Every winter I dream of catching a monster pike. My personal best of 35 lb 2 oz will take some beating, but we all need something to dream about. When that float slides away and something unknown has grabbed your deadbait, your mind wanders to what it might be this time. Whether its a jack, a double, a twenty or bigger doesn't matter to me, it's the excitement of what it might be. I appreciate them all, handle them carefully, enjoy the moment, and then try to make it happen again.
Pike fishing for me is just like that, but if you want to catch a big pike, here's a tip that many pike anglers don't stop to realise. Big pike mostly come from special waters, and they usually come from waters that have an over abundance of prey fish. Furthermore, those waters need to be neglected by other pike anglers as big pike do not take well to being caught repeatedly.
My planning starts well ahead of the traditional October start. Through the summer I'm getting my gear ready, but above all I'm researching the venues I'm going to tackle. I never believe what I hear from others or read in the press, I go and take a look myself and ask questions. I'll often fish for the prey fish to get a feel for theOctober, I'll probably have three waters to concentrate my efforts on rather than put all my eggs into one basket. Sometimes I get it wrong and the venue does not have the potential I suspected. Sometimes the fishing may be fraught with problems like unexpected dense weed. Now and again I find that the water has been poached or maybe hammered by other pike anglers. I need a few alternatives in case things start to go wrong. By mid winter, I've usually settled on the water that I think will produce the goods. I don't expect a quick result, but will work at it until it comes.
Most of the big pike you can read about in my books have come through this planning strategy, and if you take time to plan ahead, I am sure you will have a better result yourself. If it doesn't come this season, you have something to build on for the next. I was going to wish you 'good luck' but, as you might now realise, luck has very little to do with success with big pike!!