Sunday, 19 October 2008

Pike Fishing - Short Lure Fishing Session

The last time I went fishing I was feeding carp on the top and floater fishing so it seemed a bit strange to be heading out pike fishing on my next session. October is traditionally the start of the pike fishing season though, I’d managed to miss my first piking session due to prior commitments so when the second Saturday in October came around I was ready and waiting to go with my lure bag.

Most of my pike fishing is done with lures these days, they are just so convenient, neither you or your car ends up smelling of dead fish after a session and as far as I’m concerned that’s a good enough reason to stick with the lures!. For me, lure fishing is about searching out potential spots pike might be held up. It’s a very mobile approach and in a typical lure fishing session I’ll cover 3 or 4 different waters in the same day. This makes my sat nav extremely useful and I rely on this little gadget to get me around the north west from lake to lake with no fuss, if you’re an angler that visit’s a few different waters or travels any distance, a sat nav is a cracking device to have.

The first lake I visited was one of my old stomping grounds for carp, a nice Cheshire mere that also contains a few pike up to mid twenties. Most pike in this water are small I thought it might respond well to a lure fishing approach. The first swim I tried was one of the car park swims, I knew from previous experience that a few pike had been caught here in the past so I investigated the swim with a large mepps aglia spinner. I started off on the right hand side of the swim fishing shallow at first and moving slightly further left with each cast until I’d covered the swim in an arc.

Once I’d covered the swim I did the same again but I counted the spinner down a little to fish it at a different depth, I fished around the swim at all different depths but no takes where forthcoming so I had a wander round with my rod and decided to try near a set of lily pads as it seemed like an obvious ambush point for a predator like the pike.

I started again on the right of the swim but nothing happened until my mepps aglia got near to the pads. On my third retrieve a small pike had a snap at my spinner, I didn’t hook the fish but I caught site of a characteristic green flash of a pikes flank. Previous experience has taught me that I’d probably get a take next time the spinner went through the swim. The take didn’t come first time through the swim, it came on the second run through. As the lure came near the pads the pike grabbed it properly this time and I had a short battle with a jack that had no chance of getting away as I was using a 20lb wire trace and 30lb breaking strain power pro braided mainline. I placed the pike on my unhooking mat and used a pair of forceps to remove my spinner, the forceps are ideal for avoiding a pike’s sharp teeth and I’d recommend them to any budding pike angler. Once the spinner was removed I weighed the fish at 4lb and took a quick photo, even though it was small, it was still my first pike of the season.

My first lure caught pike of the new season took a mepps aglia spinner

I couldn’t get another bite after the small pike so I tried a change of tactics, I switched my mepps spinner for a spinnerbait and tried in amongst the dying lily pads themselves. Spinnerbaits are excellent for this type of fishing as they don’t get caught up easily. I was able to retrieve my lure through the pads in the hope of finding another pike. I did see one pike strike in the pads but it was in an inaccessible area that I couldn’t reach and there was no bites for me in the areas I could reach so I moved on.

The sat nav got me to my next lake in no time at all, I couldn’t fish this Shropshire mere without a sat nav because its in the middle of nowhere and very difficult to find. I’ve never known a county with so many single track roads as Shropshire!. The second lake was rumoured to hold a few pike but rumours were all I’d heard. There were a few carp anglers in residence on this lake so I had to give them a wide berth. You never can tell where carp anglers are actually casting too so as a general rule I won’t go within two swims of them. This didn’t leave me with much water, just the margins and a tasty looking set of snags that might hold a fish if I could get a lure close enough to them.

I started with a mepps spinner again working from right to left then I worked the swim again at different depths, I went through most lures and plugs I had but with no luck at all. I have a feeling I might get lucky on this lake but it will be on another day when the carp anglers aren’t around as they were occupying all the areas that contained lily pads and I reckon the pads would probably give me my best chance of a pike on this lake.

During the afternoon it had begun to rain lightly, it was that horrible drizzly type of rain and after an hour of standing out in it I was soaked so I quickly decided to call it a day rather than visit a third water. There will be plenty of time to catch more pike this winter so I headed home with just the one small jack to my credit but at least I was off the mark.

Tight Lines.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Carp Fishing - Indian Summer

The weekend after my return to yateley I was a little bit stuck for a venue, the weather had been very nice for nearly a fortnight, real indian summer conditions with temperatures nearing the 70’s. Unfortunately the really high pressure associated with settled weather conditions meant the going was likely to be tough on the carp fishing front. With this in mind I opted to visit a well stocked Cheshire runs water to give myself a chance of getting a bend in the rod.

As soon as I arrived at the lake I had a feeling I’d catch, it was just a matter of how many. The carp were on the surface in numbers, as I stepped out of the car and looked across the lake I saw a lot of backs breaking surface on the far side and nobody fishing round there!. I grabbed my gear straight away and headed round to the swim that was full of fish. After dropping my gear and watching for a few minutes I decided floaters were the best line of attack and fortunately I’d taken a couple of bags of chum mixers with me.

The only problem with using floaters was the bird life, there was a large amount of seagulls on the lake and they would cause problems for me sooner or later. I began to feed mixers slowly, just half a dozen at a time to start with. It didn’t take long for the carp to show and interest and the first bait was sampled and taken within minutes. I continued feeding mixers and slowly the fishes confidence grew as more and more carp joined in. I’m amazed I managed to avoid the seagulls for so long, a few of them even flew over my baited area and ignored it despite seeing the carp getting stuck into the floating baits, a sure sign nobody had been floater fishing on the lake for quite a while!.

After an hour and a half of constant feeding with the catty my swim looked like a jaccuzzi, there were carp everywhere with their mouths out of the water scrapping for every last mixer. The swim was nearly ready for a hookbait so I slowly began to put a floater rod together. I set the rod up with a drennan sub surface controller and a 10lb drennan double strength hooklength that was 5 feet long. A single mixer superglued to size 10 esp big t raptor hook completed the setup.

I was just waiting for the superglue to dry on the hookbait when two ducks appeared from nowhere and charged straight through my swim grabbing every mixer they could. I continued to feed the mixers as the ducks had their fill but it was another hour before the carp started to get their confidence back again, just as they did a swan arrived on the scene and set me back again, next to arrive were the gulls and at one stage I had a swan, a couple of ducks and about 30 gulls all over my baited area grabbing every last mixer, in with these birds were the carp and they weren’t going to miss out on their free food. My answer to the birdlife was to step up the feed and I simply hammered in the mixers, the birds had their fill and when they couldn’t eat anymore they simply drifted away and watched from a distance, even the gulls had their fill and half an hour later I was sat with a swim full of carp again.

The carp were a little more wary with the disturbance from all the birds and they kept coming back for seconds every so often. I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t really going to get the carp completely preoccupied because of the birds so I changed tactics and set up a zig rig. I knew the water was roughly 3ft deep so I set up a zig rig with a 2.5ft hooklength and a small monster pursuit boilie pellet for a hookbait. My new tactics were to put the zig rig out slightly to one side of the baited area and to continue feeding mixers to try and build the carps confidence again.

The zig rig had been out maybe half an hour when the water erupted and my delkim suddenly burst into life. I was on the rod straight away and after a spirited fight I landed a small common that I guestimated to be around 6-7lb in weight. I took a quick picture on the mat and returned the fish then continued to feed more mixers whilst I sorted out another hookbait for the zig rig.

Zig rig caught common of around 7lb, the first fish of the day

I was fishing again a few minutes later, this time I put the zig closer to the feed area. It was perhaps another 30 minutes before I had a repeat of the last run, the water erupted again and again the delkim warbled its tune. This fish turned out to be a small mirror of perhaps 4lb. I returned the fish unweighed and set the zig rig up again with another fresh boilie pellet. By now I was fishing right in amongst the feed area and it didn’t take long to receive another blistering take. Unfortunately this fish kited to my right and I had to pile on the side strain to try and keep it from getting round a marginal bush. It was a real hang on for dear life moment and sadly my hook length parted as my line came into contact with the submerged branches of the tree.

My swim went a little quiet after loosing the fish and before I could build the carps confidence again the wind sprung up making it impossible to feed more mixers. It was blowing straight in my face so my mixers just kept getting blown straight back at me. As well as feeding mixers during the afternoon I’d also been feeding in some large elips pellets from hinders. With this new breeze blowing I simply switched to my usual knotless knot hair rig and fished on the bottom instead.

Switching to bottom fishing produced my 3rd carp of the day

Switching to bottom baits produced another run half an hour later and after a spirited fight I netted another small common around the 7lb mark. By this time I was knackered, feeding mixers for over 4 hours with a catty really does take it out of you so I called it a day with just 3 fish to my credit. Judging by the amount of carp that had been in my swim I should have had more but you just can’t avoid problems with birds ruining your groundwork. They’d been a real pain for me on this session and they’d cost me dearly, judging by previous floater fishing sessions on this water I’d have been looking at catching over 10 carp for the session. At the end of the day, you can’t rush the carp through to pre-occupation on chum mixers. It takes time to build them up with careful feeding so its hard to avoid our feathered friends. I’m now thinking of buying a laser pen to help me out next time!.

Tight Lines.

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