Whilst my Angling Journal tends to lean towards an anecdotal style, I do get e-mails from time to time asking about the more technical side of things. Therefore I have decided to include a wider spread when writing each week’s article. So I’d like to start off by devoting the next few paragraphs to the rigs I fish with when piking. As I almost exclusively fish a deadbait on the bottom, they are simple and straightforward.
I do make my own traces, which is a lot cheaper than when you buy them complete. On the other hand, you have to get it right, there is no room for error. One mistake in the making and you are leaving a set of trebles in a fish, and that is the last thing that you want to do. I can honestly say that I haven’t had that happen to me ever, so I must be doing something right!
The common denominator in my rigs is Drennan, and no I don’t have links with them! I am using green pike wire at the moment in 24lb for the trace itself and I both twist and crimp the trebles. The size of the hook varies depending on bait and venue, but I go for Drennan semi-barbed trebles, and to complete the trio, Drennan crimps. Swivels aren’t from the same manufacturer though; I use several and don’t have a particular favourite.
I always carry ample traces with me, and just in case, carry the components so if needs arise I can make some on the bank. Once the wire starts to kink, I switch to another trace. Sometimes this will be after one fish, other times it may last a few sessions, it all depends. But I do like to imagine the wire lying as flat on the bottom as possible rather than springing up above it.
With a definite chill in the air, it was time to get my winter suit off the hook when I set off for an afternoon pike fishing on a local lake. If you fish as I do, right through the year, it is important that you wear the right clothes. Being dry and warm is essential at all times, but particularly so in the colder months. And whilst you can perhaps cut corners on some items, I feel that clothing is not one of them and so for a number of years I have opted for Sundridge suits. (This week’s article sounds like one written by a sponsored angler doesn’t it!)
When I arrived on the car park I realised that I was the only angler present, which suits me down to the ground. Not that there would have been a problem if there were other cars, on this lake there are several swims that I would have been more than happy to drop into. But being as I had the choice, I selected the one that I had decided I would fish if it was free.
I set up a couple of float rods and put a sprat on both, casting out just in time to see the heavens open above me. We had regular downpours throughout the afternoon, but under the umbrella I was as dry as can be. Again like my suit, when it came to that purchase, I went for a top quality one – one that was drench-proof rather than merely shower-proof. And to go against the grain so far – I can’t actually remember the manufacturer’s name for the umbrella!
One thing that I have found is that on many venues you get regular feeding times for pike, and on this one in particular I have experienced many a fish around the 1.00 p.m. slot. And true to form, right as the news came on the radio (I often listen to one whilst fishing) the float started to bob and tremble. A couple of minutes later and I had the first pike of the session on the unhooking mat. Well, actually it was the only fish of the session! But it was one more than my last trip on the middle Severn so I wasn’t complaining at all.
The hooks were right in the mouth and easy enough to extract. A quick photograph and the fish was released and swimming off back into the deeper water of the lake. Digital cameras are excellent for taking fish photographs as you can immediately see if the image came out clearly. And as you get used to your camera, most times you just need the one shot, and the fish can be returned literally within seconds. In the ‘old days’ of the conventional camera, I used to take several photographs just ‘in case’.
My camera is a Nikon, by the way. Thought I’d get that in, as this article is littered with endorsements! Mind you, the results we are getting at the moment, I can’t really do much promoting as far as Wolves are concerned. The night before this session I had been at Molineux to witness another frustrating draw, this time against Derby. I was thinking to myself ‘I wish I was fishing’, but like all true football fans, I’ll be back. Well, with a season ticket that has already been paid for, I’d be a fool if I didn’t return!
(Originally published October 2005)