A Ladies Pike: 19-02-2017 Instagram @heels_and_reels

The plan went off without a hitch and the flock was gathered at ~1030. Not an altogether early start but this was not really agenda anyway, we were simply out for a relaxing afternoon session to end at dusk and then back home. It has been a while since I have had the pleasure of a bit of Macedonian Mafiapike fishing with Mr Stojanovski but as luck would have it, neither of us would be crowned the victor for this outing. That accolade was given to Miss Rachael Hartis aka @heels_and_reels. She has developed quite a taste for angling, and showing us both how it is done with her last two outings smashing her previous personal bests in two different species. Refer to my last post for details.

16807354_1657871990896229_7756403738312377816_nWe arrived at our destination and with our permits purchased, headed off to our respective swims to begin the game of tempting out a waiting croc or two. As was quite customary for us, the beginning of the session was quite slow but soon warmed up with an initial take for Rachael. Mr Stojanovski fared less well, with not a sniff all day. Due to the nature of the venue, this was very much to be a ‘sit and wait’ tactical battle rather than a ‘cast and move.’ There is simply not enough water to rove at will here, but this did not detract us from flogging the water to a froth with the lure rods, looking for likely hiding places for a lurking pike. This technique proved to be a cast too far as I managed to stick a brand new Savage Gear 4play soft lure in a tree. That’ll be the end of that then…

16681755_1657872340896194_736326359732350323_nAround 1330, Rachael had a take but failed to capitalise. However, around an hour later she struck into a cheeky fish. I could see that this was by far her best pike to date and didn’t want to spook her into losing it. Unfortunately, the pike made a bolt for deep cover and became snagged up in submerged tree branches. Luckily she had good quality Berkely braid on her Shimano Navi XSA reel which held her in good stead, she hung on and with a change of fortune the fish made a quick break for freedom and was swiftly bagged in the net my yours truly. On unhooking the fin perfect 11lb 9oz pike, it was clear that it was hooked properly on the custom rig I had prepared. I like to use small single hoUp closeoks as this makes for easy unhooking. See the link here for material and equipment needed to make these for yourself. Trust me, they have landed river pike up to 21lb before now, so I know they work.

Fish bagged and released safely. Stoked! See the video here

A couple of hours past by before Rachael had yet another run, this time, she missed the take. Seeing her dismay I did the only gentlemanly thing I could think of and plonked my bait directly in the spot she had her previous bite. Bingo, not 30 minutes later I was into a reasonable fish. Then, disaster struck, I was promptly snapped off without warning as the scaly creature made a run directly under the rod tip. Total karma for poaching I suppose, to this day I will not know if it was my braid that fMoomins Pikeailed from a weak point, my drag was set just a bit too tight, or the line had got caught between the pike’s jaws somehow. Anyway, it was gone. Another good thing about using small unobtrusive rigs, is that if this does happen, the fish is far less likely to come to harm from a large dangling hunk of terminal tackle in its mouth, full of treble hooks. I never use titanium rigs either as they are, in my humble opinion, too tough and will never corrode away over time. Good old Drenan pike wire is all you need, and some skill in manufacturing a decent rig with strong hooks.

After our excitement, we congratulated ourselves on a day well spent, even if not everyone caught, tackled down and headed home. A cracking day, in a stunning part of Scotland. Until the next time, tight lines.

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