21 February 2014

Pike at Weir Wood Reservoir

After a few sessions perch fishing I caught the predator bug and decided to target pike at my chosen venue Weir Wood Reservoir in Forest Row. Weir Wood Reservoir is a large expanse of water of approximately 300 acres but is by far a featureless hole. Many secluded bays line the perimeter of this gigantic piece of water and its perfect for specimen pike fishing. I believe the reservoir was dug out in the 1950s and is used for general water supply. The target is a 20lb+ pike or even a high double as my current PB of the species is only mid doubles. I haven't put in the time for these species as I have with the others but hopefully this year I can winkle out a couple of decent fish by putting in the effort but it wont be easy on a water like this. I have only until the 31st of March until the end of the pike season so I have my work cut out.
Weir Wood Reservoir holds pike to over 30lb with potential for a 40lb fish but the key statistic is that there a plenty of 20lb fish. There may be plenty of 20lb pike but there is also plenty of water for them to hide. To maximise my chances I will use the boats available for hire to access all the secluded areas of the lake and cover as much water as as possible.
 
22/02/14 - I arrived at the venue early morning to find a mass of coloured water being battered by a strong easterly wind creating waves one would see at the seaside. It was bitter to say the least and with the consistent rain it was unforgiving however, I was here and I was going to fish. I must be mad I said to myself as I began to check out venue and have a chat with the bailiff who provided me with some great information on the lake and its stock.After having a look about I set to work and baited two rods, one with a roach and the other with a lamprey deadbait. I enhanced these deadbaits by piercing them and pumping in some Predator Plus liquid attractant made by Bait Quest. The water was extremely milky and no visual baits would have been effective. I wanted to try and make the bait easy for a pike to find when following his senses and this attractant seemed like the perfect booster for the job.
 
By mid day I was soaked to the bone and frozen solid so I decided to end the trip early and retreat to the comfort of my car to warm up. I caught no fish but have a great idea of what to expect at the venue. I now know the access areas, depths, parking, general rules, bailiff and the stock so the trip was no waste of time. Now the challenge has begun and I hope I can winkle out a couple of pike from this great water. I will keep you posted.

23/02/14 - After my first session on the huge Weir Wood reservoir I decided to plan a full day trip and try to cover as much water as possible and increase my chance of the PB pike. I packed the carp barrow into the car and that allowed me to carry my kit over a mile to my starting swim. My plan was to fish a small bay half way down the reservoir and fish each likely looking pike holding area on the way back to the car.

I arrived at the lake at 7am and made my way down to the fishing tackle shop located on site. After a quick chat with the bailiff John I loaded the barrow and began my long walk along the reservoir. The lake looked completely different to when I had previously visited when the weather was atrocious. The water had turned from a milky brown to a dark blue and the waves had vanished. It was stunning and although it was not the best pike weather I was happy to be warm and dry in great surroundings.

I fished hard all day and tried five likely looking swims but was unable to get a take. The water level extremely high due to the excessive rain and many trees are submerged with an overhang of up to twenty five feet. This seemed ideal for pike hiding in the snags ready to ambush its prey but after trying some of these "bank accessible" areas I still was fish less. This is a situation where a boat comes into its own and I will defiantly be booking a boat to access these areas not accessible from the bank. The day ended and I didn't have a bite.

Although this is blank number two at Weir Wood it has not disheartened me at all. I love a challenge and the more blanks I receive, the harder I try and the more I will fish. I will be back next week to continue my quest and will keep you updated. Only a month left of the pike season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

29/02/14 - I am writing this on the 28/02/14 prior to my planned fishing session at Weir Wood Reservoir with my brother tomorrow. We have booked a boat and I have purchased some small rainbow trout that I am hoping will give me an edge based on the logic that the reservoir holds many trout and so this must form part of the pikes staple diet. With the boat I will be able to explore the lake thoroughly and fish more locations then possible from the bank in hope of finding that monster. To be honest I just want to get off the mark and land a pike from the venue, then I can continue to concentrate on my target of a 20lb+ pike. I will keep you updated.

My brother and I arrived at the lake at 8am ready to head out on the boat in search of a pike. I have to say that the boats at Weir Wood are extremely well equipped with a powerfull Honda engine and two comfortable fixed seats that twist to suit your fishing angle. The weather was sunny and warm which was great for us but not so good for the fishing.

During the day we tried numerous swims up and down the reservoir but could not manage a take for love nor money. We tried the deep water, shallow water, margins,open water, spinners, shads and deadbaits but could not locate the fish. Although we didn't catch the day was great and it certainly beat sitting indoors. My brother and I had a right laugh and the weather was great. I did manage to catch a crayfish that took a liking to my trout deadbait but that was the only one highlight of the day.

After speaking to the bailiff I have acquired a new piece of information that may help me locate these elusive pike. I will keep you posted.

08-03-14 - With my newly acquired information I was down Weir Wood for another session. I had heard that some pike had been out recently and that they were beginning to spawn in the shallow flood water so I didn't exactly know what to expect from the days fishing. Today I travelled as light as possible with only a rucksack, two rods and a small rover chair. The idea was to head as far up the reservoir as possible and fish a few swims back down to the entrance of the lake covering as much water as is possible from the bank.

I arrived at the furthest swim that I could fish from and chucked two deadbaits out into shallow water of around 3ft. As I sat down watching the water talking to a new member of the lake a pike swirled close in. This was a great sign and I was confident I had located the fish and a Pike was on the cards. To cut a long story short (again) I caught nothing and this tallied up a forth consecutive blank at Weir Wood.

When I was leaving the venue the sunset was amazing and I got some great pictures (right). The weather was bright and sunny all day which didn't do the fishing any favours. Ideally I would hand pick my days out on the bank but with work and family commitments I have to go when I can go, so its all or nothing. I will be back this week and with the pike season extended to the end of April I will catch my fish.

5 February 2014

Flooding 2014

05-02-14 - The rain has been consistent now for a couple of months, showing no signs of slowing down and has caused devastation across Britain. Many people have had their homes destroyed due to the torrential rain so complaining about conditions from a fishing perspective seems a bit shallow so before I begin my rant regarding fishing I just want to highlight the fact that I am fully aware and saddened by the devastation caused.

My local lakes are in full flood and have been tapped off for safety reasons. The water is over three feet above the path connecting two of the main lakes and worry has set in with thoughts of escaping carp from my small fishing paradise. Although the rain has been consistent so has the mild temperatures making the fishing fairly pleasant for early February.

I have turned my attention to still waters due to many rivers being unfishable but am keeping a keen eye on water levels to hopefully get a few sessions in before closed season, the dreaded March 15th.
 
I am currently fishing a commercial lake for some large stripies posted below and hope to have a few winter carp sessions at Farlows and Thorney Weir however my main quarry this winter is large roach. Hopefully I can target these from a river before the closed season but conditions would have to improve dramatically for that to become feasible. Its looking like some long sessions on some large gravel pits and I cant wait. I will keep you posted, hopefully on my success and not failure.

Please post any information you have on the current condition of your river below.