Session 65 – A Frosty Pike Trip

Tuesday 29th November 2016 and I headed off on the frostiest morning of the year so far on another piking trip to Pike Pool 17. The car thermometer registered -1.5’C on the trip down and over the day the waterside thermometer registered air temperatures between 2.5’C and 5.5’C over the 0845-1500 fishing session. Weather was bright sunshine during the day with very little air movement at all – the water surface being like a sheet of glass.

So before setting up tackle, etc I put out some rubby dubby consisting of cereal groundbait containing pieces of smashed oily fish and with added fish oils to act as an attractant for the pike.

I started off with the ‘roach’ rod for the first two hours of the session in hope primarily of attaining some small silvers for pike livebaits but also in the hope of possibly picking up some bonus chub, bream, etc. Also the silvers attracted into the area would hopefully also draw pike into the area. However, my supply of silver’s bait was not the best – I had dead maggots to use as loose feed but my main supply of hook maggots were also dead! It seems that they had been kept in ‘statis’ (ie kept cool in a plastic bag from which the air had been excluded) too long and succumbed. Anyway, although I tried fishing at varying depths from on the bottom at 11’ and up to 3’ deep I had only a few small nudges on the float and nothing hooked at all.

At 1100 I switched to the pike rod – I had planned to switch at 1130 but having had a mis-cast and being caught up on a bush from which I had to pull for a break that switch was made slightly earlier as it wasn’t worth the re-tackling up on the bank.

So the pike rod was baited up with what  I think is a ‘bluey’ – itself also properly called a ‘Pacific Saury’ – but which I had purchased as a ‘needle fish’. Does look like a bluey though, and whatever it is very oily and ‘fishy’… 

bluey

Bluey

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Needle Fish

 …and definitely looks more ‘bluey’ than the ‘needle fish’ in the photos above.

And so, this was floatfished at varying depths, in varying points around the swim for an hour or so before changing bait to a mixed sprat (natural and red dyed) Xmas Tree offering – on each of the two double hooks on the trace two sprats were placed (ie 4 sprats, one on each hook bend) – which is intended to emulate a small shoal and can work when single fish offerings are not. However, on this day even the XT was completely ignored and thus I ended the day with a complete blank.

Thinking now for Friday – not sure if Liz will be thinking of coming out especially with the cold weather although she may be persuaded by a couple of hours lure fishing on the canal followed by a heartening drink in a hostelry … and even if she decides not to venture out then I may just do that anyway….

And, on Tuesday next week, I’m meeting up with a club member for a day’s piking on one of my other club’s pools.

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Session 64 – Short Pike Luring Session

Friday 25th November and I was off to Pike Pool 17 on a short 2 hour lure session.

I arrived at around 1015 and fished the far bank corner swim for about an hour-and-a half before moving to the near bank car park swim for the last 3/4 of an hour..

Two rods were taken set up – one 30g-80g rated with a 19cm (56g) Savage Gear Soft 4Play lure in the Olive Pearl pattern, the other a telescopic 10g-30g one with a blue Fladen Shad Spinner – and both rods having baitcaster multiplying reels loaded with 30lb Dyneema braid……

The session started well with a pike of around 5lb taking the 4Play lure but unfortunately the hooks were shed before the fish could be landed…. and other than that no other action was encountered for the rest of the session even after changing lures and trying a generic trout patterned jelly bodied shad and another 19cm 4Play body in a Fungus Roach pattern…

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However, that is not to say that I didn’t land anything at all on the session… in fact I had several items … and all on the heavy weighted generic shad fished sink-n-draw along the bottom. There were the usual bits of twigs and branches, a length (3m-4m) of pole elastic connected to its end tackle that had presumably been connected to a lost fish at some time in the past … and although not the stereotypical ‘old boot’…..

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… an old carpet slipper. But no bisickel whales turned up (Black Country joke! LOL!).

Session 63 – A Piking Success

Oh well, the plans for last week didn’t quite come off … the evening before the planned trip on the 8th, the hot water system in the house packed in (although heating was still working fine) meaning I spent the planned fishing day waiting for an engineer to call to fix it – and as it turned out he didn’t come until the following day. Cause of the problem in the end was that a mouse appeared to have climbed inside the boiler’s cabinet and chewed through some control cables! We knew there were mice in the garage (where the boiler is) from various chewed bits of wood and carrots, etc and I’d put traps down but the baits were never touched. More traps out now though but still no captures despite finding a chewed carrot in the centre of the floor this morning….

And I didn’t make the usual outing on the Friday either…

Anyway, the originally planned trip took place yesterday, Tuesday 15th November, and I headed to Pike Pool 5 armed with maggots, worms, etc for the original ‘silvers’ session and also a few deadbaits as a contingency plan in case I caught nothing usable for bait purposes.

Weather was generally good until around 1330 when all went quite dark and grey and light drizzle started and  I decided to pack up completely at 1400 instead of the planned 1430 tackle down of the main gear followed by an hours lure fishing. Air temp on the way down in the car at 0730 was 12.5’C and rose to a max of 14.8’C over the day. Water temp was consistent at 8.1’C.

Arriving at the waterside around 0800, the usual setting, tackling and baiting up took me to around 0845 when first cast was made on the silvers float rod with a size 12 hook baited with worm & maggot and resulted in a nice roach of around 8oz. This was returned to the water as it was too big for bait – I prefer 2oz-3oz (4”-5”) baits. After that I was getting a bite a cast but missing most of them resulting in over time dropping down hook and bait sizes to 2 maggots on a size 16 and by 1215 I’d got 6 suitably sized silvers in the bait bucket.

So silvers float rod was switched to the pike equivalent and one of the silvers was attached to the 30lb BS wire trace fitted with two double hooks and fished about 4’ deep in a water depth of 9’-11’. Within 10 minutes the float started to glide across the water and a strike met solid resistance … and a minute or so later the net was slipped under a jack pike of 4lb exactly…

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4lb 0oz Pike

As you may see on the photo, a bit of blood about! Don’t worry, it was all mine, the fish was fine!! A combination of out-of-practice-pike-unhooking, the 2nd hook being caught in the landing net mesh, the forceps being just of reach, and plain ‘stoopidity’ was to blame. I caught my fingers and dragged them across the pike’s teeth … OUCH! Hence one very red handkerchief that used to be snow white…

So, next trip? Friday, and depends on if Liz is coming out to play or catch up on her sewing… forecast is for quite cool temps… so possibly a short lure session? Maybe a strolling deadbait session on the canal? Time will tell….

Prepping For Session 63 Tomorrow

Oh well, could be fun tomorrow – snow forecast from noon in the West Midlands although more likely it will be rain where I’ll be.

Anyway, off piking again – but with a complete change of tactics for me…

My usual (non-lure) pike fishing is with a variety of deadbaits fished in a variety of methods – floatfished at various depths, static ledgered, popped-up, large baits, small baits, single baits, multiple baits, etc – but this has not been very successful – and that is REALLY stretching the use of the word ‘success’!

It is apparent that the particular pool I fish mainly is not a ‘deadbait’ pool – most of the pike I’ve actually caught there have been on lures, very few takes and even fewer fish have come to deadbaits. Total number of fish I’ve caught are in single figures over a 3-4 year spell with around 15 trips per year (so <10 pike on 45-60 trips – with only one a double figure fish).

However, I hear tale after tale of pike attacking the silvers of other anglers when being landed and that the better pike there also are being taken on livebaits.

Thus tomorrow’s plan is ‘something completely different’….

I’m going to start silvers fishing in the usual way with floatfished maggot BUT I will also have the two floatfishing pike rods ready setup for action…. and the first few silvers (if any) landed will go into an aerated bucket for possible use as freshly killed deads or as livebaits. And I will fish that way until either (a) an active pike appears in the swim or (b) until around noon when I’ll put out the pike rods but keep up the loose-feeding of maggots into the swim to keep the attention of any silvers in the area…. and possibly at the end of the day I’ll have an hour or so with the lure rod….

Session 62 – Another Pike Session

Friday 4th November 2016 at 0700 I head off to Pike Pool 17 in search of my first Esox Lucius of the 2016-2017 season.

As the previous day was quite cold (1’C) I, like yer muvva tells ya to, wrapped up well – thermal baselayer top and fleece jumper with Swedish Army long-johns, with fleece onesie over, and a set of padded bib’n’braces over those – and then my usual waistcoat and jacket – and then find on the day blue skies, bright sunshine, and hardly a ripple on the water’s surface – and air temps reaching 14’C over the day – was I warm or what!?

Anyway, I arrive at the pool at around 0745 and I decide on my peg for the day – but before setting up my deadbait rods I pre-bait the swim with breadcrumb laced with fish oils and shredded fish bits and then I have a hour with a lure – a 9.5cm Savage Gear Soft 4Play white/silver body… but to no effect.

Arriving back at my swim, my two pike ledger rods are set up with a popped-up Spanish mackerel on one rod, and a mackerel portion (4oz) on the other… but 4 hours later, despite twitching in a yard or so every 20 mins, not a single bit of attention has been gained. So I pull out the two float rods – one is baited with 2 pink coloured sprats and 2 normal sprats in Christmas Tree fashion, the other with a ‘jack hooked so that it was held horizontal in the water – these were given 3 hours in the water during which various depths were set on each, they were allowed to drift, fished out in the water, fished on far bank and fished near bank – all to no avail. So for the last hour of the day I reverted back to a lure – a 14” wriggly tail eel – which was as effective as all the other methods I’d used. So… another blank….

Water temps over the day lay in the 10’C to 10.5’C band.

Picture of the week:

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One of my angling clubs – Kinver Freeliners – held a charity night, and Matt Hayes, accompanied by Mick Brown, gave an excellent slideshow/talk and here’s myself hoping to get some of their ‘magic’ transferred!! But as you can see from the above write-up, it didn’t quite work out! 🙂 And that was despite buying Mick’s ‘Pike And I’ DVD and his ‘Professional Pike Angler’ book too on the night.

Session 61 – A Special Invitation

Tuesday 1st November 2016 – I had recently received a special invite to fish a small Staffordshire estate pool (WBP) and so at 0630, as I didn’t know what to expect, I set off with two ledger rods, a float rod, a 10-35g lure rod and a 30-80g lure rod, the latter of which is used as a multi-purpose tool – besides its normal lure use it also becomes the ‘launcher’ for my fish/depth finder’s transponder, for my spods/spombs, and for my Water Wolf and FishSpy underwater cameras among other things.

On arrival at around 0730 I found two others already fishing and enquiries elicited that the pool was around 4’ deep, which seemed in keeping with my findings when actually fishing, that the pool was heaving with small 3-4oz fish catchable by float fishing and that good sized (20lb+) carp had been taken from there too.

Anyway, I decided to fish with the two ledger rods for the day using frame feeders using paste on a size 6 hook to 8lb line and worm/maggot on a size 12 to 8lb line on the other. Before tackling up, the ‘station’ and equipment were set up ready and several cricket ball sized groundbait balls were thrown out into the swim – the frame feeders were loaded with the same groundbait too – breadcrumb + other cereals + additives + maggot – and sweetcorn and small meat cubes were also free fed.

First casts were made at around 0815…

On arrival the sky was bright overcast, water temp was 10.4C (constant all day) and the air calm and all was good albeit biteless but at around 1100 a slight breeze picked up which, although it didn’t ruffle the water even as the pool was surrounded by trees, it did blow off leaves from those trees – and loads of them and most seemed to gather on the nearside of the pool making fishing difficult due to they catching on the line, and having to cast over them and try to get the line sunk below… The other two chaps had life a bit easier in that they were using bait boats to drop their feed and bait to the far side of the pool – and as the boats passed through the leaves they created a leaf free channel through which the line could sink before the leaves re-gathered.

Anyway, I fished until around 1500 but other than a few nudges, line twitches and chewed up worms on retrieval of the lines I had nothing at all. The two guys both had a few carp each but did say the fishing was slow that day.

I tried to get my FishSpy camera out and filming – the water itself was clear and as shallow I thought I might get some good footage … however, problems! I could not get it to connect via WiFi to my mobile – the red ‘flashing light’ that it was supposed to display was in fact showing a steady light. When I got home I checked the FAQs on the FishSpy website but could find nothing relevant or even mention of the light being in a steady state so I started to write an e-mail to them when I had a thought… after last use and downloading the stored video on to my PC I had re-formatted the inbuilt ‘hard drive’ – and used NTFS format instead of the FAT32 it had been in… so I re-formatted again but in FAT32 format… walla! Working perfectly! Anyway, sent the e-mail too FishSpy anyway with an added update to indicate the possible NTFS ‘bug’(?) and that they may want to include the info not to use NTFS in their online FAQ. BUT things can also work to your advantage – whilst on the FS site I found a recent firmware upgrade which switches the camera to store black’n’white footage rather than the usual colour format – filming in b’n’w supposedly helps definition in very low light levels – and I’m now looking forward to trying out this new mode of operation.