It has been quite a year. The opening of a new predatory fishing season is almost upon us, but first a look back at the past year. As every season is different, this one was no exception. What started slowly, has led to unprecedented experiences on the water. And a good thing too, because otherwise, it would be so monotonous!
In this article, I’ll take a closer look at the general techniques that can be used to achieve those results. Fly-fishing for MEGA Pike in this case. Of course a fishery from last Winter, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting! Let’s face it, Spring can be an absolute prime time to catch big fish. Of course, fall might be just as good, but spring is when you can experience the craziest things. Catching lots of fish and big is no exception. The predators are now coming out of their winter holes, and need to eat.
”A Big mouth full of synthetics on the Ahrex Hooks TP610 6/0”
So at this time of year, we come to the spawning grounds where the pike is. The location of the spawning grounds varies from year to year, partly due to the ever-increasing fishing pressure on the water, pike is constantly moving around. Nonsense you might think, but the fish is not crazy, and what you often see is that the fish moves systematically and that these places, therefore, move along. Now, there are several populations on every body of water, and you’ll find Pike spawning in deep, shallow, and medium-deep water. So it is not a measure that the fish only reside on the shallows for this ritual, but on all water layers, you can expect fish.
”That moment when you know it’s a Giant”
So it also happens that at a certain depth you’ll get no action, but when you change depths, you suddenly find life. That’s why I reach for my sonar and water map again for this type of fishing. Searching and puzzling, until the puzzle comes together, and then catching again. Over the years I have caught a crazy amount of big fish. Several times over 130+ and dozens of instances of 120+. But put that aside. Whether it happens to be Pike, Predator, Zander, or Perch, my fishing is a Specimen fishery. I prefer to catch big, and am I willing to give everything for that one fish. Even if that means months of fishing. A day on the water is a true enrichment of the mind, whether there are fish in the boat is not so important. What is important is that even if you don’t catch anything, you keep the focus on what you’re ultimately going to the water for. I would like to go a few months in a row to get a fish of 120, because in the end, when that happens, the party is over. And here we come directly to the core of this story, the search for that one needle in the haystack!
”Relief Shading shows all the edges”
Silently, my belly boat glides through the surface of the water. Not a mortal can be seen on the horizon. Both above and below water it seems completely deserted. It’s a day like many, but today, I try again despite the many setbacks of recent times. I love the screen of my Raymarine Element 7, which in combination with my Navionics Relief Shading water chart has been perfected for fly-fishing from the belly boat. And count myself lucky to have equipment like this. Turning on the screen of the fishfinder, I can actually discover very little underwater. Here and there is a deviating ridge in the bottom, and occasionally some signals on my screen may indicate whitefish’ presence, but that’s it. Slowly I steer along the slope, casting with the streamer I carefully fish the beautiful spots that I had in mind the day before.
”Crucial details on the water map”
Just going somewhere and then fishing is no longer an option, no, I plan my course the day before based on the weather forecast and the Relief Shading I used to draw my plan. It should be clear that this has done me a lot of good. It seems as if I am floating in the middle of the desert because it is awfully quiet on the bottom. But make no mistake!
”What lies beyond the deep edge”
Even where it seems completely extinct 9 times out of 10, you can just unexpectedly hit the jackpot. Every day I’m on the water I try to spend somewhere else, I fish in as many waters as possible. The result of this is that you can switch gears very quickly and therefore gain a lot of experience of all kinds of factors about the underwater world. Every water is different, but the line in it makes all the difference. The experience of water A can suddenly come in very handy on water C. And vice versa.
”Big Northern on the SideVision of the Raymarine Element 7”
When the visual and the material become one, unlimited possibilities are just around the corner. With a rod setup like this, it’s possible to switch gears quickly. I can master almost any depth. It’s actually lazer-driven fishing. With one eye on the SideVision + map, and the other peering at the line gliding through my guide eyes. And I say it again, in this, the Navionics Relief Shading is an absolute Must. My image settings reflect the map and the SideVision. I can navigate accurately and comb the water with pinpoint accuracy.
The Raymarine Element 7 that I am using, in this case, is set to SideVision by default. While fly-fishing for Pike, I am completely focused on this. Because the transducer is on my left on the belly boat and I have turbulence from my fins on my right, the image is only set to the left. After all, I also fish left and not right. The SideVision is set to a range of 8 meters. Of course, you can choose more or less, but with this setting, I have the best results. By the way, all other settings of the device are set to standard. So the images below can be obtained by anyone.
”Waypoint 13, the unlucky number that only minutes later produced a Giant”
In addition to the SideVision, I also like to use the DownVision. The cover photo with the fish of 123 cm, I saw in deeper water on the DownVision. Waypoint number 13, normally a bad luck number, turned out to be the jackpot.
So you see that with a few settings you can have a lot of success. When I go fly-fishing for Mega Pike these tools are an absolute must for me! Not only can you scan the water very accurately, but you can also see directly where the fish are. And because my SideVision is set at 8 meters to the left, I can switch gears very quickly. My rod has a length of 2.70 m, if there is a fish halfway through the image, I know that it is around 4 meters to the left, then the distance is suddenly very small and I can immediately cast. In 90% of the cases, you get a bite. The fish from the cover I saw was also like this. First on the DownVision. I set a waypoint and then switched to the SideVision. Gently distanced myself from the spot where this top fish was, and cast. The spectacle unfolded right in front of my belly boat, and the take was rock hard. It was as if I had immediately attached a block of concrete, so strong and especially heavy was this fish. It just goes to show that when you combine techniques, and the material is perfectly matched, the wonders of nature suddenly surface!
”Another beautiful post-spawn Pike. Almost 4 foot..”