Friday, 24 October 2014

River Dane Stick Float Session and New Pike PB.....

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  It is safe to say that upon moving into to little chapter i am about to cover in this and the next blog update i am probably about to write two blogs in a week i never thought i would ever write.  This weeks blog includes a trip to the River Dane with 2 nice perch and then a pike session the next day where i break my pike personal best.  The next update, well, lets just say it is up there for sure and followers of my blogs pages on social media will know what i mean there!  On with this update and i hope you continue to enjoy following me through my angling journey...

Pondip Box Arrives........

This months Pondip box arrived and upon opening it i was really pleased to see it contained such a wide variety of tackle.  These boxes really are exciting to receive and i am really finding the tackle they include very use full indeed.  Some of the tackle i am really going to see the benefit of next year as over the past few boxes i have amassed a tidy array of pre tied pole rigs and pre tied method feeder rigs meaning next summers trips for bream and tench on Rixton Clay pits are certainly going to be a case of unloading my pole and slipping on a rig or attaching a loop through my method feeder and I'm away and for me who likes to take any opportunity to nip out for a quick cast this is so valuable.   You can have a more in depth look at what pondip offer here Pondip Tackle Box and don't forget to take advantage of the discount offer on your first box.

My Simple Pike Set-Up....

I have had a few questions this week on my set up for pike fishing and how i am managing to do it with so little tackle as it seems a lot of people are taking a considerable amount of gear with them.  If i was going out pike fishing now i would be loading up with the following items:

- 2 x Pike rods Ready Set up with Quick links
- Korum Rucksack containing Tackle box, unhooking Matt, carp weigh sling and Cool Bag With Bait In
- 30 inch Fox Predator Landing net set up with small landing net pole

That is about it, if i am going somewhere i know is boggy i might take a rod rest to keep the rods off the deck or if i am ledgering but for my day to day angling that is all i take.  I have only been pike dead baiting for pike since Christmas, so around 4 months, but in that time i have certainly learnt how important it is to be mobile and just because you do well in one place one day doesn't mean the prey fish and the pike are there the next and you really do have to keep mobile.  In this small amount of time i have lost count the amount of times i have sat in one swim for a hour or so without a bite and then moved, maybe sometimes only 10 yards and the float has gone in a few minutes.

Weekly Humour Column....

I am a weekly reader of the Warrington Anglers Chairman's blog update on what is being caught on WAA waters and although i don't always agree with the amount of detail he goes into with specific locations being mentioned, especially when it comes to pike, it is always good to see what is being caught.  I do however also pop on for a good laugh as you can guarantee within the update there is always going to be something to make you laugh and this weeks was a corker.  For anyone in the know there are some real gems hidden in there, in fact i could write a weekly piece on the the bits i find there is so many. 

This weeks had me laughing like a chuckle brother i can tell you that.  The bit in question is where a guy has visited the River alyn and he has quite rightly got in touch with the club to say what a lovely day he has had and why not its a lovely part of the world and he had caught a few fish which is always a good thing considering the poaching that has been taking apart on this river.   I read on and saw this comment and i quote "Such comments make the committees efforts worthwhile". 

The first bit of coffee come flying out of my chops and onto the computer screen at a river being associated with the committees efforts, what a joke, apart form paying the fees to the farmers what does this committee do?  I then add to this the fact that although the person had experienced a nice days fishing on the River Alyn lets not forget that where the Alyn joined the river you could expect 40-50lb nets of fish between two anglers in the right conditions! Add to this the fact that yours truly contacted the committee to let them know a YEAR in advance they were rumours of them losing the stretch next time the lease comes up due to anglers driving the fields and being abusive, what efforts did this committee make to save this diamond of a stretch?? i tell you what they did they told the person to stop spreading rumours and happily gave up the best water this club has ever had....FACT!, committees efforts don't make me laugh! and lets not forget that when you look at your licence some parts of the committee are paid a wage from the club for their "efforts".

Long story short in the time i have been in this club this committee has done nothing for the rivers apart form stock a few trout into the alyn.  In the time they have lost two stretches of river and gained a very shallow stretch of the river alyn that in reality you cant even say is for the fly man as its that over grown, committees effort lmao.

On that lets get onto some proper river fishing on a card that is for the river man on the River Dane.....

River Dane Stick Float Steady Session + Big Perch.....

The week building up to this session we had experienced some rain and it was more than welcome.  The mad cycles of hope the river man goes through is crazy from praying for no rain in winter when the rivers are already swollen to doing rain dances in summer to get the river moving at a steady pace again, all part of the mad year of a river man.

Arriving at the river it was clear to see the rain had added a good couple of inches to a foot on the river and more importantly it had added some pace to the run i planned to fish.  The run in question is deep in front but does shallow up down its course and normally you can reverse shot the float to get the bait to still go over the shallow bit as it is only sandstone but in low conditions with little flow this had caused the float to drag under as it shallowed and made fishing the swim really hard,  thankfully this was not going to be a problem today and setting up i was excited for the session ahead.

Threading my line through the eyes of the 17ft float rod i was flicking maggots upstream and as the light cleared i could see the river had a lovely colour to it,almost like weak tea, she looked bob on for a few fish.

A few weeks earlier i had really struggled in the same area so i knew nothing was to be taken for granted.  Casting out my 10 number 4 dave harrell stick float i hastily flicked 10-15 maggots behind the run and some hemp seed down stream and settled into the first run.   The float had not settled before a zooming bite awoken my senses and i was soon playing the first fish of the day in a pristine 6oz-8oz chublet, a fantastic start.

These chub where ferocious in there feeding and i took a few chublets in the early exchanges that upon releasing into my keep net regurgitated a huge amount of maggots going to show just how much you need to feed if these guys are around.  I do have a bait dropper for this scenario when you think  none of your bait is getting to the bottom where your hemp is.  It is normally small dace and small roach or minnows that give you this problem up in the water but when its 6-8oz chub you don't mind and i continued to feed by hand knowing from experience that the swim will settle down after around a hour.

As predicted around the hour mark the fish settled down and whether the chub just spook or they just move out the area i don't know but they do seem to do a disappearing act in the swim.  Sometimes this can mean the end of the session bites wise and that can be as early as 8am in some cases.  As the colder weather moves in though and the fish struggle to find food as summers bountiful larder or flies and insects dry up the fish do seem to come to the feed and stay longer and this can also be the case when a change in weather brings cloud cover as well as  cold stacking the odds in the anglers favour.

As the chub moved out so the other species moved in and it started with the river mans prize capture the roach, not big but they came steady.  The roach being a less veracious feeder called for the float to be dotted right down to register these delicate bites and after some messing around with the shot i began to pic up the odd better sized roach.

Moving into the early afternoon and the action began to slow down to the point i was going through a number of times before getting a fish and coming in the fish where really scatty in their fight almost as it panicked.  It was time to turn my mind from roach and aim for a more aggressive predator in the for of a perch.  It did not take long for the float to slide away and for me to be playing a hard fighting Sargent.  Netting these fish at the earliest opportunity i have found best as they are good at throwing the hook in the latter stages of the fight so like a heron i waited expectantly for my chance, a quick scoop and he was mine.  At just under 3lb well worth catching.

These fish are never normally alone and i was soon playing another one of the gang and was again adopting the same mentality as with its other sibling and again it worked.  A great way to add weight to your net, two fish 5lb in around 10 minutes.  This fish i recognise due to a red scar on its gill cover so he obviously likes the bait.  i think i may leave the perch on this river in peace now till later on in the year when a new personal best could be on the cards.

The fishing for the roach ticked over till the end of the session with small roach coming steadily with the odd skimmer which saw me end with a total net of 18.5lb and me pleased with a fantastic days work.

Sudden Drop In Temps And New Pike PB.....

Sunday morning and after a busy day on the previous day trotting for silvers i must admit i woke from a really deep sleep.  Some fishing can be quite relaxing and give you the chance to chill out but anyone who has done any trotting will agree with me here when i say trotting a float all day is both tiring on the mind as you really have to concentrate all day on all aspects to be successful.  Bait needs to be place consistently in the same place, amount of bait fed monitored regular, holding back in the right place and of course making the slight changes that keep the bites coming all add up to a tiring but fun day on the bank.

Sunday morning and with the car loaded i set off on my way.  I noticed whilst driving that the yellow warning light was lit on my car alerting me to the fact that the outside temperature was between 0 and 5oc, this is the first time i have seen this light so  in knew over night we had experienced a sharp drop in temperature.  Arriving at my location and walking the bank in the dense low lying fog with my every breath visible as i trundled to my swim.

6.50am and i was casting out two baits into the gloom and if i was honest at this point i could just make the floats out.   I had fit in a quick trip to the bank on the Friday and experienced a hook pull on a nice fish so there was a score to settle in my eyes so i had a plan.  I fished a big bait with a size 4 trebles and a smaller bait off the bottom with a pair of size 6 trebles hoping to pick up some jacks on the small and a bigger pike on the big bait on the deck.

I was just settling down and setting up my peg when out of the corner of my eye my left hand rod dipped once, i quickly reeled in the other rod and placed it out of danger, this is not always possible as quite frankly sometimes the adrenalin of a developing run can see you forgetting all about your other rod but if you can its always better to move the other rod and on this occasion thank god i did. The rod moved i had all my attention devoted to the run and the float had just started to move to the left but the float was still on top.  The float then slowly came in towards me and sunk to the depths, a sign of a better fish normally, a slow reel down till i felt the fish and then a hard strike to set the hooks and the fish was on!

The shock of that rod hooping over as you connect with a better fish and not a jack is something else indeed and this fish from the off was certainly no jack.  She kept deep and was full of power as she made long hard runs for the near bye submerged snag and freedom.  during the fish she was right over the area where my other rod was positioned so it was a good job i had moved it or i would have been in trouble.  The clutch was set quite tight, not to bully the jacks, but the get them in as in my opinion the longer the fight goes on the more chance there is of a hook pull with this game but upon seeing her surface i must admit i began playing her with a looser drag as she was a long nice fish and i knew was one of the doubles we needed for the list.  She fought all the way to the net but eventually she was mine and laying on the unhooking Matt to be unhooked.

Not all unhooking of pike are easy and this one was memorable for being a difficult one, one hook was in the roof of the pikes mouth and the other had gone through between the gills and was outside the pike gills.  This is where a wire cutter comes in as had i released the hook in the top of its mouth and then pulled my treble through the gills i would have risked damaging the gills so i simply snipped the treble off the wire out side the gill and then after removing the hook in the top of its mouth the wire pulled through the gill rakes with no damage at all.

The fish weighed i was over the moon to see the scales settle on 15lb exactly and a new pike personal best!!

The pike admired, pictures taken and weighed was left resting in the margins to recover while i casted out my other rod.  After a few minutes the splashing and tail walking in the net let me know she was ready to part ways and It was a great feeling to see her return home, back into the water the way it should be done and not going home for dinner in a carrier bag.

Pike fishing in my little experience can be a lot of waiting some times but then there is a short frantic period where the fish just seem to turn on and whilst re-baiting my other rod i noticed my big bait rod slowly moving along the water.  Knowing i was on a shallow shelf i gave the fish a bit of time and then wound down and set the hooks.  The result was a nice jack pike of just under 6lb and more of a normal average i have been getting of late from this water.

I released the pike who took seconds to recover as i fought with me as i lifted him out of the net for release.  I turned round to see both my rods lying flat on the ground, i had been wiped out, not a rod in the water and fantastic half an hour of pike fishing.  A few minutes and both rods where out fishing again and i decided to let the lads know that i had knocked two off the tally and added a double as well and of course a new pb. Garry or should i say Schindler because of his love of lists was quick to add up individual scores and whilst he did so my right hand rod absolutely zoomed off along the top of the water and a rate of knots!  No need to give this time i struck and all hell broke loose as a small jack darted from left to right and back again and it had me thinking that he was not doing himself any favours with the 15lb pike sat around still looking for a snack, the fight although frantic was short lived and a small jack was my prize and another off the tally.

This short spell of action was it for the morning despite moving a number of times to more likely looking spots.  I left around noon to enjoy an afternoon with my family and the beaming smile that comes with a personal best followed me all day.  Work commitments meant a few of the other lads where still struggling to get out on the bank so after this session the tally for the challenge stood at 22 pike and two doubles, a solid start considering to this point it has been mainly me finding time to get out.  We all knew this was going to be a team effort and i only had one more trip booked for piking after this one and that was timely as it saw Garry and Ste finding opportunities to get out to keep us ticking over.

Till next time,

tight lines


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Solid Start To Pike Challenge!

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you well and your nets wet.  In this weeks update i hope cover the realities of the pike challenge, cicily mill being netted claims, waa stocking trout into a canal,  where i am up to blog wise and how i plan to get up to date, a video on what your money gets you from the EA and of course there is the fishing where there are plenty of pike captures made.

Realities Of The Pike challenge...

So with a fun challenge well under way with 4 fish banked on the first session i was happy we had made a solid start to the pike challenge.  Those of you who have not read last weeks blog feel free to check it out but the fun challenge we set was for 4 anglers to catch 400 pike with 30 doubles and one 20lb fish.  Well a solid start was made and i thought if we all had the same success we would be well on our way, well, little did i know that 4 in a session was going to have to be the norm for each one of us if we are going to get any where close and we would have to put those four pike each on the bank once a week to have a chance.  So thats 16 pike a week between us if we are going to have any chance.  If i am honest i think the 400 pike is a little too much for us as looking at the months ahead we are just not going to be able to get out on the bank once a week each and add to that there is no way if we do get out once a week that we are going to catch 4 pike in each session as you always get blanks along the way.

The task of 30 doubles i feel is a target we have every chance of getting as we are all fishing waters that can throw up the number of double figure fish we will need so i am confident on this one.   Out of all the parts of this fun challenge the 20lb fish is the one that is really out there but not beyond the realms of possibility and a fish of this size for 3 of the anglers in the group would completely smash their personal best pike which stands at around 14lb for me and Garry and 8lb for Ryan.  Ste has the most experience in the small group by far but out of respect for his requested privacy i will not divulge any more on this but safe to say he can catch them.

So to sum up this challenge is going to be a real journey and is really going to challenge us but i am so excited for the journey that lies ahead..

So Many Sessions, So little Blogs.....

At this moment in time i am so far behind on blogging my fishing trips and this is purely down to the fact i have been getting out at every opportunity to try and catch some pike.  There has not been a drop in the amount of blogs i am producing, in fact we are running at two a week at the moment , but to do all the sessions justice and with the length of the blogs also being in mind i thought it best to split the sessions down.  In this update i will be covering a social session on the 3rd of October, a late evening short session on the 5th where we fished into darkness and also another short session me and Garry did on the 9th of October.

I am hoping to get another small update out midweek that will cover a stick float session to remember on the river and also a pike session the next morning that might include a new PB, just maybe though.  If its not possible to get the midweek update out then this will push these sessions back to next fridays blog and then i plan on blogging this weeks sessions after that, believe me that is worth waiting for.

So its safe to say there is plenty of fishing yet to see the screen of this laptop but its just fitting it all in and i guess.  I would say having so many sessions backed up relieves the pressure on the sessions at the moment but with this being a warts and all blog the blanks never ever worry me as they are just as important to write about as the special sessions in my opinion.

What Do The EA Do With My Licence Fee??

Its safe to say that the Environment Agency take some stick from anglers with regards what they actually do for the money anglers pay.  i am a regular poster on a popular fishing forum and i see a lot the discontent anglers feel against the EA and the perceived little work they do for anglers.  I must admit a lot of the frustration comes from the lack of visible action being taken against people who are taking numerous fish from our waterways for the table with another being the small fines that are passed down to company's who pollute our rivers.  I guess at times some of these criticisms  are just and especially when it involves a water you have developed a connection with over many years.

It was great this week to spend a few minutes watching this video below of the what the EA do after a an incident and how they asses fish stocks and the process involved, well worth a few minutes.

Cicily Mill Netted?? 

This week whilst trawling through the spiel on WAA facebook i noticed that there was a number of anglers claiming that Cicily Mill has been netted.  Sunday was the day in question and the reasoning behind this claim was the fact that anglers had caught well all summer and autumn but no one had caught a fish or seen sight of a fish on Sunday.

Sunday morning i was out on the bank first light and it was the first time the light on my car has been on warning me of the temperatures being below 5oc.  Now i am not saying Cicily mill has not been netted as it might well have been but i would think there would be a lot more evidence of this in the way of crushed down reeds etc it is much more likely that with the water being so shallow that the over night crash i temperatures has killed the fishing on this water.  It is the complete polar opposite to why this water is so good in spring and is the first water the fish start to show on as it warms up so fast but people can forget that this shallow depth works the other way with the cold, i guess time will tell.

3rd October - Social Opening Week Session

This session had been planned a few months ago for the 1st of October but for one reason or another the session was postponed till the Friday.  I arrived at the location not really knowing what to expect fishing wise as it was a place i had never wet a line before but one thing was for sure with three of us on the bank a good but of banter a surely with 6 rods in the water a few fish where a must.

Setting up spread along the bank we were a nice decent apart for us to have a bit of a chat whilst watching our rods. My tactics for the day was to present two dead baits along the margin, one was on a roach and the other on a herring jack.  It was Garry that was first to get a run and after his jet setting holiday you could tell he was more than made up with this early fish and his first of the season.

It was great to see one of us pick up a pike so early on as it ave us all the confidence there was pike in the area and they were on the feed.  Whilst sat back under my brolly i noticed my right float flipped and lay flat on the surface then slowly cock and move round in front of my position and slide under, a firm strike was met with a small jack with plenty of character but not much in the fighting department, still another off the total.

The fish returned i re-baited and settled back in.  As with all pike fishing it seems the bites come in a short flurry and it was not long before Garry was into another fish.  The fish was ready to be netted when i arrived and 3 pike in a matter of a hour we where cooking on gas with the challenge.

It went quiet for the next hour so a move was in order so we leapfrogged along the area.  One thing that was noticible at the beginning of October was how active the pike where in moving onto a bait with most bites coming soon after casting in almost as if they where searching and saw the bait ball through the water.  Dead baits nailed on the bottom where just not being picked up after a hour or so of waiting so staying active was certainly the way to go and i think a lot of this had to do woth the warm temperatures.

This proved to be the case again as no sooner had we moved and cast in my rod was off again and heading towards the depths as another bait was picked up by a hungry esox.  At just under 5lb it was another jack but what lovely dark colours and i was over the moon with this pretty capture.

We then sat through a massive lull in action and at 1 oclock it was time to make a decision as if we was goin to move it had to be now to get the best out of the evening time.  We decided on a move and quickly loaded the car and set off to another good spot we had sounded out in past years.

On the opening day i suffered a hook pull on a pike from a a swim in this location so i quickly cast out a bait to the same location  with the hope he was still home.  I literally had only cast the second rod in when the first float sailed away.  I knew i had a decent bait on so i gave the fish a few seconds before reeling down and setting the hooks.  The result was a solid hold and i knew i had a good hook hold on the fish, i am beginning to tell from the fights when i haven't now, a feisty character he was all over the place in the fight and even though a jack i was over the moon when Garry slid the net under him.

When you are in these scenarios with three of you on the bank and two of you have caught you are praying for the third person to get a run so me and garry sat and hoped for a run on ryans rods.  As the afternoon wore on madness set in and fooling around i pulled the line on ryans ledger rig making the alarm beep, little did i know that from this the beeps would continue as it developed into a run, striking he felt the fish but instantly said it wasnt hooked, me and Garry where prepared for the capture with a net each but like he had predicted the fish spat the bait long before we saw it.

The day wore on and we were all sat in last chance saloon when ryans float slid away and a shirt fight later he was having his picture taken with a pike and he was up and off the mark! Great stuff! Garry lost another pike late on but we all left the water happy with a fantastic social session and us all getting a pike on the bank and we were now into double figures for the challenge with 10 pike banked.

5th October - Late night pikers.....

Garry and Ste had been on a social session on the Saturday and taken a pike a piece  to just under 10lb while i endured a dismal session on the dee where i encountered a swim that was over 19ft deep and a total nightmare to fish on my 17ft rod. Sunday saw Ste banking a the first double of the challenge with a beautifully marked fish of 14.5lb, so going into an evening session to dark with Garry to total stood at 13 pike and 1 double.

We arrived at the location around 4pm and as we were going into dark i set up a ledger rig and a float rig, i have never legered for pike before so it was going to be a new experience should i get one on it.  In reality i did not have to wait too long as in the corner of my ever i noticed the tip tapping and then the alarm sounded a few beeps, picking up the rod i felt the fish on the end and gave it a few seconds before setting the hooks.  All the locations we are fishing so far all hold a number of jacks but also have the potential for doubles and even that special fish but its safe to say most fish are going to be jacks and lets face it jacks are going to make up the majority of this challenge.

We fished on for another hour or so and it was garry who was next to latch into a pike utilising a twitched method to lure the fish to take and again he landed a fish that was full of energy and again the bites where coming form a moving bait or just after casting.

We fished on into dark and fished a hour into dark.  When you make commitments like this you almost feel you deserve a fish but alas our efforts went unrewarded.  Two pike in a quick evening session though was more than welcome and kept the total ticking over.

9th October - Joining Garry for Half Day.....

On this session i joined Garry for the afternoon of his full day session chasing pike.  It was around 3pm when i joined Garry on the bank and he had already landed one pike.  The venue was crystal clear and there where plenty of pike following our baits but not taking.

Perseverance paid off as eventually a bang on rod as i slowly retrieved a small bait revealed that something had hit the bait.  Striking i was unsure if i had connected with a pike as it really felt like i was reeling in my bait, but no there was a pike on the other end and a tiny jack.  The all count as they say and i will take them all.

A move to another venue saw garry picking up two more pike and it was also great o have our licences checked on the day as well.  All said and done 9 days into the challenge and we were on 18 pike and one double, we had all caught pike and off the mark and there was one double figure pike off the total, Great stuff

thank you anf if you have made it this far through them jacks then here is a sneak of what is to come....

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Pike Season Commences And A Fun Challenge

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you well and your nets wet.  I will start off this weeks update with an apology for the random updates of late and it is purely down to beiung out on the bank fishing.  I have around 4 trips including the ones in this update and also have at least one trip this Saturday to add to this list so its going to take some mini updates for me to catch up, i guess the best excuse for not updating your angling blog is the fact you have been fishing!  On with the update.

4 Anglers, 400 Pike 30 Doubles and 1 20lb pike in one Season...

It has been great these past few months to have built up a good friendship with 3 other anglers all passionate about their pike fishing and as such we decided to set up a challenge for the coming season for a bit of fun and the challenge is 400 pike caputred between us between 01st October 2014 and the 15th March 2015 with a target of 30 of them being into double figures and one 20lb pike.   It is purely for a bit of fun and the target is quite a challenge as i think it was worked out at 16 pike between us a week! 

It is a challenge that is certainly going to challenge us all and if i get anywhere near a 100 pike myself i will be over the moon indeed.  As with all pike fishing keeping the location of captures close to your chest is paramount in these times where our rivers are being raped for the table so as such not all the other anglers captures will have pictures but i am hoping to document the challenge as it goes along and hopefully share the highs and the lows as we do it and its safe to say we have made a steady start in the first week.

So i hope you will enjoy this journey into the unkown and remember in the world of dead baiting for pike i only have a total of around 2-3 months experience.  So excited though and the comradery that goes with it is already first class.

Grabbing Any Window Of Opportunity...

With ther challenge in mind i have thught long and hard about my tactics for this and a big part of me having any meaningfull contribution to this list is the ability to take advantage of any windows to wet a line and that means being organised.  I was recently looking around Go Outdoors and came accross a tackle box that looked to be perfect for my needs as i was looking to seperate my pike gear from my coarse fishing box so at the drop of a hat i can grab rod, landing net, tackle box and a few dead baits and be on the bank and this little box from Go outdoors is perfect.

The box comes with many compartments and also gives you customisation with the ability to place your own spacers so it can accomodate any size tackle.  I have put the rig board to one side for carping next year and it was pleasing that all my unhooking tools like forceps etc fit nicely into the top box.  The other smaller box that come with this are perfect for all the little items like hooks, crimps, weights, ledgers and other termincal tackle.  The fact the box shuts snug on the main box and the little boxes means that no matter how much you move it around the items stay in there little compartments, which is great for poly pop up balls. 

In short i have been really impressed with this purchase and i am already seeing the benifits of being so organised to get out on the bank.  The only down side is i have to now take this box with me when i want to target pike on my coarse sessions. 

Out Of Control????

On my journey too and from work I regularly cross a local canal and as the time for pike fishing has drawn close i have seen a increase in anglers on the bank, great i first.  It wasnt until i went shopping later that week that i wandered up the canal to see if anything was doing and i noticed a few anglers pike fishing on the canal with lures but something was missing and it was landing net.  I must admit alarm bells for me start ringing when i see people fishing without a landing net as it either means two things, one, they are inexperienced and are not aware they could hook a big fish and need to get it out of the canal or two, they are fishing for the table and have no intention of worrying about fish safety as the fish is going in a carrier bag for the table any how. 

This latter fear was confirmed this week as i was told a story of a person witnessing a big bream being scaled on the canal bank!  i have fished the canal all my life and i can asure you it is one palce i would not eat anything from given the "things" i have seen floating in the canal and also you add to that the fact these pike are quite partial to eating young duckings you would imagine the local rat population is also on their menu which opens us the possibility of weils desease.  Although that might be a good way for a lesson to be learnt!

This raping of our fish stocks for the table is now evident on all the water si now fish and i am not saying them taking the odd bream is destroying our fishing but when you mess with the pike population you are going to have an effect on the ecosystem and the quality of the fish in that water after all pike ensure a healthy fish population by picking off the weak and sick which then dont go on to breed and pass it on.

With that lets get into some fishing......

Sunday Morning "The Excitement Gets Too Much......"

After the drab fishing the day before on the Dane saved by a special capture featured on in the previous blog (link: ), i was ready to get out and make a mends so with two rods set up for float fishing and a hand full of dead baits i set off into the dark not really knowing where i was heading.  Good luck is always welcome in this game and on my way i tried to increase my chances by wishing an angler waiting for a lift on the corner of my street "tight lines", surely this would put me in good stead.

I finally settled on a location and even after a lengthy drive it was still pitch black when i unloaded the car but in knew with a good few minutes walk ahead of me and by the time i had rigged up i would probably be casting out just on first light and prime time for a hungry pike to be looking for their breakfast, i just hoped they fancied my half frozen mackerel.

Walking along the stretch it looked good and from last year i knew it was more what lied underneath the water than what was on top that made this stretch stand out from the rest as along it lay a number of submerged trees and snags.  It is an area that holds a number of jacks this time of year but also has the potential to produce some fish into double figures.

For the first few hours i leap frogged the stretch and did not have so much as a tap and i must admit with the sun well up in the sky and the temperatures rising i knew my chances where dwindling all the time as the pike retreated into their day haunts.  I was in contact with Garry and Ste who where full of "encouragement" and i must admit i reached the end of the stretch and began to think about calling it a day and with a few bits needed for future sessions using the time to pick up some extra terminal tackle i needed.

I decided to work my way back along the beat spending 15-20 minutes in each lie with a view to calling it a day when i reached the other end.  The first spot produced nothing and then whilst walking to the next i spotted a dark lie that just screamed home for a pike and demanded instant investigation with my pike float.  Over went a bait and with the float cocking just off bottom i set about placing my second rod just a bit further along.

A god 5 or 10 minutes passed with no action till out of the corner of my eye i spotted the float i had placed in the dark whole slowly start to twitch and move away.  The float moving along the top is normally a sure sign of a small jack and with this place holding a few i reeled in to set the hooks expecting little resistance so you can imagine my shock as when i struck all hell brok loose as the rod hooped over and there was one almighty swirl as the fish angrily came up to the top trying to spit the hooks.  I managed to move the fish into the middle where it hugged the bottom and began making long hard runs left and right.

In the excitement i had not brought the other rod in and this fish time and time again ran underneath the other line and had i not been using Power Pro braid that floats i would have been in some serious trouble.  The fish fought like a demon as it made run after run along the bottom and it was not until its head surfaced i got a chance to net the fish and seeing it was a double i took it with no hesitation.

The fish in the net i took a quick snap above and then set about getting the unhooking matt and unhooking tools ready and i guess in this moment i learnt a huge lesson in dealing with pike on the bank and that is being prepared ready for the fish as in an instant the fish tail walked clear of the net and i quickly grabbed the rod.  I was in an awful place now as i knew i had a decent fish and i knew this fish,now full of fight,  had a decent chance of getting away as with pike fishing one shake of the head and it can be game over.  The fish fought and fought and fought and it was another epic battle to get the fish in again and this time there was no messing it was straight out of the water and onto the waiting unhooking matt.

The hooks removed it was time for a picture and since a recent update to my iphone i can now take timed pictures so i was really pleased with this picture as my first self take ever!  She went 12lb and i was over the moon to have caught her and look forward to crossing paths with her again next February when she could be a new PB.

The pike released to go back to sulk along the edge i had a good look over the pictures and cheekily sent a few via the inter webs. The pike had made a right mess of my trace though so while i set about getting this rod back in action i cast the other rod back into position.

In reality getting this rod back up and running took a matter of seconds but i will go into that in a future update when i go over my set up for pike fishing.  Nothing else came from that swim and it is little surprise with that nice girl lurking about looking to pick off any smaller jacks so it was time for a move further along.  Almost as soon as i cast the bait out and it had settled the float was away again in the new spot and striking into this fish i was met with a more familiar fight from a jack pike weighing 6lb 7oz.

Two pike landed and i was looking at the session with a completley different outlook and full of energy i plundered two more swims but alas no more pike where forthcoming and i wandered off for an afternoon of adventure with the family.

October 01st First Day Of The Challenge.....

Wednesday the first of October had long been put aside for a social piking trip with Garry and Ryan but as with all things in life things change and going into September it turned out that Garry was going to be unable to make the opening day so a session was quickly pencilled in for Friday 3rd October.  There was never any chance i was going to cancel my leave for the 01st as i planned to be on the bank at the crack of day looking to find my first pike of the season and get it on the board.

With a session booked for the Friday pike fishing i decided to try and have some fun on the Wednesday and with my Lymm Anglers card in hand i planned a day on the canal with a sleeper rod out for a hungry pike.  Setting up in the dark i was ready to cast in on first light and was confident with plenty of fish topping.  A hour in and the float remained motionless and i was perplexed as to why the action was so slow, this was until the sun came up and i relaised the canal was crystal clear to the point i could see my keep net to its base and also could see my ground bait quite clearly on the bottom on the far side, i knew i was wasting my time so it was all the gear lumped back in the car and back home to unload the pole gear and load up with all pike to go and hopefully find myself an esox or two.

I arrived at a stretch to a text message than my little girl was feeling unwell but to stay out fishing and she would call if i was needed so i chose a spot close to the car in an area i have never fished before.  It was 11am by this point and the day was not going as i had planned.  I would not say this challenge has ever weighed heavy on my shoulders but it was there in the back of my mind that if we are going to get close then a good start was imperative.  Things i thought went from bad to worse as on my first cast i hooked into the only reed stem in the swim but a swift yank released it from its stubborn sittue and it was whilst reeling in i noticed splashes behind the stem and as it came closer i noticed it was a pike attacking the reeds as i brought them across, only a jack but with active fish in the area i upped my confidence in this new area. 

Knowing the fish where quite clearly not up for a stationary bait in this area i chose to devote one rod to a big bait on the deck for that big girl looking for an easy meal and the other i fished shallow twitching back a bait and leaving it a few seconds under my feet in case any fish had followed it in.  It didnt take many casts before the shimmering silver flanks of a sprat proved irrestable to a small jack pike and my god it was a small pike.  Probably one of the smallest pike i have ever caught but still very welcome indeed and i guess as we progress through this challenge we will say the words "they all count" many times.  The first fish of the challenge in the net and we were off the mark!  a quick look down this pikes mouth shows how prepared they are even at such a young age.

A quick move along the bank and while twitching the bait back my phone went off and while speaking to the missus i left the float in the edge fluttering away.  I normally am a bit of a walker while im on the phone and this time i was very lucky i wasnt as stood right in front of the rod i noticed the float slide away, 1, 2, 3 strike and i was into another fish, "i'll ring you back FISH ON".  Under the rod tip it put up a great fight and with the weather it was full of life with plenty of head shaking and i must admit i was relieved to have got the fish in.  At just under 5lb it was still a jack but certainly an improvement on the first.

Pike are certainly not a fish you can just chuck jack in and they will be fine like you could do with say a roach or dace.  Pike at this time if year are still quite active as these last few fish showed and with low oxygen content you must take time to rest them proper in the net.  for example this picture below is the pike when i put her back and then after a few minutes she is upright and nearly ready to go.

The golden rule with resting any fish is it takes as long as it takes and you will know when they are ready, for example this fish was trying to jump clear of the net before i let him go and its always great to see them go back strong flick of their tail.

The next few hours where quite quiet as i worked the stretch and it was whilst twitching a bait across i saw my big bait rod slowly start to move away.  This rod going always fills me with excitement as the fish has taken a static bait off the bottom and normally means a better fish or at least get me thinking that way.  The rod reeled in i gently felt the line to confirm a fish on the end before striking to set the hooks again the fish went mad as its easy lunch fought back and although the lacked the power of trhe bigger fish it put up an almighty fight for a pike weighing only just over 6lb, fish number three and they were getting bigger.

It took till late on for any more action and what a shock it was as right under my feet a pike shot out and actually attacked my pike float! It shook me up i can tell you as it was one almighty crash.  I quickly recast out and twitched the bait around the area and it didn't take long for this hungry predator to seize the chance of a free fish meal, maybe he didn't like the plastic first time.  Weighing just over 4lb 8oz i was not surprised to see it be another jack as you don't really get the better fish doing this, again though another off the list.

That was it for the session and i left an happy angler having made a soid start with 4 fish on the bank and i was ono my way.  I text the other guys to let them know that inrodes had been made and the challenge is well and truly one.  I had a sesison planned on the Friday with three of us but could we add more?? well find out in next weeks blog......

till then its tight lines


Thursday, 9 October 2014

River Dane Perch Saves Dire Sesison......

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  A running intro on this blog now is about the warm weather and this has continued into this weeks sessions as midday temps are still well into double figures but as i will go into in future updates the mercury is certainly on a down wards spiral....finally.  In this weeks blog i hope to cover the my session on the Dane and a grabbed few hours last Friday evening for pike.  Also included is some topics around the acquisition of a new licence, my thoughts on developing yourself as an angler and my an update on how i plan to blog this weeks fishing as its been a corker so far. 

Put Some Soul Into Ya Fishin' Man......

This week i decided to go back to my roots and become a member of Lymm Anglers.  I have not joined the full club but taken up their offer of a Bridgewater Canal Licence for £23.50.  I often travel along the canal where i grew up fishing and where it all began for me with an air of happiness of fond memories of me and my dad sat fishing away every Saturday while mum went shopping.  In those early days of my fishing life we would always fish bronze maggot, i think its banned now as the dye can kill you! and it was always Van Der Ende ground bait and it had to be mixed sloppy, this was always my job at the start of the sesSion while my dad set up.   My early years was spent fishing the canal on a small whip or as we called it "the snatcher" and even this close in you would catch some nice bream and roach but like many kids my first fish was a perch.

My first Christmas after going fishing with my dad i awoke to my first fishing box and my own rod, i forget the name but the bot was black with a sponge red lid and the rod was a Shakespeare.  I will always remember me saying i could not wait to get out fishing and from no where my dad brought out a box of maggots he had bought earlier and a promise to go fishing on Boxing day, i never slept a wink that night!  Boxing day come and with a frost on the ground we headed to the canal, a journey we made so many times but never in such conditions, it was freezing.  I think we lasted a hour before i shivering asked my dad "What time we going home dad? I'm cooold"  we packed in there and then but i always remember coming in the house to a bowl of hot soup form my mum and my dad complaining that he had been fishing for 20 years and never once come home to soup!!  As i said before happy memories and maybe i will share some more over time on here and they are the best memories of all as there are no pictures of any fish just all in my mind. 

So its safe to say this canal holds some good memories for me so it will be good to see how it is fishing all these years on and maybe not now but next spring and summer i will retrace old footsteps, for now i am hoping to sneak in the odd pike session as i always remember pike being a visitor on many of our trips.

Finding Time For Bloggin....

As i mentioned in last weeks blog i am going to be on the bank a lot over the coming week and even now as i write this blog on Thursday i have so many trips to blog about there is no way i am going to get them into one blog so there will be certainly smaller updates coming over the next week or so, well i would say certainly and even now there is a trip planned tomorrow, normal river fishing on Saturday and a pike session on Sunday so time for blogging is short but hey ho will fit it in somewhere along the line just bear with me at this point as there will be a few updates out in short succession if i dont get Fridays update live, hectic times but certainly fun.

Developing As An Angler...

I have said many a time on this blog that angling is so much more than catching fish, it is in my opinion a journey and through your life you develop as an angler and week on week, season on season, you add a little bit more to your fishing till in the end i guess you reach a stage in your life where you want to pass this knowledge onto someone else.  This thirst to progress with angling and develop my knowledge certainly drives me on and sometime it can mean taking a plunge  into the unknown and failing dramatically, just look at my spring/summer exploits for carp in the carp quest.   Some will see this as a failure but i learnt so much from them blanks that i will be using again next year in my fishing to hopefully crack it.

It also works the other way as shown with jumping in at the deep end with dead baiting for pike last January and with the help of some good friends and the dedication to get out there i am by no means the worlds best pike angler or anywhere near being half decent, but, what is different now is i am happily going to the bank with Confidence and that for me is a huge leap from January where i was going and waiting not knowing what i was doing to be honest.  In short i guess i am saying if you want to try and achieve something the forums, Youtube and Blogs for that matter will only take you so far you need to get out there and do the hours on the bank to really learn anything in angling in my opinion and the sense of achievement when doing it like this is something else indeed.

With that lets get onto this weeks fishing and we start with Pike....

Friday 26th September -  Only Got Eyes For My Pike Float....

Friday and as i recall it had been a stinker of a day in work where every case i had dealt with had been a labyrinth of errors and queries.  My head was battered and with the blog already wrote and pictures just needing to be added i decided to give my eyes a rest from the artificial glow of a computer screen and let them relax to the gentle motion of a pike float lying lazily at the side of a reed bed for a few hours, sometimes you just need to get out.

It was only going to be a short session but i knew what little time i had was being spent at the right time of the day as just as the suns going down and the shadows lengthen you can imagine those pike leaving their day time lairs to go on the feed..  I always go piking with the target of one fish, this is a comment you will hear a lot this year as it will be said a lot with my piking, so with one fish or even one chance/run in my sights i cast into the oily murky depths.  

A good hour went by before i noticed my right hand rod tremble slightly before the float laid flat on the top as the pike lifted the egg sinker off the bottom before moving off with the bait and cocking the float, my heart skipped a beat with the excitement,  quickly i come to my senses and reeled the other rod in and grabbed the rod and watched as the float slowly slid away under the water and with that i struck.......Disaster....I had set the rod up the previous evening and when doing so i had loosened the drag and not set it proper so when i struck there was no power to set the hook and line slid of the reed giving the fish loads of slack!  This slack line was soon put to good use by the pike as it threw the hooks, i was gutted.  

I don't mind losing fish to hook pulls or striking and the hooks not being in a position to hook the fish as this is part of piking but i knew i had made a school boy error and missed a chance, was that my chance gone?

I decided to work my way back along the stretch and thank fully on a known little hot spot the float began to dance its pikey dance although i have to say before even striking in knew it was a small jack as the jagged movement across the water without enough power to sink the float is normally a sure sign of a jack.  Heading on its merry way i gave it a few seconds before striking and i have to say on my 2.75tc rod it was more of a case of reeling it in that playing the fish but i was happy to have got the one fish i set out for.  Driving back home in the memory of the sesison was more of what could have been more than what i caught.

BIG Perch saves drab session on the River....

That evening i set about publishing the blog and getting my gear ready for a days trotting the next day and having my gear split is becoming a real head ache for me, more on that in the next update, eventually i was all set for a trip to the River Dane the next day.

Arriving on the banks we set up in swims we had fished once or twice before and had caught steady 10lb plus nets of fish from so we were confident of a few bites as we unloaded the car and walked to the river.   In the morning light the river was going through steadily and was painfully low but in these conditions it looked ideal for roach and possibly some big bream to make an appearance and we were full of excitement as we set up.

Rivers are some of the most fantastic places on earth but on others they can be an absolute killer as the first two hours of the session passed with a few small perch and a small roach and the bites where painfully spread apart, it was like the river was dead.  My uncle visited my peg a few time sin this time, always a sign of a hard session, he was in the same predicament going a hour without a knock.  It was during this time i had another visitor to my peg and it was great to put a face to name on a forum i post on and i thoroughly enjoyed a chin wag before he headed off for his breakfast, great to meet you, you little tinka tinka :-)

It was just before this visit i had struck into on of the nice perch that call this river their home and although i am sure its a recapture it was more than welcome on this session and at 2lb 8oz you can never ever complain and was a sight for sore eyes on the day. 

In these scenarios decision time is never too far always and as the days shorten it becomes even more important to be quick and decisive about moving and when you look at the net below you can see why by 11am we were on the road heading for the river weaver. 

There was match on most of the lengths but we found a few spots to sneak into and in hindsight we should have just kept on driving home as nothing came to my float fished dead baits or on the pole line, to either of us.   All in all we can not complain about these two sessions having experienced quite a fantastic run of fishing in the past months and if we where honest we were due a bad one.

till next time,

tight lines