A Winter Day – Pike


The cold light of dawn brought with it frosted car windows and icy roads. It seemed the traditional day for pike fishing sat beside the calm waters of a lake. My good friend Paul Blake joined me for a day at Lower Slade reservoir where our alarms bleeped out as a few jacks graced our nets.

South West Lakes Trust have updated their pike fishing regulations for Slade and other stocked pike waters. Treble hooks are now allowed in conjunction with wire traces. Braided line with a minimum breaking strain of 40lb breaking strain is now compulsory. These measures are in-line with good practice across the pike fishing community, the strong braided line reduces the chance of losing fish and improves bite indication reducing the risk of deep hooking.

A Winter Pike Session

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After numerous shore fishing trips catching dogfish and small conger I felt a change of  scenery and species was in order. With a cold North-East wind forecast pike fishing came to mind so a trip to a local reservoir was the plan. With the pike gear scattered around the shed I knew it would be a fraught half an hour or so getting ready and ensuring I did not overlook anything important. With ice coating the car I was in no rush to hit the road so it was mid morning before I arrived at the waters edge.

Piking tactics would be maximum of an hour in each swim before moving. Dead-baits fished beneath crimson topped floats.

It was great to be at the waters edge enjoying the warm sunshine as I watched my floats expectantly. After half an hour I saw a large swirl just over a rod length out close to my float! In classic fashion the float bobbed and slowly slid away. I pick up the rod waiting till the line tightened and lifted the rod to feel that pleasing resistance as a decent sized pike lunged on a tight line in the clear water.

A low double and a pleasing start to my winter pike fishing.

The day drifted past with a pike from three of the next four swims none as big as the first but pleasing jacks between 5lb and 8lb and all in superb condition.

The last pike of the day came as the light started to fade with the sun sinking beneath the hill opposite the bare tree branches silhouetted against the sky. It was going to be a cold night.






















































  • The reservoirs are covered by South West Water Reservoir Regulations with which anglers must familiarise themselves before fishing. All anglers must carry a valid Environment Agency Licence.
  • SEASON – All year
  • METHODS – Permitted methods include the use of spinners, plugs, flies, worms or dead sea fish baits presented on float or ledger tackle, live bating is not permitted. In order to avoid pollution false alarms, surplus dead baits must not be thrown in the reservoir when fishing ends.
  • Only barbless hooks may be used (barbed hooks should be crimped down). Hooks to be no larger than size 6.  All hooks to be mounted on wire trace.  Angler’s to be in possession of forceps.  Minimum 12lb breaking strain line to be used.
  • Gaffs not permitted; please use a large net for landing pike.
  • WEIGHING – Pike may only be weighed in conjunction with a weighing net or sling. It is PROHIBITED to weigh fish with the spring balance hook under the Pike’s chin.
  • All Pike anglers must have a large padded unhooking mat.
  • A Pike tube or sack may only be used to hold single pike for the short period needed to set up photographic equipment. To avoid damaging fish by dropping, anglers being photographed with Pike must do so in a kneeling position close to the ground.
  • KEEP NETS – keep nets are prohibited
  • Rods may not be left unattended at any time.
  • All Pike must be returned to the water immediately after capture, and in any event immediately after photographing.

12     Children under 12 years may fish for no charge provided they are accompanied by full paying adult over the age of 18 years and then only with permission of parent or legal guardian.




North Devon Match Group Winter League No 6 Results @ Lower Slade Reservoir

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Many thanks to Martin Turner for his regular reports on the adventures of the North Devon Match Group.

North Devon Match Group Winter League No 6 Results @ Lower Slade Reservoir

1st Paul Elworthy   16lb 12oz

2nd Mark Richards 12lb 10oz

3rd Nathan Underwood  11lb 12oz

4th Martin Turner  11lb 4oz

5th Neilsen Jeffery 11lb 1oz

13 anglers fished.Gale force winds and driving rains kept the attendance down but lead to a close match .Paul Elworthydrew a peg on the road side near the dam and fished a tidy match with a feeder at range, sweetcorn hookbait and micro pellets feed, to catch a dozen skimmer bream plus some better roach for a clear victory. The next 4 places were separated by around a pound and a half ,Mark came out second with a pole to hand catch of 70 roach he was also pegged on the road side.Nathan Underwood was pegged in the shallower section and was able to fish a longer pole than most, his 3rd placed net was also mainly roach. The final winter league positions for 2018/19 are Neilsen Jeffery 110pts second Martin Turner  105 joint 3rd Chris Morris and Paul Morris  65