Session 56 – Pike & Possibly Last Outing Of 2018

Thursday 13th December, at 0645 I set off for Pike Water 17 for what may possibly be my last outing of 2018 – although there is also the possibility of a twix-mas informal pike competition being held at one of my clubs on 29th December which I’ll attend if possible.

The coldest morning here yet – forecast had been for 0’C overnight but I don’t think it did actually drop that low although there was a very thin layer of frost on the windscreen of the car. I know at midnight the air temp was 3.5’C and as I left the house at 0645 the car registered 2.0’C but half hour later on arrival at the venue it was 2.5’C (heat wave!!)… and as I was driving back home the air temp was 4.0’C. However, the actual air temperature was also subject to a wind chill factor from the existing breeze which meant it felt colder than it was.

On arrival at the water I walked up to the corner swim of the pool that I’d elected to try on the day and I fed in about 1Kg (wet) of rubby dubby (breadcrumb, minced fish and red food colour) just in front about 2 rod lengths out – and I did a few casts out with the Deeper Sonar finder – a few larger fish spotted and isolated pockets of small silvers.

[I did say that I’d put an example of the contour maps that can be created in this posting but time is against me as I have other things I need to do today – perhaps shortly.]

I did try to catch a few small silvers for livebait on my whip but the breeze was too heavy for the rigs I had available (so will be making up some heavier ones for future use) and it was hard to get them out on to the water so only tried for 30 mins max. However, I was equipped with a selection of deadbaits for such eventually – herring, sardine, mackerel, capelin, sprats and smelt – and thus I started with a mackerel head half on one rod and two capelin on the other…

[Capelin – a small fish of the smelt family but silver as opposed to the orangey hue of a true smelt. To be honest, I won’t be getting more as they are too soft and hard to get a hook grip and fly off the hook on the cast too often even when frozen. They came from a Chinese supermarket frozen and on a cellophane covered polystyrene tray and do  look great at that time. Good for adding to rubby dubby though.

But whilst in Birmingham Fish Market I did spot some fresh fish that looked similar to smelt – £10.99 a kilo which I thought was expensive so didn’t buy BUT now thinking that frozen smelt costs about £2  for 5 off 4”-6” online – and an additional £7+ for shipping per order – so next time I’m in Brum… ]

First casts with the pike baits, under floats, went out about 0845 and two and a half to three hours later not a single touch had been had, so then I switched to a whole sardine on each rod until I packed in at 1330 with the breeze having picked up to be a wind and the ripples on the water having turned into shore breaking waves and my fingers having gone numb and without still not a single indication of fishy interest…

So… my possible last session of the year was an almighty blank…. but with the slight possibility of changing that ahead…

Whatever, this WILL be my last posting pre-Xmas and so in that case I’d like to wish all who are reading and your families and friends the very best for the season … and, in case this is my last 2018 posting, a very happy and successful New Year to all for 2019.


Min:  5.3’C
Max: 5.5’C

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Session 55 – Search For Perch…

Monday, December 10th, 0630, I headed off to a club pool (KF-VV) with a view to fishing for perch by float fishing with maggots and worms…

My swim was in a stretch known as ‘chub alley’ – a peninsula that juts out into the main pool and which along its southern side faces an island with overhanging bushes under which a lot of chub normally reside but near the root’ of the peninsula there is a bridge that crosses over to the island (rarely used as there are no pegs on the island itself as it is only 20’-30’ from the mainland at its furthest point and thus is only used for access for ‘gardening’ purposes such as trimming of branches on the bushes when they start to go wild, etc) and I’ve found that perch like the corner formed between the island end of the bridge and the island itself and also lie under the bridge itself too…

Weather at the start of the session was quite pleasant with a warming bit of sunshine and zero breeze but about 1030 the sky clouded a little blocking out the sun and a slight cooling breeze appeared and it went a bit chilly despite the thermals, my hands in particular getting a bit numb … that lasted for about 90 minutes and then the skies cleared again and the breeze dropped so pleasant again for another hour before the clouds and breeze returned. I packed in for the day at 1400.

So, before setting up I fired a few small ‘pults of maggots into the bridge corner to start attracting my prey…

I then tackled up my 13’ ‘Hardy Matchmaker’ clone float rod with 6lb mainline and a short 6lb braid hooklength with size 16 hook … and I fitted a small wind/driftbeater type float to fish ‘lift method’…

I had a few bites in the next hour or so … and landed a few fingerling perch (based on my small hands that is, on more manly sized hands they’d probably be referred to as ‘first knuckle’ings’) and a small gudgeon … and then for the next hour not a single nibble was detected but maggots were visibly sucked on retrieval on most occasions. So at that point I switched the float to a straight waggler, shotted in shirt button style, and changed the hook to a size 12 and fished with dendro worms … upon which bites started to happen again but still mainly from fingerling perch …. and the best only two fish outside that form were two perch of around 6oz and 1lb 5oz …. and was quite pleased with the latter as I still regard any fish or whatever species over 1lb as a worthwhile fish in my book.

So that was my day…..

Next outing will be tomorrow as I write this, Thursday December 13th, when I’m heading back out piking on a pool… I’m taking my 5m pole/whip in the hope of grabbing a few livebaits before I cast out the pike rods … and pre-fishing I’m also hoping to do some contour mapping of the pool with my Deeper sonar and, as an aside, hopefully locate where the silvers are currently holing up. In the event of failing to grab livebaits I’m taking a selection of deadbaits too … and a few lures including a Colarado Spoon which I purchased last Saturday after not seeing one for years!


Colorado Spoon – they’re absolute pike magnets!

Temperatures are forecast to be dropping tonight down to 0’C – so I think my thermals that have been in use recently will be supplemented by my fleece onesie! Not quite time for the padded dungies yet though? Find out tomorrow!


Min: 6.1’C
Max: 6.5’C

2018-12-10 Water Temps

Session 54 – Back To The Water – Pike Fishing

Tuesday, December 4th, exactly three weeks after my previous outing I managed to make it back to the banks of a water once again. The gap between visits was due to several factors – had a bad cough/cold, events (birthdays, rock music weekend in Pwllheli, etc), Christmas chores (present shopping, etc) and having our driveway re-shaped and laid – and the damned lousy weather wasn’t exactly compelling me to get out there either!

Anyway, mid-week I decided I was going to get out there whatever on the Friday – I did – and glad I did! Apart from quite a hefty early morning frost (air temps 2.5’C on the way to the pool), the day was almost late summer’ish with clear blue skies and a golden sun and barely a ripple on the water and it was quite pleasant for most of the day until around 1300 when the sky became more overcast a slight breeze picked up and a slight chill was being felt.


Destination for the day was Pike Water 1 and, obviously, pike were the prey.

I left the house around 0700 and arrived at the water a little after 0730 … and as the first there (another arrived around 1130) I had a complete choice of swims and so I got the one I’d intended to fish without problem.

Before tackling up I threw out some ‘rubby dubby’ in the form of breadcrumb, a bottle of ‘Fish Sauce’ (which is basically the juices of crushed anchovies – very fishy smelling) and chopped up pieces of old stocks of sprats, etc – and then I cast out my Deeper Sonar to ascertain if there were fish around and …

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Deeper Sonar Display

… it seems that there were! The scale shown is in metres – so in proper money the depth of water was around 13 feet with the fish lying between 2 feet and 10 feet … other casts/scans around the area gave similar results.

So, with that information, I decided, that was the range  of depth to place my baits in. However, as I had no maggots to catch live baits, I was to use dead baits and I’d taken a fair selection – herrings, mackerel and sardines for the larger baits with sprats, smelt and capelin (a member of the smelt family but silvery rather than the smelt’s orange hue) for smaller bait use.

I used two float rods (12’ 2.75lb TC Ron Thompson ‘Desperado’ carp rods) in conjunction with 40lb BS braid, 30lb wire traces (one trace had 2 x size 2 double hooks, and the other was fitted with 2 x size 4 treble hooks), vaned teardrop floats (12g size) and Grey’s Prowla Quick Change leads to suit…

First baits, cast out around 0830, were 2 half herring ones – head half on one rod, the tail on the other – set to work within a depth of 4’-6’ and drifted along in front of me.

After an hour or so, having had no response, and thinking possibly that 2 halves of a big fish drifting in mid-water may not appear natural, I set both rods to fish their baits on the bottom over the rubby dubby – and at 1000 I had the satisfaction of hooking into a pike which had taken the tail end bait… It was successfully landed albeit that it decided to emulate the tactics of an eel and spin in the net – result was that it made the unhooking easy as the hooks had come free (but now embedded in the net mesh – but as I use barbless or squeezed down barbs that wasn’t a major problem) BUT the pike’s head was enclosed in a multi-wrapping of mesh and the mesh had also passed over the lip bone’s ends which I was not able to free by manipulating ‘over and off’ and thus had to cut some of the meshes. Still, it was done quickly and with minimum fuss and actually with minimal damage to the net itself… so all good in the end….

2018-12-04 Steve - Pike 6lb 5oz

Pike 6lb 5oz

However, after a further hour with no further interest shown I switched back to fishing mid-water with sprat and capelin baits set up as what I refer to as a ‘Xmas Tree’ – multiple baits (3-5 sprats, etc) on each trace as to emulate a mini-shoal of fish – and is a tactic that has provided results in the past. Anyway, to me, a shoal of small baits looks more natural than a half big dead fish at mid-water… I thought I had ‘discovered’ this technique actually until I read a book from the 50’s which described the same sort of thing although actually using minnows for chub… Nothing is new in this world is it?

At 1315 with no further action and a chill starting to drop – along with the forecast of heavy rain later – I decided to tackle down the bait rods and have half an hour or so with a lure – which I did but again with no response.

1420, I was back at the car and homeward bound.

I’ll probably not be out again this week – more jobs and commitments to be honoured – but hoping to do some fishing on Monday or Tuesday of next week as an improvement in the weather is promised too, so possibly I’ll be doing some pool fishing for chub and perch


Min:  6.8’C
Max: 6.9’C

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