My fascination with pike began long before I ever caught one, as a five or six year old I’d regularly quiz my Dad about them; how many teeth have they got? how long do they live?
I remember him telling me they are cannibals - pike eat pike - for some reason I found this new fact even more fascinating - I had to meet this fish! BTW: 300+ teeth, lifespan of 8-12 years.
After stumbling on a pike nursery a week or so ago, the thought of catching a cannibal hasn’t been far from my mind. I’m not prepared to use a jack for bait - but I’m all about lure fishing at the moment.
I tried my giant pike pattern plug, it fishes great at a depth of 5-6 foot - but here it’s only 1-3 foot deep and I had to fish it too fast. I had a look around and settled on a Savage Gear 3D pike.
It’s worth shopping around, got it online for six quid - bargain! I was worried it was designed to catch anglers rather than fish - until I saw it in action - a thing of beauty in the water!
Right on the limit of my light lure rod I gave it a test. I fished it slow, watching the line for signs of a take - I needn’t have worried - 4 takes and the pike hit it like a train, all taking line off the drag on the hit!
I have never had takes like it, but I need to scale up the gear - unable to set the hook on two takes! But I did get a couple of cannibals on the scorecard - love it - tell the 5 year old me!!
So going to scale the gear up; much heavier rod, multiplier, 20-30lb line. And I’m looking at pike pattern lures all over You Tube, I’d like to roll this out across all the (less snaggy) pike waters I fish...
Having explored the small ponds I’ve landed over 20 pike and seen a lot of follows, no doubles landed and only one scrapper double spotted. I was hoping there might be a forgotten monster lurking about but I’m starting to think this is as big as they get.
It’s great fun catching them on lures - and who knows, perhaps there is still a big girl waiting to be found. I’ll keep coming back, it’s going to be a refuge from the winter floods - but it’s time to start researching some new venues - as well as visit some old favourites.
With the pike proving elusive - we weren’t even sure there were any in this pond - me and Richard had scaled are lures right down and were hitting a few perch. Love the action of these Storm curl tails.
Then Richard landed a micro pike, and within half an hour we’d had two each and lost another two - we had stumbled onto a pike nursery! Were there bigger pike here eating them?
The answer came when a double appeared from nowhere and sucked up my tiny lure, thrashing about on the surface she quickly shed my hook - cr*p - about 12lb - first chance this season to bag a double!
The micro pike had vanished but I did land this larger jack (easily big enough to eat the micro pike). It got me thinking; I’ve got a few pike-pattern lures at home - they’ll be going for a swim next time...
The days are still clinging onto summer but the nights are getting colder. A quick mission to the river searching the gravels with polaroids for barbel - and they have vanished...
It seems to happen this time every year, they move off the shallows and find the deeper water ready for the colder months. I only spotted three - fortunately convincing two of them to take a bait - result!
Opening day, a new venue and a trip into the unknown - I’d heard there were pike here but didn’t know if they were here in any numbers and had no idea of potential size - exciting stuff...
Time to pack light - just half a dozen of my favourite lures and go for a wander, a quick chuck in likely spots before moving on. Second or third spot I had the jack above, my pike season had started...
The next take was so savage it broke the lure..!
Another jack but they’re really up for a fight...
Mini-pike, good news for the future (unless grandma spots him)...
Best of the day at 9lb 10oz, nearly a new venue double...
And pike number six to round off a fantastic afternoon.
A summer of carp, sharks and a proper heatwave. I say this every year but the summer season seems to have flown past. The mornings are getting later and the evenings earlier, and autumn is about to bite. But before I swap my cap for a woolly hat, and cons for wellies I thought I’d have a look back at some cracking summer fishing.
Closed Season: A great day on Lechlade produced a new PB rainbow and a PB brown trout, a double! Then I turned my attention to the local canals landing 3 small pike and a monster 28lb mirror carp, smashing my PB. The Blogger’s Challenge concluded and I was more than happy with third place - not a bad off season!
June: Opening day saw me into the local barbel, that pull I’d missed for three months. I also continued my canal carp quest landing two more, including a double. And I started a hunt to catch as many species from the local river as I could this season, setting the near impossible target of 20 species - 11 so far - including a choach!
July: In the grip of a heatwave it was best to try and avoid the barbel, instead I turn my attention to adding some mini species to the hunt; minnows, bullheads and sticklebacks were caught. I added common and mirror carp, but a koi proved elusive. And floating bread provided some explosive chub fishing while waiting for some rain.
August: Shark fishing! I’d really been looking forward to this and it didn’t disappoint. A new PB lemon shark for me and Roger, 7’ 7” & 7’ 8” respectively, two bull sharks to 6’ 9” topped off a twelve shark trip. Plus a few stingrays. And a great holiday in America; dinners, water parks, beaches, nature and crazy southerners!
September: Back to reality I stalked out a few carp on the local ponds, while doing some reccies for autumn pike and perch. The river had seen a bit of rain while I was away and I upped my local barbel count to 55 fish. And, after some near misses, finally landed an elusive koi carp - taking my species hunt total to eighteen.
Autumn/Winter: As always at this time of year my thoughts turn to pike, I’ve been out on a few reccies and seen a few fish - the plan is to travel light and chuck some lures about to gauge what’s really lurking about. As well as quantity, I’m really hoping to stumble across another twenty pound plus pike this season - it’s been a while!
As someone who occasionally breaks a landing net or landing net pole I wanted something tough. So I've been using my pike net-pole this season - it's old fashioned metal and screws - this is what I need if I'm hoisting a 28lb carp straight up a canal siding, and it's what I want when that 30lb pike is ready for the net and finally ready to meet me!
But every piece of kit is only as strong as it's weakest link - in this case a tiny rivet holding the end on. A quick smash ‘n’ grab trip to the river trying to get my barbel count to 60 fish - and with a barbel ready to be landed the net floats away! I unhooked the fish in the water and waded about to find my net...
But it’s pike season in two days... And I’m without a net pole!