I look forward to February for Pike Fishing every season and try to do as many sessions as I can during this time to maximise chances of crossing paths with a large Pike! After struggling through December and January I had finally got round to investing in an echo sounder to use on my Inflatable Fox boat in the hope that I could locate some bait fish leading to some Pike.
The weather certainly wasn't on my side for the first time out with the echo but I launched anyway despite it been a little more windy than I'd have liked. I just wanted to see if the echo would find anything interesting or not and after battling up stream against the wind for about a kilometre I wasn't disappointed! As clear as anything on the screen showed an enormous shoal of bait fish about 30 yards long, mostly Roach I believe with a few larger shapes underneath them which I assumed to be Pike or Perch. Well at least I knew where I was heading to have a go next week from the bank!
Next Monday I headed straight to where I'd found some Roach and sure enough there were plenty of Pike about with a take on a Lamprey coming within minutes from a nice clean jack of about 8lb. By 7:30am I'd already landed 3 Pike to low doubles and by 1:30pm when I packed up I'd managed 10 Pike to 13lb, not a bad day at all and showed the value of finding the bait fish. Shortly after this session the weather took a turn for the worse as the country took a battering from two storms in the space of a week with winds over 60 to 70mph which made drain fishing impossible. Getting fed up of the battering winds is when I turned my attention to a gravel pit for a change of scenery and some shelter!
My first session on a large gravel pit was a breath of fresh air as I lazily arrived around lunchtime just content to be there and enjoy some sheltered fishing whilst relaxing in my chair. I didn't get much chance to relax as my left hand rod pulled out the clip an hour after arriving with a pretty jack around 8lb on the end. The action continued all afternoon with five Pike landed up to 14lb with most bites coming to half lamprey as usual. I could get used to this gravel pit Piking!
Over the next couple of weeks I enjoyed some fairly good short sessions landing one or two Pike most trips with the best a beautifully marked 18lber. The action slowly tapered off as the end of February drew closer with no more decent fish turning up apart from a few jacks caught on lures from the reed lined margins. But I'd certainly return next season for another go.
I decided to spend the last day of the River season on the drains with a friend to do some float trolling from the boat using live baits. We met in the darkness at first light to inflate the boat and get everything ready before setting off in the half-light with a couple of live Roach bobbing about slowly beneath the floats. We also had the Lowrance Fish finder set up too which was very handy as before long we spotted some larger grey shapes appear on the side scan which seemed to be larger fish and quite likely Pike.
Once the floats went over the area our suspicions were confirmed as one of the floats vanished from view and braid was quickly ripped from the Baitrunner! Unfortunately it came off but an encouraging start to the day. The pattern of seeing a few shapes on the echo and then a float vanishing a few seconds later carried on throughout the morning and we ended up with a couple of jacks and a low double Pike each for our efforts. Once the sun was high around lunchtime the action dried up but it was a great way to end the season and a very enjoyable day out in the boat that we will certainly be doing more of.
I always feel a bit sad every time the Pike season comes to an end but the beginning of April was a fresh start on a new carp syndicate that I was looking forward to, so quickly on to the next adventure!
You can get more of an insight into one of the Gravel Pit sessions on our Youtube channel below,