Saturday, 9 June 2012

Canal fun

I've managed to get out for a few early morning sessions this week on the canal when the weather permitted. No way am I in a rush to get back to my usual ponds to meet up with idiot anglers. I haven't really got a clue what is in this place, I've got no targets and it's just nice to get out and fish. So far the biggest pike I've had from here has been around 9.5lb but would guess there will be at least a couple of decent sized fish in even though yet I've not seen any sign of one. One pleasing part of this place are the perch. I've already spotted a couple of follows and managed to catch a couple too, even though I wasn't targeting them with smaller lures. One session bagged me a decent perch and it was caught on a 19cm rainbow lip lure. Having spotted a commotion 30 yards up canal I cast right at it and within seconds felt a hit. At first thinking it was a tiny jack, I soon realised there was no frantic flapping around you get with the tiddlers. I was hoping for a perch at that point and then as it came in to view I saw the mean looking head and mohican coming my way. The lure just looks too big alongside the perch, but these fish do have a decent sized mouth on them and will take large baits. I'm thinking there's a good chance of an even bigger perch in this bit of water so will have to try and target them. Admittedly I've only ever caught them while fishing for pike so don't know where to start apart from maybe going lighter and smaller lures, then again maybe I should just stick with the big rainbow! At least I now have a better idea of what to look out for, the smaller fish being chased and I won't forget the splashing, plopping sound of the perch thrashing the water. There's plenty of small silvers in this canal so I guess these perch are well used to corralling and taking them. I should bag a few more every now and again.

With my new ESP polaroids I'm spotting the fish much better than I was before. These shades aren't exactly expensive top of the range things, but by comparison to my other cheapo visors they are a million times better. I'm spotting fish following earlier, targeting pike laying up in the shallows and generally enjoying more of the pike action just because I can see them following and hitting the lures. I also spotted one pike at distance dart out from the margins which had also obviously spotted me coming, when I was thinking I was well out of sight so I will keep that in mind in future. I had one pike follow, which was roughly around five or six pounds. I saw it hesitantly have a bite at my rainbow lure, so I sped up the retrieve hoping it would trigger a better take. It just followed. So I slowed down, still nothing. I let the lure sink, still nothing. Since I'd by now run out of water, I jigged the lure in front of the pikes nose. It had another tentative nibble. This carried on for another thirty seconds or more and it was amusing to watch, I wasn't even bothered about hooking the fish now. The pike was obviously tempted by the lure but had second thoughts when it bit into something hard, but it just couldn't resists taking another look and trying again. I wouldn't have seen any of that without my new polaroids, so if you haven't already invested in a half decent pair go get them because they do make a difference.

The polaroids have also come in handy for helping me realise why I've been missing a few fish. I had an idea they were small jacks, around a foot long or so, but until I actually saw them I couldn't understand why I was missing so many of them. Wow, how fast are these little nippers! They are hiding in the margins, weeds and cabbages and then dart out, hit the lure and then back into hiding before you can say "damn i've missed". I was thinking before that possibly the hits could have been from perch but now I know this isn't the case and just the little pike. I had mainly been using the 13cm savage gear lures since that's what I'd been getting fish on, but seeing the small jacks hitting and then me missing I decided to go bigger, and that's when I stuck on my ever reliable 19cm rainbow. Of course, going smaller would mean I'd probably start to hit a few more of those pike, but I'm not that fussed for catching foot long pike all day.

These smaller canals don't leave you that much room to fish. They're not very wide and three or four feet of it each side of the canal is only a foot to three feet deep. I haven't tested the depth of the main channel yet but suspect it to be only five or six feet at most. This leaves you with a problem if casting to the far bank. You inevitably hit weed at some point. I can usually keep the lure out of it, then as I hit the channel I can allow the lure to go a little deeper, but then if I don't get it back up again quickly I end up in the weed on the near side of the canal. So mainly I can only work the lures that go shallow. Unless I can manage to get out with my waders a few feet, then I can cast right up or down the channel and fish that and stay away from the weed most of the time. Often I can bag a fish in the shallow weedy margins but often it's the smaller pike, while the channel seems to offer me better chance to work the lure in a variety of ways and give time to tempt the bigger pike out. So far the best tactic is to simply troll the lure up the channel. A slow steady retrieve using the lures natural swimming action, with a little flick of the rod every now and again to make the lure flash it's silver reflective pattern. I've also managed to catch using a fast retrieve too, letting the lure sink a little after casting and then just winding in pretty fast. I'm confused sometimes when I read that people don't catch on the SG lip lures, I just don't see how they won't work everywhere else. Maybe I'll have the same problem with some other lure someone else can't stop catching with.

I've also managed to get out for a session with my lad. Every time he's wanted to go the weather has turned against us and we've not been able to make it but Saturday evening saw us have a couple of hours. He's been with me before and already has a pb of 17lb, but he recently finally completed his set up from Christmas and birthday presents and now is the proud owner of a Wynchwood agitator lure rod, an Okuma Hexana reel with braid on, his own lure bag, boxes, lures and traces and even the super duper SG rainbow lip lure. He's been eager to get out with them and so far only had one uneventful frustrating blank of a session. I was confident he would catch tonight though, so long as he kept at it and boredom didn't set in.

 It wasn't long before he had his first follow but the small jack had a quick nip at the lure and turned away. A few casts later and a jack hit his lure right at the rod tip, Jack seemed to hook the fish but then as quickly as that the small jack pike flipped itself off the hook. Frustration for my lad but he was at least getting some attention. Fifteen minutes or so later and I was in. A pike smashing my lure just seconds after it hitting the water. Jack helping me by netting the fish and then taking a few photos. We also took the opportunity to show him how to hold a fish, where to put your hands and what to watch out for. He still wasn't too sure about it at that point but at least knew what to do. Just for the record I also finished the session with two more fish which came on the last two casts of the evening, proving that sometimes just casting in the right spot is all it takes.

Back to Jacks fishing, we kept moving pegs pretty often to keep him interested and also hopefully drop on a fish. I was surprised that this didn't happen, everything looked promising but then sometimes luck just isn't on your side. We'd been at it a while and I knew by now he would be thinking of home, and when it started spitting with rain I was ready for him asking to go. To his credit he stuck at it and while I was fishing with my back to him, a good twenty meters away, all of a sudden I heard the shout of "dad, I've got one!" I rushed over to him and gave him a couple of pointers in how to play the fish, which to be honest he was pretty good at without me chirping up. I netted the fish, unhooked it for him and then set about convincing him to hold it for a photo.After a bit of thought he decided to go for it, placed his fingers carefully under the gills and held it out for a picture. His first pike that he had caught using all his own gear, and with not one bit of help from me. This capture is as pleasing for him as the seventeen pound monster he landed last year. Next time the weather is ok, I think he might be tagging along again.

2012 pike tally
 Doubles 11
Total 58
Largest 22.5lb
Bonus Perch 2

No comments:

Post a Comment