In this weeks update we welcome my little boy and second future fishing partner into the world, on the fishing front i talk a little bit about an addition to my pike fishing box this year, pike oils, and how i feel about what they bring to my fishing.
On to the update...
Little Man Arrives....
So i finished work on the 17th December and we set about getting the house and bits and last few bits a pieces together for the arrival of our little boy on the 19th December. Wednesday afternoon was taken up with the task of rushing around sorting stuff out and thankfully we got it all done. The 18th we had a pre op appointment at 1pm but it did give me a chance to wet a line in the morning, more on that session later. On Friday 19th December 2014 at 14.13pm we welcomed the latest addition to our family into the world and like his little sister before him he is perfect in every way and weighed in at a fit and healthy 7lb8oz, to date i am slightly worried that he may have a future in carp fishing as he doesn't half sleep a lot ha-ha but joking aside he has been a good little man so far eats, sleeps and does his business then back to sleep some more so long may that continue!
The arrival of our second child will certainly have some effect on my fishing for sure and it may well be that 2015 does see a reduction in my time on the bank and thus the amount of fishing on my blogs may reduce. I must say pike fishing has come along in my life just at the right time as i am literally spoilt for local pike locations and pike fishing is a branch of our sport where you can go out for just a hour or two and catch the odd fish where as my trotting sessions tend to be an all day affair. The actual blogs are quite easy to fit in when i am in work as i can put the meat on the bones during my half an hour dinner breaks its just the actual fishing trips and more the amount of trips on the bank that may reduce, time will tell.
Lets Talk Pike Oils.......
The use of oils for my pike fishing is a new concept for me this pike season, in fact the use of oils is new to any part of my fishing. I must admit i was sceptical at first as to what oil injected into baits could bring to the table. As the season has progressed this year and i have began to understand a bit more about the feeding habits of pike a number of things have been blatantly obvious to myself and one of these is the fact pike certainly use their sense of smell to hunt out dead baits. Recaptures of pike and also seeing the same pike in the same locations during the same time of day has also lead me to believe that some pike patrol the same circuit looking for food. All these factors mean that when the pike is patrolling or even if a pike is in the area you need to use that great sense of smell to your advantage you want that bait to be catching the pikes attention even before it sees your bait.
As i said above i was dubious about this oil's ability to add to my angling but my mind was totally changed in the first month of using this oil. There was a wind blowing heavy on the water when i arrived and casting in my baits the water behind my float went flat with the oil from my bait and it shocked me just how far this oil was going as a good 30-40 yards of water was flat and free from wind.
This was on a still water so you can imagine how far this smell would leak on a river with flow or on a canal with a tow. You have to think that any pike in the trail of this bait is at least going to be aware of a smell in the water and drawn in by the smell. The slick eventually dies down and on some sessions i have added a little more oil to the baits just to get that slick going again. I am a avid believer that pike are like sharks you see on TV and i reckon if you did put a dolly bag of fish guts in the edge and your baits below them or in the slick it would work, smell plays that much of a part.
Coloured water is part and parcel or still waters, rivers and canals and when you arrive at a venue to cloudy silty water smell can be your only way of attracting the fish in and this is where i feel these oils come into their own. In short i have had my mind totally changed on these oils and now am i avid user of these oils in all my pike fishing, a must have in your armoury.
on to this weeks fishing....
(8th December 2014)Birthday Piking Against the Conditions...
December the 8th 2014 and i awoke nice and early for a pike session with Ste. This was a session we had planned for a long time and we had planned for a day on moving water but the conditions leading up to the session where a barrage of snow, hail and rain. The plan was to meet at his house and go onto our venue from there and i have to admit i knew we were in for a rough day on the bank as i drove along the motorway in driving rain and hail. I had the gear to deal with it and the weather has never really been something that ever bothers me but on this session it was the stand out feature of the day.
We set of from his house with the rain and hail still battering our windscreens and a horrible wind blowing that had a real chill to it. The whole day was hard going with the weather coming in waves at times and it was one of those sessions you where glad there was two of you out to almost get through the day with. The floats dead bait floats remained motionless all day for us both and it was only me covering a pike on my wobble rod that stirred a pike into action as it nailed my bait as it passed by. Given how the session went i guess the bait must have literally gone passed its nose as for the rest of the day the pike stubbornly ignored out offerings. The pike went 6lb 9oz and was a welcome present from the angling gods on my birthday.
We called it a day at 3pm having tried a few more spots with no success and finally gave into the bone chillingly cold conditions and hail stones. Another fantastic social session even if i did feel old driving home.
13th December 2014 Lets Try That Again....
The area we tried on the previous session was completely new to me and i was sure it was only the conditions that put pay to the action on the previous session so i planned another crack at it later on in the week. The morning of the session i opened my front door to be met with a crisp ice cold morning, frozen puddles and a hard frost covering my car. A frost is not the end of the world when it comes to fishing, in fact as long as you target the right species you can have some of the best days fishing with ice and snow on the ground, The exception to this can come on still waters where overnight frosts can kill the fishing completely and actual the best time for predators can be the days before a cold spell hits.
It was a good hour or so into the session and i had eventually found some part of the water free from ice and i was thank full of my Skeetex thermal wellies after trudging through freezing cold ice capped puddles to the peg. The rods in in search of mr pike i was casting in ouit of hope more than expectation. You have to remember that as much as i am really confident trotting a float down a river in any conditions i am still very much wet behind the ears when it comes to dead baiting for pike and the conditions that are good and bad for catching them in.
I was joined about a hour later by Ste who dropped in for a chat and to check the sessions progress and it was during his visit the free lined dead bait on the wobble rod peeled away. Picking up the rod i could feel the fish tugging at the dead bait with sharp tugs on the line before it moved away at pace. I gave it a quick count down and set the hooks and as always with my light lure rod it hooped over on the strike as the fish bolted upon feeling the prick of the hooks and the battle was one. To be honest apart from a double figure fish where you know you have a serious fish on with this rod, with the jacks you really dont know as you get a top fight on it no mater what and this was no exception as line snot from the reel.
You don't half ride your luck with the battles with pike and it really is true you never know how well you have hooked the fish, you are only one head shake from losing the fish. The pendulum of luck also swings the other way and this fish was that as half way through the fish the fish felt like it came off only for it to be there again and the fight be totally different. The fish in the net it became apparent the treble hooks had left the fish's mouth and lassoed round the fish's tail. The fish went 9lb on the scales so a solid fish.
After this fish was returned Ste bid farewell and wished me luck for the rest of the session. The capture of a fish always puts a spring in your step for the rest of the session but it was not until 12.30 as i was leaving that the next fish made an appearance. Leaving the wobble rod in the edge to take a phone call
Hunting them down....
My next trip out was a whole day session in search for pike again and it was a case of covering as much water as possible on the day. I spent from 7.30am to 11am in one swim with not so much as a knock before moving to another area i had done well in early season and again found the pike not playing ball despite changing baits and adding oil to them on a regular basis and also wobbling a smelt like my life depended on it, nothing was working.
A refreshing drink of hot lemon from my flask around 1pm made me rethink my game plan and it was time for a completely different location all together so i loaded the gear into the car and headed off to a spot i thought might just produce a fish. At this point i was hunting one chance of a fish. Arriving at the stretch i quickly placed a bait in position and hoped sent a little prayer to the angling gods, boy i had deserved it today i thought. It was not until the very last knockings that my prayers where answered as my right hand float lay flat and tentatively moved off, i remember at this point thinking you have your chance danny now take it. Thankfully it was a textbook capture as the hooks held firm and the pike came into the net. Only a small jack but on a day like this where i had tired so hard and travelled so much it was more than welcome.
18th December - Chances Galore.....
With all the jobs done regarding the imminent birth of our child the next day i jumped at the chance of a short morning session before an afternoon appointment. I travelled to the same location i had the bite on in the previous session hoping to find the pike as obliging. I only had 3 hours for the session and it is safe to say it was the most frantic 3 hours pike fishing so far. In total i had 3 runs which all spat the hooks and in the crystal clear water i could also see a number of pike coming in time and time again to investigate my baits.
All in all it was a frustrating session with many missed chances but i guess seeing how many pike came in to see the baits gave me confidence for future sessions and also made me realise in cloudy conditions just how many pike might be coming in and not taking and maybe moving the baits regular or at least recasting them might bring on more takes.
Christmas Eve Social....
Christmas eve and I joined Ste and Garry for a social session in search of pike. We arrived on the bank just before first light and the plan for the day was to try a location none of us had really put much time into this season to see if the fish we found last year where still around.
Garry was first to get a fish on the bank with a fish taken on a lure but from there on out things remained all quiet. It is very easy to spend a day searching out a stretch of water when you are on your own with two rods but when you see 6 rods spaced evenly along a length you certainly search the water out quicker and it can save you a lot of time on the day.
With no sign of activity in 3 hours we moved to another area. The moved paid off for myself as around a hour into the new location my left hand float moved off. It was a bite that developed i think a few moments earlier as we spotted an movement on the float but no take. The pike on the bank it was a jack around 7lb and was more than welcome on the day.
This pike proved to be the last action of the day for us despite two more moves and we called it a day around 3pm when we went our separate ways to celebrate christmas with our families.
Well that is it for fishing up until the 25th December. I have been getting out on the rivers a bit since christmas with some fantastic chub nets and also managing to get out for the odd pike as well. In terms of the pike challenge these pike left me on 45 for the season so far and the running total is 135 pike with 122 singles, 13 doubles and 1 20lb pike.
Till next time