Is winter pike fishing more productive from boat or shore? I do not know, does the presence of a boat put the fish off the feed? Probably in the wrong hands, however in the company of Peadar O’Brien a pike angling guide with years of experience the term silent running comes to mind. I think Peadar was a Uboat captain in another life the way he glides his Kingfisher 19′ across the flat calm waters of a small Co. Cavan lake. The pike feel safe, they do not know we are there, and the proof is apparent as Peadar’s float slides under, fish on.
Float drifting for pike is a great way to fish. You need a fish finder/echo sounder for best results. Set up two rods with sliding floats and adjust the depth relative to the drop offs where the fodder fish lie up, the pike will not be too far away. Today Peadar and I were fishing whole fresh rainbow trout at five metres depth working a drop off that varied between 7 – 9 meters. Fish, most likely roach, were showing 4 meters below the boat. The idea is to work the baits about thirty meters behind the boat slowly rowing or using the wind (with oar adjustments) to stay in line with the drop off. Pike will spot the bait and attack it.
That first pike was played to the side of the boat only to open its mouth and drop the bait, that after being played for at least three minutes, pike are mighty aggressive. A short while later I got a run only to pull the bait from its mouth on the strike. Immediately letting the bait sit hoping the pike might return my luck held and shortly after a well conditioned eight pounder graced the boards. A pattern was forming, the pike were not coming full blooded to the bait more intent to mouth it.
Searching various holes these Co. Cavan fish were hard earned. Towards days end Peadar connected with a well conditioned ten pounder which initially pulled the float under only to lose interest before turning and absolutely nailing the bait. Shortly after on the same drift my float went under, reappeared before sliding away. I could feel the double knock as the fish drew line before striking into nothing. You win some lose some, the story of the session. No matter we had two fish to the boat, one lost at the side, and three dropped runs. It had been a fine day in Cavan, frosty and still, Peadar on his return home from sunnier climes had his first pike of the year, all is right with the world.