubles and 1 20lb pike.

That is it for another weeks update,

till next time i wish you all tight lines

Danny















Monday, 24 November 2014

November Carp, big perch and Wobbling for pike....

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  Its been all go for myself and my partner of late as we prepare for our little boys arrival next month.  The last scan revealed the baby had not yet moved into position so we were booked in for another scan this week and although its not ideally what you want to hear during a pregnancy it gave us both another chance to see our little man before he arrives and thankfully after this scan we received the good news that all is fine and baby is doing well and he even decided to give us a little wave on the machine, o the future fishing trips to come, i can't wait.



on to the update...

Never Checked By the EA, waste of time.....

This comment above is probably the most commonly made statement when the subject of the Environment Agency comes up in anglers conversations and although it is always sad when we read or see instances where we feel the EA could do better its always worth baring in mind just how much waterway there is just in the North West and how few officers there are patrolling them.

That said it was great this week to have my EA licence checked again, third time this season on three separate waterways, what was also great was the time they took speaking to my mate Garry about fish being taken early mornings from the locations we fish.  It is a sight i know only too well from my days fishing the Dee where carrier bags of pike would be hauled up into a car before first light and those who say a few fish does little damage only have to look at the decline in pike on this river to see first hand the damage that has been done.  

Keeping on with the good news theme around the EA it was also great to see the EA officers check many anglers licences and not see the sight of a single angler packing in as they did not have a licence.  Its a great feeling knowing you are sharing the waters with similar law abiding anglers who are paying their way and putting back into our lovely sport and countryside.

The only sad part about seeing the EA was seeing just how bad the decline in human natures has become that these officers now more resemble police offices than water bailiffs as they now walk the bank with a stab proof vest and I'm sure they had a baton.   Has society really declined that much that these officers when asking for a licence are met with weapons being wielded and violence? sad sad times if this is the case, just pack in and go home or better still why not pay the small amount of £27.00 and not spend the time watching your back and enjoy your fishing.

So Mild....

With pike playing such a big part in my fishing of late i have been keeping a close eye on the temperature gauge on my car and although we have now dropped down from the barmy 20+oC temperatures of a few weeks ago we are still regularly into double figures during the day and even sometimes in the morning i will get into my car and the temp will read 9-12oc, if we have some cloud cover.

When i imagined pike fishing i always imagined rock hard frosty ground and my thermal boots crashing through ice capped puddles.  So far this season there has been none of that and we are quickly approaching December.  Long term readers of my blog will remember a couple of years ago when the angling mags where full of reports of fish not surviving the torrential floods that seemed to last the whole of autumn and winter and i said then that mother nature works in cycles and we will get really mild winters, like this one, where the fry survival rates are high and the natural food larders remain well stocked, just look at how many midges we are still seeing of an evening hatching.

On the fishing front it may well mean that dead baits continue to be sparsely taken and wobbling may be the method for the whole of the season as the pike remain active in the warmer temperatures chasing the roach shoals.  It may also mean shoaling fish like dace and roach on rivers don't migrate in as many numbers to their normal winter haunts and may choose to spawn in areas of the river more local to them as they don't feel that drop in temperature that triggers them to move.

Personally i hope the frosts are not too far away and we get a consistent drop in the temperature to just above freezing.  It is by far my favourite time of year and the once busy banks become desolate of the fair weather dog walkers, ramblers and of course anglers, proper peace and quiet.

River Fest Final......

This weekend just passed saw the RiverFest Final take place on the River Wye,  marking the culmination of many weeks matches along the length and breadth of the country the actual final going ahead lay in the balance on Friday evening as the heavy rains leading up to the competition took their toll.  I follow dave harrell on Facebook and its great to see how a seasoned river angler plans their trips to the river and also over the year you see just how much money he puts into the competition by entering a lot of the matches.

The river was high and coloured on Friday evening and after many discussions with the EA, who apparently where great and provided predicted levels for the competitors, the decision was made by the match referee for the competition to go ahead.  The final was a two day competition with the winner being the highest weight of fish over the two days.  It is testament to the work the Angling Trust and Dave Harell has done that this competition now attracts the Sky Sports Camera's and will feature on tight lines but also the prize money on offer was now £12,000 for the winner.



The winner over the two days was Steve Sadler who fished a stormer over the two days and was the deserved winner of the competition that saw one angler capture a 20lb carp on the second day.  The match over and people packing away take a look at this for a pike caught after the match had finished.



All in all a great competition and one that is doing wonders to put river angling back on the map and maybe one day we will see the days my uncle and dad talk about where the Dee is lined with anglers and a River Fest competition.

Wide Hole'y Mess....

One of the trips this week was a social trip with myself, Garry, Ryan and Ste, the afternoon of it is featured further in the update, where we decided to visit Wide Hole on the Macclesfield canal.  This place was said to be a well maintained and well bailiffed water by Warrington Anglers.  Unfortunately what we found resembled more and overgrown landfill sight with mountains of litter strewn all over the place, inflatable bed boxes and signs of open fires and barbeque's. 

The fishing was poor but is that really a surprise given how the place is being abused? The banks looked like they had never seen any type of attention in years with most of the swims down the far end completely reclaimed by nature and literally enough rubbish to fill 3 skips.  Maybe its time for this club to employ a team of dedicated bailiffs instead of buying carp.  Yet again another example of a water on the card in disrepair as many of you will remember the feature i wrote on Rixton Clay pits being in a complete state.

In essence you can have as many clean up a water work parties as you want but until you deal with the problem, i.e the anglers your club is attracting, then you will never solve this issue.













on to this weeks fishing...

Wobblin Jacks and One Very Hungry/Silly Pike...

Saturday morning and i was sat in my car at the front of my house with the wind blowing in the trees all around me thinking of what direction to point my car in.  My dead baiting to this point has taken in so many different venues across so many different types of fishing that i honestly did not know where to head for the best.  I eventually settled on a venue all four of us had fished not long ago that had thrown up a double for myself and a few jacks for Ryan and Ste.  With a trip to the river dane planned the next day i had only relaxation in mind and i had packed all but the kitchen sink for this pike trip, chair, holdall, flask the lot, which is quite unusual for me and my piking.

Walking the banks to my peg i set up my base for the day, a nice comfy chair and 2 dead bait rods out fishing hoping the pike where hungry, i sat back and awaited events and hoped my floats would sink below the late Autumn leaves.



A hour or so passed and the leaves where becoming a nightmare, the wind dropped and left the whole swim covered in a thick layer of leaves that was not moving at all and was making keeping the bait nailed down on the bottom impossible. A quick moan on facey was met with a text from Garry that changed my whole session

"Get off your chair, put your gear away in the car and just take a dead bait rod and wobbling rod and cover the whole venue and MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN they wont always come to you"

He was right i was getting lazy with my piking and sitting in one spot was not how i had fished to this point but i was slowly session on session falling into a lazy approach of waiting for the pike to find me.  A quick walk to the car to drop off my holdall and chair i was armed with a landing net, ruck sack with my tackle and bait in and two rods and i marched to another peg a good 200-300m away from where i had set up.   My first job was to set up the dead bait rod and my chosen bait was a nice joey mackerel that i placed just over the drop off in the margin, madly enough whilst doing this i felt a tug on the line, then another and another and the float slid away.  I gave it a few seconds as in knew i had a decent bait on and struck, up to the top came a small jack which i was surprised wasn't being strangled by the bait it was so small.  More importantly i could see the pike had just mouthed the bait and i knew it was going to let go at any moment and no sooner had the thought left my head than it did the very think, still fish in the area and active, confidence was high.

The rod set in place i mounted up a smelt for a bit of wobbling and it didn't take long for it to get noticed, second cast in fact, twitching it back in i could see the bait working in the water and then a mouth come in and completely nail the bait.  The adrenalin of the bang and then the feeling of, "gotya!", as you let the fish take some line before striking to see what you have lured into taking is a rush indeed and like i said last week, what have i been missing!  The fish was only a jack but the venue i was fishing i knew it was a case of mainly jacks with possibly a double being the icing on a days fishing.



No sooner had i released this fish than the next fish was doing its best to make an appearance as again the float fished mackerel rod began to show some signs of attention and slowly move away, i again gave it a few seconds and struck but again the fish came off, my god i thought you are blowing some chances here Danny.  Returning to my wobbling rod i cast back in and very next cast there was a swirl right at my feet as a pike shot out from no where to claim its mid morning snack.  This time i showed no mercy and on the first opportunity the pike was scooped up.



At this point the move was paying off big time and things only got better when a short move to the next peg saw a hard solid thud mid water that there was no missing, letting the line go loose saw it zipping from the reel as the fish moved confidently off with the bait.  As i had not seen this fish i gave it a bit of time before winding down and setting the hooks and on my small wobbling rod i was met with the feeling of a solid fish on the end.  This rod i use is really old, i am sure its got to be getting on for 15 years old now but boy what fun it is.  Its had fish to 14lb on the river so i am always confident using it and i have to admit since getting my proper pike/carp rods i had forgotten what fun it was.  The fish in the net and another fish for the wobbling rod, she went just over 4lb but it was another one off the total and three for the day so far.



The next pike took an age in coming and i have to admit to suffering four missed fish, one came off on the dead bait and 3 either spat the hooks or just followed the bait in without taking and it was into the afternoon till i connected with my fourth pike of the session, again only a jack but great fun.



I mentioned earlier on about having a fish follow in and not take, what i forgot to say was it was quite a nice fish.  In the same swim, and i think the same fish, i had a pike come out and swirl at the bait without taking.  I had tried a few times to tempt a bite and even the old letting it die in the edge trick but nothing was forthcoming so i decided to pop a smelt right in the margins on my dead bait rod in the hope the free lunch would prove too resisting to refuse.   The rod was in a hour or so before i caught a glimpse of a dip on the float before the float zoomed off and i mean zoomed it was easily the fastest run i have ever had from a pike.  It was so fast my rod that was laying flat on the bank was in danger of not being able to let line off quickly enough so the rod started to move.  I quickly grabbed the rod and let the fish continue to move off.

When pike do this its normally a jack rushing off to eat its prize away from the other predators that may want to take its meal or even turn itself into their dinner but striking i knew this was no jack and it zooomed off on big long hard runs and kept really deep.  The fight was a good one and i remember thinking if i get this one in then it would be a lovely way to end the session.  Thankfully i did and the hooks where in a nice place just in the top of the mouth and it was time to take a picture.

She went over 12lb in the net but subtracting the net we was looking at a fish just over 11lb.



That fish marked the end of the session and i left with 5 pike for the session, 4 on the wobble and one on dead baits and it proved what Garry said was true, sometimes you have to find the fish and simply waiting with a dead bait wont work, he was right.   Garry also keeps gill pictures of all the fish he catches and he recognised this fish, it was a fish i had caught in February and again in the social last week and just to prove how much these fish move i had again caught it on this session a good 300-400m away from where i caught it last.




Chocolate River and November Carp....

Sunday and it was time to wet a line on the river Dane hopefully trotting for a dace and chub.  I arrived at my uncles to find the river the previous day was a eye watering 1.78m but it had dropped on the day to 0.78 so we travelled through hopeful of finding a river in favourable condition.  The swim i was in had a fast run on the far side and a slack on the inside and in normal conditions you catch well all the way across, today though she was bombing through and like chocolate and even the slack was pushing through.  I set up to fish the slower slack but i was far from confident and i even set a wager with Ste who was pike fishing on a water that he would catch more individual fish than me.



A hour and half in and i had not had so much as a knock on the float despite my best efforts and i could hear my uncles foot steps approaching my swim, a sure sign he was having the same experience.  While speaking about moving i hit my first bit of the day in a nice silver dace which prompted us to give it another hour.  In the next painful hour i took one more small dace and a daddy ruffe and my uncle in a terrible boiling and fast swim had found every snag, it was time to make a decision.  We first took a look at the lower reaches but it was still boiling through at a huge speed so we then had a look at the weaver but with matches on its length it was a no go.  We eventually decided to stop off on Curlston mere, what a decision that turned out to be.

We both set up side by side and decided to fish the waggler out in the middle of the pool hoping to catch some nice roach.  The warm temperatures where clearly shown by the sheer amount of fish topping on the water, barmy when you think this is a water that really does close down in winter.  We only had a few hours but we both enjoyed catching a roach a chuck on maggot and to show what a fertile water this is we caught roach of all year classes.



We knew this water contained a good head of wild carp but we didnt think we would encounter any on this trip, that was until azza struck and line started zipping from his reel as the carp made for the sanctuary of the trees.  The fish came off mid water but what a fight to that point and it gave us both a lift that the carp where feeding as you can normally put a few together.  I was next to hit a carp and again i had an epic battle on my hands, to this point i had only ever fished the pole on this water and boy had i been missing out and come summer i will certainly be hitting this pool with my 13 ft waggler rod.  The fight was immense from the turbo charged carp and eventually i slid the net under her buttery flanks.



The pool was alive with roach and we did notice from time to time the schools of fry being spread far and wide and as i had never caught a pike on this water and i had caught some perch i could only imagine it was perch chasing the fry.  I quickly set about making a rig and presented a small roach fry live bait out and it didnt take long for the float to slide away.  As i expected it was a perch but what i wasnt ready for was the sheer size of the fish and when i eventually landed it and placed it on the scales it went a crazy 2lb 10oz and has really opened my eyes to the potential of this water for these stripey predators.

the final net was one that made up for a horrible morning on the river.



Wide Hole Blank But Ryan comes Good...

As mentioned above our trip to the wide hole was a complete disaster both from a fishing and location point of view with neglected banks and rubbish to rival any landfill.  The morning was spent on the banks of this canal back water but we decided to move location for the afternoon.  I endured a frustrating afternoon with one pike following my wobbled roach in time and time again without taking and when i did trick it into taking under my feet the fish had just mouthed the bait and spat the hooks before netting.

Ryan was the star man of this trip taking two jack pike in quick succession with one on the humble sprat and another on the monster mackerel tails that are his trade mark.

fantastic effort mate



Well that sums up another few trips i have had on the bank.  I have two more trips saved up to blog and you wont believe when i blog next who turns up on my next trip. Till then i leave you with a beautiful fish caught by Garry on a recent trip over 11lb,lovely fish mate.



till next time

tight lines

Danny




Friday, 14 November 2014

Wobblin for Jacks And A Few Doubles......

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  In this weeks blog i hope to cover a little on how resilient a species pike seem to be with some examples from my travels,  my latest blog going live on Pondip and also an update on where we are up to in our fun pike challenge for 4 anglers to catch 400 pike, 30 doubles and a 20lb pike by the end of the pike season.  The fishing this week comes from a social session where its all beginning and the end of the session where the action happens and also a session wobbling dead baits hoping to get to grips with this new method, so on with the update..

Tough Little Critters....

Since specifically going out to target pike as a species with dead baits there have been a number of things that have astounded me about this species,  not least the fact they will actually pick up a tail of dead fish off the bottom, but it has been the sheer amount of resilience and ability to survive against all odds that has shocked me the most.  I think i remember reading somewhere that the pike is one of the very few species who's fossils are found from many years ago that have not evolved or changed from then till now as they are so efficient at what they do....surviving.

I have lost count over the years catching pike both dead baiting and on the river just how many pike i have caught that are blind in one eye but still are there feeding well and looking, apart form the eye, healthy.  Take this pike below i caught on the river dee, pug mouth and blind in one eye yet fat as a barrel and feeding well.



You of course see pike both young and old that bear the scars of a sinister liaison with a bigger pike at one time or another and i used to think to myself just how much these scars inhibit the pikes ability to feed as some can be quite bad.  Well this week during a social piking session you will read about below Ste caught a pike that bared some horrific scarring which could have only been caused by a outboard motor and the pike not moving out of its way.



The scars looked like they where healed up but it just goes to show what a battering these pike can take during their lives and still be efficient at surviving and finding food.  amazing creatures when you think about it.

Pondip Blogs Go live.......

Over the past few months i have settled into a rhythm of writing my blog and also writing a piece for the Pondip blog on their coarse boxes and a few on tips and hints for fishing.  I am really enjoying this little project away form my main blog and the freedom it gives for me to go into detail on how i do my fishing, methods and little hints and tips i have picked up along the way.  Some of the tips are probably not as refined or the tips you will see in the weekly mags but they are tips i wish i had known when first starting out, for example i wish i had known about asking the shop to elastic ate my first pole.

links to the two blogs are below:

Octobers Pondip box Review: http://blog.pondiptacklebox.com/2014/boxes/pole-fishing-box/
Tips on Pole fishing: http://blog.pondiptacklebox.com/2014/tips-and-tricks/pole-fishing-tips/

If you are interested in Pondip Tackle Boxes  and what they offer as a company check out their page and don't forget to make the most of the discount code off the first box great little idea and a item i always look forward to dropping on my welcome mat.

Update on Piking Challenge.....

So we are just over a month into the pike challenge for 4 anglers to catch 400 pike, 30 doubles and a 20lb pike, and we are really pressing along nicely indeed.  We are all getting out on the bank regular and catching pike on most trips, although i had a blip with 3 blanks on the bounce.  The scores on the doors before the sessions below where 54 pike caught in total, with 5 doubles and one 20lb pike.  We are a 1/6th of the way into the challenge and are just below where we need to be but if the journey to this point is anything to go on its going to be great fun trying to get as close as we can to the total.

In terms of the whole challenge it is going to be a case of seeing what the weather does, if it stays warm like it is now then i can see us putting together a good run of pike as they keep chasing lures and moving baits but if we get a sudden drop in temp and the snow and ice arrives things might get a little tougher and keeping the sheer number of pike we need coming in might see us falling behind. But as i have said its all about the fun of chasing such a high goal with your mates.

On to this weeks Fishing....

Saturday 1st November: Throwing a Wobbler....What have i been missing!.......

A email landing in my inbox the week before this session asking if i was interested in reviewing a pike rod on my blog so for Saturdays session i thought i would pack my little spinning rod into my holdall and have a bit of fun and in the process try and learn a new method.  Having watched Garry, an excellent lure fisherman, for the past few months casting his favourite lures and catching some nice pike i had again been spoilt by having such a experienced teacher and although we had never really sat down and talked about lure fishing he had shown me a few times about the art of wobbling with dead baits.

I don't know if lure fishing will ever be for me, i am far too clumsy and unorganised to keep a load of lures from becoming a web of tangled hooks, but sink and drawing or wobbling is something that has always interested me but i guess confidence in not getting snagged and again a pike taking a dead fish clouded my mind.

In the week leading up to this session one of the pikers in our group, Ste, had been asked to do a article for the anglers mail and it involved twitching "kinky" dead baits.  Like with Garry i had been on a few sessions with Ste and again like i had seen from Garry casting his lures, you could tell from the way Ste cast them with accuracy and how he worked them through the water he was good at it.  Its a bit like watching a good river man running a stick through, they make it look so easy and effortless and that only comes with practise.

I am always gratefully to have two fantastic pike anglers to call mates, my pike fishing has come on so much this past year, and hopefully as the work dies down in all our jobs i can begin to repay them back with a few trips to the river and maybe even Garry's first pike from the Dee, till then i will just have to agree to stop dancing and singing on sessions and keep the pot noodles rolling in.

Back to the session and i arrived on the bank armed with one dead bait rod and my small lure rod that i have had since a kid and cost me a whole £6.00.  This rod is as strong as an ox and was the only rod i took piking for many years on the Dee fishing lives for the pike and can boast pike to 13lb, not bad for a small rod, bends at the butt but gets em in.  I cast the dead bait rod out on a roach dead bait and then began to wobble a roach dead bait back though the swim.

In my eyes the bait looked a mess as it swayed from side to side coming through the water and it took me a few casts to get the confidence to let the bait twist and turn then let it go slack so the bait falls as if it where a dying fish.  I had cast in countless times and i could see the bait coming in and i thought if i can see it the pike can and then from now where BOOOM! a pike shot out from no where and absolutely nailed the fish.  Calm came across me as i resisted the urge to strike and let the fish take the bait as it it was a dead bait run and then gave it a countdown and struck.  Thankfully the fish stayed on unlike my bait that flew off in the fight and i was over the moon to have landed my first wobbled dead bait pike.



The pike released i set about recasting my dead bait rod which had remained strangely silent and to be honest would so all the session.  My next take came from utilising a cunning little trick for picking up a bite.  Basically it works on the principle that after casting around in an area you might not have had many takes but you may well have had a pike follow the bait right in and you not have seen it so after a few casts i let the bait sink the the bottom right under my feet and what you then do it let the bail arm off and watch the line to detect the bite.  It may seem like a hard method but in practise there is no missing the bite as the braid starts to tremble and move away and this method caught me the best fish of the day in this 7lb 14oz pike.



After fishing away for a few hours taking a break here and there from the wobbling with no results i decided in a change of bait for the wobbling and i think it was either the third or fourth cast on the retrieve i felt a solid bang.  You have to remember at this point in my wobbling i had seen a pike take close in and had one under my feet so i had no idea what a pike take felt like out in the water, in reality there was no missing it.  I gave the fish line and struck praying i was not setting my hooks deeper into a snag.  Thankfully my strike was met with the feeling of a fish rather than a sunken branch, only a jack but i did not care it was great learning a new method and even better catching on it.



Tuesday 4th November: Social Piking Session

With work levels low and the half term school holidays over and done with i jumped at the chance for a days leave from work and with a solid session behind me wobbling with dead baits on the Saturday the past three blanks where nothing but a distant memory, i felt i was cooking on gas again and it felt good. I was casting out with expectation of catching rather than expecting a blank which is always great.

My plan for the day was exactly the same as Saturday fishing a dead bait rod and use my lure rod to wobble a smelt.  The four of us where all in attendance all evenly spread along the bank and unlike the mere we where a lot closer and could all gather and have a chat.  My dead bait rod had not been in more than around half an hour when my oil loaded mackerel jack attracted some interest from a pike.  The float bobbed a few times before it sailed off at some speed and the float submerged and i struck into a fish that i new was a better fish as it made hard runs taking line from the reel as it did so.  Tilting the rod down and loosening off the drag to reduce the chance of a hook pull saw the tables swing in my favour and Ryan slid the net under a nice pike that surely had to go into double figures.



The pike swung the scales round to 11lb 4oz and we had another double to add to the list and my third of the season. Ryan was next to see his float sail away but his strike was met with an unsteady fight that saw the pike come off.  It did not take long though for his mackerel "tail" to attract the pikes attention back to this scrumptious sushi banquet and this time he made no mistake and landed his first pike of the day in this sublimely marked pike.



During the next hours till noon we all tried in vain to lure the interest of a pike on our dead baits and wobbling and it was not until a move to a completely new area by Ste saw more pike coming as he landed 3 pike in as many casts including the pike with the horrific boat scars.  It showed me big time how close you can be to pike and be so far away as with all that smell in the water you would have thought these pike would have smelt out our multitude of baits loaded with oil and moved onto them.

Ste had to get off to do a job at 1pm so it was decision time for the three remaining piking pirates did we stay put and move to the area ste had caught three fish or move to another location where we thought our chances where greater.  We arrived to find the venue gin clear and not very appetising and i knew there and then from my river fishing that it was going to be a few hours till we had any action as darkness closed in.

Around 3pm i moved my bait from beside a overhanging willow into the middle and within seconds the float was moving off along the top.  I gave the bite as long as i dared as i knew this could be my one and only chance.  I struck and knew instantly i had a bad hook hold by the amount of head shaking it was doing and i could feel them all suggesting the hooks where loosely hooked in the pike jaw.  A swift turn by the pike and it all went slack for a second as the fish parted with the hooks......but then all of a sudden the fish was on but it felt a lot bigger indeed and it wasn't until the fish came to the top we realised the fish was foul hooked in the tail.  The fish must have spat the hooks and then the hooks must have hooked the fish again as it has flapped its tail to move away, lucky indeed.

This luck instantly ran out as when being netted the hooks caught on the outside of the net, disaster and i guess it was a fitting end to the fight for the pike to then have the last laugh and come off the hooks to freedom.  That is the way it goes with pike fishing the margins between success and fail are so small.

The last hour loomed large and it was going into dark while preparing to recast my dead bait rod i heard a shout from Garry up the bank lure fishing to get the net.  Before i could get the net the fish had come off but speaking to garry he said he had just witnessed the biggest pike he had ever seen take his lure, i asked if he thought it was new Pb potential and he said yeah for sure, his Pb is over 14lb so we was talking a decent fish.

Garry continued to cast his lure around the area while i had a cheeky cast over the far side both to no avail.   The dark was setting in fast so we decided to call it a day and began walking back along the bank to Ryan to pack in.  I then did something i have done hundreds of times before and dropped my smelt in the edge and began walking back to the car.  One step, two, three BANG i was pulled backwards and halted in my steps as something grabbed onto the bait, no swearing on the blog but my words rhymed with hook me, I've got a take i said.  By the time i walked back along the bank the float was gone out of sight.

I stuck and instantly the rod hooped over and this fish was not messing about as it pulled line from the reel, i could not stop it.  Garry said give it some line and take your time its a nice fish i have just seen it and then it came up to the top, jesus it was nice fish all right!  Garry took his chance a slid the landing net under the pike and we raced no danced along the bank to get the fish unhooked and on the unhooking mat.  Garry instantly said he thought it was a 20 and i could not argue with him it was a deep fish.  We nervously placed her in the weigh sling and ryan read out the scores, not a 20 but at 17.8lb i was not complaining, a very very very lucky capture.



The fish capped off a memorable first month of the season for me and i month i could only have dreamt about, well lets be honest here it was a month i have never dreamt about because i never thought it possible.  I have had my fair share of luck along the way, not least with this 17lb8oz fish but as months go i had caught 22 pike with a 11.4lb, 15lb, 17.8lb and a 21lb 4oz fish accounting for my doubles within that.  A month i doubt i will ever repeat in my life and one i am fully aware does not come along too often.

After these sessions it left us on 68 pike with Ste and Garry both finding time to also get out in the bank between my wobbling session and the social one.

Till next time

tight lines

Danny



Friday, 7 November 2014

Tough Times After such a High....But Come Through...

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you well and your nets wet.  Well what can i say but a huge thank you to all the people who went out of their way to contact me, comment on the blog/Forums or via social media to congratulate me on the capture of my first 20lb pike, thank you all so much and it was great to hear from people who had read my blog for a long time and shared the highs and lows to that point.  I have always wanted my blog top be a true representation of my angling and the pike fishing has been a prime example of that, from casting out and blanking on the first of January this year when i first cast a dead bait out for pike to that point has in reality been a short journey and i have been fortunate to hit a mile stone so early on but boy has it been a steep learning curve.

In this update i hope to cover the time after the capture, my emotions and how it made me feel towards my angling and it may surprise you the emotions i went through.  I also hope to cover a little bit on how to unhook pike and work around the business end of a pike and also go back down memory lane to my early fishing after a recent trip home.

The reality of hitting a milestone........

As i mentioned in last weeks blog a huge part of my piking over the years, whether that be live baiting or dead baiting, has been searching the waterways hoping to see just what a big pike looks like as it breaks the surface of the water and comes into my landing net.  On the 15th October i got my wish and while i was unhooking the pike, taking the pictures and letting her rest in the net i was pumped with emotion and buzzing and made a point of making sure i took every moment of the short time i had with this pike in as it was a long time coming.  

The pike released i sat back in my chair and it was a good 20 minutes before i cast back in, eventually i did and then i sat back and experienced the most unusual of feelings, one one hand i was tingling with excitement as i though "Jesus, Danny your new Pike Pb is 21 pound" but on the other i felt sadness as the realisation hit me that i may never ever beat that personal best again, never experience the excitement of a new PB Pike and most of all i felt lost as my fire and drive had been to experience that moment when a big girl comes up through the water and the sheer feeling of terror as you realise what you are attached too, well, this had been experienced.

I was sat there with two rods in the water and the next hours till i had the next run passed by in a blur and i really could not have cared less if the rods had gone or not at this point.  Garry often comments on how wired and on edge i am when piking as the slightest breath of wind on the float gets me up and walking the bank so to go from starting the session wired to being so unmotivated was a strange experience. 

I also felt i had missed out a huge part of the progression of my piking by not experiencing what an upper double looked like and it would have been nice to go from 15lb to say a 18lb and then break the 20 but i guess that's a perfect world and we definitely do not live in a perfect world.  Strangely enough the next two fish did little to change my demina.

I have said many a time on this blog that having pike anglers around you is such a blessing, comradely, for help with piking but also advice and strangely enough it was a conversation a week or so later whilst sat beside a huge mere that got me my mojo back.  I was sat speaking to Ste, himself has caught many big fish over 20lb and even 30, i asked him straight out did he feel a lull after his first 20lb fish and just to hear that he did and it was normal made me feel so much better and he was right in the next few days the bug bit again and the urge to get out was there. Thanks mate.

Unhooking Pike....

I am never a person who writes this blog preaching about how to fish but i do try and involve as much information as possible about the fishing i do as rigs, type of tackle and how to unhook a pike are easily the most common question i get emails about.  Pike have a fearsome reputation for being aggressive biting machines when on the bank and i think, like the perch, this aggressive nature both in and out the water can lead to people thinking they are quite harden fish but the reality could not be further from the truth.  This little section here about simple unhooking technique is simple aimed at people reading my blog who might want to try for a pike themselves from reading it and hopefully this little inclusion will help them when that first pike is on the bank. 

Preparation
Before you even cast in make sure you have an unhooking matt set up and your tools for unhooking close to hand.  Believe me from experience of fish escaping the net in the margin while you search for your gear, you want that fish out of the water and unhooked asap and having your matt and tools ready set up means you can lift the fish straight out and onto the matt after capture to unhook immediately.

Unhookimg the pike
So the pike is on the mat, there are many ways people unhook pike but the way i do it is to kneel down with the pike between your legs so your are straddling the pike, this will keep the pike still and free form flapping off the matt.



If you turn the pike over onto its back and lift the gill cover like shown above you will see there is a bony recess on the inside of the jaw, if you place your hand here you can get a grip on the pike, but be careful not to be too aggressive as there is a thin layer of skin as well in this area as shown in the pic below, only a little pressure and you can see my fingers.



If you the pull slowly back towards you the pikes head will rise towards you and its mouth will be open wide and you can begin to see where the hooks are as shown below. 



As you can see doing it this way the pikes mouth is open wide and you can see there is plenty of room in there to work.  Some pike are quite active on the bank and you can tell when they are going to flip as they tense up just before so you can almost prepare yourself for it.

Staying Calm
It is so easy when you get that pike on the bank for the adrenalin of the capture to take over and if the pike is deep hooked it is very easy for panic to set in but the best thing to try and do is remain calm and work methodically around the fishes mouth. 

I also wrote a little on this subject early in the year so if you are looking at fishing for pike for the first time check out this blog here: http://satonmyperch.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/dead-baiting-for-pike-effort-equals.html

Memory Lane..

Earlier this week i was back in my old neck of the woods where i grew up as a kid and it brought a tear to my eye as i walked the route me and my dad walked so many times to go fishing when i was younger.  We would walk up to the local canal normally with our rods still set up, much to mums disapproval of them being on the stairs, up through the lights and up these steps to the canal. 



Walking up these steps i still got the same sense of excitement as all those years ago as i knew at the top of them i would get my first glimpse of the canal.



In those early days i always remember setting up at first light with the sound of a wood pigeon in the trees, it was just part and parcel of it. As was the choice of destination, no apps then to tell you a hour by hour report it was a quick look at the sky and from that you where either fishing the open length or under the bridge.  Happy memories for sure and a licence i will be buying next year so i cant wait to get out and relive those memories of spiny perch and bronze bream.

on to this weeks fishing....

From Ecstasy to Frustration....

After the capture of my new Pb pike i thought i would be riding a wave of confidence and would hopefully build upon that to continue to pick up pike steady but the reality was far different.  The next session out was the Saturday after catching the pike and i naturally found myself sat in the same swim i had caught in on the Wednesday.  My tactics where exactly the same as the previous session but for 5 hours i sat behind motionless floats.  Normally i would have stuck it out but i found myself moving locations to another spot where a mixture of ramblers, drunken youths and the one run i did get coming off  putting an end to a sorry day on the bank. A day with so much expectation was met with a cold hard reality of a blank, the closest i got was a badly mouthed roach bait.



The next session out was a afternoon into evening session with Garry where we planned to see what potential lay in fishing into dark.  We arrived with enough time to set up and have our baits in the water for a good hour or so.  We then moved over to a spot where we hoped the pike would be lurking as the depths deepened.  We certainly can not be called for not putting the effort in as we stood in the dark till around 8pm hoping for a chance to come to one of us crazy pike hunters.  A nice evening with some funny moments involving people not accustomed to anglers being around at that time.  The realty again was that the rods remained motionless.

The next session came on a gruelling weekend a few weeks back when it seemed the whole world was against me.  Trouble with my job and a strange noise coming from the bonnet of my car that just screamed "MONEY" was met with me needing to get out on the bank. I should not have bothered.   The session in its entirety saw me getting stuck on bottom 4 times and straightening out the hooks, loosing one complete set up and then resetting up only for my float to tangle around the line right by my reel so after setting up it needed to be set up from scratch again.  Enough was enough at that point and i gave in and went home, three trips and three blanks and i hadn't a clue where my next bite was coming from.

Learning to Ledger for pike.....

The next session out was with Garry on a location we had caught well on recently.  We had a session planned for the coming weeks on a big mere where ledgering was the only option at ranges of 30 to 60 yards.  Ledgering for pike is something i have only ever done once and that was on a a short sesison with Garry a week or so back and in reality it was the rod going rather than an alarm that alerted me so this was little test for a proper ledger session for pike.



In reality the set up for ledgering is even easier than the float rig but the real art to learn here is knowing when to strike as you have no float for indication and to judge how far the pike has gone with the bait and knowing when to strike all comes form experience and feeling the pike on the other end.  The simple ledger rig is literally a lead and a trace where you would normally tie your hook length for carp fishing with a buffer bead and a low Resistance run ring to reduce resistance.  My delkim alarms i had bought for carp fishing had remained motionless all season so i hoped and prayed for a single bite on them but with 3 blanks under my belt i was not confident at all.

Within seconds of setting up Garry had a run under his feet, a solid run but it was so weird when he struck nothing was there. I have never ever seen anything like it as the float was moving as he struck, weird. It proved the pike were feeding though so my levels of confidence improved.  It didn't take long for the pikes interest to be regained and it was Garry who put the first fish of the day on the bank, a great start.



From this early run till 10am the rods remained eerily quiet and it was while enjoying a brew on Garry's peg i heard my alarm screaming off and the tip was banging away.  I got to the rod and gently reeled down the line and felt for the fish taking line solid, line peeling off i struck and was into a fish.  The water was deep so the fish felt really big as i played it and i was sure it was a big fish.  The fish came up and it was a jack around 5-6lb.  The fight on the ledger was completely different and the fish did feel bigger and much harder to get in.  The blank streak broken with a nice pike i was over the moon.

The fish returned i set about re baiting the rod as the bait had come off in the fight or was in the pike belly.  I re baited and cast back out and rejoined Garry on his peg.  I don't know how long i was sat there but it didn't seem any time till the rod was off again and this time the fish did feel a better fish and put up a great fish as it came in with line tearing runs and plenty of action under the tip.  She looked every part 7lb-8lb fish but it wasn't until i lifted her out i thought maybe a double as she weighed a bit.

She went 9lb 9oz on the scales so just under a double but two pike in no time.



The fish again took the bait so it was re baited and returned back to the spot and i set about recasting my other rod.  It was while setting the bobbin on the rod the other rod screamed off again and i struck into a fish that felt nice but did not feel right as i could feel the head shakes suggesting it was not well hooked. Half way in the fish come off with a violent head shake, i was gutted as you always feel with any lost fish but with so much activity surely i would get another chance.

It took another 15 minutes before the rod screamed off again and i gave line only to strike thin air and bring back a bare set of trebles and no bait, weird!  In the space of an hour i had 4 runs on the Leger but little did i know then that was my lot for the day as my rods remained silent all afternoon despite numerous recasts.  Right on last knockings Garry's ledger rod beeped into life with a really cagey run one beep, gap, another beep, gap, then beep as it roared off.  Striking he hooked into a pike right in the middle that fought like mad all the way in, slipping the net under our fourth pike of the day it felt like a fish well earned us both sticking it out in the bite less afternoon and we left happy anglers with four fish added to the tally.



Huge Step Up.....Step too Far??

A few days alter was the trip to a mere and it would involve us casting 30-60 yards on ledgers into a mere that as we approached looked huge, easily the biggest span of water i have ever fished.  Wading out to put my bank sticks in the dark it was a place full of atmosphere and you could tell it held some special fish.   The sun just rising over the trees offered a perfect opportunity for a picture.



We were just all about settled in when Ryan hooked into a fish right in the margins, a place we had all written off and on the float as well, hats off to him for sticking to his guns as on this trip it certainly worked. The smile on his face showing just how happy this capture made him feel.



The next hour Garry had a dropped run and i had a few occurrences on my rods but being new to ledgering i was unsure if it was weed on the line or a run, they certainly where not the screaming runs of the session with Garry. 

Dinner time came round and in my haste to get out the house i had left a cup behind so it was improvisation time for me and i must say a brew from a cut in half pot noodle cup is.......absolutely disgusting!  Two pike came out to a guy up the bank but that was it for pike action on the day.  A tough place indeed and certainly a step up and i really did feel daunted by the whole place and i was certainly out of my depth for sure.  An experience i am glad i have done but i think it is something that will be the odd session for me rather than the normal for at least this year while i am still learning.

Well that's just about it for this week i am still a bit behind with the blog so there are a few nice captures to come but right now i am looking forward to a mornings pike fishing tomorrow and a days trotting with my uncle on Sunday which will be a welcome change form the piking.

Till next time

tight lines

Danny









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