IFD: Simon Gibson has had fishing in his life since his earliest memories. Simon grew up in Northern Ireland in a fishing orientated family. There is one species above all others that captured Simon’s imagination from a young age, the pike. And we talk now to Simon about his piking and the many other species he targets, so over to Simon…
What was your introduction to fishing?
Well a lot of my family were into fishing, both on Mum and Dad’s side. It was my grandad who brought me out that first time and my first ever fish was a small brown trout. My Dad loved his fishing and was particularly into his pike. So fishing has always been in my life really.
Having grown up in a fishing family, when did you start fishing on your own terms and what were you most interested in?
Well by the time I got to about 13 or 14, I kinda stopped fishing and I wanted to be out with my friends. I was about 17 by the time I got back into it. By that age I had a lot more freedom and I went and got my own bits of tackle and I would go away most weekends. As soon as I could drive I was away. It was the pike that really captured the imagination, and for me it wasn’t the catching of lots of pike that I dreamed about, it was always about the biggest.
What tactics are you most comfortable with for pike?
I have always loved sitting it out with deadbaits, and for the bigger pike I think it’s more effective. But in the last few years I have gotten more and more into the lure fishing and am really enjoying it. It’s great being out on the boat or float tube casting lures and it’s a more active way of fishing and covering more ground. A lot depends on the season and the weather as to which is suited best to the time but if I was forced to pick one it would be the baits but only because I think it produces the bigger fish.
What other fish do you enjoy going after
Pike fishing was were it started for me but I wanted to see what other species I could fish for and achieve specimen weight with, and tench, bream and carp came to mind. Also one of my favourites is perch and I’m just fascinated by them though I’m yet to see a monster being caught over here yet. I remember I took my other half fishing one evening, I was fishing away with maggots under a float and I hooked one of 2lb 6oz. At the time it was my PB and I was shaking, she said I turned white as a ghost! I have only ever caught one more perch bigger than this, growing up I enjoyed reading about Terry Jackson’s specimen fishing (which is were I got the idea for my own specimen fishing) Iv done a few sessions with Terry for a perch an other species and have picked up a few great tips. Strange feeling fishing with the person that I grew up reading about.
You also fished in France and on the Ebro in Spain, how did those trips go?
Well there aren’t that many carp waters over here so I wanted to do a trip to France so we went to Limonge to fish a place called Lodge lakes and we had carp to thirty four pound in the lovely French countryside.
We went with family friends who had been going there for twelve years. So altogether six of us went in March and though still quite cold it was a really enjoyable trip.
We also done a trip to the Ebro in September a year later and the trip couldn’t come quick enough. It was the same group of guys so I knew it would be a good trip.
It was an unbelievable experience, and the sight of the mist burning off over the Ebro was nothing short of breathtaking. I caught a cat of 70lb on a 2.75 carp rod an 30lb braid, It took 45 mins to land!
It was the most enjoyable trip if been on yet. I would take a fishing trip anytime ahead of a lads holiday!
This spring and summer what sessions will you be looking forward to?
I used to fish for pike all year round in my younger days, then I found it frustrating sometimes, when you would catch a big in mid summer and just know it was a lot bigger before spawning. A lot of our visiting pike anglers measure their fish in cm and don’t weigh them at all, but I’m still a pounds and ounce man! Several times I caught fish in the high teens that I knew must have been in the twenties in winter. So this is when I started looking at the species which are at their top weights in the spring and summer.
Tench and bream are the obvious ones and of coarse my beloved perch so I’ll be hard at it that this year again, as much as I like fishing on a cold frosty morning for pike I love fishing in the summer. I also plan to do a few Carlingford lough trips for the tope.
How did you start the tope fishing?
I have a friend Paddy Rooney who lives right on Carlingford lough and he brings me out on his boat. He has had tope to almost 70lb My own personal best is 44lb. I absolutely love it and it is so different to my usual specimen fishing to be out on the sea on a sunny day it’s just magic although needs to be calm because I’m known to go a bit green the odd time .
Can you tell us about the capture if your PB pike?
It was a strange session as it was caught on a river just local to where I live. I had it February four years ago now, and it was 27lb 6oz. We were camping for three nights and it was me, and my uncle Daryl Burke, who just passed away last year in the Lough Ree accident last year with another friend of mine. So we got there at 6am and got set up. A bit of a branch got caught on my line so I had to bring it in. I had a small joey mackeral on an the guts had burst out but my hands were so cold I did’t change the bait but just cast it out again. I placed the rod back on the alarm and walked back up the bank and almost instantly had a few beeps then it stopped. It gave another few beeps then took off slowly, it wasn’t a screaming run. I struck into it and felt a decent fish but I didn’t think it was that big. It came up to the surface and I remember saying to Daryl that it’s not that big, and with that it woke up and took off down the river with me down the bank after it. We got it netted and I couldn’t believe how big it looked in the net. I should have measured it as well but hindsight is a great thing.
What was your most memorable session?
We went on a camping trip down the West in September 2013. There were five of us and over the few days we had four twenties and a 19lb. The first night I had the 19lb and the next night I had a twenty. There were also other three twenties to the other lads. On the final day I decided to pack up and try a nearby canal, just as I was packing up, one of the guys who had never previously had a twenty I told him to fish my swim, I had no sooner packed up an his alarm started screaming and he got one of 20lb 6oz, was very happy for him to of broke out he 20lb Mark even if it ment I missed out. It which was a great end to the session and he has caught a few twenties since.
What would be your dream Irish catch?
A 30lb pike it has got to be. They are not as common now it seems but one or two still get caught each year. Also an 8lb tench or 3lb+ perch, they would be my dream three.
Where else in the world would you like to fish?
I would really love to try the pike fishing in Sweden, It has so much water to cover and so many big fish that it is crazy really. It also works out cheaper than going to the Ebro let’s say. It also has big perch so what more could yhou want, I know Canada would also be a dream location but I’ll settle for Sweden.
What will be your next session?
Well I’m still fishing for perch but I’ll pack that in for bream and tench an hybrids now. I’ll hopefully do a few pike sessions with lures an the fly from the boat and some tope too, so hopefully it’s a year that I land a few more specimens an break a few PBs.
Well Simon thanks for talking to us and hope you have a great year.
You too lads it was my pleasure…