Be on the ball
LIKE many people, one of the reasons why I go pike and zander fishing is to recharge my batteries. I’m supposedly of retirement age, but who can afford to retire these days, apart from people with very good pension schemes? The rest of us carry on. Anyway, I’d get bored of endless Mediterranean and Baltic cruises!
Fishing can be relaxing, but you have to be alert, otherwise you are going to miss out on the action. I can think of lots of examples where being alert made all the difference.
I was fishing a trout water the other day, targeting an area where I’ve had decent fish from in the past. My rods remained motionless, and just as I was contemplate moving, two trout anglers drifted by and hooked fish at the same time. The next drift, they had another trout each… and so it went on. I thought to myself: ‘There must be a pile of trout in the area, and if the trout are shoaled up so tightly, there must be a pike hunting them.’ Half an hour later, I was rewarded with a nice, yellow-spotted 21 lb 8 oz pike.
A few weeks ago, in Ireland, I was fishing a relatively small lough, as the weather was unsuitable for going out on one of the bigger waters. I had three days to fish, but noticed that all the other anglers were fishing the same old areas. To be fair, I was as well, and it wasn’t going that well, as I had only produced a couple of small pike and a 14-pounder.
The next day I decided to motor to the end of the lake where no one seemed to want to fish. On the way, I passed an 18 ft hump on the bottom in
25 ft of water. There were food fish showing on my sounder, and roach were topping around me. It had to be worth a go.
Sadly, only a jack troubled my deadbaits. I did see a modest fish chase some roach to the surface, but couldn’t even catch that one.
On the final day, I went all the way up the lake, where I found more food fish, so I anchored in 16 ft of water. I had three runs: a fish of about 16 lb that came off, a 14 lb fish that didn’t and, best of all, a 23, all on smelt. I moved around the general area, but didn’t have any more runs. I think I made a good decision that day, mainly by having my eyes wide open.
The biggest giveaway to pike location is when you spot one rolling on the surface, which you see a lot on trout reservoirs. If I see disturbance on the surface without spotting a fish roll, I always assume that a pike has created it, and target that area.
The first year in which Chew Valley Lake opened, it got a fair battering on the first two days.
When Chew Valley Lake opened, we were a bit late off the mark but, by spotting a pike swirling on the surface, I managed to catch this 23-pounder on a spoon.