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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


24/10/2016 - Good Pike on First Session of the Autumn

Size 2/0 barbless hook with a sardine

Having left home at 0800hrs Brendan and myself expected to arrive on the river Wye around 1200hrs, sadly it didn’t happen as we were held up on the M6 south by a major accident involving a lorry fire. It was just after 1500hrs when we arrived in Ross on Wye, after picking up some gentles and lobworms from Wye Angling we went off to Morrison’s to fill up with fuel also I purchased 4 sardines for bait in case I should spot a pike. We arrived on the river around 1600 hrs , after putting some bait in a couple of swims, I left Brendan to set up his tackle, while I walked the beat up and downstream, finding nothing out of order, I checked the water temperature getting a reading of 48 degrees F with a light upstream breeze, water level was a few inches above summer level I thought conditions were quite good, on the downside there were lots of leaves, but I suppose we have to expect such things at this time of the year.

As I walked back upstream I spotted a pike swirl, saying to myself “That fish is for catching” By the time I got back to the car I’d decided to target the pike, not the chub. Sadly I wouldn’t get much fishing in with sunset for 17-48 hrs I would have to pack up around 1830hrs giving me about 2 hours of fishing at the most. I quickly put together a 12 foot rod, with a large fixed spool reel with 30lb braid, I then added 2 float stops then a small rubber bead followed by a sliding float also a 1 ounce barrel lead finally a swivel to which I attached 2 feet of 20lb wire using a metal crimp then with another crimp, I fixed a 2/0 barbless hook. My plan was to trot the bait through the swim about two feet off the bottom. Laying out my unhooking on the ground, scales and weigh sling and large landing net with its very strong Lone Angler handle I felt everything was ready should I be lucky to get a hook up. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have everything close to hand, remember this, pike are very fragile creatures and need to be handles with great care. I then baited my single size 2/0 barbless hook with a sardine as per picture, also with float.

On my first cast I watched the float go downstream holding it back slightly after some 10 yards the float bobbed then moved sideways. Saying to myself “Sardine’s don’t come back to life that’s a pike” then as float submerged I set the hook, as it went home the fish sounded for the bottom, that’s when I realised it was probably a good fish, suddenly the reel screamed as line was taken but I was in full control. After a slow dogged fight Brendan netted a good fish nicely hooked in the scissors. Laying the net on the unhooking mat I turned the fish on its back then opened its jaws where I could easily see the hook which could be quickly taken out. Brendan then opened the weigh sling where soon the fish was laying quietly inside, on the scales we got a weigh 20lbs 8 ounces, Brenda took some pics which sadly didn’t do justice to the fish, we then rested the fish in the water until it made a determined effort to escape, lowering the net deeper in the water we watched the fish swim off strongly.

Sliding float with baited hook a size 2/0 barbless hook with a sardine

A good river pike

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Martin James Fishing
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