Big Fish Column: Summer pike provide scintillating sport if anglers take care

Ian Welch

Big Fish Column: Summer pike provide scintillating sport if anglers take care

Chris Lowe with a very big summer pike

There was a mixed bag of results from around the local fisheries in a week that saw carp spawning, tench feeding and some very un-seasonal pike showing up.

It is rare to report on pike captures at this time of year as most anglers tend to fish for them during the autumn and winter months but summer pike can provide scintillating sport – if you take care.

Pike tend to be very out of condition during the early spring months as they are the first species to spawn but come summer they have usually started to get back into shape, are feeding hard and full of energy. The fact they are so full of energy is, of course, why you need to take care when pike fishing during the warmer months as the combination of higher water temperatures, lower oxygen concentrations and a big pike exhausted from a long fight do not always sit comfortably.

But, providing you exercise care in landing and return, summer pike are serious fun, especially on lure tactics and it was indeed a lure that brought the superb 25lb pike pictured here to the net of Chris Lowe last week during a session on Reading venue Lake Savage. Chris was on an exploratory visit to the fishery testing a new range of ‘Savage Gear’ 3D roach lures when the big snapper attacked.

Moving along to the more traditional summer species and tench fishing is currently at its peak for the year with plenty of action on all venues, from the small lakes and commercials to the big, windswept pits. The best specimen reported locally last week was a cracker of 8lb 6oz that fell to the strawberry flavoured sweetcorn offered by Marlow’s Giles Allen. Giles fished the groundbait feeder to tempt the fish, along with three others in the 5lb range.

Onto the local commercials and Maidenhead’s Finch Farm is looking in fine form at present with some big bream and plenty of good carp showing. Corn over pellets in the margins is a tactic well worth trying on the Anaconda Stream and Sam Sweeney did just that to net bream to 5lb and carp to 11lb in a rod-bending day of action that saw him put together a big net of fish.

There were signs of carp spawning activity on a few venues last week but there were plenty of good carp to be caught too with reports of fish to 18lb from Winkfield’s Royal Berkshire and 22lb from Theale’s Island Lake.

At Royal Berkshire a mirror of 18lb was the best of a four-fish catch by Windsor rod Anthony Fielding, who presented small luncheon meat baits tight to the island on Lake One. At Theale a 48-hour session resulted in one fish lost and one in the bag for local carper Fred Craven. A big fish lost in snags in the middle of the night made for a disappointing start to Fred’s outing but he made amends in heavy rain the following morning when his pop-up boilie was taken by a fish of 22lb 2oz.

Rain – and more rain forecast – means the rivers should be in great condition for the opening on the 16th – even if it could be a damp start for those making the traditional midnight start. A full round up of all of the early season action in the column next week.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at ian@bigfishtrail.com

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