On Sunday I was lucky enough, along with three of my Glasgow Angling Centre workmates, to be invited along to go pike fishing on a private Estate Loch in deepest Dumfriesshire. There isn’t a great deal known about the Loch’s inhabitants so we were aiming to hopefully see what was down there.
For those who know anything about pike fishing will know that they thrive on neglect, so a visit to a relatively unfished water is always exciting. Although still a little early in the year, it has been a mild Spring and we were all hopeful for a big, hungry post-spawn female looking to feed up and regain her condition. The plan was that Gary and I would fish from a drifting boat. As always on any fishing trip, the trusty fish finder made it’s way out afloat with us to watch for clues like drop-offs, sunken islands, general underwater structure and of course, shoals of prey fish. Find these features and, in theory, the Pike shouldn’t be far away!
During their previous visit, Gary and Chris had found a few fish lying lurking around the rocks and vegetation right next to the boat house so we set up a short drift to try this area. Gary set up an intermediate line with a Fulling Mill UV Flashtail Whistler (a very good pike fishing fly) and I went for a faster type 6 sinker with a much larger fly imitating a jack Pike (big females can be very cannibalistic!). It wasn’t that long until Gary’s stripped Whistler was nailed by a hungry jack just as he pulled it past a reed bed. Good start and the blank avoided but its Granny Pike we’re after! However, the next couple of hours proved to be very slow and we went in for lunch with only Gary’s fish to report, Jamie and Chris also proving fruitless.
After a good feed and recharging the batteries, we went back out to try again. I had a good take almost straight away but was a bit rusty and missed it. The weather was very changeable – one of those days when you have your jacket on and off a dozen times. The wind was changing speed and direction constantly making it hard to set up consistent drifts in the boat but we persevered using the electric motor to guide the boat along, searching the drop offs which were very close to the bank in most areas. The deeper water just wasn’t producing anything in terms of takes or follows so we decided to head back to the area we had started in just out from the boathouse. It may just hold smaller jack Pike but with just an hour or so to go, we decided to try and catch whatever we could.
A ‘new’ must have for Pike Fishing?
Once there, Gary picked up another fish, again on the UV Whistler then nothing for about 20 mins. I changed over to an intermediate and stuck on one of the new range of Fulling Mill wiggletail flies we were given at the start of the day. BANG! Straight away… and another… and another. Gary also put on the red and white wiggletail and was also soon into a fish.
As I said, the search for a big fish wasn’t to be and they eluded us but we had great fun with jack Pike in that last half hour, finishing up with 10 to the boat and lots of misses – great fun. Is it the sinuous movement from the tails or even the vibration as they’re retrieved that makes the difference? Who knows? I guess you’ll just have to try them out for yourself when they hit the shops!