Firstly I would like to wish you all a happy new year and tight lines for 2014, hope you break a few Pb's this coming year.
First weekend on the year saw me with a few hours to kill, the kids were off to the panto with their Gran which just so happened to be in the city centre I have been targeting this winter so I offered to drop them off. Once that was done I headed down to an area where the boats sometimes moor up and the water is deeper in a couple of basins, the idea was to work my way up with pike lures and if nothing was showing then work my way back down with some light perch gear.
As you will know its been hard work on there and that day was no different, I covered quite a bit of water and never saw a pike move let alone hook one despite there been signs of silver fish holding up in the area. I changed the gear around a bit to fish for perch then made my way back. Soon enough I had a take on a Savage Gear 3in soft perch lure, a fire tiger pattern to be exact. Not a huge fish but it was my first in 8 trips and an absolutely stunning fin perfect one.
I kept moving along but nothing else showed an interest. I wanted to fish another basin the other side of the road but on arrival I was met by two Eastern Europeans already fishing. That just suggests even more to me that this water has been well and truly rapped of its predator stock. I won't be returning to this area.
The following week I headed to my new pike water for a few hours after my last night shift, my mate Martin had been down in the week and had a couple out on the fly again, lost one and had a few follows so I was eager and full of anticipation at what would fall to my lures. It was still dark when I arrived but this did provide an opportunity for the obligatory dawn shot.
I spent an hour on the deep water in front of the old draw off tower but failed to interest any pike, then as the light levels grew I could see odd fish drifting along the near side weed beds in the crystal clear water so I swapped lures for something with a lighter jig head and went for a wander. From my vantage point on the high bank I could see fish all along the dam end as I walked along. Frustratingly, like the last time the pike were not interested in anything I chucked at them.
Fish up to high singles either sat there motionless or spooked at the sight of the lure. Soft 4plays, real eels even 3in kopyto's failed to provoke a response. I don't know why they are sat in 3 feet of crystal clear water in winter but there sure as hell not feeding, sunning them self's perhaps in what bit of warmth there is from the sun.
The following week I was kid free and on a designated fishing weekend, this allowed for my first proper session on the new water. As it was my first bait fishing trip I wanted to keep my options open so chose a couple of differing methods. Most of the lads I see on here are fishing not too far out in the deep water off the dam so here was the obvious first choice for one rod. This was rigged up with a sliding float stopped by a bead and knot along with a free running bomb down the line so as to float ledger deads.
B- 50lb powerpro braid
C- fox medium stubby slider
E- wire trace with hooks to match bait
F- rubber beads
G- 1.5oz lead on a run ring
On my second rod I had wanted to try out the new Fox drifter system I had bought and all week the wind had been perfect, blowing off the dam and down the lake but typically come Saturday it had swung around and was blowing right at me so instead I started on a standard free running ledger rig and decided to try hoof a bait as far as possible. My reasoning was that almost everyone was fishing short and its possible that one or two fish could shy away from the pressure and sit further out. I have not tried to ledger dead baits at distance before and soon encountered a couple of problems.
Firstly casting fairly large dead baits any distance with an ounce or two of lead on a free running rig lead to the weight sliding back up the line and creating a massive cartwheel effect, I tried up to 3oz and smaller baits but still the effect was there and massively ate into the distance. I have since discussed this with a number of anglers on a Face book pike group and think I may have the solution which will be tried next time unless of course the wind is favourable in which case I'll be sending the drifter out.
My second problem was the weed, not so thick that it was unfishable but that my baits were coming back masked from trying to tighten up to the bait/lead after they had separated on the cast so to get around these issues a change was needed. Last week I had been watching a video (well 3 actually) on You Tube called The Fox guide to pike fishing with Matt Hayes and Max Cottis and in it they had been using a sunken paternoster rig on a big gravel pit so, as I had the bits and bobs with me I decided to give it a bash even though I had always thought of it as a river or live bait method.
A - 50lb powerpro braid
B - bead and stop knot
C - Fox clear sunken float
D - link swivel
E - 18in wire trace
F - 2oz lead on 2ft weak link
(an up trace was also used between swivel D and the float)
The videos can be found here
Fox guide to pike fishing part 1
Fox guide to pike fishing part 2
Fox guide to pike fishing part 3
Despite only producing a dropped run late afternoon the rig worked well, it cast better although distance was a little shorter than I wanted, it didn't tangle and the bait never came back masked in weed.
The fishing wasn't exactly on fire but I learnt quite a bit about both the water and rigs. Around mid morning the float rig fished 2 or 3 rod lengths over the drop off signalled some interest, the float bobbed a couple of times then just buried and the rod tip was been pulled around even before I picked up. The fish hung deep and I slowly eased it up through the 20+ foot of water before a spirited scrap under the rod tip, soon enough though the fish rolled into the net and I had my first decent pike of the season.
Again there were numbers of fish drifting up and down the margins on top of the rocks. One thing I don't do when pike fishing is chuck my used baits in the water until home time as its possible for the fish to fill up on these rather than the one with the hooks in but today I decided on a bit of an experiment. As the water is crystal clear and around 3ft deep right in the edge I dropped each of my used baits where I could see them just to see if one of these pike drifting around would pick one up, as I headed home I can report that all the of the baits were still there.
This morning I was out after work for a couple of hours chucking lures around on the pike water, today for a change though I fished the opposite end to the dam and worked my way around a bay. The wind was freezing and blowing right at me and for some reason I felt unusually tired after work so after a couple of hours with out a sign I called it quits and went to see how one of the lads was doing on another local water.