Posts Tagged ‘Pike’

Ghost Predators

Monday, January 14th, 2013

A hard frost lay on the ground as we approached the secluded lake through a foggy murk, moorhens dipped and splashed while a family of swans glided across the mirror calm water. Dank and cold, David and Robbie pointed to where they had landed five pike to 9.lbs plus and experienced numerous runs throughout the session not a fortnight previous. That day was warm and breezy from the south, today being chilly, grey, and still conditions couldn’t have been more different. Discussing the possibilities while choosing our respective swims, we set off around the frost encrusted bank to stake a claim before proceeding to tackle up.

A small lake pike for angler David Murphy.

Each fishing a ledgered popped up dead bait along with a roving sliding float set up, we cast onto a weed bed covered by ten foot of water lying about fifty meters off shore. Using frozen roach and dace for bait on this occasion runs were scarce, six for the day converted into one medium pike. That said, noticing a line straightening, a float dipping before sliding under, or the sound of a pod buzzer creates a level of excitement only anglers can identify with. Yes there is frustration when one leans into a running fish and the connection doesn’t materialise, however the electricity generated narrows the quite gaps in between while sustaining the determination to carry on. “The next one will be a lunker“. As the fog closed in and light faded around five bells three lads knew it was 5 – 1 to old Esox, but that’s OK aren’t we anglers not fishermen. “Where are we going next week?”

Pike on a Roll

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Pike fishing and the south east of Ireland are rarely uttered in the same breath, this winter however David Murphy has bucked the trend, seeking out and connecting with old Esox in a variety of still water, canal, and river locations close to his home base of Carlow. Fishing ledgered and float presented dead baits David has landed numerous pike up to eleven pound in weight. Targeting a twenty before the spawning season gets into full swing, who wouldn’t bet on him achieving his goal.

Irish pike from a backwater tempted by ledgered roach.

On this occasion David set off early on a misty morning to a canal venue which is presently fishing very well for silvers. Ledgering a dead roach, his one and only run resulted in the fish photographed. Weighing about 6/7 pounds it won’t set the pike world on fire, but it continues Dave’s hot streak while adding further to his bank of pike lore.

See also: Pike from a Bog Lake.

Further reading: Trigger Happy Pike.

Pike from a Bog Lake

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Success in fishing is derived through layering of experience, in essence a combination of theory and practice. To that pairing one can add the routine of regular fishing trips. Knowledge gained of fishy behaviour in tandem with natures changing cycles becomes stored in the subconscious, where at a future date and time, the angler confronted by a particular set of conditions, seemingly without thinking makes a correct tactical choice which results in a good fish.

A ten pound Irish pike from a little bog lake.

David Murphy and his fishing buddy Robbie have pike fished a local water on a number of occasions over the past twelve months building up a body of knowledge. Allowing for the time of year, it is no surprise that their last two visits have resulted in some excellent returns, with four pike to 11.lbs gracing the bank yesterday.

Playing a double figure pike on the bog lake.

Building on experience gleaned from previous trips the lads successfully employed both ledgered and float fished dead baits, roach and dace on this foray, resulting in a cracking afternoons fishing on what was a calm, bright, frosty, day.

Pike Fishing in Ireland. Trigger Happy Pike

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Anglers who fish for large predators such as pike talk about triggers, those little understood factors which motivate the fish to commence hunting or feeding. Fluctuations in water temperature, atmospheric pressure, stages of the lunar cycle, amount of light, pure hunger, or combinations of all play a part in rousing the predatory instinct. One day a water known to hold pike can seem devoid of fish, the next it comes alive, Saturday the 24th of November being a fine example of the latter.

A double figure pike for David Murphy caught on float fished roach.

A cold frosty morning found David Murphy rigging up at a favourite pike water. Employing two outfits both baited with roach, he float fished one and ledgered the other. Having fished the venue on a number of occasions his best haul to date had been a couple of fish. Little did David know when lobbing out his first rig, that this trip was set to go down in the annals.

A fine Irish pike from a small water.

In David’s own words: “It was a ripper of a day, the rods were flying off the stands, we must of had about 8-9 runs. The two pike were caught on the floats using dace and roach. The ledgered baits produced a number of runs of which there were two screamers. On one the line shot off the spool nearly causing a birds nest, this happened twice. You couldn’t leave the rods as about every 15 mins or so there was a fish on. The pike Robbie caught actually broke the top treble hook and we lost three pike by the bank, it was a cracker of a day.”

What more can you say, well done lads, that’s why we go fishing……….

Click on: Playing the Pike Percentages.

Urban Pike

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

The river Barrow has a large pike tradition, many to specimen size having been landed over the years. However, as this writer knows only too well, they do not give themselves up easy. Like any form of fishing, building up a bank of experience is the key to success, with a little luck thrown in of course. That said, anglers make their own luck, usually by researching their chosen quarry, methods, tactics, and most importantly putting the time in fishing.

Pike fishing in Ireland. A fine River Barrow pike landed by David Murphy on ledgered dead roach.

Having done his homework David Murphy chose a swim noted for its coarse fishing potential, regularly delivering good bags of roach, dace, and hybrids to match anglers. Occasionally a pike or two tempted by rich pickings advertises its presence by attacking a hooked fish destined for the keep net. Aware of this fact David sussed a couple of pikey locations and ledgered a dead roach presented on a running paternoster. Result, three runs and his first ever river pike knocking eight pounds plus.

Summer Piking

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

David Murphy loves to catch predatory fish, especially pike, bull huss, and conger, goes with the territory I suppose given that he is the bass guitarist with up and coming metal band AeSect. Ledger fishing a local pond with frozen roach bait David was initially pestered with small jack pike, then he got a more purposeful run.

David Murphy with a nice summer pike tempted by frozen roach.

Biding his time David struck and connected with a lively fish which gave him the run around before being netted. Close to ten pound weight the pike was carefully unhooked and released, swimming off to fight another day.

Pike From a New Water.

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Living in Wexford I do not have access to great pike fishing and invariably have to travel. Yes, Blessington isn’t a million miles away and does reward experienced regulars with large fish, but for consistent sport Cork, the north east counties, and Longford/Roscommon/Leitrim are the places to visit. Long range piking is hit and miss in terms of catches, keeping an ear close to the ground helps, invariably though it’s a question of using the noodle, trying out new venues, and keeping a record of conditions and returns.

Waiting for a run, pike fishing in Ireland.

Sunday the 12th of February dawned foggy and still, conditions that would persist throughout the day, and with air temperatures hovering around 7 degrees David and I felt confident of a result from our planned trip to the north east. Choosing a water that had intrigued me for a number of years we did our homework, collected fresh rainbow trout for bait, and headed off. Two and a half hours later we pulled in at the venue chose our swim and set up.

Playing a small pike from an Irish lake.

Depth increased gradually from the forested shoreline to a drop off approximately ten meters out which quickly fell away and bottomed out at I believe ten meters. Ledgering fresh rainbow with the tail cut off to reduce spinning and release blood David cast to just beyond the lip, while I placed a bait well into the deep. Tightening up and setting the bait runners we waited. Within a half hour my line dramatically dropped, a slack liner I lifted the rod and carefully wound in to connect, the line kept dropping. Reeling harder I struck into nothing, so continued on to inspect the bait, teeth marks said it all.

David with a well conditioned Irish jack pike.

Twenty seconds later line began peeling off Davy’s reel, the same fish it had to be, counting to ten he struck into nothing, “that’s one lucky fish”. From then on David’s rod was charmed, suffering another dropped run David eventually connected with number three. Not big it gave a good scrap though and was in perfect condition, beautifully mottled. Shortly afterwards line began peeling again, after another lively tussle a similar sized jack was landed, and that was it for the day.

Perfect winter conditions for pike dead baiting.

On another occasion they could have been doubles or bigger, that’s fishing though. Five runs, two fish, a nice day out, and further knowledge gained. Talking to local people out walking, the water is known for medium sized pike, but fish to 28 lb have been recorded. David and I witnessed the potential and most definitely will be back, an abiding memory being a heavy swirl amongst a shoal of roach fry as light closed in….

Cavan Pike.

Friday, January 13th, 2012

A pike fishing trip to Co. Cavan with Gary and Dave bore testament to the old saying, “It’s not about catching but being there that counts”, or words to that effect. Rising at 06.00am to partake in the first of a number of planned “hopefully weekly” sessions after Esox lucius, we pointed the car northwards for the 130 mile journey to our chosen water. Equipped to both lure and bait fish the weather could not have been more clement, with the air temperature registering 10 degrees, blue sky and fluffy clouds, a marked contrast to the icy cold of January last.

Gary Robinson displays a hungry Co. Cavan jack pike.

Arriving at our chosen destination we quickly set up dead bait rigs and cast out to varying distances ranging from about 15 to 40 meters. Gary offered ledgered mackerel and a popped up roach, while Davy and I plumped for whole fresh rainbow trout.  Fishing into a hole which dropped off to 30 plus feet the venue had been good to us last year with pike into double figures. Setting up a lure rig and leaving the dead bait to fish away I walked towards a likely corner and cast a rubber Storm roach towards some reeds. The lure hit bottom after about seven seconds and I commenced to sink and draw. Fanning my casts, on about the tenth attempt my jerk rod arched over. A hungry jack skittered across the surface, how he engulfed the bait I’ll never know, but what colouring, a beautiful fish.

Storm roach lure and Shimano reel.

By 14.30pm and with no more pike forthcoming we decided on a move to an adjacent lake. Shallower but with the water temperature registering 7.2 degrees we reckoned that fish might move in close. Casting a range of dead bait rigs up to fifty meters out into about eight to ten foot of water we waited for developments. Again fishing was slow, but as dusk closed in my bait runner started giving line. Gently lifting the rod I counted to five then leaned into the fish. My ten foot rod curved into a light resistance, shortly after another jack pike hit the bank.

A Co. Cavan Jack pike, what beautiful colouration.

Perfect in every way, Gary carefully unhooked the fish before slipping it back gently into the water. By now a glorious sunset was closing off the day, windless and still it was a joy to be out, the lake reflecting its surroundings, a beautiful setting. Only two jacks punctuated this trip, but hey they could easily have been doubles and at least we caught. The sky filled with purple, pink, and blue as the sun set behind the drumlins. Ireland maybe deep in recession but days and evenings like this help relieve the gloom. Fishing, you can’t beat it…..

Winter sunset in Co. Cavan, Ireland.

For further reading click on: Pike Hatrick in Co. Cavan.

For further reading click on: Piking Afloat.

For further reading click on: Dave’s First Pike.

Seasonal Pike.

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Itching to christen his new pike kit David Murphy headed towards a local midlands water. Not having fished the lake before and on his first session of the winter season, Dave’s first priority on arrival was to assess the venue. Deciding to fish close to a reed bed on the far side he set up his 12′ Shimano rod matched with a 6000 size bait runner reel, before casting a dead roach bait into a likely corner close to the reeds. Ledgering, it wasn’t long before the rod top nodded and line spilled off the reel. Striking, Dave felt a light resistance and shortly afterwards landed a jack of about five pounds.

A nice double figure Irish pike for David Murphy from a midland venue.

Coming up to lunchtime David connected with a larger pike which after a five minute fight was surprisingly lost at the net, only being lightly hooked in the lip. Well into double figures, a disappointed Dave re baited and cast into the same hole. Ten minutes later his perseverance was rewarded when he wound into a purposeful slack line bite. This time there was no mistake and after a spirited tussle a fine well conditioned pike graced the bank. Carefully unhooked, Dave placed the grand fish back in the water where it swam off to fight another day.


Coarse Fishing in Ireland, Athy Marina, Co. Kildare.

Friday, February 11th, 2011

The River Barrow rises in the Slieve Bloom Mountains, Co. Laois, flowing in a south easterly direction through counties Laois, Kildare, Carlow, and Wexford, before meeting the sea below the town of New Ross. Ireland’s second longest river at 192 km from source to sea, the river Barrow is navigable from St Mullins in Co Carlow to Athy in Co. Kildare, a distance of some 68 km. An essential drainage artery historically linked to the spread of christianity, colonisation, and commerce, today the Barrow has a significant role to play both as a tourism resource and social outlet.

Anglers coarse fishing the marina, a venue smack in the centre of Athy town, Co. Kildare, Ireland.
The Barrow is a superb mixed fishery within whose waters reside coarse fish such as roach, perch, rudd, bream, dace, and the mighty pike. Brown trout populate the faster flowing stretches, while salmon and sea trout return annually along with the mysterious shad, a herring like fish which enters the river from the sea in May, to spawn at the head of the tide close to the village of St. Mullins. Coarse fishing on the river has become increasingly popular spearheaded by two local clubs, the Athy and District Anglers, and Carlow Coarse Angling Club.

A large River Barrow Perch for angler Ian Warburton.

Gerry McStraw is the progressive chairman of Carlow Coarse Angling Club, a recent conversation with him elicited information that the marina at Athy was fishing its socks off and would be well worth a visit. Having heard of the venue but never fished it I had visions of floating pontoons, pleasure cruisers, and narrow boats, the reality was not what I expected. A derelict development site smack in the middle of Athy, adjacent to the Barrow and connected by a narrow channel, it has become an oasis for fish of all descriptions particularly when the river is in flood.

Carlow Coarse Angling Club chairman Gerry McStraw with 31.lbs of Athy marina, Co. Kildare, roach, dace, and hybrids.

Leased annually by the Athy and District Anglers, preliminary works have created twenty six fishing pegs including two with disabled access. Day tickets at €5.00 or annual membership of €20.00 can be purchased at Griffen Hawe on Athy main street, or by contacting John Shaughnessy, email: What an amazing fishery, in four relaxed hours Gerry and his friend Ian Warburton amassed an incredible 62.lbs of roach, hybrids, dace, and perch all returned to fight another day. This facility should be made a permanent fixture, as a tourism venue for visiting anglers and a social outlet in particular for youth it has tremendous potential. There are few towns in Europe hosting fishing of this quality, Kildare County Council, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Waterways Ireland, and whoever forms the next Government please take note…

Further reading: Feeder Fishing, River Barrow, Athy, Co. Kildare.