Friday, 23 January 2015

33LB Stick Float Chub Net and Dead Baiting For Pike.....

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  By the time this goes live i will have returned back to the regimental confines of my nine to five job and will probably looking out the windows wishing i was out watching either a stick float go gently down the chub swim i am about to write about or waiting for that rush of adrenalin as a pike run develops, either way it wont be a happy return.  In this weeks update i am going to cover my thoughts on using a keep net, personal reason why i use one and my thoughts on why these are so badly perceived by some anglers.  There will be a little bit on a rather tricky pike i had to unhook recently and if the blog has gone live a little on my recent feature for Pondip.  The fishing in this weeks blog See's me remembering my scales for a special chub session, a few short sessions for pike and one long day social for pike.  So with that lets get into the update..

Why Use Keepnets...

It is safe to say in the past 15 years fish welfare in angling has taken over dramatically with unhooking mats and "cradles" now common place in most fishing trips and even written in the rules in most fisheries.  There has also been many other parts of our angling that have come under the microscope in that time as well, barbed hooks are certainly not as common as they once where and also it seems the keepnet has also fallen out of favour with many anglers. 

The rise of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter where people can share images has certainly driven these changes in angling with pressure from peers in comments on photos almost enforcing the use of unhooking mats and other such fish welfare appliances.  With unhooking mats now firmly part of the furniture now in most pictures and anglers fishing attention certainly has moved now over to the use of keep nets and i myself have certainly had more than one discussion on social media around my use of them in my angling.

Talking from a personal point of view here i use a keepnet for a number of reasons, the first is the fact that being brought up on the local canals fishing for silvers a huge part of the fun of angling for me growing up was looking at the fish you had caught at the end of the session, lifting that net after a days fishing to see all the fish you had caught and then releasing them was certainly one of the reasons i went fishing.  I now forward 20 so years and i still head off to the bank with a keep net in my luggage as that love of seeing a net come the end of the day is still there and also using a keep net lets you gauge how well the session has gone as you compare weights and number of fish to previous sessions.  I feel so passionately about using a keep net on my sessions that two years ago whilst looking for another angling club i actually decided not to join Lymm Anglers for the reason they have a no keep net rule on rivers, its just part of my fishing. 

Away from personal reasons for using a keep net there is also a practical reason for using one in some scenarios and they surround the species of fish the chub.  I always remember when i joined Warrington anglers the talk was all around being mobile and that you will never catch more than one chub from a swim on the river Dane, "catch a fish and move on" was all anyone ever said.  In my early days on the stretch i found this to be true you would catch a chub and then could wait a hour or so for the next from that swim where as if you moved to the next sunken tree a chub would come quick if it was there.   I then recall a session i did with my uncle early on where we visited the dane and we stuck to our swims with their being three of us.  Armed with my keep net and all my gear i set up and within the first hour with the keep net in i had four chub in the net with the session ending with 8 chub caught from the one swim in just the morning.  These fish where there every session but with no keep net you only caught one before i think you releasing it spooked the shoal.

I am convinced the use of keep nets when fishing for chub make a difference and i bet they also do when fishing rod tip for dace and roach.  The other huge benefit when fishing rivers and canals and using a keep net is the fact they act as a huge indicator of when  a pike is in your swim.  Long before your swim may die on the river from a pike moving in you will normally see all the fish in your keep net rise to the top and this is almost certainly an indicator of a predator in the area and helps explain why your swim dies.  No keep net you might just think the shoal had moved on, a small but definite perk of using a keep net.

On a final note lets not forget that keep nets have come a long way form the gill net esque nets of the 70's to 90's fine mesh, long and spacious nets are now the norm and allow the fish freedom of movement while in the net whilst having a large rubber net to transfer the fish into for taking a picture means any harm to the fish is drastically reduced.  Social media has of course allowed for a breeding ground of people to comment at will thinking their opinion is the right one and the only way or should i say they think "their way IS the ONLY way it should be done".

In reality the beauty of angling for me lies in its diversity and in the fact one mans or woman's way of catching fish or fishing in general is totally different to another and i think people should respect that when commenting on photos on social media.

Tricky Unhooking

In my short time dead baiting for pike i have been really lucky in that i think i have only had one or two pike that have taken the bait quite deep and in both scenarios the use of semi barbless hook and wire cutters has seen the fish unhooked and released safely.  In this weeks update i remember having one fish that was quite a tricky one to hook.  It was not so much deep hooked than the bottom treble had gone through the gills and was hanging out side of the pikes gills.

Had the pike been of a decent size into double figures i would have probably had an easy time teasing the hooks back through the pikes gills but with this pike it was only a jack and the gaps in the gills was not really there to do so.  I just think it was worth sharing how simply carrying wire cutters made this quite difficult scenario much easier as quickly snipping off the bottom trebles allowed me to remove the top treble from the pikes mouth and simply pull the wire with no hooks on the end through the gills.

Quick thinking and not being bothered about cutting your wire to help unhook a pike safely made this quite tough unhooking on paper quite quick and i just thought it was worth sharing for any new people like myself to the sport of dead baiting for pike.

On to the fishing....

Stick Float Fishing For Chub....

In last weeks blog i covered a session i had recently fishing for chub and unfortunately on that session i forgot my weigh scales so i had no idea of the size of the net of fish, on this session it was the first thing i packed.

Myself and my uncle spent the night before scanning the water levels on the EA with this hope of getting on the River Dee but with the chart showing heights of over 7m me knew there was zero chance of us getting on the main river so we set our sights on one of the smaller rivers.

The swim was the same one as i fished last session and i decided on this session to take a huge risk and do something i do not normally do and fish close to the feature i was drawing the fish from on my previous trip.   Fishing the other bank i was in prime position to run a float right along the feature and also on the right side for striking into the fish across my body. 

Fishing this side of the river also meant i could use my 17ft rod to get right behind the float and hold it back and this also allowed me to use a much lighter float than i would normally in the form of a 6 number four stick which actually came from one of the Pondip boxes.  The reason for this was i was right on the fish and i did not want to spook them.

Knowing the size of the fish in this area i was certainly a man with a plan so i went armed with 3 pints of maggot, a pint and half of hemp and a tin of corn.   The three pints of maggot where split half white and half red.  This meant i could really attack the swim with feed if i needed and prey on a chubs biggest downfall, their greedy nature.  I knew if i was to catch a number of fish then they would not be able to resist blooms of maggots running right past their noses for long before coming back on the feed.   This would be important as i knew with each fish i caught i would spook the fish more as being so close to them i would be playing them on top of their home.

The beauty of this swim is the fact that the snag they live in is completely hollow underneath so you know as long as you hold on tight and keep your rod dipped under the water the fish will eventually come into the middle, god help me if i ever turn up and a tree gets wedged under the snag as it would be a lot harder to get them out.

I can remember so many sessions when i have caught well and then returned thinking up a better plan and not had a sniff all day, it has happened so many times in the past, this session was not one of them by any means.

Setting up i was already drip feeding the swim with maggot and laid quite a heavy bed of hemp with a good few hand fulls of hemp.  The fist trot down and i might sound cocky here but i knew the float was going to bury as it was going through the swim a dream and with not a breath of wind it was dream stick float fishing and rightly so right on the spot the float shot under and i was into the first chub of the day.

The fish safely in the net i was full of confidence as i knew where there was one chub there was more so i kept up the feeding pattern with red maggot being my first bait of choice. The chub and bites came steady through the morning but it was noticeable that double red maggot was the killer bait on the day.

With a new born baby at home all my sessions have been quite short affairs and this was no different and i knew i only had a few hours so i really concentrated hard on the session.  By dinner time and packing approaching packing up time i had around 16 chub in the keep net and to my astonishment i had lost around half that amount either bumping of the hook pulling which really was crazy thinking how close i was to the fish.

It may have been down to hook size but i am a firm believer in using 18 or size 20 hooks even for chub as it goes will with the light hook lengths of 2lb 2oz that i use for these fish.  I guess had i used a 12 or 16 i might have not lost those fish but then again a bigger hooks and line might have seen me not get any bites in such conditions. 

I ended the session with a net of fish i could hardly lift and with so many in the net i transferred them in the water into my 32inch rubber pike net and onto the scales to be weighed.  The scaled went round once as they zoomed past 20lb and then passed half way again and finally settled on 33lb.  A net of chub i could only dream of when i started fishing a float 4 years ago and i was over the moon.  A quick few picks on the unhooking Matt and it was back into the river for these fish.  A session to remember!

Cold Snap  Dead Bait Pike Fishing

The weather at this time had been a right pain for piking as barmy 8-10oc temps where quickly followed by severe drops in overnight temperature seeing the mercury falling below 0oc.  The morning of this session i remember opening my front door to a real chill in the air and spending a few moments defrosting my car wind screen,

My chosen species for this session was the pike and having spent a lot of time in one area taking a number of jacks and the odd double i decided on trying a new area some 400 yards away where a narrowing in the waterway meant the boats had cut out a deep run under my feet in the edge.  It was completely new area for me but my plan was to spend some time fishing this area knowing i had an almost banker of a swim not to far away.

The bait had not been in the water more than a few seconds before i turned round to see my float dancing over to the shallow far bank.  The float lay flat as the fish came up the shelf so i gave it a few second before striking only for a tiny jack pike to come up with a god full of frozen smelt ans spit it back at me, only a Jack but a chance missed for sure.  The next rod baited up and out in the swim i sat back and began to make up a few more pike rigs.

I can remember how long i had been recycling my rigs with new wire before the same rod bobbed a few times and headed off.  This run was far more determined than the first as the float took off at some speed before submerging into the depths.  I struck and was treated to a manic fight from a pike that did its all to free the hooks even taking to the freezing cold air at one time.  The fish took some line during the fight but eventually and ever so stubbornly it found its way into the net fighting all the way.

A split back dorsal fin, long and really skinny pike i instantly recognised this pike as the fish i had caught in the swim 400 yards away only a few days earlier.  A fish that again goes to show the distances these fish travel in search of food.  It is a worry for this pike as it is obviously very hungry to pick up dead baits but it does not seem to be in the best of condition with a big head and very slim body.  Asking other pikers they reckon its a female or male on the decline or its just not been getting enough food

The fish released i sat back and set about finishing off my rigs in the hope that it would bring on more action.  Before i knew it i had 8 rigs made and not a sniff of another bite on the floats despite moving them around the swim, it was time for a move for the last hour to my old haunt.  Set up in the new spot i noticed it was deeper than my new spot and no sooner had i placed the second rod in than the first was showing some interest.  A few unnatural shunts against the wind at first perked my interest before just like the morning it marched confidently away.

The fight was a short one all under my rod tip but more than welcome and as with all pike captures a sigh of relief is always let out when the fish hits the mesh.  The fish was only a small jack at 5lb5oz and was actually the pike i mentioned about in the introduction with a very awkward hook outside the gill.

This pike came at 12.40 and to show how much the right location can pay off it was only 13.10 when the float again was away and this time i was rewarded with the best fish of the day in a 7lb pike and one i had not crossed paths with before.

The pike painted a pretty picture in the net and with that fish i called it a day.

Right Place Right Time...

The 4th January and i woke to the sound of her in charge muttering "you can go fishing for a hour if you want" i was out of bed and in the car like a shot and there was no messing around today i was straight back to the area i had caught two in on the previous session.  I literally only had a hour or two max so it was all out for one bite. 

The rod was baited with a nice smelly herring jack tail smothered in pike oil and i even added a layer on the skin for added attraction.  I really couldn't have done more apart from attaching two barrels to either side of the bait to get a bite. 

The bait hadn't been in the water no more than 20 minutes before the oil loving pike was onto it and a swirl on the float alerted me to a pike being in the area as it held face down hoovering up my bait the swirls form its tail causing a small vortex on the surface.  I snick into position and i could see the pike taking the bait into its mouth, no need for a float her i watched for the bait to disappear before setting the hooks.

As expected from this swim it was another jack weighing 6lb but i was not complaining it was another one of the total and i was getting bites on most sessions so i really didn't care about the size of the pike, i was there for a quick bite and this swim was producing.

I gave it another hour after this fish but as promised i left the bank and returned home.

 Big Lake Social....

A social session was planned and with all four of us on the bank Garry suggested we head to a lake as he had heard rumours of pike being in there.  I did my normal homework as i do on such sessions on the inter webs and must admit i found very little info on any about pike from this venue but trusting to his research we all headed off.  With depths down to 25 foot just off the edge it was a ledger rod and a float rod for me.

To cut a long blank short 8 rods in the water from first light to almost dark saw only one fish come to the bank to Garry's float fished herring just inches off the bottom. 

The day fish wise was a disaster really but as always a good day was had on the bank with plenty of banter through the day keeping us all in good spirits and its always great to sit and talk about pike trips of yester year with two people who have done their fair share of piking. And what great scenery to blank in.

Well that just about sums up another few sessions on the bank and i think we are slowly catching up the sessions till we are up to date.

till next time

Tight Lines


Friday, 16 January 2015

Big Chub Nets And Piking On Ice....

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your new year nets wetter than 2014.  The sessions mentioned in this blog will round up the fishing action for 2014.  Introduction wise we discuss how the festive period has been for myself with the new family member,  I look back on my best session of 2014 and although i still have a few pike sessions to cover i begin to look at what the next month holds as we move into the best time of year for a big predator.

Festive Times The Best Ever....

So its safe to say Christmas 2014 has been a Christmas like no other in our household as we welcomed our little man to the world on the 19th and eventually got out of hospital on the 22nd December right in time for manic preparations for Christmas (and a cheeky Christmas eve fishing trip ha-ha).  The festive period being my little girls first where she knew about Father Christmas really brought the magic back to what had been quite a sad occasion since my mums passing and just seeing her face on Christmas Day really put a new light and brought the magic of Christmas back again for me and i cant wait for the years of Christmas days to come.

Speaking of our little girl she is really coming on now and shocking us all with her development and i certainly think a short trip to the canal or local pond to catch her fist ever fish might be on the cards this spring.  A session i can not wait to get out and experience and then blog about as it will be such a special occasion for me.  She will of course in time choose her own path and if angling is top be part of that then i will be happy to teach her the little i know but if not then i am surely going to enjoy the enforced fishing trips till she makes her mind up.

Christmas always gets you thinking about family and this year i am determined to get my dad out on the bank more with us again.  I am hoping to do a few sessions on the canal we used to fish all those years ago to see how it has changed and see if those big bronze slabs are still around.  Fishing is always a family affair with myself any how what with most of my trips being trips with my uncle its safe to say I'm hoping 2015 is going to be a year around family.

The Session Of 2014.....

I mentioned in a recent blog update that i had been asked about writing a recap of 2014 by a blog follower and that i was apprehensive to do so as i feel my year runs march to march with the closing of the river seasons.   What i have decided to do is pick out one session that stood out for me in 2014.

The year of 2014 was really good to me and if it was a wine it would certainly be classed as a vintage year.  It was a year where all our hard work paid off, all these trips to flooded rivers blanking and all those times travelling to a different area of a flooded river and catching all come good, all those hours searching on google earth for new areas of river and then walking farmers fields to wet a line in their unexplored depths.  This year was certainly good to us and i do feel those trips put us in a situation where we could pick and choose each week from 4-5 areas on different rivers to trot a float through with confidence but it was a new exploration into the world of dead baiting for pike that bought about me session of 2014.

I had dipped my foot in the water of dead baiting for pike from January to February of 2014 and under the tuition of Garry learnt some of the fundamentals of dead baiting for pike.  October and i was ready to cut my teeth and the early session in October saw me break my Pike Pb with a 15lb pike but it was the very next session that will live forever in my memory.  Sat on the banks of the river i noticed my right hand float twitch and then again and then slowly move along the surface, i struck and the rest is in the following update if you want to read about the session.

link: My First 20lb Pike 

Planning for January and February....

At the beginning of the pike season i set my self a target of catching 100 pike.  This total seemed large at the time and knew it was going to be a huge achievement if i got there.  With this total in mind and two serious fish under my belt in October my mindset since then has been more about numbers of fish than size of fish.  That has meant me concentrating on one location on a consistent basis, a place that of course could throw up a big fish, but in reality i was settling for the fact most of the fish i was going to catch were going to be between 4lb-7lb with the odd rare upper single or double.

early season nice fish
This proved a very good tactic with at least one or two fish coming on most trips to this location.  This of course led to the odd recapture but that's pike fishing and at the time of writing this (SPOILER ALERT) i am on a total of 56 fish caught.  I will be returning to work next week so the chances of me getting close to 100 pike is very slim indeed.  The whole challenge started of with plenty of momentum but in reality work and family commitments has seen fishing time for two of the people doing the challenge hard to come by and for myself and Ste changeable conditions has made the piking really difficult as the prey fish are not yet shoaled hard in their winter spots and as a consequence the pike are still quite spread out.

With this in mind i have made a conscious decision from now on to concentrate on areas that might produce less fish but the fish will be of better quality and also give me a serious chance of ending the session with a special capture.  There will be a full round up of the challenge at the end of the season on how i feel it has gone and the pros and cons of chasing such a total.  So to this point i feel i have done all i can to get to 56 pike, i have hit the bank every time i could and fished as good as my angling ability will let me i can honestly say i have not left the bank thinking i didn't do everything i could on the session.

So fingers crossed in the next one or two months we can put a few nice fish in the bank and also get some where near the total.

On to this weeks fishing....

Piking on the Off Chance of a Bite....

With a number of jobs completed in the morning and my partners mother coming round for a few hours i jumped at the opportunity of a few hours on the bank.  It was already gone 1pm when i loaded the car and left for the bank  I was a little unsure as to whether it was worth going after a sharp overnight frost but i knew the spot i was going to there was always a chance of a bite.  My confidence was hit a little as i received a phone call on the way from Ste saying he had struggled on the same waterway with his mate and not had a touch all morning.

I cast in a Herring tail on one rod and a smelt on the other, both loaded with oil, and hoped for the best.  It was early on during my vigil waiting for one of the floats to go that i got speaking to another angler lure fishing.  I did not get his name but we spent a good hour chatting about angling and some of the perils on being in Warrington Anglers and it seemed we shared the same view on a number of subject around silver fishing and the excessive amount being ploughed into carp.

I was quite honest with the man about the location and what to expect from fishing the stretch and i remember saying that most fish will be small singles with the outside chance of a double.  No sooner had the words left my mouth than he said "your floats moving there" a sharp glance round and the tentative bobs had turned into a solid run and the float slowly began to move off as i picked up the rod.  A few seconds as it was a nice piece of herring as bait and i struck into the fish.  The rod hooped over and stayed over as the fish kept deep and i instantly knew i was into a nice fish.

Eventually the fish came up to the surface and the good gentleman netted the fish for me.  Its sods law that fish come along that make a liar out of you as this was comfortably a double figure pike.  It went 13lb on the scales and i again thank the guy for taking the time to take a picture.

This was it for fish for this short session and i left around 3.45pm happy with the result of the session and another double added to the list.  Pike fishing can be a funny old game some days you spend all day without a sniff and other a hour or so produces a decent fish.

Stick Float Fishing For Chub...

The stick float rod had been a rare addition to the boot of my car before this session with its space taken firmly by two pike dead bait rods.  The ease of these pike sessions just fitting in perfectly with my the arrival of our second child but there certainly was an itch that needed scratching and it was with great excitement we headed out for a days stick float fishing on the river.

The river does contain a mixed selection of species including dace, gudgeon, roach, perch, trout and chub and it was really exiting setting up on the peg not knowing what lay i your swim.  The set up for the session was my 17ft trotting rod and a reel loaded with 4,4oz line down to a 6 number 4 float a hook length of 2lb line down to a tiny size 18 hook.  Situated in a swim i had fished before and with a river fining off after recent rain i was confident of a fish or two it all depended on whether the fish had migrated away from this area.

I had been feeding the swim from the off with maggot and hemp so it came as no surprise that the float buried on the first trot down and at first i thought i was into a small chub but as the fish hit the surface it soon became clear as the fish jumped and flapped about that it was a brown trout.   i was not surprised by this as these fish are hungry and greedy fish at the best of times never mind in winter when competition for food is high and these fish with their extra size will easily muscle out dace and roach.  I carried on trotting the float through with no activity more often than not and i remember getting a hour and a half into to session with 3 trout under my belt thinking maybe its time to get mobile and find some fish.

It was just as this thought was in my mind i struck into an altogether different animal that held station in the current in a defiant stand as only chub do and i knew there and then that i had a chub on the other end.  The fish fought well in the current and it was a struggle to land it with the flow in front of my peg but i did manage in the end to slide the net under the brassy flanks of a chub.

The swim i was fishing was shallow in front of me, probably only two feet, but it then fell into a deeper hole and then below that lies a big fish holding feature so in my mind i had eventually drawn one chub up from the feature into my trot.  As soon as this chub was in the keep net my confidence rocketed as where there was one chub there was certainly more in this swim so i almost began to concentrate more and of course upped the feed slightly and also experimented with hook baits.

This chub came at 10.17am and it was another half an hour of trotting the float through before the next fish came at 10.37 and again another chub.  What was noticeable with these fish was the fact the trout completely where removed from the equation in the periods between the chub almost as if the chub where there and it was a case of getting presentation right to catch them.  The theme of fish every 20-30 minutes kept true with more fish coming at 10.50, 11.27 and when my uncle visited i had four chub in the onion sack, my uncle had also done well with 6 chub to show for his mornings efforts.

My uncle left to return to his peg and as he did my peg took off as i landed 10 chub in the next two hours to 2pm, i can only guess the steady feeding of hemp and maggot mixed with the colder conditions brought a shoal of the chub up the swim and they got their heads down.  The crazy thing about this period was i lost just as many fish in this period which showed just how hard they were on the feed.

As always with these sessions the end comes too quick although i have to admit for the last hour the bites tailed off completely and the odd trout moved into the swim again almost as if the absence of the chub allowed them to feed and goes to show in the feeding order the chub is king.

With me doing a lot of piking of late i had been taking my weigh scales in my pike box so unfortunately on this session i could not put a weight to the net but with around 12-16 chub and chublets in the net all between i would say 1/2 a pound and probably 3lb i must have been over the 20lb mark.

my final net

My uncle had also got into a good number of chub on his peg.

All in all it was a session like i had never experienced before with chub.  I had done well before for chub with my best net of proper chub containing around 6 fish but this was a net like i had only seen my uncle catch in recent weeks.  A few years ago when me and my uncle started going fishing he used to tell me stories of chub nets from years ago where he would struggle to lift the net and that we would find them and one day i would see.  Well Azza we found them mate and i was over the moon.

 Piking on Ice....

The temperature read a bone chilling -1 as i left my house and started the car and this temperature only plummeted further as i left the confines of my town.  I had set up to fish the local waterway and as i drove to the first venue i walked along the track to find it covered in a thick layer of ice all the way across the water and the full length of the stretch, there was no way i was wetting a line here today.

I got back in the car and drove around for what seemed an age as i searched out areas that might not had frozen overnight and i eventually did find what was a little short bit of ice free water.  I say ice free water it literally was a short 10 yard bit of water blocked either end by ice and my rubbish first cast showed just how thick the ice was either side of me.

The baits in position i had to constantly edge the flows of ice back and i have to say it was the first time i have ever been happy to see ducks in the area as their gentle milling on the far bank certainly helped my cause.

Some say anglers are mad to even go fishing in the first place to out wit a fish and then you get the ones who say to go out in such conditions fishing you must be puddled and i must say on this session i was beginning to see their point.  Although the cold and wind is never ever something that decides if i go fishing or not as in my opinion you never know what fishing is like in certain conditions unless you go and sometimes you can be surprised.

I must say a quick word at this point for anyone reading this thinking about going fishing in these conditions you do need to be prepared clothes wise ideally with thermal boots and a thermal under layer at the bare minimum and of course a flask of something hot.  This session i was only out for the morning and after all the driving round it was gone 9am by the time i cast in.

After a hour of inactivity i was beginning to wonder if i was wasting my time and my mind wandered to those chub on the river and maybe i should have gone for another dabble at those.  Fishing the gaps in the ice meant the water i was fishing was like a mill pond and flat calm and it meant the slight flicks of the float as a pike showed interest where picked up straight away.  I quickly marched to the rod full of excitement as the float gently cocked and moved along the water towards the ice before in true jaws style it hit the corned and submerged below the ice flow.

It was a hard one to balance as i knew i didn't have much of a run for the fish to take the bait but i also had to leave it long enough for the bait to be taken as on a day like this it was a fish i didn't want to lose.  A short hard side strike saw the fish come straight back at me from under the ice flow as a small jack came up to the top.  The rod i was using made little of the fight but i was happy for it on the fish as i might have been in trouble had it been a double.

The next activity did not come round till almost packing in time and this time some of the ice had moved on and i could tell from the run that this was a solid take as the float moved solidly through the water and under the float went.  Sometimes you know its a small 2-3lb jack just by the jagged float pulls as the fish tries to eat the bait.  I will always remember this fish as it put up one hell of a scrap and i mist say as i slid it under the net i thought it was a better fish as it was so long.

The fish on the mat was as skinny a pike as i have ever seen it has loads of length and a big head but it looked like it needed a good meal.  The pike went 6lb on the scales and marked an end to the session for me.  A freezing cold day and two fish on the bank i was a happy camper as i have been on days where conditions have looked better and not had a sniff.  Two fish well earned and shows if you get past the mindset of the weather is bad and get a bait in the water you never know, not massive fish but certainly better than being at home tuning into Discovery Shed seeing Matt hayes circa 1990 repeats.

All in all the session proved to be a success, i head out to the bank piking hoping for one chance of a fish and if i take it then great and anything more is a bonus.

Thank you for checking out my angling blog and i hope you have enjoyed following my fishing in this weeks update.  I am still quite a bit behind on the blogs so there is plenty more fishing still to see the open pages of this blog.

Till next time i wish you tight lines


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Baby Boy Arrives and Pike Fishing Catch up.....

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  At the time of writing this update it is new years day so i would like to wish you all the best for 2015 and the tightest of lines.  Time at the moment just has not been there to sit down and write a blog piece as any free time that has popped up has been jumped on as a chance to get out on the bank fishing.  What it has meant is there is quite a back log in trips to be blogged so my aim in this update is to get as up to date as possible and this update will get it up to Christmas Eve at least.  I have been asked to write a recap of my fishing year for 2014 and i although it is not something i normally do as my angling year runs from March to March and i normally do a recap then, i will be doing a small recap in next weeks update.

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

Tight lines