Winter 2016 Blog


It has been quiet on here lately, for which I apologise, unfortunately most of my “writing time” has been spent on my weekly articles with “Angler’s Mail” and a couple of ones for “Pike and Predators”, the first of which is in the January issue. On the fishing front I have been struggling this month. Yes, I have caught fish, but they have all been small ones!
You would think with a couple of trips to Chew back in October I would have done better, but alas no, and it was getting quite frustrating at some points when seemingly everyone else around was pulling in thirties, every time my float went it was a jack! We all have times like this and the worse thing you can do it start changing everything, as in most cases it is just luck not presentation, bait, rigs or anything else, but it makes you twitchy, in fact I think I have developed a nervous tick because of it!


What was noticeable on Chew was that the first two days accounted for the majority of the fish, with the rest of the week fishing quite poorly. Which suggests to me that majority of the fish in the lake had either been caught, or lost, at some point during those first two days. There was another blip on the 5th day, which though not as good as the first two was worth noting. I suspect that these were fish that had been sulking after being hooked previously.

I must hold my hands up and say I cocked up big time during my second visit. There had been a layoff of a week with no pike fishing, so the pike should have been feeding. The day before it opened again I had a half day on the fly, and went and covered the area where the fish had been coming out the week before. Now I really covered that area, various flies and various depths and nothing. So the next day I convinced Paul Garner, my boat partner, not to bother going down there as there were no fish there, and we went elsewhere and avoided the rush of boats.
Predictably that area fished its head off with multiple thirties to 37lb coming out! Though it was very with boats!


So, what does that tell you? – I am crap at fly fishing – maybe?
I think it shows that the fish in the weed simply were there all along, and they, for whatever reason, did not want to come out, or up, to take a fly, but a dead-bait fished directly in the weed amongst them was picked up with gusto.
Paul didn’t miss out though and he managed some good fish from other areas – I caught jacks.


Two other things I did note at Chew, which flummoxed me; firstly was that on each day I was there several people left early! Now I know it can be hard, but I have had a substantial amount of fish right at last knockings on there, in fact I am quite an expert in picking up that last minute fish – that it is often joked about that I should only bother fishing in the last half hour! So I can’t understand why people would struggle all day when you know it is going to be tough, and then go at possibly the best time?
Another thing that I can’t understand is, as Chew is massively oversubscribed, why, after spending two or three days on the phone to get on there, you would go fishing for perch? Yes, I know there are some big perch in there – 4lbers for sure, but there are loads of waters with 4lb fish in them. I certainly wouldn’t go to Chew and perch fish, but each to their own, and I suppose it gives the pike less pressure.
With my lack of success this year on Chew other waters beckoned, and after a long drive over the border to another water that has been doing some good fish, all I managed was to up my jack count for the season! I did see a massive fish caught from a water where even the little fish are massive, which will make sense to some.


Finally we managed to get out on a water a little closer to home, and maybe it was something to do with the high pressure system and Easterly winds that we had been experiencing but we couldn’t find any fish where they should have been. Usually this water is quite predicable and there are a couple of spots which always hold fish, but after half a day’s fishing and not seeing anything on the finder, we decided to go and look elsewhere. Which turned out to be a good decision, as when we were heading back to the slipway I went over what was unquestionably a pike on the sounder, so I did a quick 180 on the boat and went back over it, then on the side imager there was another, then another. So we stopped and started casting, nothing. I couldn’t understand it, there were certainly fish down there; so what was going wrong? I did have a hit on a vertically fished lure which I had put a “Waterwolf” camera on. and it was certainly a pike as it has shredded my jig. (When I looked back over the footage I was shocked about how many pike were there – there were several good-sized fish following the lure and just veering off). So we knew there were pike there but they just didn’t want to feed.
When they are like this you just have to keep covering them and hope that at some point they turn on and want to grab a lure, it can be difficult to supress the urge to move, and just keep grinding away, but we did, and in the end I was rewarded with nice 18lber right on last knockings after changing to a bigger lure.
When I got home I reviewed the footage on the “Waterwolf” camera in more detail and I could clearly see what looked like dead baits on the bottom? Had someone been pre-bating this area? Was that why the pike were all in one spot? Was that why they didn’t want to chase the lures? Loads of questions that I wouldn’t have even thought about without this technology. At one point a very big pike was seen just off the camera moving along seemingly not interested at all in the lure above it, which makes you think how often do they behave like this without you knowing.
One thing was for sure, and that was I was going back at the next available opportunity, which was a good decision as I finally got the monkey off my back with the first decent fish I had seen since October!


Mid-December finally brought some “proper” pike fishing weather, with hard frosts and low day time temperatures, but why we think of this as good pike fishing weather is strange, as when then temperature drops so does the pike’s metabolism which means it is very tough!
However the inner angler in me always wants to get let out, so I tried a couple of local waters, the first was frozen and the second one was getting that way and so the next day I decided to take the boat out, and I was up before light walking down what first looked to be a quite ice free slipway, (it is good practice to always walk them first), but at the bottom it was like an ice skating ring and after I had completed an impromptu rendition of the first steps of Bambi I decided I better put some grit down and not long after managed to launch without launching my car in the process.


Surprisingly I did catch a couple of small zander which surprised me as the water temperature was 4.2 degrees.

I think everyone knows that you are wasting your time fishing during a quick drop in water temperature, but it usually takes me a couple of bad trips to re-learn that every year – and you know it has been cold when you get back to your car and find it graffitied by some Game of Thrones Fan!


Happy New Year!