As we all realise at this time of year the Pike have probably all spawned but Gulper and myself couldn't resist one more trip to a cold large body of water that could possibly still offer some sport. Although we didn't land any big girls we certainly had a days sport; with 12 fish coming to the boat. Steve managed 7 and 5 fell to my rods. Mostly hard fighting jacks with a double a piece to round off the Pike season in style. Lots of fun battling with changing winds but thoroughly enjoyable. A selection of fish are pictured above.
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Above is a photo of the Dee frozen in the town stretch. A sight not seen for a long time. I have put some shifts in over the winter in extreme cold. I know talking to fellow Pikers up and down the country the piking has been very inconsistent and at times people's favourite venues have been frozen. On a positive note; although the temperatures have been low the lack of rain has seen the rivers in fine condition for prolongued periods. Possibly too low at times towards the end of the season. Us fishermen can always find something to moan about and excuse the lack of runs..................Looking forward to next season already!
Photos courtesy of Chester Predator Ace Wes Ballentyne.
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
This months featured Piker is my mate Adam 'Bulldogger' Caulfield i met through region 31 of the PAC. Adam is a rising star in the Pike angling world and his dedication and enthusiasm to the sport will surely see him become a household name in angling in the near future. This winter he has put in more shifts on Windermere than Gord Burton and he has travelled far and wide in pursuit of fresh piking challenges. Not only is the lad a great young piker but he is a top bloke too. Adam and his Piking buddies Banjo and Neil are some of the funniest guys you could ever wish to fish with.
Adam has landed 4 20 pounders and over 60 doubles this season. An impressive tally any piker would be happy with and this is only Adam's 6th season fishing and 4th season piking seriously.
Pictured above are a selection of photos from recent weeks with some big pike to over 20lb. There is also a picture of his little sister holding her 1st fish; a perch caught on a spinner. You might have some competition there in a few years Adam!
Anyway well done Adam for a fantastic season. Keep them coming..............
Sunday, 15 March 2009
When you travel all the way to Chew to fish for big Esox the last thing you want is a a size 5/0 treble in your wrist and 8 hours in Bristol infirmary and an operation. Top Chester piker Wes shows off his injury. Hope he finished his day's piking before going to hospital; places on Chew are tough to get hold of.
I always like to end the River Season on the Dee but as you might have read below it has been obvious to everyone that the Pike have moved off to spawn early. So Steve and I decided to switch to a large Stillwater we believed has another 2 weeks before spawning and it paid off. Friday night we discussed possible areas the fish might be in and made a plan. 5.45am Steve arrived with his trusty boat aptly named 'Unleash the Fury' and we headed off full of expectation. Soon as we arrived and launched we headed to our planned first area. The weather already looked like it would test the batteries for Steve's electric motor but heading down the lake with the wind we covered the ground fast. On the way down we trolled a couple of roach off the back and i hooked and lost a nice looking small double which came to the side of the boat and it was clearly not hooked and let go of the bait. Disappointed we carried on and Steve picked up a long lean fish just short of a double. We arrived at our destination; a known spawning area but sadly this produced just one small jack to a jerkbait. We realised quickly the Pike weren't there and made a move. The wind was now blowing a gale and the first battery soon died and we switched to battery No.2. After a short intermission in proceedings for some attention to the motor because we grounded it trying to get into a shallow bay we moved to our next planned location and it was a good decision to move. Not long after we arived Steve landed a very lean long fish not quite a double but he quickly added 2 superb looking fat doubles and i managed to a lose another fish. This fish took a big bait and felt very big indeed. I was gutted. Time went by and we couldn't troll now due to the lack of battery power in the horrendous wind. We moved when the wind died and anchored up again when it blew; fished for a while then moved again creeping up the lake hoping to get back to the launch site on the last remaining battery. It seemed each time we moved the fish would hit the baits but wouldn't hit them when they were static. Steve kindly handed me a fish on his rod to make up for the disappointment of the lost big one. It was getting late and we were beginning to think we might not get back when the wind died enough to head back and as we did so we trolled two lives off the back and 2 replicants down the sides. I was still gutted thinking about my 2 lost fish when my jerk bait rod whacked round and i was into a proper fish at last. No danger of this one coming off; it had engulfed the replicant. I had just been saying to Steve all the fish seemed to be down one end of the lake when the Pike struck. It was another nice double to add to the 2 that Steve had caught. We motored off again and within minutes my replicant was nailed again and a fish of 18lb 2oz graced the net. The day started with disappointment and frustration and Steve battled all day with the wind but what a days fishing! We both realised if the wind had been slightly kinder we could have doubled the number of fish caught, if not more. But we will be back.....................(Photos above)
Thursday, 12 March 2009
This last week the pike fishing has slowed in the regular hotspots. This week i was hoping for one last big girl to add to my season's personal tally but sadly it has become evident that the Pike have moved off to have piscatorial sex. Last week i got my last double(photo above) and since i have added a number of immature fish and blanked 3 days. Happily this season the blanks have been few and far between but i must admit i am shocked the Pike have spawned so early. After such a hard winter i think most of us expected the spawning to be much later than normal but in fact it has come a week or too earlier than recent years. The common accepted opinion amongst the Esox experts is that the water temperature triggers the pike to spawn and although the temperature has risen dramatically the last 2 weeks i am not sure whether the water temperature has risen enough. I think it is alot more complicated than people think and there are other factors including fish physical health and condition and much more to the equation. We will never fully know the whole picture. One question for Dee anglers that seems to baffle all those that i fish with and those i have met over the years; is where do they spawn? If this riddle could be solved there is an opportunity as the females gather prior to spawning to get a number of very big fish. The person who solves this puzzle could win the piking lottery...........I spent Sunday morning walking miles of the Dee looking for signs and i have done that now for a number of seasons but failed to find them. I will keep looking for years to come and maybe one day i will find the answer.
Thursday, 5 March 2009
As the River season draws to a close i am reflecting on another great season and don't want it to end. Today i went for an afternoon session with a few old maggots and a float rod and of course my trusty Pike rods. Unusually I couldn't buy a bite on the stick float but on my neighbouring peg Pete was hammering the Roach on the stick. He had a netful of some of the finest Roach i have seen caught this season. I put my best grovelling face on and had to beg for a couple of baits. At the time of asking Pete had just slipped the net under another fish close to the pound mark and immediately told me that was not getting fed to a pike. He lifted his net and handed me two lovely baits abouts 4oz. Which straight away were cast in attached to two size 6 Owner trebles. It wasn't long before i got a run and Pete duly weighed and photographed a super double of 16lb 6oz shortly followed by another perfect river pike that fought like a 20 but weighed just 15lb 10oz. Pete is claiming half the credit for the fish caught on his Roach and said i owe him £1 per photograph for his services. lol..........I then had the run of the season when a Cormorant ran off with my livebait and made my heart stop. I never managed to land the ebony feathered fish-thief but i had quite a fight with it before it let go. Grrrrrr!
No more runs for the rest of the day but a great short session and 2 lovely Pike.
Monday, 2 March 2009
Pike Ace Rick Brown's fishing partner dave the rave comes in handy on Pike trips for removing Tyres and other un-wanted items from your swim. He is quite an expert at catching Jacks so Rick likes to have him along to clear the jacks from the area allowing Rick to get into the larger lumps. See Photo above. Keep it going dave you are a good fishing buddy!
Sunday, 1 March 2009
Young Pike Ace Wes had an interesting day on the Dee last week with a super treble made up of a double figure Pike and Carp and added a 2lb plus Perch for good measure. The Carp and the big stripey both took a large spoon meant for Pike. A memorable day! Witnessed by Macka and Mr Kelbrick who were fishing the same stretch. Well done Wes.............