So in this update we also look at my Abu closed faced reel in the final part of the three part mini series on reels i use for stick float fishing, we take a look at a recent licence purchase and my plans for it in the closed season and then finally as the double figure pike go on the feed we look at some nice captures from the rest of the piking pirates on the challenge. The sessions on the update are from the end of February so we are a little bit behind still. The sessions include two pike sessions i fished with Ste where the pike continued where they left off from our previous trips with plenty of runs and the odd double thrown in for good measure.
Onto the Update....
New Licence Purchase...
This week as i write this marks the final week of the river season and with only one more session on running water to come this Saturday my mind has started to wander beyond the realms of flowing water. After the rivers close i do intend on winding down a little with my fishing and spend some much needed time with the family. This years piking has really took over with me and i have gone mad on it to the point its been close to an obsession. With a number of trips saved up i can now take a few weeks break from any form of silver fishing with the hope that i can just nip out of a Saturday morning for a spot of piking for the next few weeks while the blog catches up.
This gap after the rivers close when the temperatures are still cold and the day to day temperatures can be a bit on and off its never really great fishing and its not till the warmth of spring arrives that the fishing picks up so in reality i am not missing much. I have recently though bought a Lymm Anglers Card for the Bridgewater canal in Runcorn as its a canal i grew up fishing as a kid and its been many moons since i wet a line in her now clear but still snaggy depths. It will be a change from dodging trees and snags on the river as i dodge wheelie bins and trolleys on the local cut but it will be a real trip down memory lane for me and should make for some interesting and nostalgic blogs and maybe the odd story of the old times.
I also intend to spend the odd session fishing areas of the canal that where out of our reach as a kid. We walked the banks with our baskets and rods so the limits for me and my dad where as far as you could walk and with the bream shoals then on our doorstep we had no reason to venture too far. My mate Garry does a fair bit on the other stretches so it will be interesting to explore new stretches with him.
Abu 706 Closed Face Reel
In the final part of the three part mini series on reels we take a look at the Abu Garcia 706 closed face reel. I am going to go out on a limb here and say this is easily the most annoying reel i have ever used. Why is it annoying? well at first its a beautiful reel to use and if ever a reel was made for trotting a float it is this reel as the line comes if the drum a dream and striking is as easy as trapping the line but i have now had two replacement reels sent to me in the two years i have used these reels through faults with the drag system. Basically the reels are fantastic when fish for dace and roach and can even handle the odd chub and grayling but you have a pike take a fish on this reel and the pressure and drag just goes missing and the reel is never the same after it.
My uncle used some of the earlier models around int he 80's and 90's and swears by them but he hates using this new version we both bought at the same time to the point they rarely come out to be used. The sessions i have used them they have been a dream to trot with though i will give them that but with two breakages already i use this reel sparingly should i say.
All in all i think its a mar-mite reel, you love it or hate it. At the moment i fall on the don't like side of the scale. Maybe in the future i might purchase the older models and see how i go but I'm yet to be convinced of their ability to land bigger fish.
Doubles are on the Feed.....
All through this pike season i have either been fishing with or been in regular contact with Garry and Ste and on the sessions they do with me i do show the fish they catch but they have also been out on sessions as well and i thought it good to share some of their recent captures on the bank. Garry had a recent trip out where he caught this fantastic double figure pike.
Ste also took advantage of the end of season piking and caught this stunning upper double pike, fat as a barrel and so heavy he needed a knee to support its weight!
Both absolutely stunning pike and certainly the pike gods paying them back for their help this season.
on to this weeks fishing and its more pike pike pike!!
Dead Baiting For Pike -The Hunt Continues!!
The session before this i had been out with ste and experienced a pike fishing session like no other i had been part of. Earlier on in the season we had been out on socials and had a few runs in a short space of time but the last session was something else as just under 50% of the pike where double figure pike, a session i will never forget and so many great memories on the bank with ste that day.
A link to that session is here: http://satonmyperch.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/chub-on-centrpin-new-ea-licence-and.html
Fast forward 8 days and the morning of the 22nd February and loading the car with my pike gear i was literally shaking with excitement. I took a second to compose my thoughts and prepare myself that it might not be as good as the previous week and the not get too carried away. Meeting up with ste we mulled over where to try and we decided to not try the same spot as last week but another area that would be more in fitting with the slightly warmer conditions.
The watery red sun was just peeping over the horizon as we prepared our baits to cast out into the swims and as we did a huge swirl appeared along the bank. A pike striking and with the vortex of its swirls still turning Ste demanded i put a bait into its swirling vortex. I don't know exactly how long it took for my dead bait rod to start marching off but it was not long as the red of the sun shows clearly on the picture of the pike below. A pike around 7 or 8lb and at 7.01am when the rest of the world was fast asleep i got to work with taking a pic of our first pike.
In the next half hour we saw quite a few pike strike but little action on the dead baits and it wasn't until 7.45am that Ste connected with our second pike of the day. The pike was around 6 or 7lb and we both knew the best time was still to come as last time a lot of the runs came after 8am. With two pike under our belts and as always it was great ti get us both off the mark we decided to move on.
We set up in the next swim at 8am and it took all of 17 minutes for the pike to find our tasty fishy offerings. The pike put up a great fight right under the rod tip and i remember us both being thank full it made it into the net! The fish again was a upper single but we really did not care we where out to have fun and if the better fish came along then great. On this session it was clear all the pike where eating well and piling on the pounds before spawning.
The bites the previous session came around 30 minutes of each other but when you are on the bank they seem a lot closer at times. I guess it is by the time you have taken the pictures and released the pike and baited up your rod again it almost seems like a few minutes till another rod is going. Ste was the next to get a run and this was proving to be a well timed move as we clocked up fish number 4 of the morning.
The expected bites after this one did not come and like the week before we decided on a move but with a bite always expected it was not until 10am we decided to move swims. It was not until 10.42 that the first run came from the new spot and little did we know what was about to unfold in the next 30 minutes, pike fishing like i never ever thought it could be.
10.42 I get a run on my roach fished dead bait and leaving the run to develop i struck and into a hard fighting jack and boy did it fight taking line from the reel and great fun but in keeping with the cold conditions they have a hard few runs then seem to come up to the top. The fish on the mat it was unhooked and quickly had its picture taken.
The pike resting in the landing net the next thing i hear is ste saying "your other floats going danny!!" with the fish in the landing net we decided to leave the pike as long as we could in the net to recover till the other pike was ready to be netted. I struck into a solid fish that kept deep and had a healthy bend in my rod, Ste was right when he says "you can tell a double" and this was surely a double figure fish.
The fish up eventually on top Ste quickly let the first pike go and scooped up my pike. She was a right fat pike and had, like the others, been eating well. The fish on the unhooking mat we got the hooks out of her and she had made a right mess of the trace that was stuck in the mesh of my landing net. With my landing net being rubber the hooks come out easily and we then set about getting a picture of my pike which went 10.8lb on the scales.
With the camera out and just about to take a picture we noticed stes float going and at this point we really worked fast and i quickly grabbed for my weigh sling/sack and placed my pike in the sling and put it in the edge to rest out of the way.
In this scenario the pike in your hands has no hooks in it so the fish on the other rod takes priority as all attention needs to be on that pike which will need to be hooked and unhooked in the next few seconds. My pike resting in the margin quietly ste struck his fish and we both prayed it would stay on, of all the fish we wanted to stay on it was this one! We where also very conscious when he was playing it that there was a very rare chance of a double hook up picture.
The fish played ball for us and with stes fish on the bank we made the decision to place this pike in the weight sling in the margins for a few seconds while we sorted our selves out. It was 1 minutes of chaos with my fish then another on my rod then stes going straight away we were all over the place, hey who wouldn't be? how often does this happen on a pike session? We got out gear sorted and the rods out again so they where out of the way and set about getting a few pictures.
A joint picture of mine and stes fishes and single shots of each fish, fantastic memories!
It was high fives all round and pats on the bank we both knew that was some special moments so you can imagine our faces when we turned round to see my float heading off like the titanic setting sail and just like the titanic the float also sunk into the depths although no icebergs where involved! 10.59 am and another pike lay before us on the already soaking unhooking mat and i must admit i was shattered my arm was killing me but boy was i buzzing it was out 8th pike of the morning, what a session.
This pike released the clock clicked over to 11.06am and with it stes margin rod that had sat motionless all morning twitched twice before slowly but very steadily moved off. I don't know what made us both say it but we both thought this could be a decent fish just with the way the run was so different to all the other ones. Ste as always was a figure of calm, i tried to be cool about it, on the inside my heart was pumping and it wasn't even my fish! Ste then sparked into life and i knew the time to strike was near.
Reeling in and striking hard his float stayed in the water so i instantly knew it was a better fish and when his 3.5lb rods had a healthy curve in them i knew it was a better fish. Long hard runs saw ste back winding but slowly the tide turned and the fish showed its green flanks and with one turn and a flip of its tail it was off again and at this point we both knew it was a better fish, not that any of us dared utter the words, jinxing this fish was not on the cards.
The fish came up and there was no messing it was a deep scoop and i knew this fish would go mad as soon as it was netted so there was no messing about it was straight out to the water and onto the mat. She was fat as a barrel and "ruddock" of a pike. At 12lb she was the cherry on the cake for a fantastic session.
The only thing that ruined this session was the fact we both had to get off at midday for work and family commitments. We ended the session on 9 pike and two doubles. The last 5 fish coming between 10.42 and 11.06 and included two doubles. I got in my car and again i drove home on cloud nine astonished that pike fishing could be so manic and to think when i started dead baiting in 2014 i could not get it in my head about pike actually eating dead fish.....Jesus!
Surely it cant last.....
The 25th February and it was a noticeably warmer day all round and it was shown by the amount of activity on and around the water. We knew it was going to be a busy one so we hit the water when it was still dark with only the faintest sign of light in the sky. Confidence levels where high from the previous session as we cast out out smelly dead baits into the gloom, a prayer to the angling gods and we sat back and waited for the first run.
Well we sat and sat and after a hour without a touch we began to get a little worried that the fish where not in the area. A quick recast around 8am brought no reward and we had just talked about packing up the rods and moving spots when my right hand rod finally trundled off, Thank god for that they are here and where obviously just having a lie in.
What is the saying about buses? well its the same as pike as in the space of 10 minutes these two pike hit the bank for myself, almost as if they had woken up and gone on the feed.
This was the start of a flurry of action with dropped takes for both of us over the next 30-40 minutes till eventually one developed into a solid run for ste. All through the take we were convinced it was going to let go of the bait, it was a far from confident pike run with plenty of tugging on the float and a really ragged run. Eventually the time came to strike and to our relief the pike stayed on and it judging by the gut on this 9.10oz pike it could have been the one messing us around as it thought can i fit another meal in my belly?
So many pike over 9lb.
After this fish even the dropped runs stopped and we decided on a move to another location. On arrival the water looked mint with no wind and great clarity of around 3ft for dead baiting. In went our rigs and within seconds of it hitting the water it was away with a confident take. Striking it was a short but sweet fight that saw the fish come straight into the net. On the matt for a picture and just as i went to click the fish flipped clear off the matt and bank into the drink, Ste estimated it to be around 9lb so we settled on that for the fish, he is bang on with weights so i was happy with that estimation.
Ste was soon into a fish himself and there was no messing around with this one as it was straight up onto the bank and away from the waters edge. Pics done it was stes second pike of the day and again a nice fish of 7lb10oz.
From this point the bites completely died and we spent the next few hour trying all manner of tricks and tricks to get a bite but it was like a light switch had been turned off. The past few sessions had only been morning sessions and we made a point of putting a whole day into this one so it was sods law the pike would not keep their part of the bargain up.
Minutes turned into hours but with angling there is always something to talk about and it was great putting some plans together for getting out in summer after tench and on the rivers together. We moved spots a few times and apart from a dropped run on a mackerel nothing happened.
2pm and we were close to giving up when the right hand rod sparked into life, my usual excitement to get over to the rod had drained from me on this session with so many dropped runs, i almost dared not let myself think it would develop. The short run developed into a full take as the float slid away and i was rewarded with a nice 8lb9oz pike.
This fish sparked a flurry of action for me and Ste as in the next 30 mins both our rods went and we both picked up a single pike each. A nice way to end the session.
These two pike where a nice way to end the session, its always great when you both catch and on all our sessions we have been lucky that all our rods have gone with nearly equal amounts of fish during the day, sometimes ste would get more sometimes i would but in reality our sessions have never ever been about that. We had a challenge at the start of the season to catch 400 pike and 30 doubles and a twenty and if we were to say we had goals lately it was to try and do the doubles challenge.
On our sessions it really has been the banter that's taken over the fishing, i have of course learnt a great deal about piking from ste, its impossible not to when you fish with someone who has caught so many pike, but it has been the great laughs, experiences like fishing in the rain and hail, experiencing the hard times with no bites and then the unbelievable times with double hook ups, rampant male ducks and bait hungry seagulls that has made the end of this pike season one to remember!
A few more sessions of this piking adventure remain to go down on paper and also there will be a midweek blog update next week on Tuesday with some really exciting news in it about myself so till then tight lines.