Predator Blog Part One

Tue 06 November 12


What a summer, more like bleeding early October! I’ve never done allot of summer Pike fishing and that will remain the same for me as I prefer the winter months, but occasionally I do have an urge to think about catching a 20Ib’+‘er especially when the temperatures are unseasonally lower than the normal as they have been of late.

Scanning the weather sites for information, looking for a dip in air temps and the right wind direction (Pike in Ireland love those cool north westerlies) I started planning a short fishing trip over the west. The methods would be all boat fishing, float trolling with dead baits and lures, if the wind was to much, a drough would be used for slowing a drift down while towing baits behind and luring forward onto the approaching virgin ground.

The first day started off trolling the usual, a dead Roach set under a planer board with a weighted up-trace, and a lure set under a trolling float (home made.) The lure was a converted Salmo Fatso crank, with lip removed and lead weight added to give it a slow sink, this was also fished with a weighted up-trace to keep the lure down. After three hours trolling with only a jack on the bait caught, a change was due. At this stage the north west wind had increased in strength to a F3/4, and trolling was becoming tiresome.

Time for the drough, positioning the boat well up wind for a long drift over historically productive ground, the bait went out the back of the boat set just shallow 5ft, and now to choose a lure to chuck forward from “the bucket of many”! An old favourite caught my eye, a cisco original Bulldawg no less, these originals are really great lures, with a side to side enticing wobble on a steady retrieve as well as the curly tail. The Bulldawg lure has have fallen from vogue in the last few years, but once a great lure always a great lure in my thinking.

Second cast, I felt a bump but didn’t connect up, encouraging I thought, third cast and bang a 10Ib’er comes to hand and released at the boat side. Then the ratchet screamed off on the bait reel, and a fairly heavy pike fell off after a few seconds, damn! Reset the bait quick and get casting that bully, as we are in a feeding window now, basically they are on! Next cast with the Bulldawg and bang a good fish hooked and well this time, gave a good scrap and was quickly in the landing net beside the boat. Now it’s very important that warmer water caught pike get their rest before unhooking. It’s like us running 100m sprint then made to hold our breath at the end! Try It! It’s a big no no, rest the pike in the net for 5 maybe 10 minutes before unhooking her. I usually unhook her in the net in the water at the side of the boat, and then while she is resting more I set up the necessary camera and weigh gear, mats etc.. Pike can build up lactic acid in their muscles while being played when the water temps are higher, as they fight stronger and longer, heavy gear is a must to cut this fight time down as much as possible to ensure a good healthy release. Resting a pike immediately after playing allows the pike to regain normality as lactic acid levels drop back. This is so important to practice, as a“belly up pike” is probably a dead one, and is allot harder to bring back to strength. The photos were done in quick time, my camera takes 10 self timer takes in 10 seconds, activated with face recognition, and has a flip round screen so positioning of shot is always good. I use a (Canon sx1 is) and has proved to be fantastic equipment for the fishing.

Back to the fishing, another drift down with nothing, the feeding window was now shut, 20 minutes tops that window was open for, telling me the feeding scale was not that great, despite the north west wind! Later in the day I went trolling again as the wind eased off, and two jacks were the entertainment. I gave up at six, and retired to the camper van happy with my 21Ib.08oz Bulldawg caught Pike.

Al with another 20lbs plus Pike

I was looking forward to the following days fishing, a friend (Steve) was going to join me and hopes were raised that the feeding scale would rise a bit, but looking on the internet that evening, doubt’s were cast as the air temps were not dropping that much and the air pressure staying the same, also the wind was increasing to as much as a F6! This would hamper the fishing too, trolling was out, so drifting and casting, or possibly anchor up in some sheltered area where you don’t want to really be? Couple this with a low feeding scale, it was all against a repeat performance of the previous day. Our best bet would be the feeding window time from the previous day, which would move forward about an hour. The 21 was caught at 10.20am So between 11 and 12 would be the hot time for the following day , and a big focus around 11.20 i.e I would make sure I’m working the hot area around this time, the hot area being the spot I had the action the previous day.

It was tough going with the big waves, but I was determined to fish though the hot hour in the hot area, we’ve been out fishing and drifting from early morning through the hot area and had done many drifts with no action at all. The hot time was approaching though, and sure enough at 11.05 I had a take right at the end of the drift in the shallower water, unfortunately the Pike fell off straight away but felt a reasonable weight? signalling to me the feeding window had opened. We motored back up wind full of anticipation for the next drift through, knowing this would be our best chance of the day. At 11.20 (I kid you not) I had a take and struck into a good fish which seemed to get heavier by the second, unfortunately a few seconds later the hook pulled and she came off, damn, but that’s fishing. We fished on hard though to 1pm with no other signs of life, the feeding window was firmly shut. Steve later in the afternoon got a jack while trolling, and I a micro jack when casting a slider about. By 4pm we’ve both had enough and was time to go home, and prepare for the next fishing trip to come.

Al Rawlings