Session 45 – Second Pike Session And Flamingos Spotted

Friday, October 5th, I left the house at 0645 heading to a club pool (Pike Water 1) for my second pike session of the new season, arriving at the waterside at around 0730…

Deadbaiting on this pool is hard work – I fished it for several years with deads using all sort of presentations – static ledger, pop-up, float drifted, … you name it, I did it! And I probably had 2 fish per season on average – and I fished it regularly, not just the odd visit…. Lure fishing was more successful and, in fact, my current PB of 20lb 12oz came to a lure on my first ever pike session on this water.

So, as I intended live baiting I first needed to catch my bait as club rules prohibit removal of fish from the waterside (which means that baits cannot be obtained on a previous visit to the water) and national laws prohibit the transfer of live freshwater between different waters without a licence to do so (although adding live sea fish does not require this – so live sea bass, mullet, etc could be used technically ie if you can obtain them!). Also the club rules for this club’s waters state that deadbaits must be although legally any dead fish can be used (eg may be caught in Pool A, killed, and used as bait in Pool B). Anyway, last year I bought a 6m pole for the livebait catching and so I set this up and used it for an hour with size 16 hook and maggot baits – by which time I’d caught ONE bait from probably 50 bites! I did have 3 fish on overall but 2 dropped off with all the faffing with unshipping segments… so pole got put away and my standard float rod was set up and fish were falling to my hands at last. Bait gathering was continued until around 1045 and I must have had 30 baits by that time although most were a bit too small for my liking (<= 3”) and I was anticipating having to use several per bait in a Xmas Tree fashion … a standard 2 treble hook snap rig with a bait on two/three of the points of each treble, so looks like a Xmas tree and so it creates a small shoal of 4-6 small fish…..

1100, I’d got my two pike rods cast out – 12’ Ron Thompson Desperado carp rods (2.75lb TC), 15g dart floats on 40lb braided line with snap tackles consisting of 2 x size 8 trebles on 30lb trace wire – and as I had enough sizeable fish eventually I used just one bait per rod the leftovers being tipped back into the water after the end of session.

I played around with the depths at which baits were presented and the areas – one rod was fished out right of me and the other to my left at varying distances out but mostly within 12’ of the bank as experience on this water indicates that very few pike are caught, even by others, out in the open water but mainly come from within 25’ of the bank. As the water is deep at the bankside (4’-6’ under your feet and slopes down to 14’ or so 3 rod lengths out) and tree/bush overhung with tree roots protruding under the water in some areas and reeded in the margins in others then it makes sense really.

At around 1250, my first fish, a nice one of 8lb 15oz, took my bait literally 18” from my toes, taking it as soon as it hit the water! I’ve had fish from this spot before on this swim – I think there’s actually an undercut or hole in the bank here as I’ve had other fish exactly the same way … and you can just about see the bottom here. Its literally so close to your feet that you cannot cast to it, or even hold the rod horizontal and drop the bait down… its a case of hold the rod up about 10 degrees off vertical so the tip is JUST over the water and freefall the bait from the tip with a big splash … and before the float has cocked its steaming away at the rate of knots! Anyway, as I said, today’s resident of ‘the hollow’ was 8lb 15oz…

2018-10-05 Steve - 8lb 15oz Pike 04

8lb 15oz Pike

The last week of September 2014 (I recall this as I was due to go on holiday at the following weekend and couldn’t return to the swim until the second week of my season. Frustrating!!) I was fishing this same swim, catching a few carp, etc when I spotted a fish tail at the bank’s edge… so I strained a bit to see if I could make the fish out and when I did its body kept on getting longer … and culminated in a huge pike head… but eventually it moved away but I noted the length on features of the bank and measured on my next visit – 45 inches – which on Mona’s Scale (a length to weight approximation) equates to 28lb 8oz!! I suspect this was the pike caught by a mate of mine on the following New Years Day 2015 at 34lb 8oz…

34lb 8oz Pike

34lb 8oz Pike

Over time it was caught again several times at increasing weights but sadly in Spring 2016 it was found washed up dead in the shallows, suspected succumbed to spawning rigours, at 38lb.

Anyway, to get back to current times …. fish landed, weighed and photo’d all I had to do now was to disentangle the two lines as they had become entangled as the fish passed over… looked a right old bird’s nest and I reckoned the best was to cut both the lines as close to the tangle as possible, rescuing the terminal gear and retackle. Actually, not too much line was lost and as the set up was fairly simple it didn’t take more than a minute or two to get the first of the rods re-tackled, baited and cast out whilst I started on the second rod … but before I’d managed to do that, off went the float again …. and a very spirited 3lb 12oz pike came to the bank.

2018-10-05 Steve - 3lb 12oz Pike 01

3lb 12oz Pike

Following that it went all quiet again with just one other take at around 1400 but, although I struck and felt the fish at the end of the line, the hooks failed to take hold …..

I fished on until 1530 before packing in for the day and heading home to get the gear put away, bath and get ready to pick Liz up from work and make her evening meal.

I spotted a strange bird on the water too … a rather large flamingo … or is it a pink swan? Not that conversant with bird species … but Liz said it had probably flown over from Aldi!!

Swan Or Flamingo

Flamingo! Or Pink Swan?


Yep…  took my thermometer with me this time!!

Min:    13.9’C
Max:   14.5’C

The trend is definite a drop!

Session 44 – First Day Piking

Monday, October 1st, Liz and I set off for a short lure fishing session at Pike Water 3 to kick off our pike fishing season as we are ‘traditional almost’ pike anglers … the ‘almost’ being that our pike fishing is performed between 1st October and 31st March of the following year whereas a genuine traditionalist’s season would terminate on March 14th, the start of the closure of the old generally applied coarse fishing season on all waters.

As we were lure fishing it was a late start out from the house – 1030 – as we find that after about 3 hours actual fishing (plus a hour’s sitting and coffee drinking) that are backs and shoulders are ‘feeling it’ and that usually signals the end of activities – and it was true on the day too as we made our first casts out at about 1110 and finally called time at 1500.

We, as per usual, walked to the far end of the water we were to fish before tackling up. Reasons for this … 1. The best water lies at that end anyway on this water and 2. Generally, if you start at beginning of a water and start fishing there, by the time the ‘ache’ sets in you’re nowhere near where you wished to reach and thus not often, if at all, get to fish that water and 3. You walk out to the furthest point you wish to fish whilst still fresh and, as you’re working your way back towards the car, then you have a shorter walk back when finished and tired/fatigued… Works for me anyway!

Our rods and lines were identical – Ron Thompson EPV2, 9 foot, 10-40g rods teamed with 30lb Spectra (7-strand) braid – and 30lb wire lure traces. (Spectra braid usually comes in 4-strand or 7 strand versions – I try to get the 7-strand version, usually from China via eBay – slightly dearer but…). Liz chose her favourite bar spinner which she used for the whole session, a Shakespeare ‘Devils Own’ 16.5g in a scaled pattern … a spinner that rarely fails to catch – and when she lost her first, and only one at that time, I had to re-order her 6 more!…

ScreenHunter 06

Myself, I started with a 18g Zebco Twin Runner with luminous blades which has worked for me….

ScreenHunter 07

… but not as well as Liz’s do for her … perhaps I should raid her lure box???

Anyway, Liz’s worked it’s magic very quickly and within the first few casts she had a small perch…

Liz Perch

… and not long after a pike of just over 3lb… however, it appeared the batteries of my camera had worn out at that point and that I’d failed to check that I’d spare batteries (however, later I found the spare batteries had actually fallen out of the pocket on the camera’s case) … However, I had been wearing my head camera and had video of the landing, netting and weighing BUT I transferred the footage from camera to PC, checked it had copied OK and then deleted the camera’s memory but whilst trying to capture a still of ‘Liz with pike’ from that footage the PC crashed and the source file corrupted… AND whilst unhooking the pike, which had taken the lure into the back of its mouth, I tried using my general (short’ forceps which left my had right TOO close to its front teeth with the result the fish flapped and rolled and I ended with an 1/2” slash across the inside of my thumb. And, as pike teeth are coated with an anti-coagulant, it bled not only for the British Isles but for Africa, Australia and most of the USA too! AND I hadn’t taken a styptic pencil (a MUST for pike fishing), Germolene or any sort of plaster and so I spent the rest of the session with my hankie wrapped around my thumb … yep, a bit of a day of total disorganisation!

Later, Liz has another pike – smaller, around 2lb or so….

… and said she thought she’d had an earlier follow too … seeing a flash behind her lure.

Liz 2lb Pike 1

So, meanwhile I’d changed my lure to a jelly bodied silver shad and had a few casts and retrieves and then Liz hooked the pike just I’d made a new cast out … so I put my rod down and went to assist in the netting … and then returned to my rod and began to sink-n-draw the lure back in and about 5-6 yards out it was grabbed … BUT before I could finish saying to Liz ‘I think you need to get the net’ the hook pulled free… wasn’t too sizeable though, probably in the 2lb-3lb range.

Anyway, after another 20-30 minutes of trying and without any further action we decided to move to a dam wall on the water which also features a fallen tree in one corner … looks very ‘pikey’ although I think we ‘may’ have had one fish from there in quite a few sessions. I do think that I did have a bit of a grab on one retrieve but nothing resulted. And we also witnessed quite large numbers of small fry scattering which seemed promising but despite our best efforts – I tried various lures from 13cm to 3-4cm in size and casting both into the centre and around the borders of the activity –  nothing responded.

So… come 1500, with aching backs and shoulders, we decided to head back home via our usual ‘fishing day’ local hostelry … and on the journey back we picked up Germolene and plasters for making repairs to my thumb whilst supping our ale. Still in the plaster too … if I remove it, the wound re-opens still …


Friday 5th – planning on having a lure/livebait session at another water……


Again none – no thermometer…