Mysteries of Pike fishing

PUBLISHED: 10:00 16 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:13 17 June 2010

I have never been interested in pike fishing and my best pike was four pounds, caught by accident writes Martin Wright.

I have never been interested in pike fishing and my best pike was four pounds, caught by "accident".Now was the time to broaden my horizons, so I decided to try for a pike on the Exeter Canal.My first trip was a failure, as the whole of the canal was completely frozen over - I was told this had not happened for some years. I did go again a week later, with some idea as to how I could catch this cunning predator. The Exeter Canal water is run by the Exeter Angling Association and extends to 11/2 miles. It is ideal for "roving fishing tactics" - the same sort of principle as fly fishing for river trout.I used two methods. Firstly, I tried spinning and then a method I had read about but never tried.This was the "sink and draw" technique. The bait, in this case a sandeel, is cast out and allowed to sink to the bottom. No weight is used. The bait is then drawn back to the surface in a series of pulls. The canal is ideal for this method of fishing, as the average depth is 12 feet.I covered about three quarters of a mile of canal, but caught nothing. I spoke to a fellow roving angler, who had caught a 10 pound pike on a deep diving plug an hour earlier.My interest in pike fishing has been aroused and I must try again soon. I am told another good pike venue is Trenchford Reservoir on Dartmoor. The Exe and Culm also hold pike.I am looking forward to springtime when bass fishing should start to be worthwhile. My intention is to try more plug fishing for bass on light tackle. The range of plugs available is extensive, from "deep divers" to "surface poppers". More experimenting and trial and error in store for me ahead - which is part of the fun.For those who do not fish, a plug is a piece of plastic, sometimes jointed to give more action, 3 to 5 inches long, shaped to represent a small fish.I have never really given this sort of fishing a serious try, having mostly fished for bass with a static legered bait. What appeals to me is that it is another form of roving fishing. I prefer to keep on the move. Three hours sitting on a beach, lake or river bank, fishing a static bait is about the limit my restless mind can take.Everybody is different and I do admire the persistence of those sea and carp anglers who will fish the same spot for 48 hours or more. Last year I spoke to one carp angler who was just starting fishing at 7pm in the evening when I was packing up. He had a tent, or 'bivvy', sleeping bag and cooking gear. He told me he would fish all night until 7am the next morning and then go to work!He would sleep in the tent only to be woken by his electric buzzer alarms if a carp took his bait. If bites were frequent I should think he was very tired the next day!There was a slight misprint in my last article. One sentence should have read: 'Squabmoor has produced roach to over three pounds and is rumoured to hold perch over five pounds'.

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