IFD: For our next guest we have none other than pike fishing supremo and former British pike record holder, Neville Fickling. He has spent a life time piking and caught more big pike than anyone else. Neville runs his busy specialist tackle shop and his bait supply business Lucebaits, is a tackle consultant and also finds time to make Pike and Predators magazine! Besides all this he is a celebrated fishing author with many essential reading pike books to his name.
So over now to the man himself….
What were your earliest memories of fishing?
Catching sticklebacks in a net with a much older girl called Pearl ( I was 5) from a tiny dyke near my King’s Lynn home.
Can you tell us about your first ever pike that was to start a lifelong obsession?
Nothing spectacular it weighed 1lb 4oz ( I weighed it!!) It took a no six Mepps spinner in copper…
How has the pike fishing changed over the years you have been fishing?
It has got easier to go pike fishing. We used to have to source our own bait, make our own floats and suitable rods were only available from a handful of shops. Since UK anglers stopped killing pike the chances of a big pike has increased though the competition has increased as well.
Out of all the methods you fish for pike, if you had to put your faith in only one what would it be?
I like catching pike using all methods. I love trolling provided I don’t doze off, but for easy fishing it has to be boat fishing with static deads. Its slow fishing but static deads frequently catch the fish the float trollers and lure fisherman miss.
What are your favourite times of the year for pike fishing?
October/November have to be the months I like best. Generally the weather is fair and the days are bit longer than in the depths of winter. Also its not so fold. I feel the cold in my toe and finger tips!
You have fished in Ireland many many times what have been your favourite Irish waters?
Every water in Ireland is special. I’m still trying to get to grips with parts of the Shannon and Suck. I still fish Mask and Corrib which for the most part is a waste of time, but I actually like being there so I can manage the blanks (just!)
Can you tell us about the day you caught your PB pike?
A mild and windy day after the Thurne had been frozen over for about six weeks. I had to decide to turn left or right out of Martham Dyke. I turned right to fish a spot where I had had a dropped run the previous September. An amazing piece of luck that I have been paying for ever since ( failures on several famous big pike waters!) Three fish a 16 a 19 and the 41-06. The amazing thing was the 32-06 the next day. I wish I could repeat that now!
What session you relive if you had the chance?
I think the 38-08 from Mask. It could so easily have been my boat partner Carl Barber who had a 20-12 first off. (I’d never had a Mask 20 at that point). We carried on and coming out of deeper water into 8 foot my small mackerel deadbait under a float was grabbed. Another piece of luck because other than a 23 I never had another Mask 20.
If someone’s knows there is good pike in a lake what advice would you give to target them?
What is everyone else doing to catch it? Then try something different. On the other hand time can be a big part of it. It took me two years to catch one thirty (34-06), 4 sessions to catch from another water (30-08). Prebaiting can be very helpful in some situations but you still need to be there on the right day and a bit of luck.
Is there any pike ambitions left for Neville Fickling?
Yes there are places in Canada I’d love to go, miles from anywhere camping out, guide with a rifle in case of bears. Holland is full of potential, so much water so many pike. Sadly I looked at Ireland this way once, but the killing of pike has ruined many waters. Ireland can recover but I’m 62 and very few pike anglers either survive or keep going until their eighties!
Well Neville thanks for giving your time to talk to us and hope to see you in Ireland someday.
No problem Paddy my pleasure….