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