500 and Beyond

Fri 11 November 16


I’ve been asked quite a few times now on social media, exactly what would I put my success down to of late. Well, I would say it’s an accumulation of a few important factors adding up, that has made that success. One BIG factor has to be the fantastic dry and settled weather we have experienced this autumn, this gave really good water conditions on ‘most’ but not all waters here in Ireland throughout the month of October. I know from experience, if the rain and wind comes early you can forget a decent autumns piking results.

Another big factor was the last 3 years of moving on and learning about new waters, finding new areas, and new hotspots on these waters, and learning when best to fish them, and learning how to get the best from them. An insane amount of mapping time has been going on in the last 3 years of my fishing, I do this manually way too, which I actually prefer, using colour coded waypoints for different depths, marking up along drop-off’s mainly, but anything and everything is marked and logged and saved to an SD card. One water I fish has 5500+ waypoints marked up now, and several safe full throttle travel routes saved. The information is so large it takes 20 minutes to download to the Lowrance Gen 2 HDS unit from the card lol and I’m adding to this information all the time too. I have to load it up the night before the fishing as it takes so long.

Another important factor is my trolling and lure presentation which I’m really pleased about, my boat is set up exactly how I like it, and controlled in-line trolling speeds are down to 0.9mph and are really easy to manage in calm conditions The development of the new soft plastic lures from Savagear in the last few years has been epic, without a doubt another BIG factor to my success this autumn, their 3D series are really mouth watering to pike and angler. Like all types of lure they have their day, so finding out early on in the day what the pike prefer is a must for me. This means swapping from single tails, to twin tails, to line through 3D’s and to pad tails, (rattle shads) to see what interest they have if any at that time. Gain that knowledge, and change the other rod/s accordingly for more takes.

I also suppose there is an element of ‘the luck factor’ and sometimes I have buckets of it, and sometimes I don’t seem to have any at all. This is just the up’s n downs of fishing that everyone goes through from time to time. It’s a strange thing this luck factor! But I know this, you have to run with it when you have it, and that’s exactly what I did with my buckets worth lol!

Here is a run down of my results for this autumn.

September: One 20 caught at the end of the month at 21.04
1st 22.12 492nd,
8th 30.03,
8th 20.06
19th 27.08
20th 31.10
26th 22.00
28th 20.04, 21.04, 26.10 (500th), 28.04, 27.02 144th over 25lb



Running with your luck:

|I was fishing one of my ON venues and doing well, landing a 27.08 on a quiet day, then having a brainwave (knowing I had the luck factor) to drive to and fish a new notoriously hard venue, only to have the pike gods shine on me yet again catching a 31.10, and then returning a week later and catching a 22! By this time my personal tally was up to 497 pike over 20lb’s, my 500 target rival Neville having a quiet autumn with not much luck happening for him, so it was just a matter of time before I achieved the coveted 500 × 20’s first.

The following week saw me getting ready for a days trolling on yet another of my inform waters, and to tell you the truth I wasn’t really expecting a whole lot, I said to myself, I’ll be happy to scrape out one 20, the wind was down which would give good boat control and good lure presentation and of course a pleasant days fishing, there was some light drizzle about but nothing major and it was still mild. The colder weather coming in 4 days time, which I had already ear marked out a two day session for. The day started out good, I was into a double within minutes of starting the troll, the 27.5cm rattle shad doing the business. Another 3 doubles followed up to 16lb’s, and I was thinking a good sporting doubles day it is then. A little latter, I landed a 20.03, and then a 21.00 which was my 499th 20+‘er. I was getting excited of the thought that this could be the 500 day and the pike were getting bigger?

I posted to my facebook page the two 20’s saying that I’m now on 499, and the social media buzz began.

Incredibly I didn’t get another hit for an agonising 3 hours! Despite trolling hard the hot areas, I was thinking this is a great sign of the big girls to come on the feed, it always goes dead just before you see, and sometimes its the day before they come on, its a totally dead day, so then I was thinking I bet it’s tomorrow it’s going to happen?

But, then after 3 hours of bite less trolling and one more pass through the hotspot, the rod bent around in the Scotty a good fish had taken the big line through trout, I couldn’t get the rod out from the force of the fish the rod was bent so hard! Eventually I started playing the pike rather than the boat doing it lol the fish felt heavy and powerful, these pike were quite short but really fat having a good girth from all the good feeding in the great weather and water conditions. I got a bit emotional knowing that this one could well be my 500th pike over the magic 20lb mark. I took a small video on my phone of me playing her as I wanted to record the memory. In the net she looked 25+ when I saw the girth of her properly, my 500th 20 weighed 26.10. I was buzzing, really buzzing from all the emotion and happiness, all the memories of the last 22 years spent pike fishing came flooding back in an instant, visions of pike caught over the years were flashing before my eyes ! Lol Crazy. My long term goal had now been achieved.


After taking it all in, I was drifting out into thousands of acres away from the hot area, the big pike were most probably still on the take, I motored back and set up another trolling run on the exact same line, first pass and the rod went around again on the big rattle shad, this one was even bigger and weighed over 28lb’s, amazingly I sorted and photographed this fish out quite quickly as the drizzle had finally stopped and got the boat lined up for another trolling run along the hot drop off area, amazingly the same thing happened again! The rod wrenched around in the scotty on the big pad tail again and I was into another good fish of 27lb! Incredible days pike fishing, so to sum up the catch went 4 x doubles and 2 x singles, then 20, 21, then 26, 28, and 27,. I’ve caught multiple 20 catches before quite a few times over the years, but this one obviously will be the most cherished.

Interestingly the bigger pike have come on the feed on this particular venue 4 days before the cold air hit before for me, it caught me out then, and caught me out this time too. Now I’ve learnt something there. Over the years I’ve always tried to fish the 3 days leading up to the colder air, most of the time the day before is the ON day, but with this particular venue I’ll try and fish earlier in future as they seem to be quicker on it then pike in other waters!

So what’s next:

Next is 500 Irish 20’s, just need another 15 to do this. Then I would like to concentrate more on catching bigger pike. So I’ll only be fishing venues where I have a chance of doing so, I’m not really into trout water piking myself, so will remain on the big wild natural loughs, they are the most challenging, and I like that.

Just want to say a big thank you to my sponsors for all their help over the last few years.


Tight Lines

Al Rawlings


Visit the Website: http://www.jackpyke.co.uk/