Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Barbel Blues and Sneaking on the Pike Shoes...

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  Pike, Pike, Pike and more pike has all that's been flowing through my mind the past week.  The excitement to get out there and catch them is there, even if it only seems seconds ago the season finished, but the weather at the moment is making it really difficult to imagine casting out a dead bait in earnest for these fish.

In this weeks blog i look a little more at my ideas and thought for the upcoming season and incorporated in this will be a little bit or reason as to why i decided to hit the bank with the idea of catching a pike this weekend.  The other fishing is a session on the river for barbel, a species i have not really given enough time and attention to if i am honest over the past month or two.

Lets get into the update..

Piker with a Plan

So we stand on the cusp of another pike season and with it a whole host of memories are waiting to be created and lived and i can not wait to find out what this season has to hold for me.  The past few seasons we have always had a numeric target for the three of us to aim.  Past seasons have proved this idea to be a fun target to aim for but needing numbers of pike it does put you off trying those areas for quality rather than quantity so this year i wont be getting involved in chasing a numeric total of individual pike.

Last season i did set myself a target of 10 double figure pike and i think given the venues i fished last season this 10 doubles was an obtainable and nice target to go at so again this season i will be setting myself a personal goal of 10 double figure pike.  A target I hit last season and a target i actually enjoyed chasing.  In my piking i think as the season goes on it gives you that push to keep on getting out trying for pike even on the days where it seems a complete waste of time.

10 doubles will be a nice target to chase and I'm hoping will also fit in with my change of direction with my piking this season.  The past two and a half seasons i have been very lucky to share the bank with anglers who have been piking a good number of years and there is no escaping that hours spent on the bank with experienced pikers has seen my learning and understanding of pike fishing drastically truncated.  Although my main focus of going fishing with other pikers is for the laugh, chin wag and hopefully catch the odd pike while there you can not go fishing with someone who has been piking over 20 years and not learn and improve yourself as an angler.

This season i hope to start on a new adventure on a bigger waterway and take some of the lessons learnt and try and adapt them for fishing for pike on my own.  Using my water craft mixed with my determination to put the hours in i'm hoping i will find some success.  Last season i tried a new area of water and managed to bank some small pike and a few doubles so i would  ecstatic to replicate those results but as with all fishing you don't know until you get out there with a bait in the water, right now? I am chomping at the bit to get out, lets hope the pike are as veracious.

On to this weeks fishing...

Barbel Blues...

So far i have done two evening trips for barbel fishing into dark with two eels and a lost barbel to show for my efforts.  I say efforts loosely as in all honesty i do not deserve to put a barbel on the bank right now, i have put minimal effort into it and the time just has not been there to travel to the river to try for these fish.  I think there are a number of factors surrounding why the effort hasn't been there but mainly it just hasn't grabbed me like new adventures normally do and i don't think it has helped that i have enjoyed and had success in my carp fishing adventures this summer.  A venue a lot closer than the river as well.

That said recently we decided to go back and try the river again.  My uncle on the stick float and myself sitting it out for a barbel or chub.  My bait for the day was luncheon meat that had been cut at home and frozen in a food bag that contained a mixture of chili flakes, hot chili powder and garlic granules and i planned to fish this over a big bed of hemp seed so i boiled up 3 pints of chili flavoured hemp.

The day was going to be a warm one so i picked a swim that on paper looked a dream.  It had bags of cover and a good depth, in fact it would make a cracking winter swim i reckon.  Settled back in the swim i made my first cast of the day and sat back.  No action for two hours but i continued to drip feed hemp into the swim and a good hand full of hemp every 30 minutes.

Out of the blue with no warning the tip walloped round and striking i expected to feel the reistance of a fish but the rig just come back at me.  Casting back in i fed hemp again and sat back in my seat waiting for a second chance.  The chance came sooner than i thought around 15 mins after casting in the tip again went round but again nothing was on the end.

A change of tactics to a bigger hook, size 4 instead of a size 6, i was back into the swim.  A long wait till our midday pack up saw the tip go round again with the same result.  A frustrating day on the bank to say the least, i would say at least one was a barbel judging by the how hard the tip went round but not knowing barbel fishing i don't really know where i went wrong.  I upped the size of hook which was buried in the meat i can only think maybe increasing the weight of the lead maybe bit all the books say fish with enough to hold bottom and my one ounce lead was doing that easily.

All part of the learning curve and with piking coming up soon i think the barbel may well have to wait for next summer now and a rethink on tactics as it seems location is nailed in me getting bites.  This update should please those followers who believe we catch every visit we go out lol.

Sneaking on the Pike Shoes....

I have been doing my homework for some time now with regards the upcoming pike season.  I have been scouring Google earth and printings out maps of my destinations for the coming months whilst making the odd visit to plumb the depths of the areas in want to fish.

Baring rain fall and the water being up and coloured i have earmarked one location for a visit come Saturday 1st October.  It has a nice summer depth and a few features on top and beneath the water that really interests me with regards pike and with that in mind we decided to visit it for a day session on the pole recently.

My plan for the day was simple, fish the pole for silvers and put a rod out to the side on a live bait paternoster for a pike. Prepping the Paternoster rig the night before it felt weird prepping a pike rig as it only feels like 5 minutes since i packed the pike gear away.

My main focus on the day was to fish the pole to the best of my ability and as such preparation for the pole was as in depth as the preparation for the piking.  I must admit though i got some really really funny looks this week collecting my molehill soil.  I knew rain was coming in the evening so it was on my way home from work i decided it best to collect the dry soil form the molehill.  There i was, dressing in my work shirt and pants, at the side of the road at rush hour riddling molehill soil into a bucket.  All in the name of fishing, some of the looks where priceless.

The preparation done it was time to see the next morning if the location had any legs in it from a pike point of view.  I know this should really be the session on the 1st of october but excitement got to much for me.  The first fish caught won the prize as a live bait and the pike rig held up well in the water as it allowed the fish to move freely around a centre point and the bigger float was enough to hold it there with a weak bit of 5lb line as a rotten bottom to a lead.

The whole process of adding molehill soil to my ground bait is new to me but i am learning a few lessons and will be posting a in depth blog about this in the coming weeks.  The ground bait mixed i added the soil till i got the mix i was looking for.  I was aiming for a 50/50 mix as i wanted there to be feed as well as colour in the mix and i think i achieved that.

The bites where steady on the pole line bit there where not many better fish showing on the line.  The swim as producing mainly roach and the odd perch at around 5 metres.  I was hoping for the odd bream to show and as i fished the pole line i kept one eye on my pike rod and on the water for signs of pike striking.

It was becoming clear that the area held a decent number of silver fish at this time of year and with one predator in the perch already here in numbers i knew the apex predator would not be far behind.  It took around a hour and half but eventually one found the bait and the paternoster float began to move off into the deeper water.  Temperatures warm it was a quick strike, in fact it was an instant strike, trying my best to avoid foul hooking the pike.

Worth remembering here i was not really out pike fishing i just wanted to gauge if the area was any good for pike come october.  A nice pike around 6lb was soon on the bank and one treble right on the tip of its mouth it was soon unhooked and back int he water to rest.  A quick lift out for a picture and back in till he was fully recovered and ready to go.

A fantastic result so far with plenty of bait fish and a lovely marked pike showing.  The fish continued to bite on the pole line till our midday pack up.  The ground bait did not bring any bream in but the perch did muscle the roach out in the end and it was a perch a chuck for the final hour or so of the session.

I decided to try a perch as a live bait just to prove to myself that pike will take these fish as well as roach and this plodded away on the paternoster that again showed itself to be a great rig and one i will certainly be using come october, especially if the temperatures are still high.

The final net showed a great number of bait fish in this area.

This was proved when the pike rod went again while we where drying our nets in the sun.

All in all a worthwhile exercise and one that sets me up nicely for october 1st.  I now know the area holds pike and come that opening days session i am going to be hitting the bank confident in this area and if i get the same result then i will be over the moon.

Till next time

tight lines


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