THE importance of being observant when you’re fishing was perfectly demonstrated by Justin Grapes this week when he banked a superb brace of big winter pike weighing 52lb 6oz.
The 38-year-old all-rounder, from Norwich, landed fish weighing 30lb 8oz and 21lb 14oz after repositioning his mackerel hookbaits over a patch of bubbles that emerged in his swim and looked like the ‘tell-tale signs’ of predators feeding.
Justin’s watercraft certainly paid off, with the bigger of the two fish setting a new personal best after he landed it on his first session of the winter at a stillwater in Norfolk. He beat both pike with a simple rig comprising a homemade trace carrying a pair of size 6 treble hooks and a 1oz rig on a running set-up.
He told Angling Times: “I got to the lake at first light and just as the sun began to rise over the horizon I noticed a few small patches of bubbles just a few rod lengths out, so I decided to drop my bait in over the top.”
“These bubbles are often formed when predators are feeding close to the bottom, and this certainly proved to be the case, as the first of the pike I landed - the ‘twenty’ - coughed up a number of fry and a small roach.
“The thirty-pounder’ came from exactly the same spot not long after and as soon as it broke the surface I knew that it was a little bit special and one of, if not the biggest fish in the lake.”
“I’ve been trying to beat my personal best, a fish of just over 24lb from Chew Valley reservoir, and it’s always been a dream of mine to catch a pike over the 30lb barrier. I never expected to do it so early in the winter, so now I’m on a roll I’m going to turn my attentions to big river chub and perch!” added Justin.