In this blog, Angling Direct’s photographer; Amanda Hook, reveals her experiences with predator fishing, discussing the excitement and challenges of her first encounters with pike fishing.
I’ve been with Phil when he’s caught huge pike and I was super impressed because before I started working at Angling Direct, I didn’t even know fish like that lived in UK waters! To see something like that was a bit of a wow moment! So I was super excited to have the opportunity to have a go fishing for one myself. It’s something I’d been wanting to try for a few years after a bitterly cold but fun boat trip out with the videographers of Angling Direct Youtube.
In October 2020, I set out on the Norfolk Broads with the initial aim to get lots of predator images. On this photography day out with Phil (our pike specialist angler), we set off for the day on his boat named “Alfie Drew”. This photography day turned into a day of fishing and for me, my first proper pike session. I’ve had a tiny go before but not properly at catching any pike so it was a completely new experience for me, and I fell in love with it instantly. I love being on boats and fishing so putting the two together has turned into something that I quite literally now dream about doing when I am away from the river!
Casting the First Pike Lure
On this fishing session, I was in between getting plenty of product photography done when I just had to try out one of these predator lures for myself! I had plenty of casting disasters with it being my first time, but you have to start somewhere!
Steps to Mastering How to Cast a Lure:
1. Learn to cast in
2. How to let the lure drop to the bottom
3. Make it seem like a wounded fish swimming through the water
Practising casting in these predator lures to the river was a lot of fun and a lot of trial and error! It took a while for me to get a bite with casting errors but I eventually got a bit better and a bite came along… Anyone new to fishing, you will certainly know when you’ve got a bite!
The First Pike on the Line
I could feel the pike try and take the lure a couple of times before the fish properly struck for the lure. It is a real buzz to feel that fish on the end of the line and of course, loads of fun! I was really happy to have landed my first ever pike and I have to thanks Phil Spinks for guiding me through that session.
How to Handle Pike Fish
Handling a pike can be difficult for beginner'slike me as you must consider its sharp teeth and try to avoid getting a nasty cut in the process. Unfortunately, when I first handled a pike I did cut my thumb on the pikes' sharp gill rakers but I think that was through not being very confident holding it. With it being my first time and seeing its sharp gigantic teeth, it was a bit daunting to hold one at first!
My second time going pike fishing was using dead baits rather than lures on the river Waveney. We targeted a few places along the river, giving it an hour or so in each spot. As the session started out, we didn’t have much luck for a few hours, but it was just before it got dark when the float went berserk! Shortly after the floatgoing, another pike came along! On this second occasion, I felt more confident with holding the fish and I had Phil nearby to make sure I was handling it like a proper pike angler!
A tip I would give to new anglers is that holding the pike by its gill cavity felt like I had a bit more control over the fish’s reaction, meaning I was able to prevent wriggling and therefore the fish damaging itself. Before long both I and the fish were rather calm but holding the fish this way meant I could easily lay the fish back down on the unhooking mat if it was struggling.
The Next Predator Fishing Session
After getting my head stuck into all things carp fishing throughout the spring and summer, I’m hoping to get out more for pike fishing this winter and tackle the unhooking lesson next with pike. Ideally, I will have a couple more sessions with Phil before I head out on my own and hopefully, I will be going to catch some chunky perch too!