Using a Legered Dead Bait Rig in Weedy Conditions
Picture this - the mist rising in the first light of day over a waterscape that will quicken the pulse rate of any pike angler.
The trees on the far bank are still only a hazy grey, very little green can be seen through the mist. Reedy bays with steep sloping banks can be seen wherever you look. With foreknowledge of the water, I had only four or five preferred locations and one of those had bivies in them already from the night before.
We set up on an outcrop of land with an immense weedbank in front and a bay to the left and right. By the time we had got the gear out of the Landrover, the light was already getting stronger. Four pike rods emerged from the car three quarters set up and only requiring terminal tackle.
One rod was set up for freelined deadbait, a smelt was mounted on the size six semi barbless trebles, retained with gossamer elastic thread and quickly cast to a known drop off a rod length and a half from the bank. Initially the other three rods were to have a rig designed to allow the deadbait to rest lightly on top of the abundant weed - see below. All three rods were cast to the edges of the weed banks and to the steeply sloping drop-offs that if you fish YK2 lake, you will quickly learn are superb holding areas for the very large pike that abound there.
11lb Pike taken on legered
smelt at close range. 10.02.02
Angler: Richie Jackman
Drop-off indicators attached and bite alarms switched on, chairs out and erected, it was time for a coffee. No sooner had we begun to lift our cups that a steady beeping emanated from one of the baits. By the time I had reached the rod I could see line peeling off the reel at a good rate of knots. Bail arm on, wind down till you just begin to feel the line tighten (but only just) and lean back into the fish, no strike required as we are using 30lb Fire Line braid with no stretch. The pike took off at a what only could be described as 'intercity express speeds' straight towards a heavily weeded area. There was little I could do to hold this very determined predator. She lodged herself very firmly and it took me a minute or two to persuade her to leave. The pike crashed for the first time - I could see she was in the area of twenty pounds. She then proceeded to spend more time out of the water than in, leaping spectacularly clear of the surface three of four times. A few more ventures to neighbouring weed banks, together with some heart stopping moments dreading the barbless hooks slipping free each time she ventured into the weed. At last out into open water and the first clear sighting, definitely in the area of a twenty. A couple of minutes later she slid gently over the net. 18lb 8oz not quite a twenty but a very nice hard fighting fish nonetheless.
18lb 8oz Pike taken on legered
smelt at close range. 27.08.00
Angler: Simon Fall
Three more fish to 16 pounds fell to the same tactics using medium sized smelt or sardine. I have caught on almost all baits at YK2 but do find that the usually popular mackerel is very poor, I don't think this is because they have seen a lot of them because the lake has only been open to the public since 01.01.2000 (hence YK2).
This is the rig we used at YK2, a very simple rig designed to allow deadbait ledgering in heavy weed. Note the use of a rotten bottom link to the ledger. The knots will allow the rotten bottom to break should the bomb get snagged. I used an old spool of 10lb line for the rotten bottom with 30lb braid main line. Adjust the Ledger stop so that the bomb is not lower than the bait to help prevent tangles. The running ring and oval bead also assists towards a tangle free rig.
The fishery warden 'Angus' is extremely helpful and will divulge the latest hotspots and baits together with the tactics that are producing at the time.
YK2 is a great water for lure fishing as it is crystal clear with so many features. The lake holds a number of fish to thirty plus with a great many of the others into the mid double range. With depths to 65 feet, this gravel pit has a great deal to offer and at only £5.00 per day, it's tremendous value.
This year there have been seven pike over thirty pounds with the best fish weighing in at 35lb 04oz. It won't be long before there's a forty plus.
Wykeham Lakes also has a number of other gravel pits holding trout, carp and many other species of coarse fish.
Me, My Lures & Dead Baits, My Camera and fishing buddy Richie are due to fish Wykeham this weekend (21st & 22nd September - I'll let you know how I got on...