2014 My year
Tue 06 January 15
2014 was another strange pike fishing year! Numbers of 20’s caught were down again despite great effort from myself and others, and I can only think a lot of waters here in Ireland are in a transitional period! So what do I mean by this I hear you ask? Well, despite the lack of bigger pike there seems to be an abundance of smaller healthy double figure fish out there which is an encouraging sight for future pike fishing. This makes me believe (be it right or wrong) that the two very harsh freezing winters we braved followed by a very mild and flooded one killed off a lot of the older bigger fish in many waters? Now, some waters were hit far more than others with this natural occurrence depending on their age stock at the time. Of course some 20Ib+ fish did survive but the numbers of 20Ib+ fish are down on a lot of waters. Last winter 2013/14 (the mild wet one) the pike that were caught were mostly skinny horrible looking fish even in January/Feb!! So they didn’t even produce spawn!
We know the weather and temperatures have a huge part to play with pike feeding scales and how they feed in general, and for most waters especially here in Ireland a mild spell going into a colder period up’s the scale considerably. Lack of these changing weather ‘mild-to-cold spells’ will only create skinny pike as they have nothing for them to make them feed! Now I know there are waters in the UK and probably some here, especially stocked trout waters that don’t go by these rules, but for the natural waters of Ireland they certainly do.
Of course I have to speak about pike removal and poaching, I do believe a lot of damage was done by the killing EE’s, and we have to put this into the equation of it all. From about 2005 onwards there were lots of EE’s here and they seemed to all go fishing! I’ve witnessed 20’s being killed first hand looking through binoculars a very sad affair indeed.
I believe in the most part Ireland is in a recovery mode, okay I know some of the pike stocks in the bigger Loughs have faired better with the poaching and even the crazy weather we’ve all experienced of late so there is some good fishing still out there. Weather and water conditions are usually against us pikers in the winter time on these big waters to get a good go at them, at least in the most part they get a rest.
Now to speak about this winter, well in general its a far better and normal winter, mild periods followed by colder one’s plenty of good change going on, with the lack of bigger pike! Which like I said above gives me the thinking of there not there in the numbers they were. Plenty of healthy doubles though, so things are looking better for the future at least, as long as they don’t get poached away that is? A lot of my waters around me (upper Shannon region) are winter waters, the bigger pike summer hibernate (Estivation) so in the most part they are protected to a degree as I don’t see many anglers about during the winter months. Unfortunately these pike do become more vulnerable to the cruiser holiday killers in the autumn time and sometimes in the spring too although there are less of these around nowadays too.
Another aspect of our sport that is potentially damaging to pike stocks – is the growing number of big pike competitions in the last 5 to 6 years, some of these are ran better than others I know. The photo catch release comps are the best way to go for sure. On the down side having pike competitions in early autumn when water temps are still high and in the late spring especially with the blue barrels and weigh stations is incredibly damaging to pike stocks, I’ve heard about some horror stories there! A lot of damage to pike stocks were done for sure especially in the beginning.
To some up, if you take all of the above into consideration, then we can clearly see where we are today with Irish piking. I’ll finish on an optimistic up beat though, the future is looking good, plenty of new doubles coming through on a lot of waters, less EE’s out there damaging stocks and far more eye’s on our waters nowadays will help matters in that department. Ireland’s pike fishing is licking it’s wounds, and is in recovery mode.
I managed 7 × 20Ib + pike in 2014! which is about 2/3rds down or more on my normal yearly results, one of these fish which was also the heaviest for me was a UK pike from Chew valley at 25.04, not a big pike from that venue by no means but a welcomed catch on a slow weeks fishing. Again lack of big pike showing in Eire!
I have started fishing and getting to know new waters this year, and my knowledge is growing fast with these large waters and hopefully this will pay off dividends in the years to come? I’m changing my angle on some other waters too, so I have a few irons in the fire so to speak. I’ll keep you posted here with an occasional blog.
So I wish to thank you for reading this, and a happy new year to you all,
Tight lines for 2015.
Visit the Website: http://www.jackpyke.co.uk/