The pike season’s well under way, and doubtless you’re spending all your free time at the water with your flies, lures and baits to see how much you can improve your personal best by. If you’re rained out though, you might want to take a few tips from some other pikers.
We’ve found 13 of the best, so sit back, relax and read your fellow pikers’ tales and tips. Which is your favourite?
“If you want to catch big pike, you have to fish for them”. Anglers’ Mail writer, Andrew Black’s pretty clear on that point, and for him that means being single minded and really working for those fish. Being first on the water, and travelling long distances are both very familiar for him.
Andrew’s pike season tends to start fairly early, in September. He has found, however, that the warmer waters mean that the fish are quite lively when feeding. They can engulf baits, which means your handling and unhooking methods need to be spot on for fish welfare. Check out his other observations, and don’t expect all your lures back in one piece!
Fishing later in the season can be unpredictable. Arriving at Chew in October felt like a bit of a chore to Andrew, but landing a 31lb pike at the end of the day just proves that you have to be there when the fish turn on, whether you feel like it or not!
Once you’ve got your gear and have had a bit of instruction, you’re ready to go and fish on your own. But what kind of water is best? Jason Skilton’s quick guide to what the different kinds of waters have to offer pike anglers. Smaller waters (under 50 acres) and rivers are a good place to start, but the true monsters are to be found in the 100 acre-plus lakes and reservoirs.
Fishing is a way of life, rather than a hobby for Jason. His blow by blow accounts of battles with these predators are a great read, and the fact that he’s netting pike that he already knows from previous catches will raise a smile.
An active member of the Pike Angling Club, Jason spends a lot of time writing and debating burning angling issues. But, like any angler, he knows the importance of getting the “Fix”. Even with a quick two hour excursion, he can still inspire you with his catch of pike, perch and chub!
After years spent fishing for dace and chub, blogger, Danny had many run ins with the predatorial pike, so rather than let it spoil his angling, he put together a pike rod and started fishing for them instead!
If you’re looking for ways to increase your deadbait’s effectiveness, Danny’s got a good tip: pike oil injected into deadbait will disperse in the water and exploit the fish’s sense of smell, attracting them to your line. Oil’s now a must have in his armoury!
You can’t question Danny’s commitment to the sport. A pre-dawn run-in with the Police when he was digging out a peg in the dark worked out fine in the end, but his comment about burying a body might not have gone down too well!
Even when he’s laid up with man-flu, “Tangles with Pike” author, Dominic Garnett, is still thinking about fishing, and his reviews of “The One That Got Away” and “Fallon’s Angler” will give you some good ideas of which fishing book to pick up next.
Dominic’s happier when he’s fishing, though. His love of being in the water shines through in his ‘Wading into trouble’ post. He guarantees you’ll find seldom-touched waters if you get a pair of waders, find the rough bits, and “get used to the feeling of cold water up to your bollocks”.
Even though Dominic’s not a bailiff, he still cares about the fish. He managed to send one angler packing from a steep bank on the Somerset levels, after he turned up with no net or landing mat. As Dominic says: “until all of us start challenging such poor practise the result will be dead and damaged fish”
Norfolk fishing guide Allan Griffiths takes his clients out on the Broads all year round. He’ll often send them home with a new PB, after having caught some of the monster Norfolk pike, with plenty of high doubles and twenties to be had.
It’s not always a simple day on the water, however. Read Allan’s spooky tale of a Christmas past, where he dreamt he was a lowly serf, employed to take his master’s guests hunting and fishing. His story of a 55lb pike and a ghostly girl will send a shiver up your spine.
Allan’s nightmares aren’t just in his sleep, and it’s more than the pike that sometimes frustrate him. How would you feel if you were out fishing and an otter turned out to be your biggest competitor, dragging a 5lb fish onto the bank right in front of you?
Outfished by a kingfisher on the opposite bank, Yorkshire angler, Darren Roberts switched from dead to live bait, and within half an hour, he had 14lb 6 of pike in his net! The kingfisher probably had the better outing though, because that was Darren’s only notable catch that day.
Darren’s another angler who’s aggrieved by nature’s fishing competitors. In his ‘Otter Devastation’ post, he shows a series of pictures of bream and a pike double that have suffered the jaws of the fisherman’s foe.
A dab hand in the DIY department, Darren also makes some of his own tackle. Moulded leads, dowel floats and bleach bottle drifters are all part of his repertoire – check them out and see if you can make some yourself!
After slashing his thumb to bits unhooking a young pike, angler, Ian Firkins thought he’d had his share of accidents for the day. He hadn’t finished with disaster though, as he also stepped on his glasses, and lost more blood to an incident with another pike’s gill rakers!
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Ian’s accident prone. After a pike tried to nab a roach from the line as it was being lifted from the water, Ian managed to net a couple of decent perch. The pike took its turn in the net, but got its revenge, sinking its teeth into Ian’s hand. He still had a numb thumb at the end of the day – let’s hope there’s no permanent damage.
Ian’s no stranger to the early mornings, sometimes leaving at 5:30am to get to the River Soar. It doesn’t always result in mega catches, but he does get some interesting fishing in. Read how leapfrogging his rods gave him a couple of good catches, but also a frustrating pike unhooking itself on the margins
Whether you’re a record-breaking expert, or an absolute novice, you’re welcome at the PAC. Uniting pike anglers across the UK, the club holds an annual Convention, as well as organising several events offering privileged access to top venues including the Lake of Menteith and Boddington reservoir.
Whether you’re a member or not though, there’s plenty on the site for you. PAC offers helpful advice on handling pike which is invaluable to the newer pike angler. Always have your unhooking and weighing equipment ready and to hand – it’s better to save time when you’ve netted your catch than to mess around and risk stressing the fish more than necessary.
If you want to write about your pike fishing adventures, PAC welcomes submissions for Pikelines, their quarterly magazine. Whether you want to write about a memorable catch or days fishing, submit photographs, or write a more technical piece, new authors and photographers are given every encouragement and assistance. Write on!
Another early-rising piker, Brian Roberts’ recent 4am journey’s start to the Test Valley resulted in a fine day’s fishing. The pike there don’t top a double, but they put up a good fight on a light lure set up. 8 jacks gave Brian 221/2lb to add to his Predator Challenge.
An accomplished cartoonist, Brian’s series ‘Jack’s Pike’ makes regular appearances on his blog. Follow the capers of Jack, his friend Bob, and Jack’s long-suffering wife Tracy as Jack takes on everything the river can challenge him with!
Speaking of rivers’ challenges, beware the temptation to find another swim if your current one’s quiet! Brian was only away exploring for two minutes before his friend had to hit a 16lb 12 pike on his rig rather than risk it being deep-hooked. His friend, Paulos, said he felt guilty – but do we believe him?
Piker, Andy Webster has firmly established himself as a pike authority. Not content with having a wealth of articles in his ‘Ask Pike Angler‘ section, where he offers advice to those who write in, he’s also compiled a huge ‘getting started’ archive for newcomers to the sport.
Not sure which deadbait to use? Andy’s got you covered, with clear descriptions of a range of sea and coarse deadbaits. Whether you want to experiment with whole baits or just sections of fish, you’ll find all the info you need here.
There’s more than just advice in this comprehensive blog. Andy also keeps you up to date with Pike Angling Club meetings around the country with his events page. If you’re not up for the travel though, his Pike Forum has over a thousand members for you to get to know and chat about piking with!
20-year-old Sam Edmonds has been fishing almost since birth. He’s got a fishing crazy dad, and they spend a lot of time out on the water together. An all-rounder, Sam’s also the 2010 Youth National Flyfishing Champion, and won Gold in the Youth International in 2012.
Youth is no problem for Sam. He’s a consultant for Pure Fishing’s lure brands, and he’s now competing as an adult as part of the Team England Lure Squad.
Set to become one of the UKs fishing celebrities, Sam’s been featured in Sky Sport’s Tightlines podcast more than once. In the meantime, there are still plenty of fish to catch. Sam and the team didn’t do too brilliantly in the Lure Fishing World Championships this year, but undaunted, he’s back out on the Thames hunting more pike!
Written and compiled by members of the popular pikers’ forum, The Pikers Pit, the Pike Pool has a wealth of piking stories. Read about the tenacious John Currie’s early adventures of urban fishing as a child, before settling in Norfolk and becoming involved in piking and water conservation there.
On the other side of the country, Fish Management student, James Sarkar pikes the Severn for the fit, lean fish there. He’s even out in the freezing cold, but it seems it’s all worth it – he took his first twenty in the snow!
More recently, Jason Skilton netted a Chew Valley record pike at 44lb 6! Few anglers get to see such a magnificent beast even once in their lives, let alone twice. So, imagine his astonishment when, during a trip to Heron’s Green Bay with a friend, Kristian a few months later, Kristian managed a 40+! You can’t get much better than that!
Dave Lindsay’s starter pike fly kit guide is about the most comprehensive you’ll find. With rods, reels and lines all covered, you’ll have no problem getting started with his recommendations.
Going deeper into the world of angling gear, Dave ties bright and beautiful pike flies, such as the flaming dizzbuster rattlehead, the ghost and the slim jim. He even makes videos of his fly tying for you to watch and learn from.
Not all of his time is spent tying at the vice, though. Dave also writes about his times fishing the lochs of Scotland, and his passion for fish welfare is second to none. Handling your catch in the right way is important, but preparing your fly rig correctly is also vital.