So the first day of the new year, I couldn’t wait to get out there fishing. It was a pretty crappy day to be honest, gale force winds, rain and bitterly cold wind chill, you would have to be a bit mental to consider fishing in these conditions. Matt Bailey was supposed to be coming with me to take part in another “Paul Bailey Challenge” but he had the right idea and stayed home. I took my 8 year old son Tom instead.

Pike Fishing

I decided to try a spot of ledger dead baiting, I have never done it before and there are rumours of large pike in Privates Pond. I have had plenty of jack pike out on lures. I have been thinking of dead baiting for a few months but I didn’t have any of the right tackle.

I managed to pick up the following from Dragon Carp Direct.

  • 12ft Dead Baiting Rod x 2 (cheap ones)
  • Matsuku 5000 Rotorblade Bait Runner Reels (cheap ones)
  • 22lb coated braid line
  • Carp kinetics 3 rod pod
  • Bite alarms and bobbins
  • Coarse fish dead bait

Not the top end tackle, but I don’t think it’s needed to be honest, especially as im only able to fish a few times a month.

What I learnt from my first attempt.

Don’t use bobbins and bite alarms in a gale.

The idea was to use a bite alarm on each rod to indicate bites, however if the wind is blowing hard they wont work very well, a) because the line gets bumped by the waves and triggers the sensitive alarms, and b) The bobbins blow around and set the alarms off.

Casting dead baits isn’t as easy as you think.

Dead Roach

Whilst casting dead baits with a heavy lead I was getting a sort of “pendulum” effect, the weight of the lead combined with the weight of the dead bait seemed to hinder casting. The first attempt I put too much power into the cast and the dead bait came off, possibly how I hooked it. The second cast, the bait came off again and the heavy lead snapped the line, I put too much power into the cast. The rod was acting like a fully loaded spring and it seemed to be too powerful, it snapped through the 22lb braid. I began feeling a bit like an idiot, its a good job nobody else was mad enough to be fishing. I switched to a lead of half the size and it all seemed to work a lot better.

Popping up the bait is essential if there is a lot of debris.

If the bottom is full of weed or other crap it is a good idea to pop up the baits, when I was retrieving the bait in order to recast them they were coming back covered in debris. Actually popping up the bait can be done a variety of ways, none of which I was prepared for. The safest method for the fish is simply to inject air into the body cavity of the fish. This will require a pike needle and syringe. Other methods involve stuffing the fish with a buoyant material such as cork or polystyrene, the problem with this is the pike can’t digest these so it will probably do serious damage or even kill the fish if it ate it. Finally there is a method involving polystyrene balls which look like boilies.

Get into a good routine

I also found that its good to create a routine when setting your rods, here was mine on the day:

1) First start with the cast, make sure its a good one! Get the bait where you want it, don’t cast too hard or the bait will come off.

2) Wait till the lead hits the bottom, then gently wind the rod down till you feel it tighten against the lead, then set your rod down on the pod / rest.

3) Set the line in the bite alarms, and set the bobbins on the line till they are tight.

4) Turn the reel handle until the anti-twist roller and line are lined up with the bobbin.

5) Flick the bait runner switch on the reel making sure it is set correctly as not to lose the rods (and the pod) if there is a take.

6) Sometimes the line will slacken off slightly, simply tighten this back up with a slight turn on the spool, don’t turn the handle because you may tighten it too much and move the lead, (not always a bad thing for pike, as it will twitch the dead bait). You will also move the anti-twist roller out of alignment with the bobbin.

Finally… Don’t leave your 8 year old son to stay warm in the car.

It was bitterly cold in the wind and the rain, so Tom wanted to sit in the car, playing on his Nintendo DS. Unknown to me he put the radio on, an hour later I tried to start the car to put the heating on for him… It wouldn’t start, the battery had gone flat with the radio. I drive possibly one of the worst cars to use for transporting fishing gear, I have a BMW 3 series, they are heavy as fuck! to try and bump start in a flat car park in the wind and rain on your own. Luckily one of the “old boys” from the fishing club saw me, and offered to give me a hand. i felt sorry for him, he was in his 60’s maybe closer to 70 and there he was pushing a heavy BMW in the wind and rain because I had been a prat and left Tom to listen to the radio.

This point wasn’t necessarily anything to do with the fishing, but I feel it needed adding to the blog post for when me and Tom read this again in a few years time, we will have a giggle.

Thanks for reading, hopefully I have more success when I go next time – Andy.

Photos of the day