Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Specimen Rudd; 20th May 2019

 A stunning fish, this Rudd went 1lb. 11oz. on the scales. Remarkably, the fish had broken me off earlier in the same session, with the hook and short fluorocarbon leader clearly mine, which we came across when unhooking the fish! Happily, we were able to remove this and release the fish, not that this had put it off the feed!

Having just broken his Rudd P.B., Andy went and hooked this one, which went 2lb. 4oz. In the hand it was clearly a heavier fish, though Andy was delighted when the scales swung past the two pound mark...

This year, after just a single session last year trying for them, big Rudd were foremost in my thoughts after all of the early spring Pike fishing. It was a refreshing change of fishing pace to sit behind a quiver tip rod, bait fishing. I was joined by Andy Shaw, who was very keen to try catch a specimen Rudd, a fish weighing two pounds or more. We decided to hire a boat a a favorite venue of mine, a location where I have had some huge Rudd in the past.
 Preparing for this type of fishing, whilst not complex, is crucial. I prepared the groundbait, a couple of kilos of sweet fishmeal mix, to which I added sweetcorn, boiled hemp, salt and a little halibut pellet. Bait was sourced, maggot and red worm, as well as sweetcorn. In addition, we brought fake corn and some pop ups, in case small fish were a nuisance. This proved a wise course of action as it happened...

Video footage of the session here, click on HD for optimal viewing....

 On arrival, the weather looked very good. Overcast conditions, light breeze, with a warm front pushing in later in the morning. We quickly got the boat in the water and got into position in the reed margin and groundbaited just two rod lengths out in a metre of water, an area I knew held fish. We carefully groundbaited a small swim and the bottom of a shallow shelf and placed two helicopter rigs over it, with redworm/sweetcorn cocktails as bait. In the reedbeds to our left and right, the stalks shook and the water thrashed as thousands of Roach actively spawned. We were, in fact,  immediately catching small Roach after small Roach. No sooner had the bait hit the water, than the tell tale rattling bite would follow. Our baits could not settle for long, though I did have one better fish come off after a knot pulled, always a big dissapointment. In the end, we decided that switching to inline weights, armed with short, hair rigged hook lengths and fake sweetcorn was the way to go. This allowed our baits to remain in the swim and it was not long before the first take, a vicious pull that would of seen the rod in the water had it not been carefully watched. I raised the rod and the tail of a bg Tench broke the surface, before all hell erupted and the fish shot off to the left.  Then the hook pulled, my first Tench photo of the year would have to wait. I had a frustrating time over the session, on reflection it may have been down to using braided line. I hooked four good fish, at least two good Rudd and two Tench, all of which managed to shed the hook. Andy had a better time landing the fish on monofilament line, the first fish came during a hectic period around noon, when the fish were feeding heavily. It was a stunning Rudd of 1lb. 11oz., an immaculate, fin perfect bar of gold. Remarkably, this fish had my light fluoro leader and hook still in its top lip and was one of the fish I had lost an hour earlier! Still, Andy was rightly pleased, this was a new personal best for him. He had not long slipped this fish back when his rod hooped over a second time and as I netted this one, I knew it was an even heavier Rudd. It was quickly weighed and photographed, before it was released, a true speceimen of 2lb. 4oz.! Andy was made up and we fished on, though later in the afternoon the bites dried up and the fish seemed to go off the feed completely, which is not unusual here. We fished into the evening anyway, but failed to add anything substantial to our catch and decided to call it a day. All things considered, it was a success, given the main goal had been for Andy to net a two pounder. I suspect we will return before too long though...

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Post Spawn Pike Fishing in Dalarna; May 2019

 Andy Shaw's best fish of the trip, don't think we weighed this one, which came on the final evening in glorious weather...

Dalarna is the venue each year for our annual trip after post spawn Pike. It is rather special, marking the begining of the summer season for each of us, as well as placing us in a breathtaking location that is brimming with Pike. They grow big here on the Dalalven system and the lake record at the site we fish each May is a staggering 17kg! We arrived on the first day of May and got out on the lake immediately. The forecast for the coming three days was nixed, with the prospect of cold northerly winds the following evening, so we felt it important to make the most of the early part of the trip, fearing dropping water tempertures might put the fish off the feed.
That evening the fishing was good, with a moderate breeze cutting the water surface and a fair degree of cloud cover. At the first stop, Phil had a small fish straight away, on just his third cast. We then headed into a large spawning bay and began to work our lures through the shallow margins. It was rather quiet for a couple of hours, we moved constantly and methodically hammered the reed lines. After a while we opted to try a slightly deeper area where the reeds pushed out into the lake and after a few casts I had a sudden heavy take. It quickly became apparent it was decent double figure fish. t was duly netted and weighed, pulling the scales around to a very respectabl 6.73kg. This fish took a Firetiger Pigshad jnr., a favourite lure of mine. After a few photographs, she was slipped safely back into the water and swam off strongly. A great stat! We continued to fish for another hour, but things wre inexplicably quiet. Eventually we headed back to the cabin for food and a social. We discussed the next days fishing and decided to head for the spawning bays again, felling there could be some big fish resting in the area...

 Nick Shaw with the heaviest fish of the trip. He left it late, taking this fish on the final evening session, when he and his brother took two good fish in quick succession.

Day two proved more difficult due to deteriorating weather, particularily a stronger wind from the northwest. Despite this, Phil and I enjoyed some wonderful fishing, taking several Pike during the morning session. The fish were striking lures aggressively and we had a fantastic bite period before the weather deteriorated badly and we decided to get off the water due to increasing wind. These lakes are not to be taken lightly, and the weather can turn nasty very quickly. We had five fish in total up to around 7lb., nothing huge, but extremely enjoyable nonetheless. In addition to the fish landed, we had several strikes on the lures, as well as some followers. We were loathe to return to the cabin, though the weather gave us little choice....
 Things deteriorated in the afternoon, as the wind continued to pick up strength. The evening was to prove a write off as the wind blasted down from the north and the thermometer plummeted. We were fearful that this might affect the fishing the next day, with Pike generally not like falling water tempertures at any time of the year. We stayed warm in the cabin, lit the fire and had a social that evening as the snow began to fall! This was to be a pattern of the coming days, with unseasonal, winter conditions and a strong wind hampering the fishing. On such a large body of water, strong wind required us to seek sheltered areas, mainly because of the wind chill factor.

 Sunset from directly outside our cabin

 I had a great trip and had a few good fish, this one came in at 5.16kg and slammed a weedless hidehook lure in bright yellow.

 Phil O Keeffe with a nice little jack...

 The weather was rather changeable throughout and was a big feature of the week, with some unseasonal winter weather making things rather tough.

Day three was tough, very tough. It was freezing cold and we struggled to catch. Nevertheless, we stuck it out and managed a couple of decent fish all the same. Under the circumstances, given the amount of work we had to put in, these were hard earned fish in very cold conditions. During the day we fished in a blizzard, whilst at another point we fished in warm sunshine as it snowed down vertically! As always, wildlife was everywhere, we enjoyed good views of a female Moose and a Beaver, whilst Bittern's boomed in the reededs and Marsh Harriers floated past us. The weather made it hard for us, but it was quite and experience on the lake that day. The fish we caught were generally small, though again there were a coupe around the 5/7lb. mark.

 Another angle on Nick Shaw's big ole girl...

Our final day was more promising weather wise, we awoke to sunshine and warmer conditions and promptly got out on the water. It was apparent the fish were rather reticent to bite and we had a number of half hearted strikes. Nevertheless, we had a great morning, topped by a good double that slammed into my lure in open water and gave a good scrap before we landed it. As the morning wore on, the weather improved and conditions became pleasant, very welcome after such a period of cold. Eventually, we did manage several fish, including the heaviest fish of the trip on a glorious final session in the evening. This fish fell to Nick Shaw and would prove the heaviest of the trip. Again, it came in the spawning bays. Despite the tough fishing over most of the trips duration it was thoroughly enjoyable fishing, with a few decent fish in the boat. What a wonderful place to wet a line. Many thanks to Phil O Keeffe, Andy Shaw and Nick Shaw for a fantastic weekend....

My largest fish, a cracking spawned out fish of 6.73kg. Both this and Nick's fish would of been pushing 20 pounds pre spawn.

Full video here taken from the GoPro over the four days....
Click on HD for best quality viewing.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Lure fishing for Pike; Lidingö; 6th April 2019

Above and below; A stunning pre spawn Pike in immaculate condition was very, ery welcome on the first session of the year afloat after Pike. The fish weighed 5.9kg (13lb. 2oz.). She took a small yellow Lunker City jig, with a 7g head, intended for Perch on the light rod combo, making for a hooped over, juddering fight on light gear. Whilst not a monster, a very good fish all the same and it certainly made my day after a long Swedish winter.

A day afloat was arrangd with Eddie Bowler on the boat from Lidingö during the week and I had looked forward to it all week after a long Swedish winter. With the boat in the water and the area now ice free we were finally able to get out fishing. We set off at 11am and headed out to a favoured spot on the archipelago, where we began to fish for both Pike and Perch, alternating between lighter and heavier outfits. In the first hour we had several large Bream on the Perch jigs. The side scan on the fishfinder showed they were here in their thousands, big slabs resting along the reedbeds over a large area of water. I had another hit and initially though the culprit another Bream, though after a short while I began to wonder. The fish seemd quite heavy and was swimming around on the bottom, whilst the rod gave slow, deep pulls. After a short while a tail broke the surface and the penny began to drop, despite the brief glimpse, I was now starting to wonder of this could be a decent Pike. I informed Ed to grab the net, who in turn was naturally convinced I was putting him on after all the Bream we had been having. I assured him I was not joking, he assured me I was. Then the fish came to the top, a few expletives echoed through the pines forests briefly, before Ed duly netted the fish. It was a stunning pre spawn Pike, in fantastic condition and it really did brighten our day.
 We soldiered on for the rest of the day, though it proved really tough. The water is only 4-7 degrees at the minute, depending on the location and this seems to affect fishing greatly. Location is the key and we struggled to find any fish. Depite this we really enjoyed the day and it was great to be back out afloat after predators once more. Lots more fishing to look forward to in the coming weeks, with lots of Pike fishing planned over the early spring period theis year. A great start and hopefully much more to come in 2019...

First Pike of 2019; Sickla Alle

 So this was the first Pike of 2019, caught on a short afterwork lure session close to Stockholm City.

The third fish of the session was the smallest, all three took within a 15 minute period

The first session on the Spring was looming over the weekend, the ice having finally melted as Spring finally began to take hold here in Stockholm. The afternoon on Thursday 4th April was particularily nice and I decided to do a short afterwork lure session, quickly grabbing a rod and a handful of lures and getting out onto the bank. On arrival, the water was found to be fairly murky, so I opted for a white bodied CWC PigShad Jnr. I wandered about on the far bank for a while without any action, before settling on a bouple of spots I had caught fish in the past for the moonset trigger time and it paid off. I had three small Pike in rapid succession in a 15 minute period, before things went quiet again and I headed off. Smash and grab fishing at it's best and a reminder how successful short seesions can be, often putting fish on the bank. A great start to the 2019 season...

Monday, March 25, 2019

Handmade Pike lures with holographic fiol

 Small tailbait for shallow water, with silver holographic foil and motoroil McMio tail. Owner trebles.

 Small shallow running jerkbait, with red holographic foil over natural wood finish.

 Large slow sinking Jerkbait, red holographic foil, handpainted. Finished with Owner treble hooks.

 Large Tailbait for shallow water, made with silver holographic foil. Screw on McMy Tail and Owner treble hooks.

Medium slow singing tailbait made with brown holographic foil, handpainted and finished with a motoroil tail and Owner treble hooks.

The latest batch of lures will be the last for this winter. Looking forward to testing these out soon and hopefully catching a few toothy critters on them. Watch this space...

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Pike fishing in 2018

My first pike of the year was at Kyrkviken in Stockholm, a small fish, but most welcome. The day itself was frustrating as we saw many fish, though they were preoccupied with spawning and were not interested in our lures for the most part.

A highlight of the year was the now annual trip to Dalälven, a superb location to fish for Pike and other species. We spent three days on the water and had a great time lure fishing, catching good numbers of Pike as well. The area is one of stunning beauty and it is a wonderful experience to spend time in such a location.

July was a month of searing hot weather and I spent a few weeks up north in Vasterbotten at that time. Fishing at the location of out summer cottage, I enjoyed fantastic sport with Pike on most evenings, with the fish hitting lures freely on most evenings. The fish in the area are not huge in summer, though they are present in good numbers and the sport is hectic at times. A few evenings were recorded with the GoPro cameras, with all four clips above assembled from footage shot during the visit.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

New Handmade Lures for Pike in 2019

 Tailbait, Mc Mio Tail and 1/0 Owner treble hooks fitted to handcarved oak body.

 Sinking Jerkbait; fitted with Owner 3/0 treble hooks

Above and Below; Large glidebait; fitted with Owner 3/0 treble hooks

 Tailbait; fitted with Mc Mio tail and Owner 3/0 treble hooks

 Glidebait; fitted with Owner 3/0 treble hooks

Tailbait; fitted with Mc Mio tail Owner 3/0 treble hooks

 Tailbait; fitted with Mc Mio tail Owner 3/0 treble hooks

 Glidebait; fitted with Owner 3/0 treble hooks

Images here of the result of this winter efforts at lurebuilding. I learnt a lot from my first batch last year and this year I was able to produce a much better results using this knowledge and a few new power tools, notalbly a jigsaw and an electric disc sander. All of these are handcarved for oak, carefully weighted with tungsten. They were painted by hand using acrylic colour and copper glitter. The tailbaits were all finished off with McMio tails by Claes Svartzonker, whilst the hooks are all Owner trebles, which I have found to be strong and very reliable. Looking forward to testing these out when the ice breaks up here in Stockholm, hopefully they will give me plenty of Pike. Having caught quite a few Pike on last years home made lures, I can say it really enhances the fishing experience to catch fish on a lure tht you have fashioned yourself. Hopefully these will bear the marks of Pike dentures before too long.

Monday, April 23, 2018

First day on the Water; 2018

Finally, after a cold, late winter the ice has finally cleared and the fishing season has begun. Eddie Bowler, Andy Shaw and myself got out over the weekend and spent the morning at a site out on the Stockholm Archipelago. A strong northwesterly wind made life very difficult however and we struggled as the steady breeze repeatedly pushed the boat out of position, making lure fishing very difficult. With just a single Perch of around a pound coming to my rod, we  were soon forced to rethink our plans for the day..
 Finally we decided to head for more sheltered water and eventually we located the Pike in the shallow waters at the top of a favoured area. The water tempature has rapidly risen to 10 degrees as this meant the Pike were preoccupied with spawning. We saw many fish splashing and rolling in the reedbed, with a few bigger females evident. As is often the case with preoccupied, spawning fish, we struggled to tempt many bites. Despite the obvious presence of a lot of fish, it seemed they had only one thing on their minds on the day. We all managed a few bites, though these were rather halfhearted and the only fish of the entire day was a single jack pike to my rod on a red/white Pigshad Jnr. Despite the tough conditions, it was great to be out on the water again and we now look forward to the 2018 fishing season and especially the post spawn fishing for Pike. Watch this space...

A short video here of the only fish of the day, the first Pike of 2018.