On the Pike trail part 1

Pike 17-6

On the Pike trail part 1

I was back on the pike trail this week, hoping for my first twenty pounder of the season. Once again, I was in place well before dawn, with three joey mackerel fished at long range courtesy of the strong offshore westerly. As with my first session, getting out of bed early paid dividends, as the left hand rod was away within five minutes. It was still well before daylight. That pike fought well, making several irresistible rushes, but never did anything alarming. Before long it folded into the net. It took a matter of seconds to extricate the barbless trebles and then the weighing ceremony confirmed a pleasing 17lbs 6ozs. That was a great start but sadly was the only fish landed that day.

As I’d netted the fish I’d retrieved a mass of weed locked around the Stonze weight and I suppose that should have given me a warning. On the second run, I wasn’t so lucky. I hooked into what was a very heavy pike which kited a good thirty yards to my left, with the rod round to its full fighting curve and the clutch howling. Then it stuck fast. For ten minutes or more I exerted constant pressure and forty yards away a huge ball of weed rose to just under the surface. I had no way of knowing whether the pike was still attached or not and eventually I had to resort to hand lining. Even then it took me a while but eventually a floating mass of greenery was in the margins, the pike being long gone.

For piking at long range with smaller baits I use Stonze weights on 10” paternoster links fished above the trace. These links are of 6lb mono and I would have expected the link to break under the weight of weed. To be fair, that was the first pike I have ever lost in that way due, I suppose, to heavy weed being quite rare in winter in my pike waters.

To add insult to injury, just as I was about to recast, the middle rod screamed off but I hit nothing but fresh air on the strike. I was not a happy bunny! There was a slight consolation when I examined the mackerel and saw four tiny puncture marks. Obviously I had just missed a small fish.

When I had retrieved the three terminal rigs as I was packing up at dusk, all three Stonze links were festooned with weed and I decided on an amendment to the rigs for the following morning. In my garden I have a supply of stones about the same size as a medium Stonze and I made up half a dozen PVA stocking mesh bags with one of these inside. Forgetting about my paternoster links, I hooked one of these bags on to the snap link holding the wire trace, giving me enough weight to cast a joey a good seventy yards. Once it landed, I obviously had to wind in the slack as quickly as possible to make sure I was tight to the bait before the PVA melted. I have to say it worked a treat as far as presentation was concerned. I only had two pike, both about 8lbs, but there was no weed problem. More interesting, when I retrieved all three baits at dusk, none of the rigs were weeded. Like Simon, I am dead against the modern carp anglers’ obsession with dropping leads. There is, however, nothing environmentally wrong in jettisoning a natural stone and in the special circumstance I was faced with, the PVA leger weight trick solved the problem. As I write this, I’m off piking again tomorrow and I’ve made up another batch of “drop off stones” to use.

Pike 17-6

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