The boat is getting a lockdown clean and it’s helping me pass on some time. I’m a rough arse piker so it was in a shit state after a short winter campaign, but it’s starting to look pretty nice now. Even the grubby seats have been cleaned, they are like brand new again.
Can’t bloody find anywhere open that’s selling paint. I want to give it a new coat of paint on the inside but everywhere is bloody shut, tha can’t buy owt these days. Not sure I’ll paint the outside, as after a bit of a scrub it doesn’t look too bad I reckon. I’ll see how I get on with the inside first. I decided to take the old decals off and gave it a polish up. Still needs a bit more doing but that’s tomorrows job.
Ok so as some of you have seen, i’ve been doing my best to keep myself busy with a few fishing related jobs over the last week or so. So that’s me sorted for this lockdown, but how are you guys coping? Well I haven’t forgotten you. While I can’t get out and make a fishing video, i can make a fishing related video and i’ve been doing just that.
Over on the Riverpiker Youtube channel I have started on a series of mini videos. Tips, questions, answers and more. If you haven’t seen any of these videos yet then click this link to see the playlist, which will grow and grow over the next month and a bit at least. I’ll have videos out every two or three days, not always long ones, but it’s something and you might find something useful or just have a laugh.
Now while i’m not going to tell you exactly what we have in store for you, i can tell you now that i’ve also roped in a few guys to help me. We’ve kept to the social distancing rules and each person is doing it from their own home. Now i may have given the guys a bit of an idea what kind of thing i wanted, 2-10 minute videos, I never really asked for specifics so it will be good to see what these guys can add to the channel. I think it’s good to hear other ideas and see how other people do things.
So first up after my intro couple of videos will be Neil Lorriman who you will have seen on plenty of my more recent youtube videos. I’ve also managed to get Dermot Ogle on board, a real top angler who has many years experience fishing in the UK, Ireland before that and even in Europe. I’ve also managed to persuade Martin Smith of MSCustomflies to do me a video or two. While we often put fly fishing and lure fishing in seperate catagories, at the end of the day we are using immitation baits to lure a fish. It will be good to see something different and hear some tips from one of the top fly anglers in the country.
Not enough? Well how about a live Q and A session starting tonight (weds 8th April) at around 18:30. I’ll be joined in the live web chat by my buddy Neil and we’ll be there to chat fishing, have a laugh and answer a few questions. So make sure you click this link later today and join us. I’ll do the usual alerts on other forms of social media so you won’t forget.
Already I’m looking forward to some winter pike fishing in the boat. But with this lockdown looking like its here to stay a good while yet, I need to find something to pass the time on. For now I’ve still got plenty to do but at the rate I’m getting through the little jobs it’s not going to see me through the summer lockdown.
So I’ve brought the boat home from storage and I’ve squeezed it in to the garage. There’s a few bits I can do. It needs a clean and a good tidy up. Maybe I might even look at giving it a coat or two of paint. But for now I just got distracted sorting all my lures out. Ah well.
Well at least I’m a little bit more organised. Looks like I got everything I need but I’m sure I’ll think of something else. Actually, I’ve just remembered I need to make some wire traces. So that’s a good thing then, still something left to do. 🤘
This lockdown is a right bummer innit! But at least I’m still getting plenty of jobs done. Brand new Gator gums all rigged up ready for my winter pike fishing. Yeah I know, I’m a bit early but I’m already thinking about pike fishing in winter in search of stunning river pike. Ah bugger, this is going to be a long summer in doors!
But Gatorgum here – https://riverpiker.com/product-tag/gator-gum/
Well there’s one perk to being in lockdown and that’s the fact you can get all your odd jobs done. Forget DIY though, us anglers have got loads of stuff that need doing. Spooling up for a start.
A few weeks back I recieved a package from American Tackle with some new goodies in. Lures, fluorocarbon, braid and more but also a new casting reel. The LP8 casting reel which is a 200 size reel and should be ideal for my Gunki Iron T198 that i’ve been using for quite a few years now. So yeah, with the sun shining and lockdown in place it was finally time to get it spoooled up.
These days i’m either using the Nano X or Bushido Combat braids from American Tackle. Usually I’ll use the heavier strains of Nano X for all my heavier set ups and the soft Bushido Combat braid for my light stuff, fixed spool and casting. So I dug out some 10lb Bushido and spooled it up. The spool has that aero design where you have holes in the spindle of the spool allowing you to tie direct and thus stopping the braid slipping. Saves having to mess with either mono backing or using electrical tape. I don’t mind either way but it’s nice that AT have actually thought about that and added it to the reel.
The reel spooled up nice and the line lay looked good so thats a good start. Next it’s time to have a fiddle with the knobs and try to get it dialled in as they say. If you aren’t sure what all the knobs do, you usually have two or three to play with. The star shaped knob on on the handle is the drag. This is the one that lets a fish run and stops your braid snapping. The other one or two you will have on a casting reel are for when you are casting. On a left hand wind reel, the left hand side little round knob is for the spool tension and the right hand side dial is the casting brake. You need to play about with these and learn what they do.
So start with the left side little knob and free it up just enough so that when you click the thumb bar the spool slowly lets line off, when you have a lure clipped on. Now tighten it up and loosen it off and work out where you think it should be. A good start is loose enough that the lure slowly falls to the floor once you release the thumb bar. Next do a short cast and tighten or loosen the right hand dial so that once your lure hits the ground/water, the spool stops turning. Again, open and close this dial and see what happens and learn it. Out on the water, you then have a fiddle with the knobs and have a few casts and see what happens. Short casts first, to prevent a massive birds nest if you have those dials set up incorrectly. Tweak as you go and then start to cast further and further.
Anyway i’m sorted, i just need time on the bank to fine tune for my longer casting. In the garden i’m set up bang on and I even managed to plop a lure in to an empty flower pot. First cast as well, not fibbing!
Just letting you guys know that the Riverpiker shop is still open. Only difference is I will be making less trips to the post office, maximum once per day, due to the COVID-19 virus lockdown. I still work a day job so I have to go out anyway, so I will also call in to the post office. Any orders that come in after my trip will be posted out the next day. Thank you for your understanding.
It’s getting to that part of the year where people are getting excited about some trout lure fishing in the not too distant future. It’s time to get those lure boxes organised and stocked up so here’s some lovely little cranks that are just ideal for the job. Quite a few to choose from in the Riverpiker shop but make sure to check out the Ugly Duckling cranks and the Tuco minnows. Trout cranks
Every year it seems to be the same. Before we know it, time has flown by and the dreaded closed season is upon us. Me and Neil were out on the boat in tough conditions, murky flood water, the pike weren’t biting and we were counting the weekends left until we couldn’t fish the rivers anymore for a few months. It seems to creep up on us so fast. One minute we have loads of time the next it’s gone. Six weekends was all that was left and going by conditions in recent weeks, a few of those weekends we wouldn’t even get a chance. Why does it always rain on a Thursday? That rain then goes in to the rivers and by the time Saturday comes around they are up a meter or two and we’re not fishing again, not from the boat anyway and not doing what we want to do. So we had to hope that out of those six weekends left we could at least get one or two decent conditions to give us a chance to do what we like to do. Catching a few fish is what we want and if we are lucky then one of us at least will have a decent fish before the rivers close. We’re not specimen anglers so some good fishing will suit us, but we all love a big mamma don’t we!
As soon as Monday comes we’re already swapping messages, checking the week long weather forecast, watching those river levels and trying to predict what Saturday will bring and where we will end up. It better not rain again on Thursday or that’s going to leave us with five weekends to fish. Thats only five Saturdays and even worse, Neil works shifts so that will rule a few more of those out. By some sort of miracle, the week ahead forecast was actually favourable. At the minute the river was still carrying some extra water and also some extra colour but with luck that could be gone by Saturday if no rain comes in the mean time and at the minute, Thursday didn’t have one single drop of rain forecast. As the week went on we watched the river level slowly dropping and if that rate continued then Saturday would be the first day of normal level, so with that we just needed one more slice of luck and that was that there would be a little bit of clarity. Not too much, but at least enough to give us a chance on lures.
Fishing this winter and probably this past year has been steady. Personally i’ve not been out half as much as usual and I haven’t had that much luck with conditions when I actually have gone out. That’s not me making excuses or anything, that’s just how it’s been and I except that. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen how you want it. In an ideal world I’d have made up for it by getting out for those little short sessions before or after work just for an hour or so. They can boost your fishing time on the bank and also boost your mojo a bit if you catch a few. Short sessions blanking aren’t so hard to take and then when you actually do catch a few fish you feel like you’ve had your fix but not only that. You are already planning your next little session and then things just keeps snowballing. One day fuels the next and so on. But when you fish once per week or even per two weeks, and then that’s a long hard slug, it doesn’t really leave you wanting to get out again anytime soon. That fuels less enthusiasm and more excuses, that was me for the last ten months or so.
So anyway, we can’t believe it. Friday night comes and we are all set for some fishing the next day and even better we are thinking we have a half decent chance of at least catching a few fish. We arrive as dawn breaks, un load the gear and get the boat all set up. Another fishing boat turns up also. Just as we expected, we’re not the only ones seeing that today is the day to get out. Sunday is forecast a major storm. Strong winds and lots and lots of rain. So not only is Sunday a no go but from what is coming, that will be next weekend out of action also. Even more important to get a few fish today and get that fix. A quick chat with the lads on the other boat and then both boats are off. Me and Neil have a look at a spot that we know sometimes throws up an early fish while the other bigger, faster boat heads off upstream. We’ll no doubt cross paths at some point but for now at least we’re not in each others pockets. It’s nice to get an early fish, no matter how big, that saves the boat a blank and in no time Neil has landed the first jack.
Twenty minutes later and the pressure is off me as I land my first jack also. The target now is to get a few more pike numbers and just get a bit of action. This time of year I always say if we can catch ten pike, one of them will be a double at least. Sometimes i’ve had four fish with three doubles and other days i’ve had thirty pike but not a single double, but generally this time of year if you keep picking up the fish it’s only a matter of time before a chunky one comes along.
“What was it you said? Ten fish and one of the will be a double?” Neil asks. “Well then i make it the next fish will be a double” he says. It wasn’t. But we’ve had some sport and it’s still early so we are happy. The clarity is pretty good, not crystal clear but not coloured. Maybe it was just about perfect for lures. That doesn’t happen too often during winter fishing on the rivers so we had to make the most of it. The smaller pike were feeding, even though they were clearly sat on the bottom because every one of them had half a dozen or more leeches on them. Neil and I had pretty much caught the same amount of pike but before long, Neil had had another, and another and another. I think at one point he’d caught eleven pike to my five or something like that. It’s never a competition with us when we’re fishing, but that often happens. One guy seems to catch a few more than the other but then either later that day it evens itself out a bit or the week after it’s the other one catching more fish that time. I always say that if you can’t deal with your buddy catching more fish than you then you need to either fish on your own, or work out what exactly he is doing that you aren’t. Like I said, in time it evens it’self out. Unless of course your mate is simply better at it than you are.
There always seems to be something random or weird that happens when we are out. You’d think two lads going fishing could just go fishing but it’s never as simple as that. We turned a corner in the river and could hear someone shouting and we saw a group of people waving at us. Had they recognised us? Ha ha! Nah it was someone needing some help. We could hear a woman screaming a little histerically but couldn’t quite see what was wrong. Then we spotted it. One of those modern day snowflake dogs that are more used to being carried around in a hand bag had got itself in a pickle. It had fallen down a hole in the bankside and was teetering near the waters edge. The snowflake modern day dog owners couldn’t climb down the embankment and the woman was getting a little upset at her pet pooch struggling in the wet mud. So off we went to rescue the mut and be heroes once again. We must be a due a reward for that and Neil picked up two quick fire pike.
We’d covered a bit of water by now and the action was slowing down a little. We were chatting about how we had a few more fish in one short stretch, even though they were smaller it was sport. We were picking the odd fish up but not in any numbers and we weren’t finding any consistant sport in any of the stretches. We know loads of different parts of the river that can sometimes throw up a fish so we usually have a chat and see which bit we think to target next. You can either spend loads of time fishing smaller areas or run and gun and cover loads of water. To be honest both methods do work we’ve found, so you just have to make a plan and go for it. You could make a plan and stick to it but its actually better to know when to change the plan. You can spend all day on plan A and it never really happens, then go home thinking you should have tried plan B. So yep, make a plan and give it a good go but if it’s not working do something and change it. That could be moving to a new spot, changing fishing styles and tactics and so on. Why struggle on lures if the conditions aren’t right when a switch to bait fishing could mean you catch a few fish? If one favourite spot isn’t producing the goods then don’t stay there. Go have a crack somewhere else or even try somewhere new. You just don’t know what it might throw up.
We picked up a few more fish in time but it was steady. We’d opted to go looking at a few spots which meant quite a bit of travelling about. I’ve only got a 5hp petrol engine which means I can’t fly from one spot to the next so we have to think about what we are doing a little more. By now we’d seen another two boats out so that meant lots of water was getting covered between us all. We weren’t really sure if they were catching or not but you could guarantee that some of the places we would like to fish would be getting fished by those lads also. By now we were well upstream and a spot we had had a few nice fish from about a month earlier didn’t produce anything except a small jack pike. The first boat we saw early morning was now passing us and working some spots back downstream. We could do the same, there was plenty of water to go at. But we already had a plan. We wanted to target the area where we’d had more fish in the morning. Nothing big came from it but we were chatting about it and it was clear that me and Neil both felt that was our best shot at not only some more fish but maybe a better one.
It probably takes about an hour for me to cover all that water and get back to where we wanted to fish for the last hour. We did try a couple of spots on the way back but when nothing much happened in five or ten minutes we soon got going again. As soon as we got to the area we picked up a couple of quick fire pike. That made us feel happy about our decision and made us even more determined to fish this area hard. We’re due a better fish by my earlier theory, especially as now we were both in to double figures on the pike captures and I’d even nearly managed to even it up a bit, being just one behind Neil now (so at least I know i’m not a complete numpty.) Then Neil got whacked, set the hooks but a head shake and it was off. Before I could even ask what had happened I had a tiny knock, just as if my lure had touched something, and then the rod wrapped round.
I’m still using the Gator rods because I really do love them. I have the gumbait rod set up with 60lb Nano X braid and that’s always ready for throwing a jerkbait or a Burt and if i’m using bigger baits then the Gator Bigbait rod with 80lb braid. These rods are just a joy to use, they make casting all day long an absolute pleasure as you can throw a heavy lure about with little effort. It seems like years and years ago when i was last using shorter six foot rods and I can’t ever see me going back to that, especially for heavier lure fishing. I love also how much more you feel with these rods and how much they deal with an angry pike much better. You don’t bump as many fish or lose them so much on the fight. The pike shakes its head and the rod does it’s job, absorbing the headshakes while still keeping pressure on the hooks. I’ve already spotted that Gator have brought out a new version of these rods, the Elixir, and I’d love to get my hands on one. How long is it until my birthday?
It was a bit of a joke through the day. Neil especially had called a decent pike on a few occassions only for a jack to surface in the end. I love winter pike, they are so fit and strong and these river fish do give a good account of themselves. I’d also had a couple of calls that were way off the mark so by the time the last hour or two of the day was on us we were no longer even screaming for the net. We weren’t prepared to have our mate rip the piss out of us when a five pound fish surfaced. As i battled the pike, I was half thinking about Neil just missing a fish, we could have finished the day with a double hook up, and I was half trying to manouvere the boat in to the middle of the river as by now that storm was well on it’s way and we were getting blown about. I think Neil might have asked what it felt like and I can remember saying “this is a better one, this is a good fish”. The Bigbait rod had a proper bend on it, there was no thrashing around at all and even though there were no massive lunges or surges from the pike, it just felt heavy.
This thing surfaced, rolled and I know I used some strong language. “Don’t fuck this up Neil! I sceamed in a panic. The pike rolled one more time. You have that moment where you pray the hooks don’t come free, and they held firm. I can’t remember Neil ever fucking it up to be honest and as I slowly pulled the pike towards the net he was already sliding it under her. Get in you beauty! This was a proper one, this was a twenty.
We got the boat in to the edge and anchored up. Pike still in the net but now at least we could sort everything out without being blown all over the river. The hooks came out really easy as she was as good as gold in the net. No rolling about and tangling up hooks in the net, so that was a bonus. Neil turned to me and said, “that could be a twenty that mate”. As I rolled her in the net I saw the depth of the body and the thickness of her. I knew right then she would be well over twenty pounds. The last time i’d seen that girth on a fish was on a canal 25lb pike that I had, in fact Neil also later went on to catch that same pike. We both agreed this could be around that figure so we dug the scales out. Neils were handy and so in no time we had the net head detached from the handle and ready to weigh her. I’ve still not bought a bloody weigh sling. I guess it’s not a priority since I don’t catch enough big pike! Anyway i knew the head weighed something like 2.5lb, but we could check that afterwards. Neil lifted the net and the needle went right round to…….twenty three. “What?! It’s bigger than that” I suggested. Pike back in the net in the water I dug my scales out. Thinking about it, Neil is a short arse so i bet he wasn’t even tall enough to lift the pike up enough to get a weight. Either way this time it was me and my scales and when the needle this time tipped past 27lb I was much happier. That meant 24-25lb so all we needed now was a net weigh which i can now confirm was two and a quarter pound. So we both agreed that this fish was 24lb 12oz and it certainly looked every part of that.
We grabbed a few photos and made sure she was happy and then I reluctantly let her swim away. I love those moments and seeing a fighting fit beast go back down in to the depths is just magical to me, i never tire of it. The daylight was fading now and we still had a bit of a drive back. But we had to have another crack at the spot first to see if any other big girls were playing. But it wasn’t to be. We couldn’t complain though, it was a top day fishing. We’d had a few between us and we’d had my biggest pike from this river and my biggest pike on my new boat. Cheers for passing on the good mojo Jim!
Just a heads up. The Riverpiker Shop will be closed between October 25th and November 5th 2019, so if you need anything you have just over two weeks otherwise you’ll be waiting another week. Many thanks also for your continued custom, it is very much appreciated.
Just a quick heads up to let you know that a fresh batch of Gator products, including perch bait, Gator gum in three sizes and Gator stingers has just hit the shelves at the riverpiker shop. If you need some, be sure to be quick as most of it sold out in no time last time. Plus as a side note, the riverpiker shop will be closed for a week or more from june 7th – 17th so if you need anything for the rivers opening now is the time. Gator products
Just added to the shop are some double and triple swivels, which are ideal for making up your stinger rigs for big soft plastics. At the minute these are only available in the large 1/0 size, which is 60kg Test. These are a little bulky but do the job. I am late adding these to the shop as I wanted to test them out first myself and see if there were any issues, which there aren’t apart from being a little more noticable than wire or smaller swivels. Also as a note, the Gator stingers are all sold out at the minute by I will do my best to get them back in stock.
KP Mustad Round Jigheads have been added to the shop to go along with the recent selection of soft lures that have arrived. Availabel in a variety of sizes and weights, so just play about with the drop down menu to get your choice. KP Mustad Round Jighead
The ever popular Relax Kopyto shads are back in stock in sizes 6.5 and 7.5cm, which is 2.5 and 3 inch to us lads from Yorkshire. Perfect lures to stick on a jighead and go catch fish. Relax Kopyto Shad
Latest addition to the riverpiker shop is a massive selection of Gator products. We have the 9cm perch baits which are fantastic for big perch, zander and pike plus three sizes of the Gator Gum softies, 17, 22 and 27cm! You will also find the Gator stingers and shallow screws in our terminal tackle section.
Just added to the shop, a custom made lure by FFS Lures. The floating finesse stick is a a custom made soft bait and is based on the popular ned style baits. Available in five colours these lures are great alternative to soft shads when targetting perch. They are available to buy in single units so pick and choose how many you want in each colour and I will pack them up. Also, until the end of February they are priced a little bit cheaper so make the most of it. Click here to buy
Riverpiker hoodys and T-shirts can now be bought through our official outlet at Teespring. Available right now to buy are the standard river piker hoody, a zip hoody, kids hoody in a range of colours and Burt T-shirt in white. More designs will be added in time so remember to check back occassionally.
That’s it, the voting is over and we have found a winner. The Cruelbaits Godfather Jerk has been voted by you, the Best lure ever. Beating one of the legends of the lure world the Strike Pro Buster jerk with 883 votes to 599. We started with 128 lures which were all suggested by followers of the Riverpiker Facebook page, and over the last couple of months we have been voting for our favourites. Eventually we were left with just two and after a massive battle, by far the most votes of any of the rounds, we have our winner. As a side note, the third place play off saw the Mepps Aglia beat the Rapala Xrap Peto.
Ok so what did we actually achieve here? Well right from the start all I wanted to do was to try and answer one of the most common questions I get asked. What is the best lure? Personally I think this is a really difficult question to answer, even with a load of on line polls. There are so many factors, so many variables, so many opinions, so many types of lures, uses of lures the list goes on. From one year to the next I myself will change my own mind on what is my own favourite, even from one session to the next I will change it. Confidence in a lure is a big factor and to gain some kind of confidence, usually that means you have to have caught a few on it. But when you are just starting out you just don’t know what works and what doesn’t. So there, we have it. We have the answer and the answer is a list of lures below that made it right through to the last 16. If you wanted to, you could go buy all 128 lures from the competition because these were all put forward by anglers who have probably used them and caught on them. That would put a massive hole in your pocket, so this poll has narrowed it down to just 16, the best lures ever!
The popular XXL grubs are now back in stock on the Riverpiker shop. Even better, I have added more colours to the range so be sure to check them all out. Recommended from me are the super bright UV colours which are very good in low light and the more natural colours for anyone fishing clearer water. Also added are some more colours in the glitter range, for those who like a bit more bling! These lures are exellent for low and slow fishing through winter. A big bait to get the attention of those big pike. but don’t be scared to rip this bait in fast or even add jerks and pauses to make it dance about.
So we are finally there. The semi finals are over and we have the finalists in the best lure ever competition. The Cruelbaits Godfather Jerk has knocked out the Mepps Aglia spinner and the Strike Pro Buster jerk has seen off the Rapala Xrap Peto. So its a jerk v jerk final and for me personally, two of my most used lures have made it through to the final. But first, we need to have a play off battle for third place between the Mepps and the Xrap Peto.
We are now down to the last four lures in our quest to find the best lure ever. This has been a long slog with many votes cast but we are finally getting to that point. There has been lots of opinions and debate along the journey and the way some people are carrying on it’s actually making the remoaners of Brexit look like grown ups. #luremoaners ha ha! It’s a bloody fishing lure competition for a laugh, just vote! Cries for votes to be cast again because their favourite lure didn’t come through. Cries of dodgy dealings, fake voters and all sorts.
All that to one side, we are nearly there. Two of the favourites by many, theSavage Gear line thru troutand line thru roachare both out, swept aside by jerkbaits, so that will do me fine. Not a single Savage Gear lure made it through when at one point, it looked as though it would be a clean sweep from the brand. A favourite of mine has fallen, the jointed Rapala Shad rap has gone but to be fair it came up against one of the greatest lures of all time, the trusty old Mepps spinner. Emerging as one of the favourites now, simply because it keeps sweeping all to one side is the Rapala Xrap Peto which knocked out the Westin Percy the Perch. But who will get through to the final? Facebook polls coming soon on the Riverpiker page.
Well it’s getting really tough now. Some very close battles, where often the voting would swing one way then the other. A favourite to win by many, the Fox Replicant has gone. Other lures to lose their battle in this round were the Salmo Slider, the Savage Gear Low rider and after a revote, the Savage gear 4 play swim n jerk which lost out by just 5 votes to the Buster jerk. Another close battle was the Svartzonker McTail which lost by just 5 votes to the Westin Percy the Perch.
So now we are down to the last eight lures and some very interesting match ups.
Mepps Aglia v Rapala Jointed shad rap
Cruelbaits Godfather Jerk v Savage Gear 4D line thru trout
Strike Pro Buster Jerk v Savage Gear line thru roach
Westin Percy the Perch v Rapala X rap Peto
The Savage round – Round two of the Best lure ever poll has again seen some mega battles and some mega shocks. The 64 that made it past the first hurdle have now been whittled down to just 32 lures. Again we had super high quality custom lures taking a battering, while the mass produced readily available lures from the likes of Savage Gear, Westin and Strike Pro seemed to mostly all go through with ease. The biggest knockout blow of the round has to be the Musky Mania Squirrely Burt which was pushed aside by the Savage Gear 4D line thru trout in an epic battle. But, there is no time for tears, we move on to round 3 in our quest to find the Best Lure Ever. Make your vote count!