Time for Pike - Phil Spinks

Although I’ve have what is probably my most successful winter to date regarding big perch I was looking forward some pike fishing .

I’d been lucky enough to bag myself a few days down to the pike mecca that is Chew valley lake. Typically the weather was awful on two of my days down to Bristol with 45-50mph south westerly winds. It’s incredibly frustrating when you wait so long for the elusive days to come around and the weather falls wrong. In fact two of the days where written off due to the weather. The first windy day myself and fishing buddy Jason attempted to fish a sheltered bay out of the wind but shallow water and heavy weed made it a waste of time. Although Jason did manage a beautiful 22lber on a slightly less windy day this winter.

My next trip down was with my lucky pike fishing charm that is Jed. The forecast for day one looked manageable but our second day looked awful with 45mph south westerlies again!!

We had to make day one count as from my previous experience of chew in big south westerlies unless your prepared to sleep behind the appropriate gates all night to bag yourself a swim out of the wind it was almost impossible to fish. Huge amounts of drifting weed constantly wipes out your rods.

The big trout where hungry on day one constantly picking up our deadbaits getting our heart racing each time. More often than not the your drop off indicator will fall and a few feet of braid will be pulled off then dropped. On retrieving your bait it will be well and truly mangled.

After several false bites from trout one of my rods clipped out, on picking up the rod the braid was flying from the spool very fast. This is normally the type of bite a big trout gives. I wound down until I felt some resistance then pulled into the fish, I felt the typical rattling sensation that a hooked trout normally gives. Turning around to Jed who was looking very comfy in his chair still I told him not to get too excited as it was only a trout!

What had actually happened was the said trout had picked up my whole mackerel and swam straight towards me, as I use running 4oz leads it acts like a pulley system meaning even when a fish swims towards you get a positive bite. After a few moments the lead was wound tight and I was in contact with the fish. You may notice I’m now referring to the said trout as “the fish”?

Suddenly the trout felt slightly heavier. I announced to Jed that it may actually be a pike? The closer to the bank I got the fish the bigger it felt. I got my first glimpse. My guess was a big double and I asked Jed if he minded throwing the net towards me as I was now up to my thighs in the water.

When I saw the shoulders of the pike break the surface I thought I may have a low 20. The as I pulled the fish into the net it was obvious it was bigger.

Lucky for me the hooks fell out once the pike rolled into the net. I turned to Jed and announce I thought it was either a low 30 or a very high 20.

After a tense weighing procedure I called the weight at 29lb 14oz. It was a stunning pike too, maybe I should of left the mackerel I’d caught it on inside its mouth?

The wind started building that afternoon making fishing condition very difficult. We managed a couple more pike before dark the biggest being around 12lb.

As predicted our second day was a disaster, in fact we never got the gear out the van. The only bank not to be effected by the strong winds was full of pikers who are a lot more eager than me to catch having been there all night to secure swims.

Back to reality now and I’ve been enjoying a spot of piking closer to home. Exploring a big pit of around 400 acres that has a slight unknown potential for pike. I don’t mind admitting it’s not been kind to me at all. The only two bites have come to Jeds rods so far, the first fish fell off. The second was a plump 17lb 8oz pike. That’s two bites in five trips between us. But something keeps drawing me back.

A spot of piking of my local broadland rivers has been enjoyable too. I love the atmosphere of broadland piking, often seeing marsh harriers, buzzards, and all manner of wildlife.

A few nice doubles have come my way so far and I look forward to getting out again after Christmas.

Merry Christmas and tight lines………..Phil

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