Friday, 26 December 2008

Look what i got for Xmas!

I couldn't resist the chance of a Xmas fish from the Dee. I got out of bed early today; boxing day with a delicate head from the excesses of yesterday. The Pike haven't really been on over the last week but i had so much confidence at first light when i saw the river was in perfect condition. The level was right with a nice flow with just a tinge of colour. The regular faces appeared before light and we all discussed the prospects for the day. Tony promised to catch some livebait for me and duly did especially after he was given some extra tuition from Dee 'legend' Reg. To be fair to Tony he wasn't doing alot wrong and was catching regularly before Reg imparted his expertise regarding his world famous 'Molehill Groundbait'.

My livebaits went out at first light and as the bungs danced in the flow of this majestic river on a stunning crisp winters day my heart beat a little faster. But sadly the morning went by without the hint of Pike activity. My old mate and Piking Ace Paul Gratton made a late appearence and whilst the Pike weren't biting we caught up; sharing stories of past triumphs and other fishing anecdotes the way only fanatic Pikers would understand. Everytime i talk to this guy i learn lots.

Although i had no runs there appeared to be Pike about; The livebaits at regular intervals went crazy in a way that usually indicates the presence of those beautiful speckled green underwater monsters. But nothing came of these eratic bung bouncing episodes til mid afternoon when Paul and myself were talking Pike tactics etc and the left hand bung bounced and began to move off. the result was a plump jack of around 7-8lb. Well after that nothing much happened for the next hour and then as before the livebait started moving excitedly and as Paul and i watched the left hand bung it bounced and then went flat upon the surface indicating something had picked up the bait. As i picked up the rod the fished moved off and i hit it immediately. At first i thought it was a small fish but it hadn't woke up yet, but as i applied pressure it resisted and made a number of powerful runs. As it came towards the net we could see it was lip-hooked with one treble and as it resisted the landing net i feared i would lose her but after a few missed heartbeats it was in. Paul dutifully weighed and photographed the fish (pictured above) and it weighed 17lb 10oz. A stunning river fish and a lovely Xmas present.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Womble's Double Hook-up

Pictured above are two fat doubles caught by 'Womble' on a un-disclosed North West Stillwater. We can all have days of waiting for a single run but on this occasion before Xmas 'Womble' managed a double hook-up and managed to land two super fat doubles.

Merry Xmas!

Xmas has not been a great time for me since losing my job 10 days before the festive season. But silver linings exist everywhere. I have enjoyed a super day with my parents and my belly is full and i am still full of hope and positivity for 2009. Last week i managed a couple of sessions on Dee with little success; one small jack in the fading light at the end of the day's fishing two days ago which was probably around 7-8lb. The Pike might not have been in the mood but i enjoyed the company of the regular Dee fanatics and their usual banter and good humour. The day was highly entertaining.

Earlier last week I managed a session with 'Womble' before Xmas which was also filled with our usual brand of Cestrian schoolboy humour and 'Womble' managed a nice double which weighed 15lb(Pictured above) and although the fish managed to give me a nice bit of 'Gill Raker Rash' it is always a pleasure to bleed for the cause. The foto above shows my gill raker rash and a slashed bait which was the story of the day for me. I had a mischievious jack in my swim which killed a few of my dace but cleverly avoided my hooks.

During that day on the next peg i befriended a super bloke; Rick Brown. A gentleman and also a good Piker. Rick managed a couple of super chunky Dee doubles that day when the Pike weren't tremendously hungry. Rick has caught some super Dee fish in the past and has sent me a great foto of a perfect Dee specimen over the magical 20lb mark (foto above). I look forward to spending some more time on the bank with this knowledgeable angler.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Great Ouse Wombling

STOP PRESS! Cambridgeshire PAC Top Piker Andrew Allebone has sent his contribution to the trawling of disgarded waste products. Andrew is an avid trolling Piker who ventures up and down the lengths of the great Ouse with shads in tow and has on occasion managed a few Pike and Zander for his efforts but he claims his best fight came in the form of a seat cushion weighing a massive 46lb; a personal best for Andrew. He has also added such specimens as car tyres, a very rare eel net and even a fly rod and reel. Well that has raised the bar even higher and set new heights for the Chester preds and Region 88 boys to aim for. These Fenland Pikers do take some beating......................

Monday, 8 December 2008

Fortune favours the brave....and Mad Pikers!

Slash and Womble ventured out this week whilst the rest of the nation stayed by the fire. They made an early start on a North West still water. The margins were lined with 20ft of ice. But the intrepid duo were rewarded with a sunrise that was breathtaking and added to this Slash; aka Matty 'Mudguard' Yarwood also managed a fish. Bravo Slash! Photos above..........

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Blithfield does a record bit of old iron

In response to my feature on some of the disgarded waste caught by Chester Pred. members on the Bridgey I received an interesting e-mail from my old mate 'Noddy' Neil from Region 88. Neil and Buzz were out last weekend on Blithfield and the lads managed a huge specimen (pictured above) which looks like the remains of a lobster pot. Didn't know there were any lobsters in Blithfield. Those Region 88 lads have really set a challenge for the Chester boys with this huge specimen which could be a Blithfield Record for the species. In very testing conditions with temperatures below zero. Neil reported problems with icy rings. Well, an icy ring is one of the hazards of boat fishing in sub-zero temperatures i guess. These lads have excelled themselves though and must be very proud of their achievment. Congratulations!.....

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Pike Feed in the dark

I see so many anglers packing up when the sun goes down. It is at this time my heart starts beating a little faster. I have had so many fish over the years after dark and even in the middle of the night and they tend to be the bigger girls(fotos above are two 20's that were 2 of 4 20's that came in 2 hours after dark). Stu McMorrin and myself have been fishing a number of Lancashire Lodges recently; waters that see quite alot of pressure. As an experiment we have been placing baits in the margins overnight ensuring they are visible which isn't a problem as these waters are crystal clear. The baits have all been disappearing. Some will have been retrieved by water rodents no doubt but we are confident that Pike have learned that there are free offerings to be collected after a days fishing, when anglers disgard un-used deadbaits. On pressured waters I am sure Pike have worked it out that these nocturnal freebies come without hooks and are readily available most days on many waters. For many years I have also noticed that Pike also gather around the activity of matchmen and not only do they get attracted to the silvers being retrieved but also await the emptying of keepnets when the odd casualty of their net incarceration will be only too gratefully excepted as a nice supper for the wiser Pike. As a youth on the Dee i used to wander the match lengths talking to match anglers asking if any of them had been troubled by Pike and i also observed who was catching and from where. I use to wait until the weigh-in had finished and dived straight in with a juicy free live-bait which i had usually acquired from the very matchman who had been resident in the peg.

Succesful Pike fishermen are adept at working out not only where the pike live in various seasons but also about feeding patterns. Study your waters carefully. Some guys are scientific about recording data and they swear it pays off for them. I take mental notes each and everytime i go out and every day is a 'Day at School'.....

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Another River Fat Esox for The Womble

Womble was out again on the river this week and managed a couple of nice doubles. The photo above is a fish of just over 12lb's in fine condition.

Bravo Stu..... Keep em' coming!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Short Trips Pay Dividends

If you know particular waters well and know the resident Esox feeding patterns you can often manage to get a result in just short trips. I had two hours to spare today and visited one of my regular haunts that fishes well at 'Last Knockings' as Jon neafcy refers to it as. I prefer the expression of the'witching hour'. In reality on this particular venue i like the last hour of light and the 1st hour of darkness. Some waters it can be midday or between 11am and 1pm. Others it is first light and last light. There is no golden rule. It is worth making a mental note of the feeding conditions. Many fastidious Pikers record dates, temperature, wind direction, moon phases and even barometric pressure. If this scientific approach floats your boat so be it. The individuals who record this information must be luckier than i because i go fishing when i can go fishing; when work and other commitments allow. Do these anglers who religiously record conditions limit their angling to days when their statistcis dictate; I don't think so. Each to his own...

Pictured above is a frisky little fish that gave me a good old scrap today in conditions that statistics might not have approved of.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Battles won and lost

All fishermen have experienced the joys of catching great fish and most of us have felt the heartache of lost legendary monster fish. My fishing partner 'Womble' has felt those highs and lows over the past week or so. He has been catching some super river fish lately with regularity but sadly last week he had on an enormous fish which he got to see in clear water and estimates in the upper 20's even a possible 30. He was distraught when i spoke to him. I hope he returns to his spot and the lady obliges next time. Pictured above is a super fish of 15lb that didn't escape his net.

Possible World Record

Take a look at this potential Pike World Record and make your own mind up to it's authenticity. Buzzz Conroy sent me this Pic today. If it was genuine i would have to beef up my Pike gear.

Repeat Captures in Piking

Many of us study the markings on the body and fins of pike so we can recognise repeat captures. Above is a re-capture for sure of a green curtain on the Bridgewater Canal in Salford. Originally caught in 2007 by Stu 'womble' Maddocks who claimed it was his PB for a curtain. Last week the lovely Melissa of Contact Tackle in Blacon re-captured this specimen item of habidashery at a reduced weight; curtains sadly tend not to gain weight in the Bridgey. chuckle! I have included a foto of the original capture for comparison

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


Today Wednesday i had planned over a month ago to have a day out with local tackle dealer Dave Clark but sadly something came up and Dave didn't show.

I wasn't sure what to do. The Dee still held alot of water but i decided to find some slack water and give it a go. I started off in the morning wandering along the bank trying swims i hadn't fished for a few years and trying some new ones. I found some promising deep holes for future reference and I managed to land a number of small chunky jacks but nothing over 6lb. I switched to a favourite spot after midday and immediately landed some better fish to 8lb; 3 coming to the net in half hour. Then i managed a super fish of 17lb 2oz (pictured above) which put up an awesome scrap and I added another frisky jack of 8lb before light faded and Womble visited from his upstream venue. The Dee was coloured and this puts alot of people off. Rivers can intimidate alot of people and especially in these conditions but i advise people to extend their river craft to discovering the behaviour of fish in these conditions. Watch the movement of the bait fish because where they move to the Pike follow. They will obviously look for slack water and so should you. Even in the muddiest of conditions fish can be caught. Today the river was kind to me; 8 fish including a nice upper double.

Bridgewater, Salford

As you might have noticed on previous postings regarding the 'Bridgey' I am a big fan of this often ignored canal. It is the only reason i keep renewing my Warrington Anglers membership. I fish this canal from Runcorn to Manchester city centre and beyond and it continues to produce big fish for me. I have learnt alot about canal fishing which can be different in style to other types of fishing for pike. Fishing with experts such as Steve 'Gulper' Lewis has taught me where the fish are to be found which is of course half the battle and when to fish and the added advantage of pre-baiting.

Tuesday i took along Tom and Melissa from Blacon's Contact Tackle who are keen anglers who have got the Pike bug. Above is an example of the stamp of quality fish this canal can produce. This fish had never seen a hook. A perfect hard fighting Salford Pike.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Chester Pred day trip to Wales

Sadly there are no fotos attached to this article of fish caught on Saturday's outing and that is because we all blanked on a day that started with so much expectation. I decided to include this foto of Yam Yam of a trip years ago when he caught 2 jacks at the same time; both getting lodged in weed and Yam Yam preceeded to strip down much to everyone's amazement and march headlong into the water to recover the fish which he did. He should get some sort of PAC award. Chuckle! Paul 'Yam Yam' Humphries came up from the Midlands Saturday to join myself, Gulper, Martin and David on a trip to a North Wales Reservoir which has produced some big fish on previous outings to Chester Pred members. But it isn't all about catching trophy fish. The bank reverberated with laughter all day. I haven't had so much fun blanking in years...........Gulper cooked up one of his famous fry-ups and The weather was kind and the scenery spectacular. By the looks of the banks the venue has had alot of visitors. Sadly the visitors haven't been taking away their bait packets and other rubbish. It is very upsetting. This venue 15 years ago had never seen a piker and now it is not only been over-fished; it has been over-fished by heathens who have no respect for the countryside. Anyway, apart from that negative the day was thoroughly enjoyable

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Mad dogs and Englishmen might go out in the midday sun. The sanity of Anglers who venture out in conditions as we experienced on Tuesday across the nation must also be questioned. Womble came to pick me up at 5.30am and as he arrived in Saughall the Hailstones were descending and thunder and lightening announced his arrival. Sensibly after a discussion in my kitchen we decided against our original destination in the hills of North Wales. The alternative venue we chose still presented us with rain, sleet, more hailstones, oh and some sunshine. Such a climate change can often be fatal for Pike fishing and all morning went by watching the weather extremes from beneath brolly and shelter. It came almost as a surprise when at 1pm i got a run and landed a nice jack of 8lb which turned out to be my biggest fish of the day. No sooner had i re-cast this rod it went again and a fish of 6lb came to the net. in the next half hour i added another 3 smaller jacks; 2 falling to the same lamprey i had caught the 1st 2 fish on and a tiny fish which took a lure which was as big as the pike. Then nothing for the next 3 hours until the right hand rod went again and another nice jack (pictured above) about 7lb screemed off. I called on Womble to take a foto to remember the day and whilst he was there i was telling him about a jack i had caught earlier which had 1 bulbous eye (also pictured above) like one of those Black fantail goldfish, when i got another run and yes! you guessed it i re-captured the fish to be known now as Marty after the great comedy actor Marty Feldman. Womble worked very hard with no reward and lost a number of his favourite lures to boot. No justice some days Piking!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Martin's first Pike

My old mate Martin Watling has shared alot of good fishing with me for all species except my beloved Pike. I had promised to take him to correct this recently and this week i took him to a very obliging venue in mid-wales which has served as a training ground for many of my mates over the years. The venue delivered and within minutes of arrival Martin was no longer a piking virgin. He landed a super little jack about 7lb and added 2 more fish of 6lb and 4lb during our stay. I managed 3 fish on baits and one on a lure. All small pike but feisty little beasts that tail-walked and really impressed martin. He is hooked. Now to get him a big lump!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

October; Pike and Dragonflies

Womble and i enjoyed a breezy but picturesque autumnal day on the Dee on Tuesday and Stu landed a super little Pike and captured a super photo of a late dragonfly on a rod holder. Quite the David Attenborough.

I added a couple of jacks later in the day as the sun set on a super day.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Ireland October 2008

Well, I am exhausted as i write this but also exhilerated after just returning from a super week in Ireland organised by Chester Preds Top Ireland guide Steve 'Gulper' Lewis. It was a crazy last minute phone call from Steve that persuaded me to make the trip after someone had dropped out. I managed to get cover at work after a serious amount of begging and then Steve booked me a flight because he was taking the boats over on the friday and i didn't finish work until saturday morning at 6.15am and had to be at the airport for 10.30am. Mrs Gulper; the charismatic Dawn picked me up on the other side and i was in Ireland at long last. The birth place of my mother and the place of many piking dreams; especially after the stories and photos i have had from Steve over recent years.
Above are some of the photos from this memorable week. Lots of fun and some super fish in some horrible weather which didn't help the fishing but it didn't deter us and with Steve's experience of the locality we manged to land some big lumps. Fishing isn't all about catching fish and in Ireland the social side is second to none. A few pints of Guiness were enjoyed of course and some great food eating out, but also sampling some of Steve's kitchen skills; which are equal to his boating/fishing. A big thankyou for Steve's friend from Coventry; Baz Stokes who skippered the Predator 3 boat. I shared some laughter, great conversation and a remarkable brace of 20's with this genuine gentleman. It was a priviledge to fish with him. I must give a special mention too to Steve's dad Geoff because he has taken to piking like the preverbial duck to water and has again caught some great pike. He produced the highlight of the trip whilst we all were bait fishing by managing to land an awesome Esox of 17lb 12oz on waggler gear; 4lb line and a size 14 hook. 25mins of heart-thumping action which we all enjoyed tremendously. Geoff You are a star! You made me laugh constantly and well done for some super fish.
I was lucky enough to land my 3rd biggest Pike on my first trip to Ireland (29lb 2oz) and out of the blue in awful conditions a couple of days later added a 21lb 12oz fish at the end of a difficult day where Steve had to use all his knowledge and skill to find us some fish. Baz and Geoff got new PB's 27lb and 18lb 5oz respectively and although Steve didn't get amongst the big lumps he had quantity with a best of over 15lb. He worked hard for his fish whipping the water into a froth with a classic copper spoon and it paid dividends; putting fish after fish on board his boat. The 2 skippers have a little competition between boats and the trophy was hard fought and saw the fight go in to the last day with just a point between them. On the final day it was testing conditions again; more rain than i have seen in a while and Steve and Geoff managed one last push and managed to take a few fish and lift the trophy whilst i blanked for the 1st day of the trip and Baz managed just a single figure predator.
Great memories...........Can't wait to do it all again.....especially the Guiness.

Monday, 15 September 2008

It's not all about big Pike!

Here is clip taken by Stu on a fun day on the Montgomery Canal. This little fish hit the livebait with such violence and the ensuing swirl fooled us .....we expected a lump; instead a perfect little jack was the reward.

Stu's Dee 20

Here is a small clip of Stu's Dee 20; a fish to be proud of................

Dee mpeg

Here's a short clip taken by Stu of me returning a nice big Dee Double

Region 31 Lure day on Pennington Flash

This saturday the 20th of September Jon Neafcy has organised a fun day of lure fishing on Pennington Flash for members of region 31 and anyone else who wishes to attend. There will be a BBQ and as always a good social gathering. Don't forget some small perch lures as well because there are some huge stripeys in here too. To whet your appetite above is a couple of Penny fish caught by Jon and Blunty caught in recent times.

Bridgewater Canal

Canal Pike fishing can be overlooked by many Pikers and they will be missing out on some fantastic sport. The Northwest has a myriad of waterways that once served British industry as their transport highways in the days before motorways and HGV vehicles. Canal pike are a hard fighting species and well worth the effort. The jewel in the Northwest crown for me is the Bridgewater canal that traverses through Cheshire, Manchester and Lancashire and all along the lengths of this magnificent old canal Pike lurk. Lots of hard-fighting doubles but 20's and even 30's can be caught if you get lucky. Gulper has fished the 'Bridgey' man and boy and lives only a stone's throw from the water and knows it better than anyone i know. Pre-baiting improves your chances as i have learned from Steve and fishing along the ledges near and far banks. Fish are usually caught within a few feet of the bank on or just off the shelf where the pike patrol searching for their prey. Fishing at first light and the last thing at night seems to produce the best results. Warrington Anglers control a huge amount of Bridgewater Canal fishing and it is worth the membership fee of £36 just for this superb canal fishing. Pictured above are some examples of the stamp of Predator you are likely to catch.