Fly Fishing For Pike With Airflo Fishing Tackle – By Ben Fox

If you fly fish for pike and predator species then you need serious tackle for the job. This fishing tackle review by all-round angler Ben Fox takes a look at  the great range of predator fly rods, lines and leaders available from Airflo.

Pike have always held a fascination with me, the biggest, basest, most beautiful predator in  UK freshwater and after years of targeting them on lures, deadbaits and the like I have finally ventured into pike on the fly. But I needed some specialist equipment. Luckily, Airflo are a one stop shop for all things fly fishing, pike included and I have now found my ideal set up.

Ben Fox Fly fishing for pike on a canal

Ben Fox Fly fishing for pike on a canal

After using the Forty Plus Expert lines from my trout fishing set up for the first few months with little to no issues, I did find I sometimes struggled to get out a longer line with a large heavier pattern into the air. I had assumed, wrongly, that this was just something I needed to work on.

Enter the Airflo Forty Plus Sniper fly line. An aggressive taper, short head, big fly specialist, predator line. Coupled with the excellent Airflo Bluetooth Nano 9” #8/9 weight fly rod, the 9 weight intermediate line was a dream to handle, the line matching with and loading the rod perfectly. I also had the Airflo titanium predator polyleader to replace my usual fluorocarbon leader to the wire trace, I’ll go into to more detail on this later.

Enter the Forty Plus Sniper fly line....

Enter the Forty Plus Sniper fly line….

The Sniper line range

The intermediate is an ideal all-round line for canals and smaller waters where fishing at great depth isn’t required (have a look at the Di3 and Di7 versions if you need to get deeper) so it was spot on for my test session on a local canal. There where two main areas I wanted to look at with the line, its ability to handle big, heavy, air resistant patterns and its ability to cast in tight spots (hoping the reduced head would help with this).

First however, I wanted to get an idea of how the set up handled with a pretty standard sized fly. A 2/0 perch pattern is one that has taken some sizeable pike for me in my short pike fly fishing career. My first impressions where good, the line didn’t struggle with the size and weight of the fly and the polyleader aided the turn over as I started to cover all the likely looking spots where pike like to lay in ambush.

Casting with the Forty Plus sniper line and Airflo Bluetooth fly rod

Casting with the Forty Plus sniper line and Airflo Bluetooth fly rod

The line behaved well with both standard and oval casting styles and only requires a short amount of the head to be outside the tip to sufficiently load the rod and shoot the running line. The line had ticked my first box – it can cover the distance required with minimum back cast making it ideal for the often cramped spots you find on UK canals and rivers.

Next for the big stuff. I had with me some tandem flies tied using two 5/0 hooks joined with a clip and a good heap of flash added to that. Heavy, wind resistant, big! Exactly what I usually hate and struggle to cast. No issues, the line didn’t struggle, feel unmanageable, loose contact with the fly or fail to turn the fly over. It felt like more than a good enough match and gave me the confidence to fish the larger heavier patterns I would usually shy away from. This has led me to buy both the floating and Di3 versions of the line and it won’t be long before the Di7 joins the ranks and I can confidently target pike in any situation!

The leader:

The Airflo titanium polyleaders feature a solid welded loop, a top quality wire trace and a strong, reliable snap swivel. The wire trace is welded expertly onto the leader with minimum disturbance to the taper and provides a strong connection which you can trust to hold.

Airflo titanium predator leader

Airflo titanium predator leader

The leader material is stiff which eliminates the possibility of kinking and aids turn over, something that for most is a must when it comes to pike on the fly. The clip used to attach the flies is solid, admittedly it did take me a while to figure it out but once you do it’s easy to use and seems impossible to split, bend or break, allowing for fast changes on the bank.

The quick change clip on the predator leader

The quick change clip on the predator leader

Kinks in leaders are a nightmare for any angler targeting toothy predators and especially while fly fishing, I believe a good wind knot would put a lasting kink in any leader. So of course after I add a few tailing loops to my cast one appears right next to the snap swivel. I expect this to be game over and another leader needed but the leader had barely changed and straightened well after being unknotted. The connection to the polyleader was solid, as tested by several sizeable snags, and the breaking strain (30lb) was more than enough to pull my fly out of the various detritus found in the canal. Sadly, I didn’t get to test it on a fish on the afternoon of the photo shoot for this review but I’m sure it will handle even the biggest pike comfortably.

Too summarise:

If you’re thinking of trying your hand at pike fly fishing I cannot recommend these lines and leaders enough, combined with the Bluetooth Nano rods and a selection of pike flies you really can’t go wrong. They’ve changed my pike fly fishing!

About the author

A qualified guide and fishing instructor, Ben Fox is based in Yorkshire but operates throughout the country. An all-round angler proficient in many disciplines, quality angling coaching or a guided fishing trips can be arranged via Ben’s website here.

Ben Fox with a magnificent fly caught pike!

Ben Fox with a magnificent fly caught pike! Source Ben Fox Facebook page.

10 Great Reasons To Watch Fishing TV!!

If you’ve been watching the latest fishing series to hit the screens in the UK, Carp Wars, you’ll know that TF Gear’s pro angler Dave Lane has been putting in a strong performance!

What you may not know is that the programme was made by a new video on demand service seeking to shake up the world of fishing television in the same way that Netflix is challenging traditional TV channels – Fishing TV.  The service is available as an app for smartphone, tablet and SmartTV, as well as being available on a variety of other set-top boxes and devices, including Amazon Fire TV Sticks.

Fed up with the mediocre, lowest-common denominator programmes on TV, they not only make their own excellent shows and films, but also scour the planet for the very best fishing content available to mankind. There are channels dedicated to every major style of fishing, but in this ‘top 10’ we’ve chosen from The Carp Channel, Coarse and Match Fishing, and Predators.

Carp Wars

Carp Wars

As mentioned above, Carp Wars is one of the shows that Fishing TV have created and produced themselves, and it acts as a brilliant example of the way these guys think about fishing and how to present it on TV.

The concept is straightforward: five of the UK’s best carp anglers and one ‘unknown’ lock horns in a series of one-on-one carp fishing matches, held over 24 hours. After 15 matches the top two anglers go through to a grand final, held over 48 hours at the Etang le Fays fishery in France. Each match is one half hour episode, and with the likes of Ian Russell, Dave Lane and Ian Chillcott taking part it really is a who’s who of the carp fishing world. The series has been airing on Sky Sports, but every episode broadcast so far is available to stream from Fishing TV.

If you like this you’ll also like: Chilly on Carp 1 & 2

Carp Up Close
Join Tom ‘The Machine’ Maker as he embarks on a quest to bag himself a 40lb carp. With narration by Nick Hancock, this sixty minute documentary style film contains some great big fish action and features, among other fish, a huge UK-caught catfish.

If you like this you’ll also like: Year of the Compulsive Angler

The Tuition with Iain Macmillan
In this feature length film professional carp fishing tutor Iain Macmillan offers practical advice and answers to the most common questions that he get asked by his clients. He covers everything from spooling a reel to fish care and plenty in between. Filmed at a private lake and with lots of fish in the net over the course of the film, this is a great watch for anyone hoping to improve their carp fishing.

If you like this you’ll also like: Carp Coach – Ian Russell

Improve your Coarse Fishing with Kev Green
The title says it all, really. The sadly departed Kev Green shares hints and tips to improve your success rate when coarse fishing in this 10-part series. He looks at a range of target species and tactics, and employs the help of a few friends along the way. In Kev’s own words “The series is all about helping people catch more and bigger fish on venues they can identify with. We are targeting many different species in many different ways”

If you like this you’ll also like: Duncan Charman’s Monthly Thoughts

Fishing with Des Taylor
Des is one of the best known angling journalists working at them moment. In this 10-part series he travels the UK to target some of our most popular species, including predators from the Thames, lake pike and, crucian carp and even grayling.

If you like this you’ll also like: Club Class

Fish of My Dreams
British angler Stu Walker has been dreaming of catching one particular fish, and it isn’t one you can find in your local lake. He’s been desperate to catch an ‘Indian Salmon’ or Golden Mahseer, to give it its proper name. And you can only find them if you’re prepared to go to… yes, India. Stu and his crew head to the Himalayas, to a roaring mountain river near the boarder with Nepal, trekking for hours, camping under the stars and risking attracting the attentions of the local leopards, all for a shot at a trophy mahseer.

If you like this you’ll also like: Welcome to Africa

The Truth about Feeder Fishing
England International match fisherman Alex Bones shares the secrets of feeder fishing, from bombs to PVA, cones to cages. He enlists the help of some of his fishing buddies – the likes of Alan Scotthorne and Darren Cox. Shhhh… the secret is out!

If you like this you’ll also like: The Truth about Pole Fishing

Hunky Dory
If predator fishing is your game then you’re sure to love Hunky Dory, a half hour examination of the strange breed of anglers who are prepared to endure sub-zero temperatures for the chance of catching a musky, the pike’s north American cousin.

If you like this you’ll also like: Musky Country

Dean Macey’s Fishing Adventures
Dean Macey is best known as an Olympic decathlete, but since hanging up the his running shoes he’s been able to focus on his other passion in life: fishing. In this 8 part series he travels the UK and the rest of the world in search of new fishing experiences, whether that’s hunting monster cats in the Mekong, Arapaima in Thailand or barbell on the River Wye.

If you like this you’ll also like: The FishingTV Show

Pike Secrets 1
Want to catch more pike? Then these films are for you. Over two hours expert angler Gordon P Henricksen covers all the things you need to know to improve your pike fishing, including examinations of different lures and baits, underwater footage and hints on how to use pike behaviour to your advantage.

If you like this you’ll also like: Lair of the Water Wolf

How to watch Fishing TV:

Fishtec in conjunction with Fishing TV are giving away a FREE Fishing TV gift card with every order over £20 this month!

The card is worth £5 and will have 20 tokens pre-loaded on it with a unique code – enough to watch plenty of fishing shows.

To get one, simply place an order for over £20 and claim the card in your basket as a free gift.

Fishing TV Gift card – Free with all orders over £20

Float Tube Fishing

Float tubes can open a whole world to the fisherman, whether you are a flyfisher or a predator specialist. In this blog we take a look at the world of float tubing and the advantages they can bring to your fishing.

Float tube fishing - a great way to fish!!

Float tube fishing – a fun way to fish!!

What are they?

A float tube (aka belly boat) is an inflatable fishing craft originally based on a tractor tyre inner tube. These early ‘donut’ designs have long been replaced with much better U or V shaped hulls designed to cut through the water efficiently. Float tubes typically have an integrated seat and a bar across the lap with a mesh tray designed to keep you from slipping out.

You propel yourself about the lake by using a pair of fins attached to your fishing waders. These fins are much like those used by scuba divers, although specialist types are available. The paddling motion required is very much like cycling a bike – but backwards.

float tube with fins

Float tube, fins and life jacket – the essentials!

Are they safe?

Float tubes in our opinion are even safer than a boat. They feature multiple inflation bladders and a thick cordura covered hull; which when taunt is very resistant to punctures. Once inside the tube it is almost impossible to flip yourself out or go into the water.

There are however a few common sense safety concerns to address:

  • Ensure the tube is fully inflated and the valves securely tightened.
  • Never walk to the water with the flippers on, put them on at the edge.
  • Enter the water slowly backwards so you do not trip over head first.
  • Choose a gently sloping bank to access the water.
  • Wear an inflatable life jacket as a back up.
  • Wear warm waders – e.g neoprene, or a thermal undersuit even on summer days.
  • Be aware of sharp objects including your own hooks.
  • Stick to stillwater – never tube in a flowing river or the sea.

Float tube techniques – the advantages they bring.

Float tubes allow complete freedom of movement, giving you a huge advantage if a boat is not available on the venue. They allow you a silent, stealthy approach – for whatever reason fish simply do not fear float tubes like they do a boat or wading angler. This allows you to get very close to them and  fish shoreline shallows where bank angling would instantly spook fish. As well as conventional casting, float tubes allow you to troll your flies or lures allowing you to cover a vast area easily.

A wild brown trout caught on a float tube.

A wild brown trout caught on a float tube.

Float tubes are most popular for fly fishing for trout –  a 10 foot long fly rod will help keep the line off the surface on the back cast. A floating line is the best option, a short headed 6 or 7 weight is ideal. Although for trolling with flies a full sinking line like an Airflo Di5 or Di7 will really come in handy.

Float tubes are also becoming ever more popular with the pike and predator community, for pike fly fishing or lure fishing with spinning rods. Float tubes can give you access to areas pike love that are often inaccessible from the bank – for example outside edges of weedbeds, off thick reed banks and on drop offs where treading water allows you to hover in position, and present your lures effectively.

A pike caught from a float tube

A pike caught from a float tube.

Where can I use one?

It would be great if you could use one anywhere, but you should always check fishery rules before you launch one. Generally natural venues such as the Lochs of Scotland, Pike loughs in Ireland and the Welsh mountain lakes are places where you can freely use a tube. For stocked trout fisheries the BFTA (British Float Tube Association) has a great list of float tube venues on their website. For predator anglers wherever you can use a kayak or launch your own boat to fish it should be a safe bet.

It’s great fun!!

Above all, the main draw with a float tube is the enjoyment factor. Nothing beats being out on the lake, fishing from what is essentially a comfortable armchair but with free mobility. For those who try, there is simply no looking back. So get out there and tube!

Fishtec stock the Ron Thompson Max float tube and also matching float tube fins. A great combination to help get you started on float tubing – available for just £164.98.

When Fish Bite Back

fisherman in boat with pike under water

Image source: Shutterstock
Pike are known to be fierce

British rivers and beaches are becoming filled with threats. Giant pike, venomous weevers and even great white sharks have all been encountered in our traditionally safe British waters. But how much of a threat do they really pose?

While we agree with Richard Peirce that British waters possess the right conditions and plenty of prey for White Sharks, to date there is no documented evidence (photos, video, teeth, carcass, etc) of their presence here. It could be a bit of a stretch to state “…White Sharks have been encountered in our traditionally safe British waters.

We’ve been finding out what happens when anglers (and other people) come face to face with fearsome fish who aren’t afraid to bite back. Here’s our roundup of piscatorial perils.

Sharks

Blue shark in UK waters

Image source: Shutterstock
Blue sharks are one of 21 species that visit the UK

Did you know there are at least 21 species of shark in UK waters? Smaller species like the lesser spotted catshark are regularly sighted, while blue sharks and basking sharks prefer to visit in the summer months. Most encounters pose no threat to humans, but there have been occasions when sharks have bitten back.

Angler Hamish Currie was had a lucky escape when he landed a 7 foot Porbeagle shark. As he struggled to catch the giant fish, it lashed out and bit a hole in his steel capped boots!

The guys at britishseafishing.co.uk aren’t surprised by the attack:

“…porbeagle sharks do not take kindly to being caught on rod and line, and most injuries sustained by people are when the shark is caught and brought on board a boat.”

The good news? Very few sharks pose a danger to humans. The Shark Trust tells us there have been no reports of unprovoked shark bites in UK waters since records began in 1847. They go on to say:

“With so many sharks in decline, we believe that shark encounters should be seen as a privilege rather than a cause for alarm.”

But there is one species of shark whose presence triggers more alarm than most. And it could be coming closer.

The Great White

Great white shark head

Image source: Shutterstock
The great white shark-coming to a coastline near you!

Cornish birdwatcher Brian Mellow is convinced that he saw a great white off Cornish coast last summer, when a wave crashed over the fish, revealing its profile. He told the Express:

“I’ve seen other sharks before and it wasn’t a basking shark, or a mako shark or a porbeagle.”

Commercial fishing boats and divers in Scottish waters have also spotted potential great whites. Witnesses include two divers who were circled by a very large shark that was much bigger than any porbeagle.

“We had no idea what it was, but we estimated it at 13ft to 14ft long. We had never seen a shark anywhere near that big. It made us very nervous. We got out of the water as quickly as we could,”

Could there really be great white sharks in UK waters? Richard Peirce, chairman of the Shark Trust, believes that British waters possess the right conditions and plenty of prey:

“The real surprise is that we don’t have an established white shark population, because conditions here mirror those in parts of South Africa, Australia and northern California. Research has shown that white sharks tolerate water temperatures in a range which would make British waters perfectly suitable for this species.”

Perhaps we’ll be seeing more sightings in coming years. The Suffolk Gazette’s shark attack parody story would have us think so!

Giant Pike

Angler in cap with pike falling out of hands

Image source: Andrewblackfishing.co.uk
The pike that bit back

In August 2016, coarse fishing blogger Andrew Black was injured when the large pike he caught decided to get its own back:

“I had caught a twenty and was doing a self-take- just as the camera clicked the pike flipped and I somehow caught it tail up / head down, just before it went ballistic and started to thrash around mouth open and clamped on my leg, ripping my trousers in the process!”

Water skier Daniel Blake was bitten on the foot by a pike while waiting for a boat on Llangorse lake in Wales. Llangorse is known for its giant pike and James Vincent of Britain Explorer believes that they may have inspired the mythical tales for which the lake is famed:

“It’s said to be the home of a mythical creature, Gorsey the afanc. Afanc is Welsh for lake monster”

Indeed, in 1846, an angler reported catching an enormous Pike weighing 68 Pounds (31kg) while fishing on the lake. It’s an unsubstantiated claim, but if true, this pike would still hold the worldwide record for the biggest pike ever caught.

But Pike don’t restrict themselves to attacking humans. In 2015 a huge Pike attacked a swan on an Irish lake. The attack was brutal, rupturing the swan’s eye and ripping its lower bill from its face, as well as tearing its throat. Gruesome.

Weever Fish

Weever fish in net

Image source: British Marine Life Study Society
Watch out for weever fish

In the summer of 2000, Jo Foster was walking through a metre of water on Crantock Beach near Newquay, when she suffered an excruciating sting. The culprit? A weever fish which left three puncture marks in her toe:

“The pain responded to hot water treatment, subsiding not immediately but after 20 minutes. However, the wound swelled up and 2 operations, the second requiring a 6 day stay in hospital”.

Alexandra Connolly endured a similar fate on a beach in Ireland when she waded into sea and suddenly felt like she’d been punched on the foot:

“While hyperventilating, my mind began trying to work out what had happened. I decided that I’d been stung by some creature with a nerve toxin venom and that I would soon begin to die.”

The pain subsided, but Alexandra had to take antibiotics for several weeks.

Weever fish are normally found on beaches in summer and are sometimes mistaken for small pouting or whiting. The fish uses its venomous fin spines to defend itself and capture prey.

Usually buried under the sandy seabed with just its dorsal fin visible, the weever’s sting is very painful. But the venom can be treated by bathing the affected area in the hottest water you can stand. Expect the wound to swell, and always seek medical advice.

Blood-sucking lampreys

Man holding lamprey

Image source: The Environment Agency
The lamprey is making a comeback

Fishing Tails blogger Sean McSeveny recoiled in horror when he landed a lamprey while fishing on the River Frome. But why was he so reluctant to handle this unusual fish?

To start with, lampreys look pretty terrifying. Growing up to a metre long, their permanently open mouths contain a disc of razor sharp teeth and a powerful sucker which they use to suck out their victim’s blood.

These prehistoric creatures have also been known to attack humans, so Seans’ comment of “this thing will give me nightmares” is understandable.

Record numbers of lampreys have recently been recorded in UK rivers. This might be concerning, but in fact it’s good news. Not only do they keep rivers healthy by processing vital nutrients, but their revival signals a huge improvement in water quality, which is good news for all species of fish.

But the boost in the lamprey population isn’t just down to cleaner rivers. The removal of man-made weirs, and the Environment Agency’s use of lamprey tiles have opened up 12,500 miles of English rivers, enabling fish to migrate much more smoothly. Lamprey tiles are inexpensive cones which help the fish to swim upstream using their sucker-like mouths as anchors. Fisheries expert Simon Toms is optimistic:

“Now that water quality has improved and some of these barriers have been removed we are seeing lampreys return to the upper reaches of rivers such as the Ouse, Trent, and Derwent, where they were absent as recently as 30 years ago.”

And if we still haven’t convinced you to look differently at these terrifying fish, there’s one final nugget of information that might persuade you. They make brilliant pike fishing bait. Andy Webster of Pike Angler explains how:

“Lamprey can be used whole or in sections. A neat tip is to use them almost whole with just the last inch cut off of the tail. This allows the blood to seep from the bait and leave a scent trail for the pike to follow.”

Lampreys are tough skinned and very bloody, making them perfect bait for pike.

Razorfish

Beach covered in razorfish shells

Image source: Shutterstock
Don’t put your feet near razorfish shells!

Razorfish are actually shellfish, named because their half shell resembles a cut-throat razor. They normally burrow 18 inches into the sand on the edge of the low-tide mark. Fish love them, and they make great bait, but expect pain if you step on one!

One of the worst recorded cases of razorfish injuries occurred on a Devon beach in 1998. 800 people cut themselves on the shells! 14 ambulances rushed to the scene and 30 victims were hospitalised. The experts from the British Marine Life Study Society explain why this unusual event took place:

“Razorshells live buried under the sand, but will rise to the surface of the sand to feed. Many of the Razorshells seem to have died during the heatwave leaving the sharp remains of the shell above the surface of the sand in the shallow water.”

It pays to check underfoot when you’re enjoying a summer beach holiday…

Have you experienced any fearsome fish attacks? Tell us your stories. Head over to our Facebook page and get posting.

Perch On The Fly

Over the winter fly fishing opportunities for trout can be a bit limited, so why not try for perch on the fly? Perch are eager takers, and once you find them you can have some great fun with your fly rod. So why not give them a go!

Perch on the fly

Perch on the fly.

Where to find

Perch are abundant in the UK, and can be found in pretty much any lake, canal or coarse fishery – where the price of a ticket is often just a few pounds. Both large and small stillwater trout fisheries also hold specimen perch in big numbers, making for a pleasant diversion when trouting is slow.

Perch like to shoal up and hug close to structure, especially where there is a deep drop off. Perfect places to look for them would be near to jetties, piers, sunken timber, boat landings, harbors and channels.

Perch fly gear

A fly rod from 6 to 9 weight, 9 to 10 feet in length will be just fine for perch on the fly. Perch prefer to sit in mid-water, so pack your sinking lines! The Airflo forty plus range of sinkers are ideal lines to use, especially the Di5 and Di7.

Don’t worry about having a reel filled with backing – perch are not known for long runs, just dogged head shakes and dives.

For leader, use strong fluorocarbon from 10 to 15lb breaking strain. Airflo G3 or Fulling Mill flouro are both very tough stuff and withstand serious abuse.

Perch flies and leader material

Perch flies and leader material.

Perch flies

Perch are predatory creatures, and the bigger they are the more protein they crave.

Larger trout fry patterns, minkies, boobie zonkers and snakes will all work well. The Fulling Mill fry pattern set is a great place to start for a collection of effective perch patterns.

When perching it pays to have at least two flies on your leader at once – you then have a great chance of getting a ‘double header’ – believe me it’s great fun!

Fish two flies and a perch 'double header' is on the cards!

Fish two flies and a perch ‘double header’ is on the cards!

How to fish

Perch like to huddle together in a pack. They often don’t like to move that far from the safety of the shoal to intercept a fly, so it is vital you get amongst them. This is where a fast sinking line comes into play.

Once your line is well down in the water, get the flies moving in aggressive strips. Perch like to ‘zone in’ on a moving fly on a horizontal plane, and a steady retrieve will often get them to attack.

When you feel a tap, never lift the rod in a knee jerk reaction. Strip-strike by pulling the fly line hard until everything locks up.

Once you find a few, keep on hammering the same area – you can often catch most of the shoal in quick succession.

The reward - a fine perch on the fly

The reward – a fine perch on the fly.

10 Stillwater Pike Bank Fishing Tips

As the autumn begins and temperatures drop, many anglers turn their attention to pike fishing, particularity on stillwaters. This blog post by Ceri Thomas reveals 10 essential stillwater pike fishing tips that will help you catch more pike off the bank this winter.

How do you catch specimen pike on stillwaters?

To catch a true specimen sized pike, you often have to fish a decent sized water to find them – places such as Chew valley lake, Llandegfedd, Pitsford, Blithfield etc and of course numerous glacial waters in The Lake District, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

Pike fishing can be superb at this time of year on such large sheets of water but also extremely challenging, especially if you have to fish from the bank. To help improve your pike catch rates over the autumn and winter period, follow these 10 stillwater pike bank fishing tips to enhance your success.

Pike bank fishing on a large stillwater

Pike bank fishing on a large stillwater.

1. Keep mobile

It’s a catch 22 – do you stay put, or move if no runs are forthcoming? Sit it out or find fish? Personally I take the latter option every time. The more water you cover, the more chances of a feeding pike seeing your bait. If you have had no runs in an hour, up sticks. Carry your gear a few hundred yards down the bank and recast. Repeat every hour until you find action.

Being mobile can really pay off - a change of swim can produce instant results

Being mobile can really pay off – a change of swim can produce instant results.
(Image: Leighton Ryan)

2. Don’t ignore the margins

We become so obsessed with casting the baits out to the maximum range possible and bait boating to hundreds of yards that we forget about what is going on under our noses. Always try a bait in the margin, just off the first drop off. Pike are not always found at range, even on vast sheets of water. By all means, fish one rod at range, but keep your other bait closer in to start off – you might be surprised!

3. Make an extra effort to fish at dawn and dusk

Pike like both periods due to the cover it gives them. Turing up early can really be the difference between success and failure, the crack of dawn is a prime feeding period, as is sunset. On some pressured venues pike feed in the dark on discards when most anglers have gone home, so it pays to stay on into darkness a few hours if fishery rules permit.

Worth getting up early for - a 30lb pike at the crack of dawn!

Worth getting up early for – a 30lb pike at the crack of dawn!

4. Use fresh bait

Bait can be expensive, but if you could catch a 20lb plus fish each session I bet you wouldn’t mind paying just a few pounds more each trip! Look to change your bait every hour. Re-casting and exposure to the water quickly leaches out the oils and flavour that attract pike. Washed out baits simply aren’t as appealing. Resist the temptation to re-freeze baits and then use them multiple times. Old freezer burned bait lacks flavour, scent, and texture – these bad re-frozen baits simply don’t help you catch fish. From experience a fresh blast frozen bait will always outfish a re-used one. The bottom line is don’t skimp on bait, and you will be rewarded.

5. Don’t be afraid to try a lure

Off the bank deadbaiting is a very popular option, but don’t neglect the lures. It’s always worth running a lure through your swim a few times before you set your dead’s out. Firstly this could result in an instant fish, but if it doesn’t it can have the effect of ‘waking up’ any pike nearby through the disturbance and vibration caused by the lure. Those fish may then decide to take your deadbait.

6. Move your bait

This tactic isn’t used as much as it should be. Works best with a popped up bait. Cast out at a comfortable range, let the bait settle for 5 minutes then wind in a few yards. Repeat a few times with pauses of 5 – 10 minutes until you re-cast. Pike have a habit of simply sitting there watching a bait, and the movement can make them react. Expect runs just as the bait stops moving.

7. Don’t ignore small baits

I am talking really small – sprats, small sandeel, cut down macky tails, little joeys and smelt just a few inches long. On some waters these baits outfish bigger baits because the pike are so used to seeing massive herring, mackerel, whole blueys etc. thrown at them all day. They also work well when pike are visibly feeding on fry – it makes sense to ‘match the hatch’ and scale down your bait to the size on which the pike are feeding. Cast into the commotion and hang on!

8. Don’t follow the herd

You heard on the grapevine, social media, an online report or a mate that a certain area is fishing well and a big fish has been caught. Naturally you think that’s the place to head for. Chances are, If you heard about it then everyone else has heard this as well, and will have hammered the area already. I say find your own fish. Don’t follow the herd. Think outside the box and try a fresh area where people don’t fish very often. And when you do catch a decent fish, keep it to yourself.

A result of 'finding your own fish'.

A result of ‘finding your own fish’. (Image: Leighton Ryan)

9. Bring your fishing waders

Make sure you pack them – a set of sturdy boot foot cleated neoprene waders will do the job. As well as keeping you warm and dry in even the heaviest rain, these provide numerous advantages, especially on reservoirs with gently shelving banks; giving you access to much deeper water and the ability to wade beyond or through thick weed beds before you make your cast.

10. Release the flavour in your bait

Prick your bait with a knife to release juice and blood into the area. Also dip or inject your bait with flavoured fish based oil every time you re-cast, to ensure a slick leaks out to draw fish to your swim. Cod liver oil pills are also a good trick – stuff one down the throat of your deadbait. The coating will dissolve and leave a nice little slick of flavour around your bait.

10 Pike Boat Fishing tips

When faced with a large sheet of water catching Pike from a boat can be a daunting prospect – where to start? If you follow these 10 Pike boat fishing tips the next time you are afloat on a lake or reservoir, your pike catches should increase dramatically.

Pike boat fishing success - a 35lb plus pike! Captor: Leighton Ryan

Pike boat fishing success – a 35lb plus pike! Captor: Leighton Ryan

1. Bring a fish finder. An essential bit of fishing gear for boat fishing, it’s like an extra pair of underwater eyes. It’s a huge advantage to invest in one. There are many to choose from, but Fishin Buddy and Deeper are our favourites.

Don't forget your fishfinder!

Don’t forget your fishfinder!

2. Bring a second anchor or mudweight. When fishing deadbaits an unstable moving boat means bad presentation. Bad presentation = no runs. Ensure you pack a mudweight, as most fisheries do not supply them. Anchor your boat at both ends, with the prow facing into the wind for safety reasons.

3. Drift with lures. Drifting and casting lures covering water will always outfish anchoring up and working a small area. The more water you cover with lures, the more fish will see them and the more you will catch! A drogue is an essential bit of kit, it will slow your drift to just the right speed on a windy day.

4. Cast your deadbaits far away from the boat.  I often see pike anglers  fishing with their floats way too close to the boat. Pike can be spooked from boat noise and vibration, especially during a prolonged period of pressure. From experience a good cast of 30 – 40 yards away from where you are anchored will get you more runs.

5. Find the contours, find the fish. Drop offs are where pike sit or patrol, and underwater spits and plateaus can literally be fish magnets. If you do not have a fishfinder check out the lie of the surrounding land and try and work out where submerged features may be found. If you can, get hold of a depth contour map of the venue, it will be invaluable.

A fishery contour map is invaluable.

A fishery contour map is invaluable.

6. Don’t follow the crowd. It can be very tempting to pull up and fish near to somebody who just pulled out a 30! Or if you see a cluster of boats in a bay fishing away, you might think there is a reason they are here – and decide to join in. It’s best to go looking for fresh, unfished areas where fish have been undisturbed. Find your own fish, don’t be a sheep!

7. Be mobile. This is the main advantage of a boat – you can go wherever you want! It amazes me when people anchor up and stay static all day in exactly the same spot, with often little to show for it. I like to pick a decent spot, anchor up and fish it for an hour max. I have lost count of the amount of runs that have come within the first 10 minutes. If they are there, have seen your bait and are feeding you wont be hanging around for ages waiting for action. No runs in an hour, up anchor and try somewhere else.

A Chew pike - result of a mobile approach, an instant run in a new spot.

A Chew pike – result of a mobile approach, an instant run in a new spot.

8. Stick it out. Where fishery rules permit try and stay on the water as long as possible. The last hour of fishing into dusk is often the best, a last knockings fish can save your day.

9. Run the lures through the area first. When deabaiting it pays to throw the lure around the boat for a few casts before you cast out your deads. You might pick up an instant fish, and even if you don’t the vibration and disturbance can ”wake up” pike nearby or draw them closer. They may then take your dead with gusto.

10. Be organised. A lot of success is down organising your pike fishing tackle. Ensure you set your gear out in the boat so clutter and mess is at a minimum. Get the net and unhooking matt ready for action before you begin fishing. Attach your drogue and assemble your rods prior to heading out from the jetty. Efficient organisation equals more free time, better concentration on the job in hand and ultimately results.

Pike fishing success in an organised boat

Pike fishing success in an organised boat.

Pike Safety – Richard Handel

A very nice 21lb 10oz river pike.

A very nice 21lb 10 oz river pike.

There has been an awful lot written about Carp safety. However, Pike are a much more delicate species. And with the lack of big Pike in this country, I feel there should be a greater deal of emphasis put on this. I personally use the same equipment for Carp fishing as I do for Pike and have found that a modern style mat like the TF Gear hardcore pack-away which is very light and easy to carry, is just perfect for this job.

The TF Gear pack away matt can go from this to this in a matter of seconds!

The TF Gear pack away mat can go from this to this in a matter of seconds!

I am also a firm believer in the correct style weigh slings/fish retainer should also be used along with a decent mat.

Now depending on your swim (and your safety), once I have unhooked the Pike, I will also place the Pike in a retainer sling and put this in the river/lake. On a river, please be mindful of the direction of the current and the Pike’s head should always face the flow, with the retaining sling, I add a clip on the other end to ensure you never loose your fish in the sling.

Add a clip to your retainer sling.

Add a clip to your retainer sling.

With this you can clip the cord to and then attach using a bank stick, thus holding the fish out of the current and close to the bank for a few minutes. Do this is while you set up your photography equipment.

I use a compact Panasonic lumix DT70 camera.
This has a function of time laps shots, I set at 1 every 10 seconds until it’s done 100. I set the tripod up in front of the mat all ready and press start. Then there is no worries about holding a remote, it’s all done in your own time and the safety of the Pike. Once complete, you can safely return the Pike using the retainer sling and the fish can fully recover and move off when ready.

When unhooking pike I carry a very comprehensive array of stuff as you can see below.

An essential array of pike unhooking gear.

An essential array of pike unhooking gear.

Forceps, pliers and cutters are all essentials! I am not a fan of gloves as you can’t feel the fish very well when putting your hand in their gills and could easily damage them without knowing. If you use your hands, you are more careful in handling them and less likely to cause any damage to the fishes vital; layer of protective slime.

A well cared for pike about to go back and get even bigger!

A well cared for pike about to go back and get even bigger!

Last but very important, strike quickly – gone are the days of leave it for a minute just to be sure – we can ill afford to have deep hooked Pike, as this is a big cause of Pike death’s.

With a bit more attention to quality pike care hopefully, we may one day start to see a good head of decent 30lb plus river pike building up again around the country.

Hope this is helpful.
Till next time, Richard.

Fly Fish For Pike This Winter

Sick of the local grayling river always being in flood? Tired of catching identikit stocked rainbows on a small stillwater? If you are looking for a new challenge to keep you going over the long winter months, then why not give pike fly fishing a go? Trust us, it’s fun!

Pike on the fly!

Pike on the fly!

In recent years interest in pike fishing has grown exponentially, and they are now recognised as a true sportfish by anglers across the UK and Europe. It’s fighting prowess and willingness to take a fly with gusto make it an ideal species to pursue in the winter months, a time when other fish species are less active and harder to catch.

Pike are a commonly found fish in UK water ways – chances are there is a canal, drain, gravel pit or coarse fishing lake right on your doorstep with fishing available for just a few pounds. These smaller venues are often easier to tackle for those wishing to start out with a fly, rather than massive intimidating reservoirs where fish location is much harder. Plus it’s far easier on the wallet if you fancy just a few hours out to flex the fly rod, and try and catch a few fish on a winters afternoon.

Pike can reach very large sizes with 20lb plus often caught by deadbait and lure anglers, depending on whether the water holds them.  However your run of the mill captures on fly tackle will most likely be jack pike of perhaps 5/6lb in weight with the odd double mixed in on your typical waters, although you just never know what might come along and engulf your fly- check out the 40 pounder from Chew valley lake caught on fly fishing tackle below!

A 40lb pike from Chew valley lake - March 2015

A 40lb pike from Chew valley lake – March 2015

The tackle: What do you need?

Fly Rod: Casting big flies is the main issue. Being large and air resistant you need a fast action rod of a higher line rating to throw them. Line weights from 8 to 10 are needed to do the job. I personally recommend a 9 foot 9 weight rod; the Bluetooth nano fly rods from Airflo are just ideal. Although there are many other suitable rods on the market ranging from £100 upwards.

9 foot is the critical length for casting a pike fly. Longer rods increase leverage and in doing so make distance casting, accuracy and tight loops much harder to achieve. They are also more tiresome on the arm. One tip is to use a cast aid or tuck the butt of the rod into your jacket sleeve. This helps prevent wrist break and the handle giving you blisters and will ultimately improve comfort and also rod control.

Fly Line: A short compact head line with an aggressive from taper is essential both for turnover and distance. The Airflo Forty plus Sniper fly lines with their 28 foot heads are just ideal. Tough, durable and able to throw a 6 inch fly well over 30 yards they simply are the best on the market in my opinion. A non-stretch core also helps set the hooks and feel takes. Available in floating, intermediate, Di3 and Di7 there is a sniper fly line to cover all depths and eventualities.

If I had to pick just ONE fly line to start with it would be an intermediate. You can use it to search the layers and fish the fly really slow – which the pike absolutely love.

A jack pike landed on 9 weight fly rod.

A jack pike landed on 9 weight fly rod.

Fly Reel: For your reel choose something that will accommodate your line, and balance your rod. Don’t make the mistake of getting a whopping great salmon reel because you have a 10 weight line. It’s all about balance. Better to have a smaller reel with less backing, than a huge reel. Do not worry about backing – these fish make short powerful runs, but are not known to empty out a reel. So 20 – 30 yards or whatever it takes to fill your reel will more than suffice.

A jack pike caught on the fly rod.

A pretty pike caught on the fly rod, in an upland lake.

Leader and Accessories: One of the most important things to have is a leader with a wire trace. There are several ways to make one yourself, typically with stiff fluorocarbon from at least 15lb upwards with traditional pike rig wire that is used to make deadbait traces.

You can however get a ready made titanium predator polyleader from Airflo. These things not only turn over perfectly, but also allow you to change your flies very easily. The titanium wire they use simply will not kink  – it can last just as long as a fly line does.

A set of long forceps is another essential, as is an unhooking matt and landing net of a sufficient size.

The jaws of death - Airflo titanium predator leader in use.

The jaws of death – Airflo titanium predator leader in use.

The Tactics:

Retrieve: Pike like all sorts of retrieves, just like trout. A quick rolly-polly or fast strip can sometimes provoke a fierce strike if the pike are active or in a chasing mood. However the more effective cold water retrieve from experience is a slow figure of eight – just enough to work the fly slowly through the layers, just like a dead or dying fish. Intersperse with the odd longer strip, and pause and hang the fly along the retrieve.

This is something unique to fly fishing. When spinning with an artificial lure you simply cannot slow it down enough. On pressured lure fished waters the ultra slow fly retrieve can be a killer method. For this reason I like an intermediate line the most – you can inch it back in.

A fly fishing presentation suits the winter pikes metabolism – they are sluggish and want to conserve energy, but a slow moving prey item that requires just a little bit of energy to inhale rather than a full on charge is an easy meal. If nothing is happening make sure you mix it up retrieves to find what works best on the day.

A last knockings river pike - victim of the slow retrieve and intermediate line.

A last knockings river pike – victim of the slow retrieve and intermediate line.

Location: Pike like structure so start with targeting anything obvious – weed bed edges, wood or trees gong into the water, obvious drop offs, dam walls etc. Pike can often be just feet out from the shore, so don’t neglect casting right along the bank edges. Remember to fan cast and search a new area each cast – often if a pike is there it will react on the first chuck. Covering fresh water can be the key.

Sometimes the bigger pike can be found in deep open water or suspended mid water. These type of pike tend to be resting up digesting a meal but can be provoked into taking a fly worked across their snouts. This is where your faster sinking lines really come into play for dredging the bottom.

In late winter pike often move into shallower waters in a pre-spawn migration. So pay particular attention to old weed beds and shallow areas in February and March. Even water a few feet deep will hold pike in early spring.

The take: When the takes comes it often feels like no more than a pluck or gentle pull, just like weed. Resist the temptation to strike, just keep on going and you should find the line locks up. This is vital for getting a good hook up. When you are sure you are into the fish, strip-strike hard pulling down with your hand, then lift the rod into the fish. A quick knee jerk reaction lift of the rod will often result in a missed fish or hook pull.

The flies: Pike flies sized from 3 to 6 inches are typical, tied on hooks 2/0 to 6/0, although you can catch on much bigger and smaller patterns, such as zonkers. Try and imitate any prey fish you spot in the water. Perch and roach in particular are a pike’s favourite so bring some flies to mimic them.

A yellow fly can be deadly in cold cloudy water.

A yellow fly can be deadly in cold cloudy water.

Bright Yellow is a favourite colour of mine – for some reason pike seem to like it in cold muddy water. In clear cold water pink can also work really well. Red, white and black flies also all have their days. On very bright sunny days flies tied purely of flashy tinsel are my choice. These will draw pike up from deep water or from distance.

It’s also worth taking some buoyant flies. They can be fished booby style on a sinker, or waked and glugged across the surface. Even in winter pike will strike near the top if they are in shallow enough water.

Pike taken on a bouyant fly.

Pike taken on a buoyant fly.

Tying a pike fly is great fun. We sell plenty of materials to do this at Fishtec. The Sakuma manta sea hooks are the pike fly tier’s choice. Razor sharp and with just the right proportion they are wonderful hooks. If you do not tie your own, the superb predator flies by Fulling mill are a cut above many others available commercially.

A pike fly tied to imitate a baitfish.

A pike fly tied to imitate a baitfish.

Some fulling mill pike flies - very effective patterns!

Fulling mill pike flies – very effective patterns!

How to handle a pike: Now you have landed your first one you need to unhook and return to the water ASAP. Pike are fairly fragile fish and do not tolerate mishandling or being out of the water for too long. However unhooking a pike caught on the fly is far easier with a large single fly hook than with any other method. I advise turning the pike upside down on the unhooking mat whilst you do it – they will be a lot calmer and cooperative! With care you can slide your hand under the gill plate to hold open the mouth, allowing you to get in with a forceps and push the fly out. Pressing down the barb will help with a quick release. Take time to revive the pike fully before releasing to fight another day.

Spend some time reviving your pike catch.

Spend some time reviving your pike catch.

Happy hunting!

13 Brilliant Blogs From British Pikers

pike

Catch of the day

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?

Andrew Black Fishing

andrew black

Image source: andrewblackfishing.co.uk
31lbs of angling satisfaction

“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!

An anglers dangling log

caught fish

Image source: ananglersdanglinglog.blogspot.co.uk
A fine catch from the waterside

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!

Danny’s Angling blog

pike fishing

Image source: satonmyperch.blogspot.co.uk
Pike-fishing crazy!

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!

Crooked Lines

dominic garnett

Image source: dgfishtales.blogspot.co.uk
Dominic Garnett – author, angler

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”

Predator People

Your guide to the Norfolk Broads

Image source: norfolkpikeman.wordpress.com
Your guide to the Norfolk Broads

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?

North East Piker

yorkshire pike

Image source: northeastpiker.blogspot.co.uk
Fine fishing on Yorkshire waters

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!

Ordinary Angler

predator fishing

Image source: ordinaryangler.blogspot.co.uk
A satisfying predator catch!

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

Pike Anglers club

pac member

Image source: pikeanglersclub.co.uk
PAC member Phil Wakeford with a fine specimen

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!

Pike Blog

brian roberts

Image source: pikeblog.com
Pike blog – it’s not written by the pike!

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?

Pike Angler

andy webster

Image source: pikeangler.co.uk
Andy Webster and a sunny 16lb 4 pike

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!

Sam Edmonds Fishing Blog

sam edmonds

Image source: samedmondsfishing.blogspot.co.uk
Sam with his PB 30lb 2 pike

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!

The Pike Pool

pete foster and pike

Image source: thepikepool.blogspot.co.uk
Pike Pool’s Pete Foster, proud with his catch

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!

McFluffchucker

mcfluffchucker flies

Image source: McFluffchucker
Fly tying the McFluffchucker way

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.