TJ Pikey

Terry Johnston, or TJ pikey as he is better known, is one of Ireland’s top pikers. Fishing since he was a kid, Terry loves nothing more than when Winter time comes and he is out chasing old esox. TJ was especially successful on the pike match scene before deciding to concentrate more time on catching the bigger pike in recent years. So on with the questions…

What we’re your earliest memories of fishing?

That was back in 1976 when our family used to holiday in Bettystown Co Meath. I would fish the river Boyne with the salmon anglers, pulling in hauls of salmon with the nets men from June to Sept, no shortage of fish then, a lot of the fish would be as tall as myself.

My first memory of fishing with rod and reel was a few years later, early 80’s with my father on the canal at Baggot street in Dublin city centre, roach and perch caught on fresh bread, only small ones to start with but then a fellow angler showed me how to catch the bigger roach 1lb+, i would spend days on end catching them.

10954298_384051971755916_2084412569_o

 

How did your love of pike fishing begin?

Every Sunday I’d head over to Baggot street for the big roach in the coal basin at Mespil road, The coarse angler who showed me how to catch the big roach would be there feeding up his swim and noticed i had a liking for the bigger fish, one Sunday he brought me over a rod and reel he used for sea angling and started to set it up with a massive sea float and a treble hook that i thought would anchor a boat, he took out a big roach and hooked it up on the float rig, I remember thinking to myself “there must be huge roach in here”,,lol,, he tossed it out and handed me the rod, “when that float goes under,count to 10 and then strike it with all you got kid”, i sat there for what felt like eternity until the float finally shot under, I near soiled myself with excitement, I counted to 10 and struck the rod, BANG I was hooked into what looked like a crocadile, the guy helped me land the fish and from that moment onwards I was addicted to pike fishing, the canals around suburban Dublin would be my hunting grounds for old ESOX and to this day it was by far the best pike angling I’ve ever expercienced.

When did you start fishing outside of Dublin and how was the fishing then?

I was lucky enough to meet a guy through pidgeon racing, Myles Quinn from Breffini Park on the out skirts of Cavan town, I brought him up a few pidgeons for his loft and ended up staying in his parents house for the whole summer in the late 80’s, his father brought me out boat fishing around Killykeen and Killeshandra, trolling for pike with lures while he shot ducks, pike were plentiful but i found it harder to hit big ones from the boat but it opened my eyes to the vast lakes and rivers of Co Cavan, It was 1987 before i drove my own car and from then on i was making trips up once or twice a month fishing was savage at the time, no end to pike and big perch, running out of bait was a common occurance.

10953016_384052061755907_907952831_n

In the years to come, you were to get big into competitive pike angling, can you tell us about it and your many wins?

I became involved in a pike club in 2006, O’Casey’s Pike Angling Club,believe it or not this was to be the first time I actually weighed my pike, this photo being my first ever recorded double figured fish 16lb and won heaviest fish in the club that year, I’ve had my share of success in comps but to be honest its not something I’d like to talk about, lets just say after a few years I realised that competition pike angling wasn’t for me and I hung up my wobbling rigs and lures to concentrate on 20lb+ pike

10937423_384019238425856_1918761796_n

 

Can you tell us about the session you caught your personal best pike?

It was in june 2012, Myself and a mate Robbie had organised a meet with a few fellow pikers for day out in the boats, we were on the water for fist light, which in June is really stupid o clock in the morning, there was 6 of us out that day and piking was painfully slow through the first few hrs of light so myself and Robbie set up on a drift that had thrown out a few nice fish on previous trips, we settled in for a long drift over some cracking drop offs and I put my feet up and head down, not expecting much as we were on a blank at this stage, then it happened, click, click, click, the bait runner started to strip line and I jumped up, grabbed my rod, lifted into it and I thought I was stuck on bottom, until I got a tell tale knock ,knock, happy days, fish on, TJ wasn’t going to blank, I wound down and struck into the fish, all hell broke loose, we knew straight away she was a good one, stripping line off my reel at will going on long runs into 30-40 of water, the lake was limestone and crystal clear, eventually i gained control of her and she started coming towards the boat, still over 26′ of water we could see her in the depths and I  said to robbie,NEW PB, at this stage Tommy and Ryan had noticed our struggle and came over for a nose, Tommy asked me “what size TJ?” and I replied,” I think I hit the magic number mate”after a little confusion with the net man she slid over the rope and into the net, I was jumping about like a little child, we drifted to bank with her in a pike sack and i gave her to Tommy to weigh on his scales, I couldnt believe it when he said she tipped in at 30lb, the rest of the day is a bit of a blur as I sat and went through everything in my head, magical moment, one which i’ll never forget Paddy.

TJ's personal best

TJ’s personal best

The next question is can you tell us about your favourite session besides the PB?

My fav session has to be the time we organised a bivvy session with 14 other pikers, sat/sun on a lake of dreams for many of us, Saturdays fishing was slow with just a few doubles gracing the nets, coming on dusk we set up the bivvies and gathered round in an old hut with all the bivvy lights going and the fire started to get the dinner on, then all the lads started getting to know each other and the beer started flowing, although there was no big fish caught on the water that day as the night went on there was 20lbrs falling out of the tree’s,,lol,,the craic and banter flying around after poitin and racci and sambuca had been polished off turned into a night I’ll never forget because i was sober, anyways dawn came and only a six or so pikers managed to get the baits out for first light, it was a mistake that was to haunt them to this day as the pike were on the feed big time, just on my first drift i hit into a fish of 22lb, I knew it was going to be a great day, few hrs later one of the lads hit a new pb 18lb, then I struck into another cracker of 24lb, I was on the bank weighing this fish at about 1pm and one of the lads stuck his head out the bivvy,”Hey TJ how you doing pal”  Iv’e a brace of 20’s Al and a few new pb’s for the lads, I said,yeah,yeah and he jumped back into the bed chair for a 5 min snooze, we had tea and breafast and Robbie (aka JAM BAG) jumped into my boat and hit another 23lbr, this was by far both my favorite and least favorite session, only in the fact that JAM BAG slipped a 20lbr out from under my nose, probably my best chance of ever hitting three 20’s in one session, to all the lads who were on this session, Tight Lines Pikers,you know who you’s are.

The first of TJ's 20lb brace

The first of TJ’s 20lb brace

The second half of his brace of pike

The second half of his brace of pike

What advice would you give to someone just starting piking?

That’s a tough one Paddy but I’d start off by joining a Pike Angling Club to gain the confidence needed to handle pike in the first place,lads in these clubs are more than help full when it comes to pike welfare, also it gives novices the experience of the club and its chosen waters thus avoiding endless journeys to empty lakes and long blanking sessions which unfortunately are all too common place these days,even for the experienced piker.

10952854_384051865089260_463776281_o

While the Winter is prime piking time, what other times of the year have you found to be most productive?

There’s only really winter piking in my book but if your lucky enough to find the odd venue that produces in the summer it can be good, failing that its bass time on the east coast to pass the summer for me.

Where else in the world would you like to fish?

Canada or Italy for pike but to be honest the Canadians and Italians are probably wishing they were here, nowhere beats Ireland for pike fishing, the sooner the powers that be realise this the better, aside from game fishing, Ireland is neglecting its best fishing assets.

A pike being given time to recover in the margins

A pike being given time to recover in the margins

The final question is what are your fishing hopes for 2015?

My fishing hopes for 2015, Top of the list is a new PB but I’ll just be glad getting out enjoying my piking with me buddie’s, sharing the stories of the ones that got away while in the bivvies, never get tired of that.

10934713_384052421755871_1322309825_n

Well TJ thanks as always for giving your time

Anytime Paddy my pleasure…

 

 

 

About paddykeogh20

We are three anglers who enjoy all aspects of fishing. Whether we are blanking or catching were happiest on the bank or shore. If you like your fishing join us by watching our many trips and as we interview some top anglers along the way.....
This entry was posted in Interviews, Pike and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s