Click video above to play
At the start of this week’s video I go through the procedures of making a simple pike trace. And get your crimping right, the first one I did wasn’t as neat as I would have liked, but I’m sure you get the general guidelines from the video. It is a straightforward process, but as I stress in the footage, if in any doubt buy ready-made ones. Regarding hooks, barbless or at least semi-barbless is the way to go. I do like one of the hooks to have a good point though, particularly when fishing a soft sea fish such as a sardine.
In the case of barbed hooks, the other two can be taken down with pliers, so that the barbed one is in the bait fish. Fish welfare is important at all times, and certainly with pike and the way we fish for them, we have to pay particular attention to detail. The session featured in the video saw me return to a venue I fished recently. It’s the one where the conditions were horrendous. They weren’t much better this time round, certainly to begin with, although the early rain knocked off, so that was good. It was very windy though and you can hear that on the footage.
The fish came a couple of hours into the session. It’s great to watch a pike float come alive, as a fish picks the bait up and starts to run, but it’s an even better feeling to get it in the net and on the bank. As it happened, that was the only fish of the day. As I say in the video, it’s a fine line between ‘success’ and ‘failure’ sometimes. I decided to have a run of outings on the same venue, all mornings for a few hours. That’s the good thing about this time of the year, it’s now light well before 7.00am, so I can get a four-hour session in and still be back home by lunch-time.
The venue in question is a decent-sized lake and is pretty uniform in terms of underwater features. The deeper water starts very close in, with four feet at the side. This gradually falls away steadily to twelve feet; I positioned my baits about two lengths out in eight feet of water. Although I did cast them to various points, this seemed to be the general distance at which the fish were located. I had a few blanks but I also caught as well, mostly just one fish, with a brace coming on the very last session I did there.
The last fish I recognised as a repeat capture, caught in a previous session. It has a small piece of its gill missing, is very distinctive and it could be described as ‘battle-scarred’. But whatever its outward appearance it doesn’t appear to be in any difficulties. It’s certainly hungry enough and puts up a great fight. The second time it was caught on just one treble hook – I fished very small roach and perch deadbaits in some of the sessions, so two-treble traces were too big. On the final visit to the lake I dropped my camera in the water as I was taking a photograph of a fish being released. Fortunately though, after being dried out, it appears to be back to working order.
The bird life was very good over my visits, and one of the reasons I kept going back. The highlight was a great northern diver. It’s been a few years since I saw one of those, so that was great to see. Other birds included numerous flocks of lapwing in flight (up to c.350 birds), goldeneye, shelduck, oystercatcher, reed bunting (male in song) and skylark. Is there anything more quintessentially English than a skylark singing high in a bright blue sky over a meadow? I think not. Finally, if you like the blog, why not share via the buttons below? Thanks if you do. I’ll be back next Saturday with another Esox blog entry as I’m keeping my pike head on for a further week. (Published March 1 2014)