Winter pike fishing on the river can be very good, especially if you do your homework first. After hearing that the Pike had been coming out at one of our local stretches Alan and I just had to drop a few baits in.
To get to the area we agreed on is an adventure in itself. It’s in the middle of nowhere and is only accessible by farmer’s tracks. This of course involved us getting the car stuck in a muddy ditch, but between us we managed to free it and we finally arrived at our destination. We had been told about some of the deepest and best swims for the winter fishing so we headed to them. There was a big drainage ditch which entered the river then shelved off quite quickly and we had been told that the Pike liked to hang around the mouth of this ditch. So we got either side of this ditch and setup.
I decided to set up a float rig with a bullet weight on the bottom followed by the trace and bait. My theory was to cast into the entrance with this rig in the slacker water. This meant that I could keep my mainline out of the surrounding rotten foliage and branches on the bank, so I attached a small roach dead bait and flicked it in.
Alan went for a different approach and cast a roach dead bait on a simple sliding leger rig into the middle of the river towards the ditch entrance. He also set up a float rig for trotting a dead bait down the river which is a great way to cover a lot of water. It was a case of trying a few rigs to see what worked best.
Within about 10 minutes my float started to bob around and then sailed under. I struck and felt a fish on but pulled out a dead bait. So I quickly flicked it back to the same spot and waited. About 15 minutes later the float sailed away again and this time I gave it a few seconds before I struck.
This time the fish was on but when I got it into the net I realised why I had missed it the first time. It was small at around one and a half pounds. Still it was a Pike! A good start.
About an hour later and whilst trotting a dead bait down the river, Alan’s other rod on the leger rig went mental. Chucking the other rod down he struck into what felt like a good Pike. I ran over and could see a good bend in the rod and the tearing runs up and down stream. This was a good Pike! Eventually after a really good scrap, the Pike surfaced and it was clear that it was a really good double. It was a relief to get it safely in the net and onto the bank. It was nicely hooked in the corner of the mouth but the roach was nowhere to be seen! The pike weighed in at 14lb 10oz and was fin perfect.
What a result! The leger rig had worked well and the roach dead baits were working a treat.
After all that excitement it was a surprise when my float sailed away again and after a good little scrap a 6 1/2lb Pike was in the net. It looked tiny compared to Alan’s monster but still beat my previous record for the day!
It had been a great winter Pike session and only heightened the need to get back to the river for more.