First trip this month was a short impromptu lure trip on the local canal. It had been my weekend to have my lad but he had a party to attend so I needed to have him home for dinner time so rather than waste the afternoon I grabbed my small selection of lure fishing gear and headed off.
Now its been quite a while since I have done any serious pike fishing and even longer since I tried to catch a large perch by design and last year I got my self a few bits and bobs, gave them a try twice and gave up. I promised my self I would get out more this coming winter so I kicked it off today.
I know of an area of canal where the silver fish shoal up so I headed straight there, I fanned the water with my rather small selection of lures for an hour or so and managed just one missed strike, nothing big as I saw it hit the surface as I stuck into it. There were signs of small fish about as quite a few kept topping and some even seemed to be trying to avoid something lurking below. The size of the fish showing though and lack of large swirls on the surface got me thinking, the area is also known to hold quite a few good perch so a slight change was made.
In my little lure box I also have a nice set of tiny ultra lite rubber lures so on went a roach style one. Soon enough I felt the braid tighten and I hit into a fish, I don't think it realised quite what was going on at first as it just came in as I wound, that was until it got almost to the bank, it then decided to go on a bit of a run. The fish was soon subdued though, the medium strength rod and 35lb braid easily saw to that. After a bit of head shaking on the surface the fish was soon in the net. My first proper lure caught pike, not a monster, 5lb+ or so but much bigger than my only other lure caught pike of around a pound!
I had been expecting a good perch to show first but I wasn't complaining. Nothing much else came after that so I changed the lure for another of the ultra lites, a tiny pike pattern and moved up towards some over hanging cover, again I didn't have to make too many casts before I felt something. This time the strike met with less resistance and the tell tale feeling of a fish shaking its head told me I was attached to a decent perch. As I got it close (although still not seen) I realised the net was out of reach so I moved along the tow path towards it, once there I also had to extend the handle. The path here is quite high off the water too and as I put the net down it slid towards the water and I had to make a grab for it, this meant the line went slack and the fish threw the hooks.
I never got a look at that fish so I can't say how big it was, all I know is it put a decent bend int he medium lure rod. I carried on though and soon had my first ever lure caught perch, all 6oz of the little beast. I continued my way up the tow path towards the car and was glad of the warmth of the heater once I got there as when the sun dipped today it felt positively cold for the first time this year.
My next session was to be a bit of a guiding trip, now I don't claim to be any sort of pike expert but my mate JD has been wanting to try for a pike for ages but kept putting it off as he had no idea how to handle them so I offered to go with him, set him up and hope we got a fish or two out of the local canal so I could demonstrate how to unhook them.
I had arrived earlier than planned so decided to pass the time on till JD got there chucking an ultralight around. I had a couple of follows off small perch before landing one around 6oz again. JD arrived just after I had chucked a float ledgered smelt out into the boat channel. I set his rod up for him and offered some guidance on hitting takes and what have you before we sat back to discuss the day ahead. Things were slow going but soon enough JD had us a roach on his light gear which was promptly attached to my second rod and allowed to wander around the canal basin we were fishing.
By dinner time things were getting a bit desperate so I suggested a move further up the canal to the remains of an old lock, there's also a couple of far bank bushes that over hang into the water and a wide, reed lined bay that provides plenty of cover for the pike to hide amongst. One rod was fished over towards the bay in some quite shallow water, it may have cooled off but it just looks 'right' for there to be some fish hiding in there. And the other was fished just short of the over hanging bushes in line with the edge of the old lock wall.
We had not been fishing an hour when the float on my rod fished near the lock disappeared from view. I wound down and connected and after a short scrap I eased the fish over the net JD had sunk for me. Now though the fun began. You could call this unlucky or in a way lucky but the fish decided to do the dreaded roll of death in the net and made a right mess with the loose treble and the trace quick link getting snagged up and the fish tangled in the mesh. The perfect opportunity then to show a new comer to pike fishing how to sort it out.
Once on the mat the first thing out and in use were the wire cutters and I just cut the trace off above the fish between the two sets of trebles, cut the top of the trace away from the main line to get the rod away and within seconds the fish was laid on the mat and the mess was sorted. It was then just a case of showing JD how to run his fingers under the gills, open the mouth and pop the hooks out. The fish was soon back in the water and resting in the net before weighing. On the dial she went 9lb 12oz.
My lure collection has now grown a little, I even have a proper lure box! There are one or two more pike lures but also quite a few ultralights for the perch. Main reason for this is I have got my long awaited transfer at work which puts me on a new shift with more time for fishing, yey. It will open up opportunities for short sessions before having to collect the kids from school, perfect for nipping down the local canal for some predator action and come the warmer months a bit of carp stalking on a couple of local ponds.
Anyway, last week was my last on my old job and as I am due to start the new one Sunday night I blagged Friday off and headed to a local river in search of some monster perch that have been showing. Now as anglers we all have our strengths and weaknesses and my down fall is the complete lack of been able to travel light and rove around the banks. Call me lazy or whatever but I just cant seem to get into it and I'm much happier plonking my bum down in a spot for a few hours and filling it in.
Maybe my rods are too long or my net too big but all I ever seem to do is spend my time freeing my self from jungle of undergrowth rather than fishing. Then for me there is the comfort issues, after half an hour crouched, knelt, sat under some usually prickly bush my knees and legs are killing me. However I fear if I am to get into some of these local big fish it is something I'm going to have to over come.
So anyway Friday, ermmm to put it bluntly it was crap. I got snarled up in the trees and bushes resulting in setting up 3 times, it was blowing a gale, the leaves were a menace then it started to rain. After an hour the tip flew round only for me to land a 6 inch trout that took a liking to my lob worm that I had managed to flick right under the bush after 17 failed attempts. After two hours my legs were killing from me been sort of sat on them, I got monk on and sloped off home. But hey ho I might go and do it again next Friday.