Fishing in Ireland, Pike, trolling

Split-ring the Atom!

Edinburgh Angling Centre – worth a visit if you are in Auld Reekie

During my recent visit to Scotland I dropped in by the Edinburgh Angling Centre. Just like its counterpart in Glasgow, this is a jaw-dropping cornucopia of everything any angler could every want or need. While I loved every minute of browsing the aisles I did feel a bit of a dinosaur amid all the new-fangled gear. The Pike baits in particular left me feeling distinctly elderly. Spoons and plugs make up the vast majority of my pike baits but these days you can buy the most amazingly accurate artificial fish (if you have deep enough pockets that is). I bought the bits and pieces I required but exited the building like a man who had seen a vision of the future, one he did not really fit into. I only dabble in Pike fishing as something to do during the close season for game fish. I can’t for the life of me see my wallet opening and £30 or £40 being exchanged for one of these super-duper glide baits.

I used to like the old ABU Atom for pike fishing and I recently had to re-arm one which I had picked up cheap somewhere. It was one of the 2 hook design so I thought I’d show you how to re-equip this bait (without sticking a dirty great treble into yourself). These Atoms with two hooks were buggers for casting as the top treble would catch on the line with infuriating frequency, but they are fine for trolling.

All the old hooks and other gear were rotten so the first job was to remove and safely dispose of them. That left me with a bare spoon to work on.

all the rusty old fittings have been removed

The originals sported one split ring to hold the top hook but I prefer to fit two smaller split rings so the hook has freedom of movement. This is the most awkward job so I do this first.

2 small split rings for the top hook

Next you add the new split rings to the top and to the bottom of the spoon. Here I use slightly larger rings.

A barrel swivel goes on to the top split ring.

I like my Pike spoons to have a dash of red on them so I fit a small plastic Vee to the bottom split ring before adding the treble, in this case a size 4.

I keep a few of the red Vee’s in my box just for jobs like this

Fitting on the same split ring that the treble will go on to

Finally, add the top treble (same size or one size smaller than the tail treble). I cover the bottom treble with a plastic hook guard when putting on the top hook to save any accidents!

top treble added

There you go, a finished spoon. In a world of fancy thru-line, holographic printed 10 inch glide baits this old school spoon looks to be a very poor relation but it still catches Pike for me.

Ready for action


Fishing in Ireland, Pike, trolling

Do Pike migrate?


To kill some time and at the very least get out in the fresh air for a few hours I have been Pike fishing on three recent occasions. Results have been steadily declining from 10 fish down to 8 and then only 5 on my last outing. That is fair enough, but the really interesting part is where the pike were caught. On the first trip 3 weeks ago the fish were pretty evenly dispersed over a 2 mile stretch of river. Sure, the regular Pike ‘hot spots’ where good structure, in the shape of fallen trees providing shelter, gave up fish. Other than that the Pike were evenly distributed.

The second visit started off in the same vein with a couple of strikes at the baits early on before it went unusually quiet as I progressed up the river. I turned and came back downstream and began to pick up fish again in the lower third of the beat. This was despite frequent changes of baits and different speeds/depths.

Yesterday was even more well defined with only one fish hooked and a couple of half-hearted knocks all the way up river and back down again. I then tried the very lowest part of the beat, immediately above the lake.

Bingo! Fish after fish slashed at the bait and a lost as many as I boated. All that  action took place in about 300 yards of water, begging the question – have the Pike migrated to the bottom part of the river? Are they in the process of leaving the river completely and hunting in the lake? If so, what has caused them to move? I retired to Healy’s to mull this conundrum over a pint of porter…………………..

I was always under the impression that Pike were territorial and stuck pretty firmly to one spot. The better the position for ambushing prey the more likely it was that a good fish would live there. After this week I am not so sure and maybe Pike do migrate. My thoughts are that there must be a reason for the movement and that availability of food is likely to be the cause. With salmon and trout running up stream over the last few days maybe there is insufficient food for the Pike now in the river and they are dropping down to the lake to prey on the shoals of Rudd which live there. Does anyone have a better explanation ?