WELCOME to the Wednesday blog – each week filled by Angler’s Mail magazine’s HQ, focusing on happenings in the wonderful world of fishing, including latest tackle. This week’s Angler’s Mail HQ blog is by features editor Richard Howard.

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IT’S been good to see some nice pike coming out in recent months, and I found Steve Rowley’s piece on Techno Pike Fishing in this week’s Angler’s Mail Pike Scene particularly interesting.

A nice mid-double taken on my fourth cast!

Most of my piking recently has been using an adapted sink and draw approach – still one of the most underrated piking methods in my book.

It’s active, it searches the fish and fish-holding areas out, allows you to cover a lot of water, and hopefully sees you bump into a few specimens along the way.

I’ve been piking on a stretch of the Sussex Ouse that I haven’t fished for over a decade and walking with one rod and a bag of bits has allowed me to work a few different stretches, and help get a picture of what’s about on the predator front. I’ve been using what I call my sight bob method.

The business end consists of a Fox Popper (sight bob) with a pink bead above it and a stop knot, above a single hook trace holding a couple of AAA, and a single size 1/0 to 2 Catfish Pro hook.

Sometimes I add a sliding red Catfish Pro bead to the trace, I’ve also been hair rigging my smelt deadbait on, using rig wire, with an optional silver and gold bead on the hair for extra flash in the semi-tidal or tidal water.

The idea is the rattle helps grab the pike’s attention, picked up by the lateral line and the beads add a bit of extra ‘bling’ as smelt aren’t the most visual of baits. Smelt have a track record on this river and it makes sense to me that a wobbled one has to be good call.

The sight bob rig, it’s pretty simple with just a single hook on the trace.

Nicely balanced

THE beauty of this rig is that because it is so well balanced, a mini float rig you can trot the far bank, a rush bed etc and by tweaking the braided mainline, (30 lb) you can work the smelt vertically up and back down again without really pulling the surface float off-course. Or making a lot of disturbance on the surface to spook pike close-by.

You can also trot and twitch a bait, under broken rushes and branches alongside cover down the near bank, that you would struggle to cast too,  searching out Mr Pike in his or her lair.

It searches out all the water layers and can win you takes when you’re least expecting it, with your bait silhouetted against the sky.

I always start with the rig at least a couple of feet off bottom, remember pike have their eyes in the top of their head, but your can alter the depth of your trot. There’s only a single hook near the head of your bait so there’s little risk of snagging.

I can also work the smelt into a slack on the inside and leave it there for a few minutes watching the buoyant pink bead and Popper for a twitch or two to see if a fish has followed it and there’s something ‘at home’.

Easy to unhook

IT’S a great searching method and with Polaroids and a hat on, if you do get any follows from a tricky big ‘shovel headed’ fish that doesn’t want the bait on the day – you can always come back with a couple of ‘bait’ rods and sit on it. Although I haven’t had to do this.

Takes have been pretty confident and with just one single hook on the trace, unhooking is no problem. In the past I’ve had a 32-pounder, three or four 20s and a load of upper-doubles on single hook rigs, on lakes, mostly hair-rigging and have complete confidence in them, when fishing smallish baits like smelt and sardine.

Have a crack at sight bob piking – it’s a lot of fun, especially when there a swirl at the end of the run and your bait’s been nailed, or it’s grabbed seconds after ‘splashdown’ in a new spot. It’s a method you can fish even if you only have a couple of hours to spare, you don’t need a whole day or loads of gear. You search the fish out.



Check out this week’s Angler’s Mail – start your 2013 with the best read in fishing!




Boost for angling – The news that the Angling Trust has been awarded £1.8 million from Sport England. See this weeks news pages.

Now or never – Which camp are you in? Do you fish for the moment to make it happen? Or do you focus on long-term results. Colin Davidson’s clearly a ‘I want to catch now’ angler, me too. This week’s Carp World in our magazine is another great read.

Dads and lads big crocs – Piking Pirate Gordy Burton and Midlands ducker and diver Nige Williams are still out there bagging big pike, and this week they’ve both been upstaged by their sons – good angling lads.


The death of Ray Mumford – I was sad to hear that Ray Mumford had passed away. A very capable and ‘thinking angler’. I grew up following his fishing and can still remember clearly Angler’s Mail Annual features on him in his collar and tie with everything from a net of ‘silvers’ to pike!




Nature’s fascinating at times. Look how these catfish are trying to work out how to get a free meal of the feathered variety.

Krill is a great additive to have in your armoury. Here are some useful tips on how to use it.