Tough start to the season

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Tough start to the season

Post  J Robinson on Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:18 am

Hi everyone.

New member, fairly experienced piker (240 odd fish in the last three years to 18lb 4oz).

I've always fished fairly far afield for pike, trekking up to the Scottish Highlands for my sessions, and it's been quite successful. Nothing massive, but very productive fishing.

In the hope of trying to find some piking closer to home, I tried a session on a well run coarse fishery locally who have a decent head of pike in their lake. They only open it for piking at the start of November and since then it has fished very badly indeed. I'm trying to figure out why.

They don't see baits all summer, and usually the first month of piking is productive. This year however, the start of fishing coincided with a cold snap that didn't relent until the day before yesterday. So (taking the same approach as I do in the Highlands) I took a rod up on Sunday, plumbed around for depth, found a nice drop off next to a small stream flowing in (thinking, water movement means scent spreads), prebaited two pegs (thinking a friend was coming too, but he was unable to make it) with about 6lb of chopped micro roach (300 odd fish) and pitched up for fishing yesterday. Weather conditions were perfect - warm south westerly, heavily overcast and a good ripple on the water. I wobbled a deadbait at various points throughout the day all over my swim (and the neighbouring swims too) but the only fish (7lb 3oz) fell to static float fished roach on the bottom.

So, what went wrong? Why are the pike not feeding in the loch yet? There have been hundreds of rod days for pike in the past two weeks and fewer than 20 fish have been caught. Two pegs along, there were sprat from the angler the day before sat in 2ft of water that had not been touched. It is reckoned that there are nearly 25 different doubles in there, plus several twenties and a lot of upper singles (bizarrely, no small jacks at all, which concerns me that they aren't breeding correctly).

Given that the weather conditions were perfect, the swim seemed to be correct, the attractant was put in the day before and I near enough had the place to myself, I really expected a few more fish. I don't even really think that the prebait was touched from the day before though as I snagged one of them with my rig on a retrieve.

Frustrated!

I wonder whether due to the angling pressure of the start of the season that the pike are extremely wary. Reports for the first weekend suggest a huge number of rods in the water, many, many dropped runs and few fish banked. I fish small baits, delicately, but only had the one run. Given that there is a defined start to the season, I wonder whether the sudden presence of large amounts of (sea) baits spooks the fish?

Any points or tips would be gratefully received. I have been spoiled rotten with my piking so far, having near enough sole access to a 10 acre water which is very, very easy to fish once you know where the fish are (sessions with more than 10 fish are reasonably common), and I'm worried it's bred a complacency into my angling! I would dearly love a 20lber, and this water represents one of my best chances locally.



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Re: Tough start to the season

Post  psion on Tue Nov 15, 2016 9:41 am

Hi welcome to the forum. I wish I could help but you seem to be doing all the right things. You could try a different bait maybe a Bluey I have found that Brown Trout do well on hard to catch waters.  Like you I am finding it hard to catch anything of any size I have caught a few fish with few blanks but nothing over 10lb.

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Re: Tough start to the season

Post  DELBOY on Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:01 pm

Still early days yet,you say they have not seen BAITS all summer,but has it been lure fished to death by the EES.It happened to me a few years back,I was one of the first to fish a pit that just opened to pike fishing,had a few fish,happy days i thought,then they turned up,seemed the club only wanted the day ticket money and no one kept a eye on what was going on.

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Re: Tough start to the season

Post  stubbo on Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:08 pm

J Robinson wrote:Hi everyone.

New member, fairly experienced piker (240 odd fish in the last three years to 18lb 4oz).

I've always fished fairly far afield for pike, trekking up to the Scottish Highlands for my sessions, and it's been quite successful. Nothing massive, but very productive fishing.

In the hope of trying to find some piking closer to home, I tried a session on a well run coarse fishery locally who have a decent head of pike in their lake. They only open it for piking at the start of November and since then it has fished very badly indeed. I'm trying to figure out why.

They don't see baits all summer, and usually the first month of piking is productive. This year however, the start of fishing coincided with a cold snap that didn't relent until the day before yesterday. So (taking the same approach as I do in the Highlands) I took a rod up on Sunday, plumbed around for depth, found a nice drop off next to a small stream flowing in (thinking, water movement means scent spreads), prebaited two pegs (thinking a friend was coming too, but he was unable to make it) with about 6lb of chopped micro roach (300 odd fish) and pitched up for fishing yesterday. Weather conditions were perfect - warm south westerly, heavily overcast and a good ripple on the water. I wobbled a deadbait at various points throughout the day all over my swim (and the neighbouring swims too) but the only fish (7lb 3oz) fell to static float fished roach on the bottom.

So, what went wrong? Why are the pike not feeding in the loch yet? There have been hundreds of rod days for pike in the past two weeks and fewer than 20 fish have been caught. Two pegs along, there were sprat from the angler the day before sat in 2ft of water that had not been touched. It is reckoned that there are nearly 25 different doubles in there, plus several twenties and a lot of upper singles (bizarrely, no small jacks at all, which concerns me that they aren't breeding correctly).

Given that the weather conditions were perfect, the swim seemed to be correct, the attractant was put in the day before and I near enough had the place to myself, I really expected a few more fish. I don't even really think that the prebait was touched from the day before though as I snagged one of them with my rig on a retrieve.

Frustrated!

I wonder whether due to the angling pressure of the start of the season that the pike are extremely wary. Reports for the first weekend suggest a huge number of rods in the water, many, many dropped runs and few fish banked. I fish small baits, delicately, but only had the one run. Given that there is a defined start to the season, I wonder whether the sudden presence of large amounts of (sea) baits spooks the fish?

Any points or tips would be gratefully received. I have been spoiled rotten with my piking so far, having near enough sole access to a 10 acre water which is very, very easy to fish once you know where the fish are (sessions with more than 10 fish are reasonably common), and I'm worried it's bred a complacency into my angling! I would dearly love a 20lber, and this water represents one of my best chances locally.


sadly some waters don't do well when heavily pressured , could be bad handling from Muppets or even poached out
we have had some waters raped here in the northwest.
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Re: Tough start to the season

Post  J Robinson on Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:01 pm

No lure fishing on the water, and no pike fishing over summer. They were until a few weeks ago (prior to the commencement of piking) merrily stripping roach from pole angler's hooks and generally making a nuisance of themselves. The first weekend was extremely heavily pressured (probably 50 rods in the water) but not that much was caught. Since then it's been producing the odd fish here and there, but nothing consistent. Also little chance of poaching due to location and the nature of the fishery.

On a whim, I went again this morning and spent three very dull hours watching one static float do nothing and twitching the other one. Packed up, grabbed the pole and had a great time catching 2lb carp on one of the other ponds. They were happily feeding!

There are schools of though relating to overfeeding pike, and in my experience I don't think it's easily doable. I've been spoiled fishing a Highland loch where all of the fish are long and lean (a 100cm fish is typically 16lb) and always hungry. Perhaps these Lowland pike are better fed. Even so, I think there are 200lb of pike per acre (perhaps 18-20 fish) and I struggle to see how free offerings could blunt the appetite of so many fish. There was one other piker on today (a much more energetic chap who spent the entire day roving, twitching baits and generally fishing harder than me!) and he blanked too.

I'll try again, perhaps in the new year. They seem to be entirely switched off at the moment and I don't have the patience to spend 12 hours on the bank for a single run.

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Re: Tough start to the season

Post  piketastic on Tue Nov 15, 2016 9:08 pm

Hi, welcome to our forum. To be brutally honest, you seem to have done everything right. Just like psion says. The fish are undoubtedly still there, hence the many dropped runs. I do know from experience that plenty of leads hitting the water at the same time can obviously make for a slow time of it.
Is it possible at the minute for the pike to have gone out of range I wonder, leaving less fish in catchable areas? What I would say though is persevere with what you are doing because that is a good catch rate over the 3 seasons. A lot of anglers on this forum would not say no to that !!!!!
On the 20 pounder point, does the lake/ loch you fish have a good head of them or indeed any of them? If your 240 or so pike have come from primarily the same water then you are indeed unlucky not to have any if they are present.
Good luck on your next step sir.
Cheers Craig.
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Re: Tough start to the season

Post  J Robinson on Tue Nov 15, 2016 9:36 pm

Thanks for the welcome and the reply Craig.

The previous pike have come from a different water of about 10 acres that I effectively have to myself. It took about 4 months of fishing that loch to get the measure of it and once I found where the fish were located, the fishing was easy (too easy in some respects - today was my first blank on piking for 21 months and 92 fish). A fish every 45 minutes was the statistical average (I keep fairly detailed records, with times, weather, baits etc). It's good fun, but there there are few larger fish now - it floods into a larger loch over winter and I think the doubles are mostly absent. First season 1 in 6 fish was a double, second season 1 in 13, this season (only had three sessions) I only had one double at 18lb 4oz.

The water I'm struggling on is a different one entirely. Pressured, smaller (3 acres) and with a few larger fish into low/mid twenties. What is puzzling me is that it's fishing entirely differently to the start of last November (when pike fishing starts). I didn't fish it at that time, but chatting to the roving angler today, he said last year you could quite simply drop a bait almost anywhere and get a run. This year, it's extremely difficult. I'm 100% confident that the pike at there - as mentioned earlier, they have been harassing the match anglers mercilessly. Why is it that they are ignoring all deadbaits? Are they being overfed? Did the 10 day cold snap at the start of the month switch them off? Are they still chasing prey fish rather than switching to deads?

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Re: Tough start to the season

Post  rozzo on Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:23 am

J Robinson wrote:Thanks for the welcome and the reply Craig.

The previous pike have come from a different water of about 10 acres that I effectively have to myself. It took about 4 months of fishing that loch to get the measure of it and once I found where the fish were located, the fishing was easy (too easy in some respects - today was my first blank on piking for 21 months and 92 fish). A fish every 45 minutes was the statistical average (I keep fairly detailed records, with times, weather, baits etc). It's good fun, but there there are few larger fish now - it floods into a larger loch over winter and I think the doubles are mostly absent. First season 1 in 6 fish was a double, second season 1 in 13, this season (only had three sessions) I only had one double at 18lb 4oz.

The water I'm struggling on is a different one entirely. Pressured, smaller (3 acres) and with a few larger fish into low/mid twenties. What is puzzling me is that it's fishing entirely differently to the start of last November (when pike fishing starts). I didn't fish it at that time, but chatting to the roving angler today, he said last year you could quite simply drop a bait almost anywhere and get a run. This year, it's extremely difficult. I'm 100% confident that the pike at there - as mentioned earlier, they have been harassing the match anglers mercilessly. Why is it that they are ignoring all deadbaits? Are they being overfed? Did the 10 day cold snap at the start of the month switch them off? Are they still chasing prey fish rather than switching to deads?
hi mate and welcome to the forum,, just a couple of questions for you,, is the water gin clear as it seems to be everywhere i go at present? and are livebaits allowed? i have had some experience in the large reservoirs in the north west of england where the pike are pressured and won't touch anything with a float above it. they will tentatively take legered deads provided no resistance is felt,,, but they hit lives hard every time,, especially if they are caught on a feeder set up and immediately freelined back into the water,, almost as though the pike have learned to hit the fish as soon as they are released. just food for thought,, try my setup which is legered deads with just 3 swan shot on the trace to hold bottom and a drop back indicator. the fish don't get big by being daft Evil or Very Mad
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Re: Tough start to the season

Post  J Robinson on Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:57 am

rozzo wrote:
J Robinson wrote:Thanks for the welcome and the reply Craig.

The previous pike have come from a different water of about 10 acres that I effectively have to myself. It took about 4 months of fishing that loch to get the measure of it and once I found where the fish were located, the fishing was easy (too easy in some respects - today was my first blank on piking for 21 months and 92 fish). A fish every 45 minutes was the statistical average (I keep fairly detailed records, with times, weather, baits etc). It's good fun, but there there are few larger fish now - it floods into a larger loch over winter and I think the doubles are mostly absent. First season 1 in 6 fish was a double, second season 1 in 13, this season (only had three sessions) I only had one double at 18lb 4oz.

The water I'm struggling on is a different one entirely. Pressured, smaller (3 acres) and with a few larger fish into low/mid twenties. What is puzzling me is that it's fishing entirely differently to the start of last November (when pike fishing starts). I didn't fish it at that time, but chatting to the roving angler today, he said last year you could quite simply drop a bait almost anywhere and get a run. This year, it's extremely difficult. I'm 100% confident that the pike at there - as mentioned earlier, they have been harassing the match anglers mercilessly. Why is it that they are ignoring all deadbaits? Are they being overfed? Did the 10 day cold snap at the start of the month switch them off? Are they still chasing prey fish rather than switching to deads?
hi mate and welcome to the forum,, just a couple of questions for you,, is the water gin clear as it seems to be everywhere i go at present? and are livebaits allowed?  i have had some experience in the large reservoirs in the north west of england where the pike are pressured and won't touch anything with a float above it.  they will tentatively take legered deads provided no resistance is felt,,, but they hit lives hard every time,, especially if they are caught on a feeder set up and immediately freelined back into the water,, almost as though the pike have learned to hit the fish as soon as they are released.  just food for thought,, try my setup which is legered deads with just 3 swan shot on the trace to hold bottom and a drop back indicator.  the fish don't get big by being daft Evil or Very Mad

Livebaiting is unfortunately illegal in Scotland, so not an option.

Because I was fishing at short range (20-30ft from the bank), I ledgered very light with a 1 oz lead on a running rig. No sniff of a take on ledger and it was just the float that took the fish. Water clarity is fairly good (about 3ft) and much better than summer. As I was fishing next to a stream inflow, it was a little cloudier in my swim, but not significantly.

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Re: Tough start to the season

Post  the bat on Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:48 pm

Has there been an algea problem at all on the water? Venue I fish has had/got one and its not fished well at all,I,m convinced its down to that

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Re: Tough start to the season

Post  silkmen on Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:00 pm

the bat wrote:Has there been an algea problem at all on the water? Venue I fish has had/got one and its not fished well at all,I,m convinced its down to that
its been bad all summer on there pete with algiea at bottom end shallows its all washed up on to the bank and there huge amounts of it to
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Re: Tough start to the season

Post  DELBOY on Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:39 pm

Just keep going mate,let the others give up first,No lure fishing on there,I know it would not be popular but i wish more clubs would ban lure fishing and live baiting for that matter(Only my opinion)You have blanked a couple of times,which is nothing unusual down here,looked at my records and i had 37 trips last winter,24 were blanks Crying or Very sad Biggest was 19lb and i had 4 other doubles.Just keep at it boy,I think you have something special there.One thing is for sure and that is that it wont last long.

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Re: Tough start to the season

Post  J Robinson on Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:09 pm

the bat wrote:Has there been an algea problem at all on the water? Venue I fish has had/got one and its not fished well at all,I,m convinced its down to that

There was an algal bloom in summer, but it is entirely gone now, and the water clarity is much better. Why do you think that the algae dropping out of the water would switch them off? Genuine question - still learning here!

I think I'm just going to stick to my Highland loch. With the exception of the first four months when I was getting to know the water, I've averaged 5-6 fish every session and rarely do a full day. If there is an upsurge in pike activity over winter in the Lowland water, I'll cast the rods in but otherwise I'll stick to silvers on the pole locally. Gives me more small roach than I ever know what to do with (they come from a game fishery that desperately wants them out, so can take hundreds per session, though they are minute).


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Re: Tough start to the season

Post  J Robinson on Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:09 pm

Going to have another go at this water within the next week, but wanted to check in as regards best weather conditions.

I'm quite an experiences Spring/Summer/Autumn piker, but I've honestly spent little time out on the bank in winter. Given that you can experience winter conditions during any season in Scotland, winter can sometimes be described as hideous to fish in! Well that is my excuse for fair weather piking anyway!

Looking at the forecast we have a warmish Friday/Saturday, overcast with a moderate south westerly. The following few days are considerably colder and brighter, with lower wind. I'm inclined to fish the warmer days. Previously I stayed in one swim on the northern bank, where there is the deepest drop off (it drops to a maximum depth of 18ft, but there is a sharp drop off to 12-13ft about 25ft from the bank, along with some sunken branches providing structure). This seems like a sensible swim to start in as the wind will push the food towards this swim. Open to ideas though. There is lots of depth variation around the loch, but my experience of later autumn piking tells me that drop offs tend to be productive.

I was going to introduce finely chopped fish as a ground bait when fishing. Pieces too small to fill the pike, but hopefully leaching enough blood/smell into the water to bring them in.

I'm open to ideas though. I don't want to spend a couple of days on the bank for a 7lb pike again!

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