First Pike session in 3 years?

Aknib

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My God where does time go?

I took one of my angling work colleagues to catch his first ever Barbel last year and now he wants me to take him to catch his first Pike so we're going on Saturday and rummaging through the dusty gear it got me wondering when it last went out.

It must have been three Winters ago and for something that used to be such a big feature of my Winter fishing I find that quite amazing.

The bait freezer got cleared out in favour of more essential requirements at the beginning of the pandemic and so I ventured over to my local Angling Direct earlier today to check out their frozen deadbait offering.

Oh dear...

My granny would probably look fresher and we buried her in 1984!

Anyway my local regular tackle shop had some very fresh looking frozen lamprey so a couple of packs were bought in preparation to be dipped in the river on Saturday and with a bit of extra water and some colour I quite fancy the chances of a Zander too.

Has anyone else begun or planning to begin their Winter predator fishing soon?
 

Keith M

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The last time I went Piking was around three years ago too, and I still have some lamprey and small herrings in the bottom of the freezer; I dread to think what they will be like when I’ve defrosted them after three years.

My son wants to catch a few Pike this winter so I’d better get some more baits and start to check all of my Pike gear soon.

Keith
 

john step

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I transfer my allegiance to pike every winter. I will admit to carrying over deadbait from one winter to the next in my freezer. I do stock up with fresh but in all honesty I cannot say the year old stuff is any less effective than the new.

It may be that I tend to impart movement in the deads a lot of time. If I am not sink and drawing I am sink and twitching. After all the stupid creatures will take a lump of dead wood or plastic with hooks on it if it has imparted movement.

Top of my pops has to be a bulk pack of lamprey from Nev Fickling.
 

sam vimes

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I've just thought about it for a bit and I reckon that my last proper pike fishing was probably '95/'96. I've chucked the odd lure about since and caught plenty when fishing for other species, but that's it.
 

mikench

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I plan to have a go but then I plan lots of things fishing wise and stick with the same old methods. Next time on the canal I'll bring the gear. Gordon can attract them and I'll try and catch them. I reckon a defrosted 3 year old dead fish will look like any other after being submerged and nibbled at in lake water. It probably tastes the same but I cannot say.
 

steve2

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I haven't pike fished with fish bait for 2 years my freezer is full of dead bait that is at least 2 years old,some older. You can always liven it up with a bit of fish oil.
 

Keith M

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As long as you are just lobbing them fairly close in up to around 25 metres or so; old deadbaits that have been in the freezer for a few years should be ok; but casting them to the horizon can be a bit dodgy compared to fresh baits as after being frozen for a long time they seem to turn softer a bit faster when defrosted in my experience, especially sprats, smelts and herrings; I'm not sure about lamprey and mackeral though.

Keith
 
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flightliner

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Tbh I haven't been pike fishing very often for some five years or so but do have the odd trip each winter.
The deadbaits in my freezer are only about six months old as I bought them in the supermarket when I saw them at the size I needed.
Normally mackerel are pretty large needing to be halved(no problem, my two best were taken on the head half) but my purchase was made simply on the amount of space available.
This year Covid has had a big bearing on the waters available to me so come winter I'll be back looking for the pike a little more often than in recant years and must say I'm looking foeward to it!
 

keora

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Yes, I went pike fishing yesterday. The river was about 2.5 ft up after heavy rain. I prefer high water levels because it makes it easier to locate pike. Slow water downstream of willows are usually worth trying in these conditions. I float fished and had one take on a small smelt using a circle hook. I was about to weigh it when it flipped out of the net and slipped back into the river. I estimated it to be about 13lbs.

I usually buy a few packs of smelt in autumn and keep them in the freezer. I prefer small to medium deadbaits when using a circle hook. If I use big sardines or small mackerel, I seem to miss more fish when striking.
 
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seth49

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Think with circle hooks you don’t strike, you either slowly lift the rod or wind the reel to hook bites, this lets the hook turn and hook the fish, if you strike you just pull the hook out without it catching hold,
 

keora

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I just wind in quickly. As the line tightens the pike will react against the pressure and swim off. You can lift the rod if you want, I don't think it makes any difference to the hook up rate. Most of the time the pike will be hooked neatly in the scissors (where the fixed upper jaw is connected to the hinged lower jaw). It's a lot easier to unhook pike with a single hook, compared with using two trebles on a trace.
 
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