Friday 14 December 2012

Predictable blank......

I managed to fit in a short session on the river yesterday with first cast being around 1315hrs. I wasn't overly confident as I usually struggle when there is extra colour in the water. I decided on a 2 rod approach with various dead's, first rod was a large section of lamprey ledgered mid river, second rod was popped up pollan at the bottom of the near shelf.

Baits were moved every 30 minutes or so, trout and mackerel were also used but nothing happened. A couple of moves further upstream with the same tactics also failed to produce any takes. Hopefully the colour will continue to drop as this area usually produces in weather conditions similar to this.

Hungry horses
Highlight of the afternoon was the visit of some local gypsy horses, which seemed to take a liking to my lunch.

I finally packed up at around 1700hrs and after a 5 minute walk back to the jeep, I realised I had left the lights on and the battery had died ! About a 40 minute wait later my brother in law turned up to give me a jump start. A bit of a disappointing session really, but despite the weather (-2 C when I arrived) and the lack of action it was good to get out. I am hoping to get a session or 2 in next week, I will possibly look to fish further upstream next time round. I might also sneak a short lure session over the weekend, although this will be hangover dependant!

Wednesday 12 December 2012

River recce

I am still waiting for my first session this season, and with the weather we have had recently I decided to do a bit of a recce before committing to a session. My local river is still carrying some extra water, which isn't much of an issue normally, but the water is still quite coloured.

Local river - still a bit high and coloured.
I decided to have a look at a local pond which has a decent head of jacks. The pond is normally hammered during the warmer months and unfortunately the pike are often knocked on the head.
I had a feeling that the pond could be frozen and I was right, completely frozen over. The ice wasn't very thick so hopefully it should thaw with the coming warmer days we are due.

Local pond - frozen.
I don't really have the time to go further afield tomorrow so I will possibly try the river. Hopefully lamprey or another smelly dead bait will do the trick. I did also find a new launching point for the portabote, which should cut 10 minutes or so of travel time to get to the areas I like to fish.

Tackle failure

Whilst sorting my tackle box out I found a broken trace from the end of last season, it is a lure trace made with AFW 100lb single strand titanium. I had saved the trace because the wire had broken on a snag, losing a 10" replicant in the process! The wire seemed to break in 2 places, just after the crimp and at the bend. This was the first time I had used this brand of wire, and the will be the last. I had read good reviews on the AFW wire before buying it, but I will stick to what I know in future.

13ft of AFW free of charge, send me a SAE and I will forward it.
Break just above the crimp and at the bend.
Also today whilst making a few traces my crimping pliers decided to give way, both handles snapped at the same time resulting in 1 x broken finger......

Not the best of mornings really......

Monday 3 December 2012

Eels as bait ?

On a number of forums that I read the use of eels as a bait often comes up, more so over last month. It is a very interesting and controversial subject with many arguments both for and against.

From what I have briefly read on the subject it appears to be a well publicised fact that the number of eels in our waters has been declining for a number of years. Over the last 15 years or so this has been apparent (to me anyway) on some of the waters I fish. There are many thoughts/theories explaining this decline, such as- commercial overfishing, parasites/diseases, pollution, predation, barriers preventing migration to spawning grounds, climate change etc.... but even the experts cannot agree on an exact cause. I believe that it is probably a combination of many factors but I feel that commercial fishing has probably had the largest human influence on the declining numbers.

Eels are on the critically endangered species list and fishing for eels in Scotland (without a commercial license) has been banned since 2009. Will stopping pleasure fishing for eels have any effect on future numbers? Only time will tell but I highly doubt it will have any effect at all. I feel the only way to protect the eel would be a complete ban on the commercial fishing/netting of these creatures?

A lot of the controversy in regards to using eels as bait lies with the bait suppliers, should a company be allowed sell a species which is on the critically endangered list? The bait supplier I mainly use utilises dead left over eels from the commercial netting programs. These eels would probably end up as fertiliser or pet food if not used within the angling industry, which seems like a waste so why not use them as bait? Another large bait supplier states that 'all of our eels come into us live so we can assure the angler of the highest quality' whilst a relatively new bait supplier Gadda Baits do not supply eels at all. Whilst not illegal to supply eels as bait I believe that selling eels is morally wrong, but I understand that these suppliers have a business to run and where there is a demand, someone will always be there to supply that demand.

I am a pike angler first and foremost but also have an interest in fishing for eels during the summer. Personally I do not use eels as bait, as I am not comfortable using a fish for bait that is critically endangered. Do I think that pleasure fishing for eels or even using them as bait has any real effect on the total numbers of eels? Probably not as I feel that commercial netting is the biggest culprit to their decline and any ill effects from pleasure angling is negligible.

Personally I believe that we as anglers have to be careful in what we wish for, having a hard stance on using eels as bait could possibly start the ball rolling on a similar ban to the one in Scotland being enforced. This could lead to other restrictive bans being enforced eg, live baiting.

However I do feel that something needs to be done to protect these magnificent creatures, ensuring stocks are available for future generations, but surely this should be done on a commercial scale and not aimed at the pleasure angler?

Steve Ricketts with an amazing 9lb + eel, surely these are worth protecting ?

Friday 30 November 2012


I am still out of the country working until the 7th of December, so I'm still waiting on my first pike session this season!

Reading through the online weather reports it doesn't look as if I would be getting out much anyway. I've been told that my local river has been up to 6ft higher than normal in places, which is quite something when the river level is maintained by a barrage. Hopefully the weather will improve over the next week or so as I will be climbing the walls of the house (or painting them if the other half gets her way!) if the rain continues to fall.

I have planned a good few sessions (weather dependant) for my month off a couple with the Porta Bote on the river, a guided trip with Gary Palmer which I am really looking forward to, and possibly a trip to the Lake District.... hopefully I will have something decent to report on from these trips.

To relieve a bit of the boredom/cabin fever I have been catching up with the excellent Esox World and the recent release of Nev Ficklings Mammoth Pike update. Both are ebooks/emagazines available online only from Steve Rowleys online publication company Portfolio Collection. Esox World is a free monthly magazine with Esox articles from around the world, the quality of these articles are of a very high standard. They often from well known anglers and the overall standard of the 'emagazine' is comparable to a printed version but with the added bonus of being free ! - direct link to Esox World.

The Mammoth Pike update cost's a fiver, well £4.99 but it is well worth it, I haven't read Neville's original Mammoth Pike (yet) but I have read Fred Bullers Doomsday Book of Mammoth Pike and the update is in a similar format. Whilst the update doesn't go into the same depth of detail as Fred Bullers original it does provide an excellent overview of the most recent captures of 35lb+ pike, with pictures backing up the majority of these. It is an excellent read, but I wont go into any detail here as I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone, the only thing I will say is that it is very surprising how many captures of these 'Mammoth Pike' there has been over the last 8 years.

My only minor grumble is that the ebook is only available as a 'online read'. The book could have been made a lot more user friendly if it was available as a download for offline viewing on the Ipad etc.... This would of been ideal for my plane journey back to the UK, but I have the latest version of Esox World to keep me occupied.

Hopefully the Mammoth Pike update is a success and inspires Nev/Steve to produce another update in a few years time.

Friday 9 November 2012

Start of North East Piker blog

Having spent many hours reading other anglers blogs, Ive decided that it is about time to start one of my own. This will mainly used as a personal online diary of my catches and blanks, but if the diary helps others as well even better.

I took up fishing seriously again in 2010 after a break of a few years, and for some reason pike fishing seemed to appeal to me more than ever. Previously I had mainly fished commercials (with the odd open match) or pleasure fished the local rivers. My pike fishing experience was just the odd session with spinners during the summer.

I am a currently member of the Pike Anglers Club, The Lure Anglers Society and the National Anguilla Club, these all been a valuable resource while I've been getting back into the swing of things and I would imagine I will stay a member of all 3 for the foreseeable future. Currently 99% of my fishing sessions are for pike, but I have plans to try for some decent eels should I get time during the summer. My fishing time is very limited due to both family and work commitments. I work abroad for long periods of time which means I average around 15 sessions a year if I'm lucky. When I do get the opportunity to go fishing I mainly fish a large northeastern river in pursuit of a 20lb Pike, I use most methods but mainly concentrate on deadbaits throughout the winter and lures in late autumn/early spring.

I have a Portabote which I think is excellent, but again the amount of time I get to use it is very limited, hopefully I will be able to get a few sessions afloat this winter. I have use bought myself an early Christmas present, a Angling Technics Standard bait boat with a graphical fish finder, hopefully this will help me make the most of my bank sessions and give me an edge this winter to help me bank a few more pike in the limited sessions I will get this December.

Below a few random photos from the last couple of years -

Largest pike so far 13lb 12oz  Caught on a 8 inch Replicant

Mid river low double - Lamprey
Smallest pike so far !...... Caught on a 4 inch Mann's Shad