Autumn Pike Fishing

Autumn Pike

There’s only one thing better than fishing. That is teaching a person to fish and watching them catch. That smile on their face is priceless.

Now the other side of summer is firmly upon us I felt the urge for some autumn pike fishing. My son Jordan has been fishing with me a hundred times but has never caught a pike. He had taken a weeks holiday off work and asked if we could do a couple of days fishing. I  asked him where he fancied going fishing and instantly he said “I just want to catch my first pike”


The problem was where to take him. All the venues I used to fish that held good head of Pike have all been either privatised syndicated or taken over by clubs.

After souring the internet looking for a venue with a good head of Pike I came across a little gem of fishery. Crowsheath fishery near Billericay in Essex seen the perfect place to give a beginner a lesson in pike fishing basics.

Crowsheath Fishery
Map of Crowsheath Fishery


Perfect Weather

The weather looked like it was going to be perfect on the Wednesday which was still three days away. We we’re coming out of a cold spell which was going to be followed by three warmer nights and days. There was going a light southerly wind and the forecast was overcast.  Just what the doctor ordered.

Armed with a selection of frozen baits from Online Baits we got to the venue at around 10am. Unfortunately I had to do some work so we couldn’t get an early start in.

Bait Selection

2 Joey Mackerel, 3 Smelt, 3 Sprats, 2 Pilchards and 2 Bluey

I always like to take a selection of dead baits so I can chop and change if necessary. Deadbaits



Pike float

Armed with two 2 1/2 pound Image carp rods and Nash reels loaded with 15lb Gardner GT-HD line. Float fishing was the order of the day and I dug out a couple of tried and tested Drennan 15g Zeppler pike floats. I opted to have similar set ups on both rods.  Our homemade wire trace was two feet of 30lb American Fishing Wire with two semi barbed size 6 trebles.

Mainline Gardner GT-HD 15lb

Trace wire 30lb AFW

Size 6 Drennan semi barbed treble hooks

Float – Homemade float and a Drennan Zeppler

Float stop and small bead


The swim

We asked the bailiff where was fishing and suggested the twenties. We settled on peg 21. Our swim was on a corner of the lake. We had two feet of water under our feet with it deepening off to 8 feet around three rods out. We placed the baits in around 5 to 6 feet of water halfway up the shelf. One with sprat down on the right and the other slightly left with half a bluey. Both sliding floats were fished around 2 feet over depth so the floats lay just on their side as the weight just rested on the bottom.

Pike Bluey dead bait

Jordan positioned both of the rods and we sorted ourselves out ready for what would hopefully be a good days fishing.

The breeze was making small waves and the float was bobbing and blowing around in the wind. If you didn’t have a trained eye you could quite easy not see the initial take. After 20 minutes my trained eye noticed a change in the floats position. It was a take on the sprat on the right. I told Jordan to pick up the rod and talked him through the process.

the process of striking a run

I explained that the pike picks the bait up and moves off with it. They then stop and turn the bait head first before swallowing it. The best time to strike and set the hook is as early as possible to avoid a deep hooked fish.  I said we may well miss a take or two because I would prefer that than having to deal with a set of deep trebles.  Fish welfare is priority.

Jordan was ready. Tighten the drag, test the drag, adjust the drag and when you happy strike and lean in and set the hooks. In all the excitement he forgot to tighten the drag enough. This gave the pike the time to feel the tension and the fish aborted the run.

Profanity’s followed but I explained it’s part of the learning curve and he wouldn’t do that again. We just hoped that wouldn’t be the only take that day.

We re-baited and cast back into the same spot. For the next couple hours we occasionally drew the baits back to see if the flashing of the fish can get the attention of a hungry Pike. We would pull the bait around three feet off the bottom and then let it sink and leave it for 10-15 minutes. 

At Last

Man with a pikeAround 1.30pm I wandered back to the car to grab some food that I had in the boot. On my return to the swim I could see Jordan was standing up totally focused on the right hand float. I could see from ten yards away the float starting to move off. I reassured Jordan and went through the procedure again. What followed was a perfect strike to set the hooks. After a brief fight Jordan’s first ever Pike graced the landing net. Fist pumps and huge smiles all around. Wow was I relieved. Imagine if the only take of the day was the one we had missed.

A brief but informative lesson in fish care and finger safety followed. I wish I would have taken my own advice. I saw the fish bleeding then realised it was my cold fingers that had been caught by it teeth. At 6lb on the button it was a fish for both of us to remember.

Bleeding FingersWe re-baited with a pilchard minus the head. I used a bit of bait elastic to secure the bait as I wanted to cast further along the tree line. An hour and half later the float took off like that barrel in Jaws. No slowing down he launched into another fish.

This one must have been the identical twin of the first one but I could not complain. Two fish on his first Pike trip.

We fished until it was virtually dark without any more takes and decided to called it a day.  Maybe Jordan had caught the bug and agreed on another trip the following week.

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