Saturday, 31 October 2009

Don't mention the 'B' word!

The Drains - Blank one...
Well it was bound to happen, the dreaded 'B' word (Blanked) has happened to me on my last to sessions. I fished the drains yesterday, I headed to an area that I don't fish too often these days. Mostly because it gets a little too much pressure than I'd like, when mooching about on Friday morning there was nobody there so I set up the rods and tried my luck. I sat patiently all day but rods remained motionless at least until I packed them away and sulked off home.

The Reservoir - Blank Two...
An early session with Al on the reservoir was planned, 3 rods baited, 3 different baits. Not a touch all day. Not even a dropped run. Like most fishermen when I don't catch, I look for who or what element to blame and I could certainly waffle on and hypothesize about why I think I've blanked for two days on the run, but I'll spare you the drivel. The highlight of the session was the bacon butties that I had for dinner :)

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Static vs Leapfrogging

I decided that I would leapfrog down the drains rather than staying static today. Actually I did a bit of both. I wanted to see if moving about produced anymore fish. My plan was to fish on the first peg until 11.30 and then up sticks and move about a bit.

On occasion of late I have struggled to fit mid doubles into my FOX Predator net, it's just not up to the job. I had an old carping net in the garage which I'd kept in case it ever came in handy, I was talking to Dave Lumb the other week about Piking nets and he recommended using some mesh that he had in stock, finally I could make use of the old net here is a linky to Daves website DLST he only sells quality gear and his range of rods are what most Pikers aspire to , sadly I can't afford any yet, but they're on my list.

The action at first was pretty slow until I caught a tiny Pike and an average Perch on the Jig. I was about to pack up and start about my journey when I caught sight of a fizz of bubbles near my right hand float was there a Pike in the area? Seconds later this thought was confirmed as the float bobbed and then vanished under the water at some pace, it would seem that this Pike had read the script today as the time was bang on 11.30. A good strong Pike had taken my bait a nice lump too, probably around 12lb's or so.

Time for the move, I walked to the complete other end of the drain, this would make things easier for my return journey at dusk. I fished all three rods on my 'Old Faithful' bait, this I thought would give me a better chance of landing some more fish.

I may as well have stayed put, as I didn't get so much as a snifter during the rest of the session. The leapfrogging/Static debate is inconclusive, and in my opinion without proper research will remain so. There is something appealing making camp and sitting it out rather than going to the effort of keeping on the move. My point is that the drain is like a road for Pike and as long as you cast to the right spots and you're using good bait and the right tactics they'll come along in the end.

Now that's a net
The new net christened :)
These are what you come for

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Definitely a brolly day

The weather man tried his best to stop me going fishing today, he warned of a massive band of rain that was to empty it's payload over the northwest. Needless to say it didn't work, that's why the umbrella was invented.

I made my way to the drain and managed to set up camp before the impending downpour arrived. As promised it made it's unwelcome appearance at around 9am, bringing with it some powerful gales.

I was weighing up the job doubting that I'd catch in these conditions, when my float bobbed under and was away. A Pike of around 7lb's or so led me a merry dance, tail walking and clearing the water by a couple of feet in the process.

Mid afternoon and the rain finally died away, but the winds remained relentless. On more than one occasion I feared I may lose my umbrella.

It was a long wait until I saw my float move again, a peculiar take revealed perhaps the smallest Pike that I have ever caught on a dead bait, a pound in weight if I was lucky. I spared myself and the Pikes humiliation by not photographing it and returning it to the water post haste.

Now it's at this point that I should have called it a day, gone home and put my feet up. But oh-no I stayed until the end, the rain came back thus giving me a soaking as I packed up. I never seem to learn, I suppose I never will either. I am the 'Just one last cast and you never know I may catch kind of guy'

Better than a blank!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Someplace different

A change of scenery was called for today, instead of heading to the drains, myself and Jonny Panto headed to a couple of different locations.

First stop : The river Yarrow and our target was to be Chub on the jig. We tried a few locations creeping down the banks and fighting through the undergrowth, but none of the swims produced fish, except my last one, I found a deep hole and took great pleasure in watching a chublet spot my Jig and hit it with great force.

Second stop : The Leeds Liverpool canal, but a section that neither of us has fished before, our target this time was to be Perch. It didn't quite workout that way though, as I didn't get so much as a follow from one. I did manage to catch something - a Jack Pike of around 2lb's. I caught it on very light tackle and got a great fight. This section of the canal looks pretty Pikey and I'd like to head back there soon and target Pike on dead baits.

Yarrow Chub

Great fun on light tackle

Thursday, 22 October 2009

A move produces the goods

I'm really cramming in the sessions on the drain this week, Christmas is coming though and I'm going to get a lot busier with work, so as they say 'I may as well make hay while the sun shines'

I started the session Jigging for Perch, I caught a few throughout the day, the biggest around 12oz. I'm loving this method for picking up bait rather than waiting for the fish to feed (Or not) on my maggot offerings.

The Pike fishing was once again pretty slow today, despite my early start it wasn't until after dinner until I caught my first Pike, my old faithful bait had produced the goods again, another blank saved. This Pike wasn't going to win any beauty competitions, it's mandible was hanging off it's mouth, probably the result in shedding a trace from a previous snap off, it also had deformed fins, see photo below.

There is often a debate that gets mentioned on the drain, and it's the debate of if you're not catching should you move? There is a technique that is known as leap frogging, this is where you work your way down the drain, moving your rods and casting every 20 minutes or so. The theory is that eventually you'll drop on to a Pike. The other side to this debate is that Pike are nomadic, and if you stick it out long enough a passing fish will probably find your bait. I usually stick to the latter, but today as my floats lay motionless I decided to pack up and work my way down to the start of the drain, technically not leap frogging as such, but it's not often that I would go to the effort of moving swim once I'm there I make camp and sit it out.

The move paid off as with an hour my near margin rod was in, a good fight ensued, there was a hair raising moment as during the fight the Pike snagged me under a bush. I managed to land it in the end, good job too as at 12lb 6oz it wasn't to be sniffed at. Like an idiot I forgot to take my camera today so I was grateful that a friend of mine Eddie just so happened to be passing to capture the moment on my phone.

So in summary..... Perhaps when the going's tough and I'm not catching, pack up and move

Torn mandible
Deformed fin
12lb 6oz

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

No big girls - Two welcome Jacks

Jonny Panto phoned me yesterday and the little rapscallion confessed that in my absence he'd sneaked on to my peg. I asked him how he'd done, and I have to confess that I did chuckle a bit when he told me that he'd blanked.. :)

This morning I headed back to the peg in question, and the fishing was indeed tough going. I used a Jig that Panto had passed on to me, he's been catching a lot of Perch on these of late and I tied one on and put one to the test. First cast and bang I was straight in to a Perch. Wow! This will do me I'm going to bag up on this method... Wrong! I must have cast around 200 times afterwards and nothing, not even a take, a classic case of beginners luck

One of my Pike rods was finally in, a very welcome Jack of around 7lb's was to be my blank saver.

Allan came down to test out some spinner baits that he'd picked up, which was handy as his photography skills were about to be needed.

6PM and dusk was approaching it was getting time to pack up, the nights are drawing in very quickly these days, limiting the time on the bank. I'd brought one rod in and I was having a couple of 'just one last casts' on the spinning rod, and catching my second Perch on the Jig in the process, when I caught sight of my float bobbing, it moved a couple of inches and then stopped, a Pike had picked up the bait and dropped it. I returned to the Jigging when the float was off again, but just as before it came to a stop. This went on for around 3 minutes, eventually the float had travelled far enough to convince me to wind down and strike. My timing was right, as the Pike was perfectly hooked, not a big Pike by any means probably around 4 to 5lb's, it did put up a good fight though tail walking all over the place in a deperate bid to shake the hooks and freedom. On closer inspection I noticed that it had a hole in it's side "Wait a minute" I recognise this fish. A few weeks ago Paddy had reported on his blog that he'd hooked into a Pike and while he was playing it, it had been grabbed by a bigger Pike. It's good to see that it survived it's ordeal and is still feeding - albeit cautiously.

A welcome Jack
I'll call this one 'Lucky'
A hit from a Pike can be devastating

Monday, 19 October 2009

Two doubles and two Jacks

Back on the drain, and I pretty much left off where I finished on Saturday. I fished three dead baits, two on the bottom and one suspended on a paternoster. I also used the experimental bait again, which was the first rod to get a taste of the action, I pulled out of the fish though, no great loss as I saw the fish and it was a pretty small Jack. The bait was still intact and being rather curmudgeonly I cast it back to the same spot.

The drain starting pumping at some pace soon after, and it made holding the bottom impossible. I had to bring all three rods in and double up on the weights, job sorted and I was fishing again.

My Froogle bait saving techniques from earlier paid off, as once again the (Experimental) bait was off and away. The result was a great fish of 14lb 14oz, but if I'm honest it wasn't the hardest fighting fish I've ever landed, perhaps it's been caught a few times and knows the routine. Maybe it was thinking "lets just get this over with". This is the biggest fish of my dead bait campaign so far this season.

The paternoster dead baits, picked me up two fish today, a rooting Jack of around 3lb's and a better Pike of around 10lb's. The latter of the Pike was pretty strange looking, it had a deformity and had a humped back. I'll certainly recognise that one if I ever catch it again.

One more fish on this session and another Jack of around 3lb's or so had also taken a liking to the experimental bait.

Well I'm becoming a little convinced that the bait that I keep referring to as the experimental bait is a winner, 3 fish and 4 runs in two sessions will do for me. My theory is that it's a little different and they probably don't see this bait too often, it's thinking out of the box with things like this that catch you fish.

14lb 14oz
Different angle The Hunchback

One of the rooting Jacks

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Al's curse continues and my experiment pays off

A session on the drains with Allan was arranged, we arrived just before sunrise, hopefully today was to be the day that Al would finally put an end to rotten luck that has bestowed him of late.

I changed things about a bit today, I chose a bait that I've only ever used once or twice, and to date. I've yet to catch on it, my plan was to leave this bait out until it was (Hopefully) taken. I also fished a paternoster dead bait, not a technique that I'd normally go for but I was in an experimenting mood, so the hell with it.

Allan was the first to get a taste of the action, I caught sight of him scrambling down the bank side, I made my way down to assist with the netting when.... Well his face said it all, the fish had come off. How cruel this fishing game can be. To make things worse soon after my float was away and it was my turn, literally my turn as I was in to a good old lump and I too lost the fish. Damn!

Not to worry though as the experimental bait was in. Not the hardest fighting fish, a double maybe? Certainly not worth getting the scales out for. A short time later the paternoster dead bait was in, I struck in to the take, but there was nothing there, I'd had my bait robbed.

Soon enough though it was 'Reuben Heaton time' a scavenging Pike had found my old faithful bait, and what a scrapper, taking around 5 minutes to get under control. I thought this fish was going to push 13lb's onwards, not so, as it weight 11lb 14oz, I wasn't complaining though.

Sadly no fish again for Al, who is now convinced that I only invite him along on the fishing trips so that I have someone to take pictures of my captures. Don't worry mate you'll soon be in to them again. My experiments paid off, and I'll definitely give give them another try out next time...

Caught on the experimental bait

11lb 14oz scrapper
Same fish, different angle

Thursday, 15 October 2009

A couple of rooting Jacks

I made my way to the drain, and I was greeted by an eerie sight, the fields were covered in a thick fog and there wasn't a sound to be heard, the silence finally broken by a skein of Canada geese flying over head. I made my way to my peg, hoping to grab a couple of shots to capture the moment, alas by the time I got there the fog had lifted. Damn! Never mind I'm here to catch fish so lets get to it.

The drain was pumping back on itself today, and bringing with it big clumps of weed, this played havoc, as the weed would amass and gather around the floats, forcing recasts more often than I'd like. The best way to try and combat this scenario is to point your rod to the sky and try and keep your line clear of the water.

Once again my floats remained above the waterline all morning, until just like the day before the 'magic hour' arrived. I was weighing up my right hand float debating a re-cast as there was a bit of weed covering my float, when I saw it bob, I'm in! OK so not the biggest fish I've ever caught but a Jack was soon posing for a photograph (You never know this could be my only catch of the day, the blog looks more interesting with a pic or two and perhaps save you having to read my drivel! ).

Around an hour later, my left hand float was gone and the Pike-strike was so violent that line was peeling off my reel at some pace, an immediate strike was called for, a good fighting Jack of around 7lb's was netted.

Allan joined me for the last few hours, despite his efforts he wasn't to be rewarded with any Pike on his ad-hoc session.

And once again, my runs for the day came to an abrupt end. All my Pike this week, have come mid-morning until early afternoon. Is it a feeding pattern? Is it a coincidence? Who knows, one things for sure I've had some good sport this week taking 7 fish on three sessions. I'm not one of these fishermen that gets hung up on catching big fish, as long as my floats under and away That will do me just nicely.

Not really worth taking a picture of
but it's something to look at
Another Jack

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

All in the magic hour

I couldn't resist heading back to the same swim that I fished yesterday, I wasn't the only one that had this idea, as no sooner had I set up when I was joined by Panto, hearing of my three fish on the bank yesterday the temptation to head my way seemingly too hard to resist.

I fished two dead bait rods, and quickly baited them up with my favourite bait. Despite an early(ish) start it wasn't until the 'magic hour' until I hooked into my first fish, another double of around 10lb's was soon followed by a smaller fish of around 8lb's, which I may add was so lightly hooked that it was a miracle that I even landed it, thus highlighting the importance of always keeping the line tight when playing a fish - right up until the point that it glides into the net, there was no need to reach for the pliers on this one as the hook had already come free lifting her on to the bank. "Yikes!"

I stayed until dusk but I didn't have any more action. Panto caught also caught 2 fish, one low double and a Jack of around 8lb's interesting similar catches and all around the same time. Funny old game this fishing lark isn't it!

A lean mean double

A chubby Jack

Monday, 12 October 2009

Two's company three's a crowd

Back to the drains and a session with Panto was arranged. I'd set my dead bait traps and I was happily fishing on the pole when I caught sight of another angler making his way down the bank, to my shock and horror he set up in between myself and Panto. Not so bad if he was only coarse fishing but he was Piking. Those that know me better would tell you that I like my own space when I'm fishing, my point that I often raise is that there are miles and miles of water to fish, why come and plonk yourself next to me? He was completely within his rights to fish there of course, so I did the decent thing, I bid my farewell to Panto and packed my stuff up and moved peg.

This turned out to be a great move, as within 5 minutes of heading to my new swim I was in, a pretty decent Pike too weighing bang on 11lb's, within the hour I was in again, a Pike of around 6 to 7lb's was the result. An hour or so later one more run and the final fish of the day, another Pike weighing exactly 11lb's. I've checked the tails on the photographs and it wasn't the same fish. Every Pike has unique tail markings, and this article by Neville Fickling goes into some interesting detail.

Fig 1

Fig 2

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Terrible session on the Leeds Liverpool canal

I fancied a change of venue today, so did Johnny Panto - so we met at a stretch of the Leeds Liverpool canal. Our tactics were to bag up on the pole and to fish live baits for Pike. How arrogantly cocky we were. We had a woeful session. I had three fish on the pole the whole day, Panto doing slightly better by catching a grand total of 7 fish. Neither of us could muster anything on the Pike rods. Seemingly though it wasn't just us that struggled today - other anglers reported in with catches of between 1 and 6 fish for a whole days fishing. The drains are calling me

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Al's back on the Pike and a great catch for me

A trip to my local drain was planned, but the amount of rain that fell the day before forced me to change venue and head to the reservoir instead.

Myself and Al arrived at around 8.30am. I fished two dead bait rods and also fished the tip for baits. It wasn't too long until one of my rods was in, hardly the biggest Pike in the water though a Jack of around 2lb's wasn't exactly going to break any records. Hours came and passed and I was catching a good head of Skimmers on the Tip, when finally and putting an end to his recent blanking sessions Allan was into a well deserved Pike, "Heeeeaaavvvvy fish Matt" he proclaimed. It was no leviathan but a Pike of around 7lb's certainly wasn't to be sniffed at. This fish has been a long time coming, and I have to hand it to him, as Allan had gone through a very dry spell of late, he's had many a session without landing a Pike, he never moaned once mumbled a few "The fishing gods are being cruel to me" perhaps, but he was commited to the cause and stook at it. Well done mate!

The sun was getting ready to set, time to start to pack up, I packed the first rod away, and I was reeling in the second one when a Pike from nowhere smashed into my bait.... But missed DAMN! I plopped the bait back into the water and it hit it again. Yessssssssssssss! I let it run off with the bait for a few seconds and then struck into it. It was no monster around 9lb's possibly a scraper double, but boy did I have fun catching it, watching it smash into the bait right under my feet and heading off to the depths to eat it's victim was fabulous. These are the moments that I fish for.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Thats the and of Tench fishing

The cold weather and the fact that I'll be consentrating on Pike exclusively until probably around March will pretty much put an end to my Tench season, infact I don't think I've fished for them since sometime in August.

I really enjoyed clonking into some cracking hard fishing Tench this summer, pound for pound they give you a great fight. The best of the bunch weighing in at 4lb, so I didn't land any of the 5 to 6lb ones that I hear grace the water, maybe next year.

I found the best method by far to be ledgered hair rigged double sweetcorn - fished over a bed of brown crumb a tactic that I shall revert back to next season.

Total =28
Season PB = 4lb 0oz

What a bar of Gold!

The season PB

Thursday, 1 October 2009

It's a waiting game

I had a plan today - and my plan was to head to an area of the Sluice that i haven't fished too often, I was merrily on my way to my new destination when I caught sight of 'Johnny Panto' and with this I changed my mind on heading to the new stretch and instead decided to fish near the snaggle and have a bit of a chat.

As usual I fished 2 dead bait rods and cast them into place as soon as I arrived. The conditions were pretty windy today and made fishing on the pole rather difficult, I did though catch more than enough bait for the day.

Panto seemed to be having the spoils of the fishing, and as my floats lay motionless, he selfishly landed 2 Pike. Curses!

Eventually as the clock was nearing half four it was my turn, my float and with some speed disappeared under the water. I struck into the take and I was treated to another good fight, the Pike are still fighting very hard at the moment and the sport that they provide really is a great reward for the expectant angler, it's always a disappointment when they give up and glide into the net, the heart thumping fight is what makes it all worth while

And that was that. Another session where I've picked up just the one fish, another double though so who am I to complain! I thought that I was on to a definite blank today and regretted not sticking to my plans to try my different stretch.

As for Panto well he really rubbed my nose in it landing a total of 4 Pike, the biggest being around 11 pounds.

The Piking Blues Brother Phew! I had to wait for this one