Friday, 10 April 2015

Pike and River Season Go Out On High!!

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope if find you all well and your nets wet.  Absolute madness at the moment away from angling with us moving house this week which i am really really excited about.  We have lived in a small two bedroom flat for the past two years and eventually found the house we are hoping to make our own.  The house is a three bedroom house with a garden front and back which i am really excited about, growing up in a terrace a garden is all new to me!  What it will mean is the blog will continue to be updated but with plenty of decorating and painting to be done it will be only one trip a weekend for me fishing so i will have to make the most of it and be really careful about my venue choices. All in all its an exciting chapter of our lives we are about to move into and who knows a future blog might see me fishing my own pond in my back yard.

Moving away from that and onto this weeks update to the blog, we start off with the introduction which includes a HUGE blog milestone, a little piece on my hook lengths for trotting for dace and chub and we finish the introduction looking at a picture from Facebook from a match fishing club that i think is confusing itself with a swimming club.  The fishing is a sad one for me as these two sessions marked the end of two seasons for me as we fish for chub on the last day of the river season and the pike session turned out to be my last session of the season out for pike with Ste.

So on with the Update........

Quarter Of Million Views......

On the 11ths of February 2011 i sat in work chewing the fat with my good friend Ian, he was and still is an avid lover of dogs and capturing the sights and sounds from his walks.  At this time he had a lovely dog called max and he would write a blog in Blogspot after each visit with the pictures he took of scenes of wildlife.  During our dinner break he said to me "why don't you write a blog about your fishing mate" it sounded crazy at the time as although i loved fishing i was in my eyes not doing anything special, was not catching big fish or great numbers of fish so my reaction was "2ho would be interested in reading about my fishing?"

Any how that night i got home and sat at the lap top i decided for a bit of fun to create a blog called Dannys Angling Blog and just this week it has reached the milestone of 250,000 unique blog views.  I put a lot into the blog and its great for me to see my ramblings proving to be so popular so thank you to everyone who visits my blog on a regular basis.

The passed few years writing my blog have been amazing i have loved the fishing and also enjoyed reliving those experiences as i put them down during the week after.  In that time we have visited so many fantastic venues and had some memorable catches and i only hope the next 250k worth is as enjoyable.

In that time i have met some fantastic people, firstly my dad who i wet a line with every week at the start of the blog and then later on my uncle who shares my passion for angling and get up in the dark walking 5 fields dodging bulls mentality.  In more recent years i have also met some a group of lads who i have loved fishing with for pike in Ste, Garry and Ryan and we have had some fantastic adventures and i cant wait for more to come.  There has also been anglers i have met on line who i have never actually met but love talking fishing with, too many to mention but you know who you all are.  There was also one angler who deserves a special mention who i met on the bank called Gordon Munro, i had the pleasure of meeting this man a few times and he was such a nice fella always would come over with his spare bait and would private message me on facebook regular about his fishing trips, a proper gentleman, he sadly passed away a year or so ago, a proper nice man and was a pleasure to meet him.

The blog being popular views always attracts the attention of companies and it has been great to work with companies like Beechwood Baits, Pondip, Go outdoors, Water to Go, Calor, minke tools and Buff to name a few, all of which have been great to work with.   Sounding a bit like a final chapter this! i assure you not and here is to the adventures to come!

Hooklength For Stick Float Fishing....

While the rivers are open Fridays nights means two things for myself, one is sorting out my gear to match the venue for the next day and two is tying up hook lengths.  The tackle shop i used to go into was baffled at the amount of hooks i went through, i could never understand as he was making money, anyhow most times into the shop i would buy hooks and get the same comments.

It turned out he was a avid carp angler and then it all made sense he was paying ridiculous money for one hook but that would be the only hook he would use for that session and he had never fished a river.  On a river you can lose a hook length first trot through as in effect you cover so much of the swim you will find snags.  Some sessions you can go through 10 hook lengths if there is a big snag that you have to try and navigate round with your float so it pays to be prepared as having hook lengths made up saves so  much time.  Also if you are catching well on the float for dace and you feel the hook has lost its sharpness, which can happen when you catch numbers of fish, changing hook lengths quick so you don't lose the shoal can be a god send so i always make sure i have a number of hook lengths in my box the night before.

Stick float fishing for dace and chub i keep things as simple as possible, 4lb main line down to a 1.7lb or 2.1lb hook length that consists of three number 8 shots on the line and a size 18 or 20 whisker barb hook.  River fishing does not have to cost a fortune and as long as your gear is balanced for the species you can had some real fun fishing for smaller species.  Above in the picture is all the components that make up my hook lengths for trotting the Dane and river Dee.

Don't Forget Your Arm Bands....

On social media this week i came across the following picture:

As you can see on the picture above the lake has been divided into sections or lanes, looks a bit like a swimming pool rather than an angling lake to me if i am honest.  I delved deeper into it and some of the clubs where using this as a means to scare off cormorants as it stops them landing on the lakes, i fully can understand this as the damage they do to still waters can be catastrophic but the other answers threw up a more shocking answer.

Apparently these "lanes" as quite common on the match scene to stop anglers from encroaching on the anglers swim next to them during matches.  Of course, in any walk of life or sport, when you introduce money into the scenario you are going to get people who will take liberties and go beyond the gentleman's agreements limits during matches but has it really got so bad that lanes are needed? seriously? it really does baffle me in a sport where men fishing in matches with money involved need such childish barriers to be set out to stop cheating, it really does baffle me.  Lets hope these clubs never hold matches on the rivers or we may need a line of buoys at the end end of each trot to stop people going too far! what ever next.  Not so much a rant as a bafflement on my part with this one.

With that its onto this weeks fishing, no armbands where deflated in the following sessions...

Lovely Chubley End To The Season....

Well the last weekend of the river season has really come around fast this year it seems the winter on the rivers passed by in the blink of an eye.  I was with a tinge of sadness i loaded the car on the final day of the season, first my seat box followed by holdall and net bag and it was then the short trip to pick my uncle up.  It was quite surreal thinking it would be a while before i made this same journey again as my uncle always has a few weeks off the fishing when the rivers close.  I must admit at this point i had given fishing everything i had all season going full on with the rivers and the piking i was a little tired and drained as i made that final journey.

As predicted the previous weekend we got quite a bit of rain during the week although my prediction of it ruining the fishing was far from the mark.  We stood there in my uncles kitchen and looked through the various locations we could fish and we settled on one and if it came off it could be a spectacular end to the season.

We arrived and made the long walk to the river and as we did so we passed familiar fiends that have made this such a spectacular place to fish, mr Buzzard perched in the second fence post of the first field and as we saw the river mrs kingfisher flashed past us almost as a bye see you in 3 months salute.  Setting up in the first swim where i had done well in the past i was expectant of a nice net of chub, i took my time and fed the swim as i did as i knew the fish where there and there was no need to rush.  The first trot down i expected the float to go but very defiantly it refused to do so.

A hour of trotting and i even tried running along the snag but there was nothing doing and when the float eventually went under my reward was a very fat trout with a gob full of maggots.

One thing i have learnt doing a fair bit of trotting for chub this seasons is the pecking order in the swim your in.  If the chub (shoal of the big ones 2-3lb) are there you catch nothing but chub, if the chub move out you get the trout move in next and when they are missing your smaller fish like dace, roach and chublets get a look in, if your catching bull heads, gudgeon and minnows for a length of time then there is nothing around at all.   I had chub on my mind for the end of season trip so the arrival of another trout marked my signal to move swims.

The swim i moved too was a swim i had fished recently and done OK in but on previous trips i had only caught 4-5 chub and i had then struggled but i was also yet to do a whole day in it so i guess the last session on the season i had little to lose.  The swim is a beautiful glide to trot a float down it is a even 5ft deep from nearside bank to far side and keeps this depth for around 20 yards down the swim before it quickly shallows before some faster water below and with overhanging trees nearside and far side it offers plenty of places for the chub to hide.

In this swim i set my stall out straight away with a few bait droppers of hemp and maggot to really get the chub on the feed right down the middle of the swim and away from the snags they call home.  Chub are hard enough to get out at the best of times but are certainly a different animal if you can hook them away from their snaggy homes.  The bait droppers in and settling i calmly got myself comfy and ready to trot a bait down the swim.  A 8 number 4 float was my chosen float down to a 2lb 1oz hook length and a size 18 hook loaded with double maggot, i was super confident.  My confidence was proved right as as soon as the float settled it zoomed under and i was playing my first chub of the day.

The fish came out without too much trouble and splashing so i was straight back into the run and again the float went under and in 5 minutes fishing i had two chub in the keep net as opposed to the hour or two earlier spent for one trout.  With a relatively short swim its a case of catching fish and then gaining their confidence again as catching the fish does spook the shoal.

Two fish in the net i fed the swim again with the bait dropper to keep the fish more concentrated on the feed than the fish being caught around them, bait and more importantly competition for bait does really overcome the fishes fear.  The next fish was a greedy trout right up the swim and this really did make a right mess of the whole swim jumping clear of the water on a number of occasions.

I again fed the swim heavily but left it to stew and went to see my uncle who had also had a couple of chub.  A quick chat and i returned back to my swim and the trick worked as the float buried first trot down and my 13ft korum rod bent nicely into a chub.  Next trot down and another chub was again fighting a losing battle.  Again its worth mentioning that all these fish where caught on really light 2lb hook lengths and a balanced set up.

So at this point i had been fishing a while and had four chub and the odd trout and i was confident there was more to come from the swim and was a case of just keeping patient.  I kept drip feeding the swim and introducing the bait via the bait dropper but in the next 30 minutes i went on to lose 4 chub all to hook pulls as the chub darting for cover and a lot of this was down to my reel suddenly sticking on the drag.  With these four fish lost the swim was a as dead as a door nail and i needed to do something so i again fed the swim heavily and set about sorting the reel out.  Taking it apart i noticed some sand and mud had got in between the spool and the front drag so i gave it a good clean and returned to the swim.

This messing around took a good hour before i was ready to go again.  I knew the chub where there and it was a case of gaining their confidence.  The river on the day was quite clear with just a tinge of colour and i don't know what was going on up stream but the river suddenly really coloured up quite a bit, might well have been cows in the cow drink just upstream but it really coloured the river.  At this point it was around 1pm and i had around 3 hours of the session left.

Returning to the swim it was like the gods had shone down on me as the added colour really brought the fish on and it was the best end to the season i could have wished for as time and time again the float would go under and another chub would come in, drag sorted they where all making their way into the keep net.  In the course of the next few hours i put a good number of chub n the bank and all the fish where just down from the swim as the colour gave them the confidence to come right up onto the bait.

Now some might think all the feeding with the bait dropper is a bit excessive but when you are catching chub and finding this in their throats it makes you realize just how much they can eat.  The final net had around 15 chub in it and you add to that the ones you do not catch plus the trout you can imagine how much bait is needed.

The final net went 27lb and was a fantastic end to the season and i was gutted packing in the leave the banks of the river, roll on June 16th!!.

Pike Season Comes To A Close.....

The next day saw me meeting up with Ste for a social pike session.  We only had from first light till 11am.  The first session where we really battered them taking 9 fish with 4 doubles showed us the potential but since that session the numbers of fish kept on coming but we really had to work for them and the bites where certainly a lot more finicky.

We met up before first light and walked the bank hoping to see signs of feeding pike but none where forth coming.  The water was flat calm with not a breath of wind and the clarity of the water was bang on so we were really confident.  We both cast in two rods each and sat back awaiting the action, where we confident? of course we were we had caught some beautiful fish and had some steady action.  06.49 and Stes rod was the first one to one to get some attention, Ste a picture of calmness nonchalantly picked up his rod and felt for the fish on the end.  Experience letting him know from the plucks on the line as to what is going on at the other end.  Like years ago watching azza trotting a float watching Ste going about his trade you cant help but pick up on stuff and showing a willingness to learn and ask questions has certainly seen my piking improve dramatically towards the end of this season.

Striking into his fish it was clear it was a nice fish and as i have mentioned in previous blogs having someone to net you fish when piking is so beneficial as the first time the fish comes up you can scoop the fish up and net it a lot earlier than if you where alone.  The fish on the bank it was a solid start to the session and a fish that we both knew would be there or there about the double figure mark.  On the scales she went 9lb5oz, another fish so close to being a double this season.

As i mentioned earlier the bites have been very funny of late and it was a good hour and half till the next fish came to the net, in the period in between i had a take that dropped the bait which was frustrating to say the least.  The next fish was a real funny bite that saw the float move gingerly and erratically across the water and we both said this is a small jack that could not take the whole bait.  We where proved right and a small jack was landed and released to run the gauntlet of the females in the area.

A hour and a half wait for that bite and the clock ticking it was time for a move and we moved to a place we had done ok in the past.  The baits in position it took a matter of minutes before my float was off along the the water.  Now this season has been very special to me with the pike and i have had some epic tussles and fights along the way but this was well and truly up there.

Set up between two moored boats there was a big enough gap for two of us to fish a rod each left and to the right.  My float moved off with a steady but fast take and in true jaws style the float disappeared into the depth.  The speed the float was moving meant when i was winding down i had no idea where the fish actually was and it had gone half way down the canal along the boat so striking i had to play the fish blind.  The fish fought like a demon with long hard runs and it was clear it was a nice fish.  The fish eventually come round in front of me and what it did next was truly scary.

In one flick of the pikes tail if went on a long hard run under the boat on my inside bank, i can only imagine it saw the darkness under it.  We my years of chub fishing on rivers really paid off as my natural instincts kicked in and i shoved the rod tip as deep as it would go beneath the water, upped the drag and prayed the hooks did not find the bottom of the boats hull and the knots held and brought it back from under the BOAT!

I have said so many times with this piking that the lines between catching and landing a fish are so fine, sometimes i fish that is well hooked can come of with one shake of the head and then you get scenarios like this one where i fish goes really hard under boats the lot and you get it in and the hooks literally fall out its mouth in the net!

A fight to remember and a lovely reward with a pike of 10lb 8oz.

The fish released i breathed a sigh of relief and we both had a good celebration as that fish marked us reaching the target of 30 double figure fish between us for the season.  The time passed by and it was a case of 15 minutes longer on the session proving worthwhile as we should have both been packed up and away but like two anglers addicted to our sport we where still there come half an hour after we should have been gone and thank god we did as ste nailed a beautiful mike to round of the season with this stunningly marked pike, was a cracking fish to end the season on.

So apart from one session i did to help a mate out who is new to piking where i blanked that about brigs my pike season to and end.  I will be doing a round up of the season on my blog as i feel it would be good to write a summary of the pike season as i went through it and also a final scores on the doors for the pike challenge we set out on at the start of the season so keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks.

i leave you with a video of my rather energetic pike going back!

So that is another chapter in my angling life documented,

i wish you all tight lines


Friday, 3 April 2015

Go Outdoors Talk, River Dane fishing and Piking...

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  Well what a weekend it has been for me i have just got back from my day at Go Outdoors where i was asked to appear at the opening of their New Store in Shrewsbury.  It has been a fantastic weekend and a great experience for myself and one i will never forget, more on that in a moment.

This weeks blog introduction covers the day at Shrewsbury and our time down there, spring arrives and i cover a bit on a short trip to Chester Zoo.  The fishing sees us on the banks of the River Dane trotting a stick float and a pike trip that shows why being in the right place is better than cumulative hours in the wrong one.  Please remember if you have any questions on any of my fishing or just want to share your fishing experiences with me the blog is on Facebook, Twitter and you can also email to

on to the update

Go Outdoors Opening....Amazing where a Blog Leads...

Friday evening and the day i had been looking forward to and been a bit nervous about was finally working its way round i had spent many hours practising for the event making sure i had a fair idea what to say when it was called upon.  The morning came and we set of on our journey to Shrewsbury and it was rather apt on the the way we passed all the landmarks of my fishing life to this point, first the bridgewater canal where i grew up as a kid and was taught the basics of angling by my dad then the River Dee where i have spent a great deal of the last 10 years of my life learning a new trade and falling in love with moving water and the joys its brings and then finally we passed many rivers like the Severn which i have only fished a hand full of times,  in my head these represented the journey in angling and the unknown adventures to come.

Arriving at Go outdoors there was a whole host of events going on outside with a huge climbing wall and rescue boat both visible for customers to go up and see.  On the door there where plenty of Go Outdoors staff who where really friendly and informative.  I met up with the ThisIsMission who where organising the event for Go Outdoors.  The team gave me time to look around before our event meeting so it was great to have time to look around the Fishing Section and also take in Ray Mears Question and Answers Piece on the main stage which was really interesting and a little piece of the talk is below.

A quick meeting with the team and it was time for me to meet up with Ray Mears and ask him some questions i received over Facebook and Twitter.  All these experiences where new to me i have been to events before but very much as a customer never as the person asking the questions.  I was really surprised by how easy going and easy to speak to Ray was he took just as much time and went into the same amount of details with my questions as i had witnessed him doing earlier on the Stage.  The transcript the questions will be in an upcoming blog introduction.

A few pictures with Ray and it was time for him to move on to other commitments.  My time for my Questions and Answers on the main Stage was 12 o'clock so that gave me a hour to look around and take some pictures of the Angling Section.  I was genuinely impressed with the quality of the tackle on show.  Anyone who was listening in on the Questions and Answers would have heard me say this but i remember 20 years ago if you did not go a dedicated angling shop for your tackle you where very limited to those small rods with the plastic reels and very thick white line, these are probably the reason angling never took off with people who where never taught by parents, now we have stores that are not dedicated angling shops but the section they devote to it has the quality for new anglers to catch with names like Shimano, Shakespeare, Dynamite Baits and Savage gear to name a few brands, see collection of pics around fishing section.

My time came to appear on the main stage and handing the microphone over to me the reality of what was happening did hit me but i walked on the stage confident if a little nervous.  The first question came in and replying i could hear my voice echoed through the speakers, my first time speaking on a microphone ever it did throw me a little but after a shaky start to the first question i got into it and as the questions progressed and we delved deeper i felt my confidence increasing as the quality of my answers showed this i feel. Fifteen to twenty minutes into the section and i felt i could have talked forever as we covered all aspects of my fishing from early trips with my dad to the delights and benefits of fishing near unusual spots like sewer outlets.  As the section drew to a close a talk that i had worried and been nervous about for weeks i felt like i didn't want it to end i was in my element talking about my thoughts and my own opinions on fishing.

After this talk my commitments i had signed up to on the day came to a close.  Having two children under three years old and me spending one day a weekend fishing means in the past few years time just for me and the other half has been very hard to come by and this trip down to shrewbury we decided to turn into a over night stay so after the event we got the ball rolling with a lovely meal at Chiquitos and a well earned beer.  We hit the town in the evening and made our way back on Sunday morning.

All in all looking back i am so glad i decided to go completely out of my comfort zone and do this talk the buzz once i got into it and afterwards was amazing and it is something i would do again.  Parts of the QA at the beginning where not perfect but being my first time on a stage talking in front of people it was never going to go completely word for word perfect but it will certainly set me in good stead if any other opportunities like this come along.  All in all i am so glad i did it and will always look back on that weekend with fond memories and a sense of personal achievement.

Spring has Sprung!!....

It has now been two weeks since i have hit the bank and i am thoroughly enjoying a well earned break away from angling although i must admit this week seeing all that tackle in the Go Outdoors store and stopping in on Gary pole fishing it has started off a need to get out there again in my mind.  Tonight i will be picking up my Environment Agency Licence and this act always is a sign that spring is here for me and to start thinking about days tench fishing and long mornings chasing roach and perch on the canal and local ponds.

Springs arrival need not be signalled by any set date in the calender as all around us for the past few weeks spring has been in a battle to break through winters sold clasps.  All the roads now have been taken over by flowers with crocus plants and rows and rows of both planted and wild Daffodils lining all the local roads.  My dads house is always the first place i look though as not only is it surrounded in trees that blossom at this time of year coating the ground in a carpet of white and pink but we also have a family of sparrows that nest in the guttering each year and their arrival and collection of twigs being transformed like only a mother can into a safe heaven nest is the start of the spring for myself.

Chester Zoo Trips....

I try and incorporate a little bit about myself in my angling blog and my family life as much as i can and this week we made our annual visit to Chester Zoo.  This was a very special trip for me as it was the first trip to the zoo where my little girl would know what the animals where and have an interest in seeing them!  I have always grown up with a real love for all types of wildlife and would spend many hours watching recordings on Wildlife on One, nature has always been a huge part of my life and still is to this day.  A huge part of why i go fishing is the wildlife i see on the banks and the journey to the water and it is something that i want my family to grow up with and have a respect for animals and the wildlife on our planet as its the next generation that the worlds wildlife fate will be left too.

Chester Zoo trips have been an annual trip for me since i was old enough to walk and i love how much this Zoo reinvests its money into improving the Zoo itself and the facilities the animals live in.  They also do a fantastic amount of work in with conservation all over the world which is great to see.

Arriving at the gates of the Zoo the magic was there in my little girls eyes she knew all the animals she wanted to see, Elephants and Giraffes being top of her hit list.  It was really warming to see her be excited by the animals and asking loads of questions as we moved form species to species and it was a great family day out that left me with lots of happy memories and i am sure left our little girl with more.

With that picture its onto this weeks fishing....

Stick Float Fishing River Dane...

With two weekends to go till the end of the River Season it is the time where all your hard work during the season should really pay off for you.  Having worked out where the fish are holding up in their winter haunts these last two weeks of the season as the fish are feeding hard ready for spawning should be the time where you are reaping the rewards.

Sadly for us our winter of exploration and discovery on the River Dane has been a little stop start with the regular rainfalls keeping the river running coloured and every time we thought the levels where right snow melt from the hills would flush through and make the river a torrent of brown.  It meant we had little chances over the past months to learn about this river but we did know where the better swims where from the end of the last season so we decided to take a risk and hit those swims.

The swims we set up in looked mint with plenty of visibility for trotting a float and the pace of the glide was bob on.  Casting in we expected roach and dace with a splattering of chublets but a hour and half in and we had little to show and certainly was not meeting out one a chuck expectations.  We moved to an area that had been good to us in the past but it would mean me doing a little pruning of the bank side.

The second to last weekend of the season is not the time you want to be digging in a new peg but it was a glide that i had wanted to fish all season and with a big snag in the main swim i really had no choice. Half a hours digging and i had enough room for my box and bait waiter.  I had been lose feeding the swim with maggot and hemp while digging in the peg hoping that food would distract the fish from the loud noise i was making.  I need not had worried as first trot down the float buried and i was rewarded with a palm sized silver dart.

The swim i had dug in was just above some really fast water so it was not the longest of trots and what happened on this session truly shocked me.  I returned the fish and began my next run though and instantly the float was getting knocks and bumps going through, eventually it went under and another dace was in my palm.  This knocking on then line as it goes through is a sure fire sign of plenty of fish in the swim and the key here is not to get carried away and think you need to feed heavy as you run the risk of the whole shoal coming up in the water and hard to catch, you want the fish taking 5-10 yards down the swim at a comfortable striking distance.

The fishing was a bite a chuck, some of them lightning fast and hard to hit but it was a chance of a fish each run through which is all you can ask for.  Some times the float would bury and a chublet would be the obvious culprit.  Among the smaller fish you would find the odd better dace show and these where either rough to the touch like sandpaper or really plump and slimy and bursting with spawn.  It was obvious these fish come into this area to spawn as we have not run into as many dace before in this location.

This area was a real find for us and in a season where we uncovered very little about this river it showed its hand to us right at the very end and i guess almost tipped her hat to us as a reward to all our hard work.  It will certainly set us in good stead for the season coming up.  Back to the session and the bites kept coming steady right though the middle of the day and into the afternoon but the size of the fish certainly deteriorated.

It was a weird feeling as the afternoon moved into time to pack up as i knew rain was planned during the week and i guess deep down i knew that would see this river colour up and not be worth the risk the next weekend and as such this would be my last session on the banks of the River Dane for this season.  I had left my scales in my pike gear, a problem that has happened a few times this season and one i will have to sort out with another pair of scales, we estimated them to be around 10-12lb nets and if the torrential downpours in the week did materialise it was a nice way to sign off.

my net

uncle net

Pike Fishing: I will Never Learn!!!!........but worth it haha

Regular readers of my blog will recall last weeks update where i dared the wrath of her in doors by sneaking off on a Sunday Morning for two hours pike fishing before the house woke up and although i picked up two pike i did pay the penalty when i returned home to cook my own breakfast!  In school my report always said the same thing, clever, easily distracted and does not learn from his mistakes, well some things have changed i am now not clever but others have remained the same, easily distracted and does not learn from mistakes as Sunday morning the fishing devils returned and off i went with a pike rod and a bag full of smelly dead least the freezer was empty...for a bit.

This time there would be no getting out of it i knew exactly what i was doing so ignorance was not an excuse this time.  I had to be stealthy and my clever side had to return.  6am and i arrived at the bank and set the alarm on my phone to go off at 8.30am to give me a warning to pack in and get back in the car and home.  Casting in i was confident the water was like a glass pane and there was not a breath of wind, my only company was the solitary robin looking expectantly for his anglers free breakfast.

A two hour window is hardly any time in piking but i would say in the time i have been piking this season the first two hours are the time to be on the bank.  You can often spend many hours on the bank piking but i would say the majority of my bites have come in the first two or last two hours.  The floats cast out into the gloom i sat back on a tree stump to await the pike to play their part.

The first swim produced no signs of fish so i moved into another swim and withing 5 minutes the float was showing the signs of a pike coming to dine.  A few tentative bobs on the float showed me a pike was interested in the bait but it took a good 10 minutes for the pike to actually commit to taking the bait and move off.  Reaching for the rod it was a slow run that pulled line steadily from the reel and then the best moment in pike fishing came, time to reel down on the fish and set the hooks.

In that moment of striking your excitement of the run has built and there is no going back, after the strike your either going to pull clean out of the fish, strike into a jack and the fish will normally come up in the water or in some cases you strike and the float gently bends over into something with a bit of fight.  This was the later.  The fish put up probably the best fight of the season it made long hard runs and i just hoped it stayed on.  Knowing the fish was a double i reduced the drag a little as to not pull the hooks but as the fight drew on i knew with each minute and head shake the tide was turning towards the pike escaping so i decided to try and take some control of the fight and upped the drag and the fish did respond and soon came to the net.

The fish went 11lb on the scales and it was a great start to the short session.

The pike returned i was smiling like the a Cheshire Cat, a quick look at the clock and it was 7.05am, i had around a hour max left but it already felt like mission complete.  The hardest part of piking this year for me has been letting myself not get complacent and lose my drive when i get an early bite.  so many times i have had a early fish and not had a touch the rest of the session just because i have been happy with the one fish.  Maybe these shorter sessions at the right time of the day are the key.

I leap made my way back to the car and leap frogged the rods as i did.  Right on the alarm for packing up going on my phone i was about to grab the rod and reel it in when i got a run on it.  This run was far more erratic that the first as the fish shot off with the bait.  The fish a jack of 8lb was the complete opposite of the first pike and i reckon it moved more in the run than in the fight!  The fish in the mat the hooks came out in the net, such small margins with this game.

The second pike returned it really was time to beat a retreat and with pike fishing its a simple task of clipping off your traces folding the rods in half and putting your gear in the back of the car.  Home and the gear stashed away i lobbed in some bacon and toast and a cuppa tea and it was mission complete!

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my blog and all the people who constantly like and share the updates it means a great deal!, Thank  you and till next week, tight lines.