Be on the ball

Anglers Mail - - Anglers -

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.

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