Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

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Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  J Robinson on Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:28 pm

After a fairly unsuccessful 3.5 day boat fishing session (8 fish to 13lb), I'm conscious that I need a bit of help with fishing for pike over winter. My experience has all been spring summer and autumn on this loch and I've had plenty of pike. It's very productive, and there are a lot of fish in there. However, the weather I had was nice enough for sitting out on the boat, but I feel too cold and still for the fish to be feeding.

Day one was 5 m/s westerly veering to north westerly. It made fishing off the boat a pain as it knocked the floats around a lot. I found a sheltered corner eventually, anchored up against a bank and had 3 fish in the 5-6lb range. Temperature was about 1-2c with ice forming on the boat at various points throughout the day.

Day two involved cutting through 150m of ice that formed overnight. Water flat calm. Temperature 1-2c. At times sunny spells. 2 fish to 13lb.

Day three: moderate sleet showers overnight, water level in the loch starting to rise and ice largely unmelted from yesterday. More overcast with about half the day raining. Flat calm.

Day four: Ice gone, rain overnight (very cold), water level rising, rain all morning and 2-3c. 1 fish at 8lb 8oz. Called it a day at 13:30. Flat calm.

My feeling is that it was quite simply too cold. Atmospheric pressure was fairly high and the calm conditions, coupled with the large influx of very cold rain meant that the fish were barely feeding.

Given that conventional wisdom is that low pressure, mild weather systems and wind bring them on the feed, how do I boat fish in those conditions? I'm genuinely hoping to try to improve my winter piking but all my experience is from April to October (I could tell you exactly when and where they feed at that time of year!).

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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  lowdouble on Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:18 pm

That is a question that nobody I know has the answer for. I prefer SW winds around 10mph, overcast and dry, not following a frost and a period of several days of the same conditions. but that seems its more suitable for my style of fishing than for any real amounts of success, I have detailed records of every single days fishing since 2003, both my own and my guests over the years. I made a spreadsheet covering every regular water used, compared conditions and rod hours. all the results showed was that you wont catch sat on the sofa watching TV:D Very Happy Very Happy i have literally broken 1" ice with the boat to get lines in the water and watched the ice re freeze again and bagged up with 20s too, and the weather i prefer had blank after blank. I dont believe there are perfect conditions, or I am too stupid to work out the patterns, but thats the fun of it all. good luck J and when you know, please send me a PM;) Wink Wink Wink Very Happy
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  stubbo on Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:47 pm

lowdouble wrote:That is a question that nobody I know has the answer for.   I prefer SW winds around 10mph,  overcast and dry,  not following a frost and a period of several days of the same conditions.  but that seems its more suitable for my style of fishing than for any real amounts of success,   I have detailed records of every single days fishing since 2003,  both my own and my guests over the years.  I made a spreadsheet covering every regular water used,  compared conditions and rod hours.  all the results showed was that you wont catch sat on the sofa watching TV:D Very Happy Very Happy    i have literally broken 1" ice with the boat to get lines in the water and watched the ice re freeze again and bagged up with 20s too,  and the weather i prefer had blank after blank.  I dont believe there are perfect conditions,  or I am too stupid to work out the patterns,  but thats the fun of it all.  good luck J and when you know,  please send me a PM;) Wink Wink Wink Very Happy  
think sometimes we analyse the weather to much , like you said you wont catch if your not there on the bank proved a few people wrong over the years with weather predictions theory's, and don't get me going with moon phases Twisted Evil
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  stubbo on Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:58 pm

J Robinson wrote:After a fairly unsuccessful 3.5 day boat fishing session (8 fish to 13lb), I'm conscious that I need a bit of help with fishing for pike over winter. My experience has all been spring summer and autumn on this loch and I've had plenty of pike. It's very productive, and there are a lot of fish in there. However, the weather I had was nice enough for sitting out on the boat, but I feel too cold and still for the fish to be feeding.

Day one was 5 m/s westerly veering to north westerly. It made fishing off the boat a pain as it knocked the floats around a lot. I found a sheltered corner eventually, anchored up against a bank and had 3 fish in the 5-6lb range. Temperature was about 1-2c with ice forming on the boat at various points throughout the day.

Day two involved cutting through 150m of ice that formed overnight. Water flat calm. Temperature 1-2c. At times sunny spells. 2 fish to 13lb.

Day three: moderate sleet showers overnight, water level in the loch starting to rise and ice largely unmelted from yesterday. More overcast with about half the day raining. Flat calm.

Day four: Ice gone, rain overnight (very cold), water level rising, rain all morning and 2-3c. 1 fish at 8lb 8oz. Called it a day at 13:30. Flat calm.

My feeling is that it was quite simply too cold. Atmospheric pressure was fairly high and the calm conditions, coupled with the large influx of very cold rain meant that the fish were barely feeding.

Given that conventional wisdom is that low pressure, mild weather systems and wind bring them on the feed, how do I boat fish in those conditions? I'm genuinely hoping to try to improve my winter piking but all my experience is from April to October (I could tell you exactly when and where they feed at that time of year!).

the one thing I would be looking out for more than anything would be where all the bait fish are located, with the aid of a good finder
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  J Robinson on Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:54 pm

lowdouble wrote:That is a question that nobody I know has the answer for.   I prefer SW winds around 10mph,  overcast and dry,  not following a frost and a period of several days of the same conditions.  but that seems its more suitable for my style of fishing than for any real amounts of success,   I have detailed records of every single days fishing since 2003,  both my own and my guests over the years.  I made a spreadsheet covering every regular water used,  compared conditions and rod hours.  all the results showed was that you wont catch sat on the sofa watching TV:D Very Happy Very Happy    i have literally broken 1" ice with the boat to get lines in the water and watched the ice re freeze again and bagged up with 20s too,  and the weather i prefer had blank after blank.  I dont believe there are perfect conditions,  or I am too stupid to work out the patterns,  but thats the fun of it all.  good luck J and when you know,  please send me a PM;) Wink Wink Wink Very Happy  

Interesting thoughts there certainly. The frost is a real issue. The loch I fish is well inland and subject to freezing constantly over winter. I've seen it solid for 8 weeks before, and that's just on normal winters. I'll make sure to let you know when I crack it!

the one thing I would be looking out for more than anything would be where all the bait fish are located, with the aid of a good finder

I hadn't thought to do that. The spot I was trying to fish (the 'usual spot' as it's noted in my diary, as it's been the most productive in past years) was not possible until the fourth day. First day it was too windy to hold anchor there, 2nd and 3rd day it was iced over but the final day was doable. Not productive though. The loch is completely featureless in the depths except for the marginal drop off. I mapped it 4 years ago with the fish finder and it's like a snooker table. In summer then are all in the 45% of the lake that is the marginal shelf (less than 10 foot), and as the weather starts to cool they drop over the drop off but stay close to the slope (17-21ft). I've been wanting to get a Deeper Pro Plus fish finder, so perhaps this is the motivation I need to get one. Thanks for the tip Very Happy
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  stubbo on Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:43 pm

J Robinson wrote:
lowdouble wrote:That is a question that nobody I know has the answer for.   I prefer SW winds around 10mph,  overcast and dry,  not following a frost and a period of several days of the same conditions.  but that seems its more suitable for my style of fishing than for any real amounts of success,   I have detailed records of every single days fishing since 2003,  both my own and my guests over the years.  I made a spreadsheet covering every regular water used,  compared conditions and rod hours.  all the results showed was that you wont catch sat on the sofa watching TV:D Very Happy Very Happy    i have literally broken 1" ice with the boat to get lines in the water and watched the ice re freeze again and bagged up with 20s too,  and the weather i prefer had blank after blank.  I dont believe there are perfect conditions,  or I am too stupid to work out the patterns,  but thats the fun of it all.  good luck J and when you know,  please send me a PM;) Wink Wink Wink Very Happy  

Interesting thoughts there certainly. The frost is a real issue. The loch I fish is well inland and subject to freezing constantly over winter. I've seen it solid for 8 weeks before, and that's just on normal winters. I'll make sure to let you know when I crack it!

the one thing I would be looking out for more than anything would be where all the bait fish are located, with the aid of a good finder
have a look at the dragon fly fish finders they are stunning at finding features and shoals of baitfish , have one on my pike boat and one on my sea boat a bigger version 7inc pro plus

I hadn't thought to do that. The spot I was trying to fish (the 'usual spot' as it's noted in my diary, as it's been the most productive in past years) was not possible until the fourth day. First day it was too windy to hold anchor there, 2nd and 3rd day it was iced over but the final day was doable. Not productive though. The loch is completely featureless in the depths except for the marginal drop off. I mapped it 4 years ago with the fish finder and it's like a snooker table. In summer then are all in the 45% of the lake that is the marginal shelf (less than 10 foot), and as the weather starts to cool they drop over the drop off but stay close to the slope (17-21ft). I've been wanting to get a Deeper Pro Plus fish finder, so perhaps this is the motivation I need to get one. Thanks for the tip Very Happy
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  J Robinson on Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:26 pm

They look like stunning little fish finders, but I ideally want something that is castable for when I'm not boat fishing.
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  stubbo on Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:32 am

09:32:25
J Robinson wrote:They look like stunning little fish finders, but I ideally want something that is castable for when I'm not boat fishing.
there's quite a few castable types on the market don't know how good they are and how accurate , think these tap into your phone on the bank, Very Happy
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  J Robinson on Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:58 am

stubbo wrote:09:32:25
J Robinson wrote:They look like stunning little fish finders, but I ideally want something that is castable for when I'm not boat fishing.
there's quite a few castable types on the market  don't know how good they are and how accurate , think these tap into your phone on the bank, Very Happy

I've seen one of the cheaper ones in action. I like the look of the Deeper Pro Plus as it gives you a pretty detailed real time image, but it also creates a GPS map of the lake (provided you cover the whole water casting the fish finder about). It's about £200.
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  Rich_ on Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:29 pm

As it's a loch you're on you are obviously in Scotland .
I wouldn't be too disheartened with your results . Big natural waters in the North of the UK are not so easy to locate fish on at this time of year  despite the fact that  Winter is classed as the pike "season" for what ever reason but it's not necessarily  the most productive time  as you've discovered. Particularly on big natural lakes.

You can only fish in your boat when it's safe to do so and when you have the time . Worrying too much about pressure and moon phases etc will only dash your confidence if it's not what you think it should be & so many times you'll find you blank in perfect conditions and catch when the book says it's no good . Just keep on the move and don't dismiss the fact that the pike are often not too far below the surface even over deeper water , or at least are prepared to rise to a lure well above them . We've often had them hit or follow lures up to the side of the boat in the coldest of weather . Or take a trailed bait under a float six or 8 ft down over very deep water the bait fish are often well above the loch/lake bed and over open water .

Also I'd not be too put off by the cold water once it's settled into Winter , in other parts of the world they catch pike through holes in the ice on the big lakes . I find on a couple of lakes I fish in particular that moving baits either lure or trolled bait is effective in the cold. I think if the pike are not too active in cold water then they are less likely to be hunting about for a static bait unless you've dropped one right on them , whereas if you are covering the water yourself you've more chance of pulling one past a dormant fish and maybe triggering a hit, after all they tend to ambush prey rather than chase it down . I know that's a bit contradictory to what's normally accepted but over the years I've often sat watching dead bait floats for hours only to have them taken when winding them in or drifting through the same area with lures or baits trolled higher in the water .

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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  J Robinson on Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:07 pm

Rich_ wrote:As it's a loch you're on you are obviously in Scotland .
I wouldn't be too disheartened with your results . Big natural waters in the North of the UK are not so easy to locate fish on at this time of year  despite the fact that  Winter is classed as the pike "season" for what ever reason but it's not necessarily  the most productive time  as you've discovered. Particularly on big natural lakes.

You can only fish in your boat when it's safe to do so and when you have the time . Worrying too much about pressure and moon phases etc will only dash your confidence if it's not what you think it should be & so many times you'll find you blank in perfect conditions and catch when the book says it's no good . Just keep on the move and don't dismiss the fact that the pike are often not too far below the surface even over deeper water , or at least are prepared to rise to a lure well above them . We've often had them hit or follow lures up to the side of the boat in the coldest of weather . Or take a trailed bait under a float six or 8 ft down over very deep water the bait fish are often well above the loch/lake bed and over open water .

Also I'd not be too put off by the cold water once it's settled into Winter , in other parts of the world they catch pike through holes in the ice on the big lakes . I find on a couple of lakes I fish in particular that moving baits either lure or trolled bait is effective in the cold.  I think if the pike are not too active in cold water then they are less likely to be hunting about for a static bait unless you've dropped one right on them , whereas if you are covering the water yourself you've more chance of pulling one past a dormant fish and maybe triggering a hit, after all they tend to ambush prey rather than chase it down . I know that's a bit contradictory to what's normally accepted but over the years I've often sat watching dead bait floats for hours only to have them taken when winding them in or drifting through the same area with lures or baits trolled higher in the water .

Thanks for the really thoughtful response Rich. Fascinating reading Very Happy

At the moment the loch is frozen. We've got a mild spell until Wednesday, but I'm almost certain it won't defrost. And then there are some minus 9 frosts due, so no chance of getting out!

Your train of thought regarding a moving bait makes sense to me. I've been hugging the margins, fishing the drop off and whilst I'm getting the odd take, I think I need to cover more ground. 55% of the loch is a level plateau, at 17-20ft deep. I'm going to try positioning myself 40 yard out from the drop off and cover the full 360 degrees on twitched float fished deadbaits.

It's just very different to summer. The only killer in summer is bright sun. Nothing else seems to make much difference. The loch is a doddle to fish as the pike cruise the edges of the lily beds and the broadleaf pondweed beds. Fish 3-6ft down and bag up.

I don't think I'm going to get out much until February earliest as the loch is likely to be frozen. Winter has started off with a chill and shows no sign of abating.

At the moment the best weather for pike where I go would be warm enough that there isn't bloody ice on the water!

Regrettably, I can't really fish heavier lures as RSI in my right elbow quickly becomes very uncomfortable when jigging the bait.

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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  adie1200 on Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:40 pm

Shame you can't use livebaits :-( BUT these are the next best thing >> Zombaits << you use these with deadbaits and from what I've heard so far they can be deadly Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  J Robinson on Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:59 pm

adie1200 wrote:Shame you can't use livebaits :-( BUT these are the next best thing >> Zombaits << you use these with deadbaits and from what I've heard so far they can be deadly Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Yeah, I saw those on Facebook the other day! Weird as hell but you can see why they'd be so effective.

As soon as I get a chance to get out again I'll try further out on the loch with active baits. I won't be fishing by myself next time, so with another person and another couple of rods, we'll hopefully get a few more fish on the boat.
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  adie1200 on Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:04 pm

Good luck Thumb up
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  stubbo on Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:38 pm

J Robinson wrote:
adie1200 wrote:Shame you can't use livebaits :-( BUT these are the next best thing >> Zombaits << you use these with deadbaits and from what I've heard so far they can be deadly Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Yeah, I saw those on Facebook the other day! Weird as hell but you can see why they'd be so effective.

As soon as I get a chance to get out again I'll try further out on the loch with active baits. I won't be fishing by myself next time, so with another person and another couple of rods, we'll hopefully get a few more fish on the boat.
been looking at these for a while , me thinks they might be a tad big for our normal sized deads, watched a few vids on these they look good with a big mackeral sized type bait, the yanks use very large deads to catch some monster fish , but mainly used for the sea fishing market, dont think they make a smaller sized unit .....on the right venue targeting very large preditors think they would be worth ago....... affraid affraid
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  Rich_ on Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:11 pm

Don't ignore the open featureless water on your Loch. Set up a drift to cover it with your lures or trolled bait . or even anchor and use a drift float set up.

My mate has one of those zombait things . he's not used it yet . I think he was put off when I asked if he got it from one of those "adult" toy shops !
Apart from the novelty of it , do you think they'd really be any more effective than a wobbled dead bait ?

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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  stubbo on Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:26 pm

Rich_ wrote:Don't ignore the open featureless water on your Loch. Set up a drift  to cover it with your lures or trolled bait . or even anchor and use a drift float set up.

My mate has one of those zombait things . he's not used it yet . I think he was put off when I asked if he got it from one of those "adult" toy shops !
Apart from the novelty of it , do you think they'd really be any more effective than a  wobbled dead bait ?
used as a moving bait probably not, but laying static on the bottom twithcing away might bring a bit or too in the depths of winter.......just that bit of movement might make something happen , having watched pike on the water wolf , just hovering and watching the bait,sometimes for ages.... then moving off uninterested.....
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  adie1200 on Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:16 pm

My mate Kell has got a couple but he hasn't had time to try them yet Hopefully we will be out on Thursday if he remembers to bring them i'll let you know if he has anything on them smile
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  stubbo on Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:44 pm

adie1200 wrote:My mate Kell has got a couple but he hasn't had time to try them yet Hopefully we will be out on Thursday if he remembers to bring them i'll let you know if he has anything on them smile
could you find out where he bought them from and how much, i can only find prices from america direct on the web...... did kell buy them over here in blighty.... regards steve
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  Rich_ on Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:02 pm

stubbo wrote:
Rich_ wrote:Don't ignore the open featureless water on your Loch. Set up a drift  to cover it with your lures or trolled bait . or even anchor and use a drift float set up.

My mate has one of those zombait things . he's not used it yet . I think he was put off when I asked if he got it from one of those "adult" toy shops !
Apart from the novelty of it , do you think they'd really be any more effective than a  wobbled dead bait ?
used as a moving bait probably not, but laying static on the bottom twithcing away might bring a bit or too in the depths of winter.......just that bit of movement might make something happen ,  having watched pike  on the water wolf , just hovering and watching the bait,sometimes for ages.... then moving off uninterested.....

That might be a situation where it could trigger a response I suppose when fishing static bait ?
I've often had a half mackerel or other dead bait lying there for ages then had it grabbed after a couple of turns of the reel when winding in for a move .
Much as I enjoy dead baiting , I always think dead fish on the bottom are not as consistent as mobile baits or lures at least in my fishing , and I like to twitch even static baits every now and again if I can .

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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  adie1200 on Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:19 pm

stubbo wrote:
adie1200 wrote:My mate Kell has got a couple but he hasn't had time to try them yet Hopefully we will be out on Thursday if he remembers to bring them i'll let you know if he has anything on them smile
could you find out where he bought them from and how much, i can only find prices from america direct on the web...... did kell buy them over here in blighty.... regards steve


Not sure to be honest but he might have got then from abroad somewhere maybe America ?

 Have a look on here Stubbo >>  Zombaits  << 
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Re: Winter pike fishing weather - what to look out for?

Post  stubbo on Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:36 pm

adie1200 wrote:
stubbo wrote:
adie1200 wrote:My mate Kell has got a couple but he hasn't had time to try them yet Hopefully we will be out on Thursday if he remembers to bring them i'll let you know if he has anything on them smile
could you find out where he bought them from and how much, i can only find prices from america direct on the web...... did kell buy them over here in blighty.... regards steve


Not sure to be honest but he might have got then from abroad somewhere maybe America ?

 Have a look on here Stubbo >>  Zombaits  << 
cheers adie , i visited that site a while back looks like if i wanted one i would have to get it shipped over, unless theres a uk dealer set up somewhere....thanks anyway muck..
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