I am going to give the River Wye a go for pike over the coming months. I am looking for reliable set-ups for live and dead bait rigs that perform well on big rivers. Any of you predator specialists want to share your secrets?
Dave, i have fished the Wye many times over the last 2o odd years, the best advice i can give is to keep it simple and travel light, most of the standard rigs will work, unfortunatly only bleak are allowed on some stretches as livebait, in my opinion they are next to useless most of the time!! one of the most consistant methods for me with Wye pike has been to fish for roach! get the swim bubbling and then either trot a live through or paternoster one, it may pay to keep the rod high to keep the line of the water, good luck we will probabably meet there!
Thats exactly how i started piking on the Wye, it does produce fish but believe me pike have no avertion to flow!or shallows and anyone who walks past moving water to find slacks and deeps will pass a lot of fish. Chris please don't take that as a dig, it's just that i have spent a lot of time on the Wye, i may need your advice when try the fens again, i haven't been up for years.
Thanks for the advice. Anymore detail on the rigs you use?
Paul - I fish the Galmorgan AA and Newport AA waters from Symonds Yat down to almost Tintern. Ever fished there? Do you want to? Maybe we can arrange a session there sometime, some of it is on day ticket and as you know, pike over 20lb come out every year. Some big barbel in pockets too.
Dave, my adventures on the Wye have all been between Hay and Ross, to be honest i've never fished it below Monmouth, i would love to have a day down that way, and i could return the favour on the middle river. As far as rigs go you can really keep it simple, but Chris is right don't be put off using weight to tether a bait, trotting a live can be hard work but on it's day it is devastating on the Wye, i have watched deadbaiters sit on two rods and catch nought, and i have had 3 or 4 fish trotting a live, again don't worry about using a decent size float and plenty of wieght, that way you can make the bait fish deep or hold back hard and make it rise over snags and fish higher, and also try to find the big roach shoals, these are in my opinion what the pike stay close to.
Use a through-the-middle slider for trotting, even if it's only a few feet deep. The float will then slide on the strike, instead of absorbing some of the force of it.
I quite like the medium-sized Drennan Piker floats, they'll take a biggish live or dead and four or five swan or a medium Fox egg sinker.
If the water's fast I usually put the lead down the trace near the bait to stop it lifting too high when I hold the float back.
You can attach egg sinkers to traces without damaging the wire - use the ones with the slit, put them on the trace and trap them in place by pulling a stretched rig sleeve through the slit then releasing it so it holds the weight where you want it.
If you prefer swan shots, slip a couple of inches of that ultra fine silicone the match boys use on the wire before you attach the swivel and you can pinch the shots on this.
Floating braids like Frieline and Whiplash are superb for trotting. Go for the 30lbs BS so you can pull the hooks straight on a snag, which avoids leaving tethered baits waiting to kill the next pike that comes along.
I'd start off at mid-water and deepen up a foot or so every cast until the bait just trips bottom.
Sometimes they like it running through at more or less current speed - usually when the water's clearer. If it's coloured, hold it back and inch it along. This works on some of the bigger rivers up here.
It's worth mucking about with the amount of lead on the trace and how close you put it to the bait. take a couple of swan off or move them further from the bait and it'll flutter up in the current if you hold back or drag it back upstream a few yards.
You can get baits over shallower runs like this without snagging and it will often provoke a take.
I used to hook baits head-up so I could twitch them back upstream at the end of the retrieve but found I was hooking a lot of pike round the gill rakers. What happens is when the pike takes the bait, you have to pull the hooks through 180 degrees to drive them in and one will often catch a gill raker.
I now hook lives across the back/pectoral and deads tail-up, even for trotting.
When you're fishing near the same depth as the water you have to bear in mind a lot of takes will look like the float pulling under as the bait trips bottom, so tighten down to everything suspicious and give 'em a dig straight away if you feel one on there.
Depends on state of the river, what the prey are doing, time of year etc.
Try both is the easy answer. You can quickly convert the basic trotting rig to a simple paternoster by removing the weight from the trace and tying a lead link to either the bottom eye of the trace swivel, or even the eye of the top treble.
Have a couple of lead links made up with small snap links at the top and you can chenge over almost instantly.
Tie up the links in lighter line - say 6 or 8lbs bs and it'll break first if you hit a snag or a fish tows the lead into one.
I have caught big river pike from all over the river,(Severn and Wye) but when talking of margins i would prefer to talk of features, a good margin swim to us is just a close in feature swim to the pike, sometimes the same feature can be found midriver. I have to say that most of my time fishing the Wye has been from the bank (as opposed to a boat on the Severn) so i have i suppose looked for features (or fodder)close in purely in order to be able to fish more effectivly, if i could get my boat on there i would certainly be giving some mid and far bank swims a go! but untill then i feel it,s better to know you are fishing well and the further out you go the more potential for problems.
I catch more on trotted baits close in, usually on or just over any marginal drop-off; esp this time of year. Close to the far bank also works if you can get a bait over - using bends in the river (sling it into the middle, walk back up the bend and hold back unjtil; it swings across....) can help.
Agree with the fishing well bit - no point trying to fish the middle or far bank if you can't get the bait to do what you want it to.