Trying for them Trent preds

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So before I plan my next outing to the vast expand that is the river Trent a few questions.

Are any folks here knowledgeable in the Colwick side of the Trent? I'd love to hear what and where people have had luck. I'm personally planning my next trip to be where the Nottingham Canals meet the Trent, Ladybay side. I've seen some big pike catches a little further up onto the canal from this point so thinking the pike also venture down for the bream etc.

I have quite a few lures but I feel like I'm not working them correctly so I thought if I explain what I've tried maybe someone can point out where I'm possibly going wrong. For my shads I alternate between slow, fast and pauses to make it look realistic, Not tried the suicide duck yet but any feedback on how to work it would be fantasic! Topwater frogs and little bug I'm "iffy" on...I cast out and let the hit settle then either do quick pulls to simulate it swimming or a slow, steady retrieval.

My last fishing excursion I tried out some lamprey oil too, dipped the shads about a quarter into it and cast out then redid the dip when the smell vanished. Is there a different way I should be using the oil or am I doing it right?

Sorry for the MASSIVE first ever post but I'm a totally rank 1 amateur to lures and preds so any feedback is very much appreciated!
 

steve2

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I have never fished the Trent or any of the places you fish. All my lure fishing is done on small streams and lakes. The best suggestion I can give is to look at lure fishing videos on the internet. If you get into lure fishing be careful lures like floats are addictive.
 

David Gane

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Karl - I fish the Trent for predators further downstream in the Newark area quite a bit, mainly with lures. The first thing to say is that I'm not doing that well so far this season. Whether the floods last winter damaged the fishing or whether the pike just aren't in the mood at the moment I couldn't say, but I'm not surprised if you're not doing that well either.

There will be those who say you should not be pike fishing at all at this time of year, and some clubs don't allow it at all, but my own view is that it's fine if you get the fish back in the water quickly and without stressing them excessively. I like to unhook while still in the water wherever possible. On that subject though, how are you at unhooking? Do you have the necessary equipment - unhooking mat, pliers, forceps, wire cutters etc? I always consider that if you aren't confident of getting them back into the water quickly and safely you shouldn't risk hooking them in the first place. Pike are actually very vulnerable when caught and can easily suffer physical damage as well as suffering from potentially lethal oxygen deficit, especially in the summer. I was fly fishing in a reservoir three weeks ago or so ago and the guy next to me foul-hooked a 32 lb pike in the tail. He landed it after a very long scrap (on a fly rod with a 5 lb leader!) and once we had unhooked it it took a good 10 minutes to recover sufficiently before we were able to release it. Without care I think it would have died and that would have been a real loss.

That said, the following may help. Firstly, WHAT lures you use is, in my opinion, the second question to ask. The first is more about WHERE you use them. The Trent is a big, wide, fast flowing river and the pike are not evenly distributed across it. Pike are ambush predators, so try to think like a pike. Imagine the underwater scene and think where you would go to sit in wait and ambush a passing minnow, roach etc. Look for areas of backwater where the water still has depth but where the current is slower - eddies etc. Often these are near the banks, near side entrances to docks, rivers, canals. Under trees or alongside reedy areas is often a good area to search. Retrieving a few feet out, parallel to the bank is often a good strategy. Fishing near features often pays dividends - lock gates etc. I am not saying that you will never catch in relatively featureless areas of the river, but targeting likely areas will increase your success rate a lot. So far as lure action is concerned, the most important thing on the rocky-bottomed Trent is not touching down on it! You need to keep sinking lures moving at all times and generally that requires a reasonably fast retrieve. Failure to do so will result in a lot of lost lures!

Turning to types of lures. You mentioned floating surface lures. These can be a lot of fun, but they're not my usual go-to on The Trent. There may be days when you can see pike actively taking prey on the surface and those are the days to get out the surface lures. Otherwise you're better using sinking ones (I would add here that on shallow, weedy waters surface lures often CAN be a first resort, but that's a different story). Instead, I strongly suggest that you try large Savage Gear size 4 Caviar spinners (although any large Mepps will do). They have a number of benefits. They are (relatively) cheap, so losing them isn't quite so much of an issue. Second, they are pretty foolproof (if retrieved quickly to keep them off the bottom). Third, they will catch you perch (and chub) as well as pike. There are some VERY good perch in The Trent and I reckon that they are pretty under-rated. I had one over 2lbs last Wednesday evening. I also like soft-plastic replicants. The ones with longish tails work well - eels etc. Neither of these types of lure requires you to do much to put action into them - you just reel them in at a suitable speed to maintain the depth you want.

Turning to dead-baiting, even I don't really do a lot of dead-baiting in summer. Once again though, you need to find areas of the river where the concentration of pike is going to be high, and (of course) where the Trent's characteristic strong flow of water isn't going to be constantly dragging your bait and line. You need to find suitable areas by scouting the river for yourself, I'm afraid. There are some hotspots although it's unlikely that anyone is going to publicly suggest the best locations. Nevertheless I would say personally that I do better on smaller rivers and areas of still water than I do on the mighty Trent!

Hope that that helps you a bit. I could go on for hours though, so if there's anything you'd like to check out, just say.
 
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Thanks David that was very insightful!

I do have a nice collection of small spinners I bought from Amazon (they were cheap enough and gave me a nice, large set of options in the 3-4g range) so I guess I could use them from now and aim for perch, chub etc instead of pike as if I'm to be blatantly honest I've not unhooked anything in a rather long time.

I have been thinking about picking up a micro lure setup for summer to specifically target smaller fish or breaking out my carp rods instead (although that would involve shifting a decent amount of gear from home to the river) but someone said I can easily use my rod/reel setup for micro luring the canals in Nottingham anyway, I'll just have to pay the £5 to the club that runs them which I don't really have a problem with if it helps me boost my abilities again. The rod/reel I'm using atm is a Abu Garcia Black Max with a Silver Max 3 so I have 15lb line on a 12lb fluro leader and a test at 15-45g but I've got some decent distance on the spinners so guess I'm doing something right lol.

I originally grabbed the shads because I've heard there are some Zanders knocking round the Trent (and my first ever knock was actually a crafty Zander darting out from some lilies!) and heard they love big fat shads but now I'm kinda interested to pop back to Angling Direct and grab some perch/chub based lures! Looks like I have a trip to make tomorrow lol. In that regards what size/weight lures should I be looking at with perch/chub etc and is there any particular colours you'd recommend? I've noticed the Trent is rather murky so I'm guessing darker colours?

Thanks again for the help!
 

David Gane

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Some more random thoughts for you then!

Firstly, be sure to keep the hooks on your spinners sharp. If you do touch bottom and get away with it the odds are that your hooks will be damaged, and that can easily lose you fish. Two or three strokes with a hook sharpener are usually enough and those few seconds may well prevent you missing a take that took ages to achieve!

The conventional advice if you're not experienced at handling pike is to go fishing a few times with someone who is and I'd certainly recommend it. If that fails though there are quite a few videos on YouTube all showing essentially the same technique, which is often known as "chinning". I recommend watching a couple of them. Actually, it's not hard to do once you know how to do it. The key things are confidence and decisiveness - as well as concern for the live wild animals you are handling. Pike are beautiful creatures.

I don't really recommend fishing with micro lures on The Trent. The technique is better suited to smaller rivers, canals and lakes.

That aside, if you do a search on the forum you will find that the debate about whether or not to buy lightweight gear for dropshotting and micro-lure fishing has been round the block a few times :-D If you plan doing it regularly then I am definitely in the camp that says "buy the gear". For a first attempt though it's probably not worth spending the money. Nobody wants unused tackle bought on a whim gathering dust in the shed. Again a quick search on YouTube will give you some ideas about how to do it and the tackle you need, but in essence it's a 2m lightweight rod, a very small fixed spool reel and lightweight braid (7-10lbs breaking strain). If you're fishing in areas where there are pike then I'd recommend a wire trace (I use the lightest wire l can find) or, if there are no pike then a fluorocarbon leader is fine. As to micro lures, I tend to use the 7cm size. There are loads of different patterns, but I keep coming back to two; one is a very pale one with a grey/green back and a hint of orange around the breast area. The other is the bright green firetiger colour. If one isn't working I switch to the other. If neither work then I have loads of others and I just play around with them, but I always go for my favourites first. Both patterns are easily available in almost every tackle shop.
 
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Thanks for the sound advice, So I'm looking for a light wire trace and grey/green with hints of orange shouldn't be too hard to find in A.D I think lol.

For now I think you're right I'll steer clear of buying even more tackle until I'm comfortable with what I have now so that means non micro. Seen some vids on YT (my main feed is now 3/4 fishing vids and the rest is random carp I watch to fall asleep to lol) with mixed choices on lure types from basic spins to small soft shads and even some hybrid looking things so I'll have a chat with the guy there (was very helpful with picking out the best choices last time!)

Final question: I bought some oil to use with my lures what's the verdict on using it? It stinks to high heaven to be quite honest lol.
 

David Gane

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On the subject of traces, I make them up myself. Worth giving it a go if you get further into piking. It's not only a question of cost (it's cheaper because you can reuse components) but more to the point you can create exactly the trace you want - length, configuration etc etc.

The pale coloured small soft-plastic shads I spoke about are often sold loose. From memory AD do them that way.

As to oils, no I don't use them with lures. They are best used injected into deadbaits to extend their smell-life. I agree, they do stink and I wouldn't fancy getting it on my hands!

Tight lines!
 
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