Thu 06 December 12


Looking back through my diary, fishing wise I’m glad to say I’ve had more highs than lows, but fishing is never plain sailing and there was of course a few low points now and then, like back to back blanks, and going through some rough times with my illness. The year started well enough though, January 1st I landed a 25.12, followed by a double, so I had the good start that I was hoping for, my 2012 goal was to reach 20 × 20Ib+ er’s.

I can honestly say that every 20Ib+ pike caught is still a high for me, love seeing the broadness of their backs when approaching the waiting net, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing this awesome sight. The anticipation of the weighing knowing only to well it’s well over that magic mark, and the resetting of a new bait for a possible second one is just a priceless feeling.

I live for the times when the big girls are on the feed well, those cold front cold air approaching days and I’m out there and well prepared, and I’m on them, right time right place, is a very special time within pike fishing as in all fishing. On the 18th of Jan I caught the same 25Ib pike again, repeat captures happen even on huge Lough systems here in Ireland, I would say some pike are territorial and some are not. Very cold water, or just non feeding pike can slow or even stop pike from swimming to far away, and if you fish the same area there is always a chance of catching that same fish again, although we would rather catch new fish, but that’s just pike fishing. It’s always nice to see how they are doing, putting on weight etc.. Nothing happened for me in February due to illness I didn’t get out, but by mid March I was feeling somewhat better and experienced a good day trolling in calm conditions, a few takes during the day and with whopper landed at 26.12, she looked every inch a 30+ but was quite empty, either she was an early spawn fish or going to be a later one? Personally I feel she was an early spawned out and recovering fish.

A few days later, was back for more trolling and caught a different 26 from the same area, certainly a water and area to go back to this March. After that I was not well for a few weeks, and was laid up once again.
Neville was over in mid April, and I managed to get myself somewhat better for some fishing, we had a few nice doubles trolling together, Nev taking the best one at 19.10. Not much fishing after this, again my health was bad, and I needed to take care of myself and get fit ‘ish for the pike anglers alliance of Scotland AGM meeting where I was the guest speaker and showing a slide show, afterwards some pike fishing was arranged by secretary/editor to the club Micky Jones. This didn’t really go according to plan, or rather the weather didn’t lol, as a heat wave struck Scotland, and sent the Eels on a crazy feeding binge. I caught a few doubles to 16 and also lost a possible 20+ ‘er, and Micky caught doubles and a 21. Jon Neafcy (regional organiser for PAC Wigan) joined us too, and caught more doubles in the baking sun, but we had more Eel bites than pike bites.

I found myself a good summer lure water, and caught pike to 21.08, with loads of doubles really great sport, a week later I tried another summer lure water and the result was even better. 2 × 20’s to 22.12 with 5 doubles to 18, not a great fan of summer pike fishing, but the waters in question don’t produce much of anything in the colder months they are crystal clear jobs.
Neville was back over in August, and we were neck and neck on our 20’s tally’s (still are) but that weeks fishing things went very well for me landing 3 × 20’s and taking the lead for the first time. At that point I’d caught more 20Ib+ pike than anyone else, which was a great feeling and a good sense of achievement.

Next was some good news and a definite high point in 2012, I joined ukmatchangler/predator fishing site and then with their help secured a sponsorship with the Jack Pyke clothing company. I wear their clothing everyday, from head to foot and is a real honour and pleasure to be part of these two great teams.

September was the Pike anglers convention, and I was up for another talk and slideshow, afterwards a drive to Scotland and a few days in pursuit of a highland 20 there.
The month went fairly well, landing a further 3 × 20’s to 25.04, one of them a 21.08 was my first Scottish highland 20 which I was very pleased about. But runs were sparse to say the least, as they are every time I go across the water, again timing is crucial, and these trips are planned around PAC talks and slideshows and have not been on the best fishing weeks unfortunately.

October, this month was a real low for me, despite catching 2 × 20’s to 23.05, a lot of time and effort was spent fishing and driving to catch a good pike. Sometimes you feel like everything is against you, but we struggle on regardless, eventually luck swings your way again and all is good.
November, I started fishing a new water, and things were looking up, in the first two weeks I had landed 3 × 25Ib+ er’s to 26.02., I was pre -baiting the swim and it was paying off, unfortunately I had more talks and slideshows to do, which incidentally I like doing, but it did drag me away from some very good and interesting fishing here in Ireland at a very good time. This trip was another near disaster pike fishing wise, and again weather and timing were not on my side. If it wasn’t for a lovely 25.07 highland pike capture it would have been a complete fishing disaster trip. So I was over the moon with my new Scottish highland PB. Of course while I was away Ireland fished it’s nuts off, and friends landing a huge haul of pike in the first week of December really made my trip a sore one lol. But that’s fishing, we can’t be everywhere all the time, and when I have pre -booked talks and slideshows for the PAC then that’s when I’ll be doing the fishing there too, next year it could well fall right with the weather and conditions?

Meanwhile, Neville was catching repeat 20’s and had caught me up again and we were all level, next came the dreaded east winds and all I was catching then was small fish and blanking. Then to rub salt in, Nev then wangled out two more 20’s here in Ireland to go two ahead. The year is not over yet, not quite lol. I’ve reached my goal of catching 20 × 20’s, but would love to catch up with Neville to start the new year off. I’ll be out and trying that’s for sure.

So tight lines everyone,

Al Rawlings


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