An angler's journal

An angler's journal

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Finally! (Pike and Perch)

With a run of 5 blanks during my last 6 sessions, my record was rivaling that of my football team, Aston Villa. Four of those blanks had come on a very unsettled Warks Avon attempting to catch Pike and Chub with the other on a lake famed for Pike. That day saw my companions and I fishing 10 baits between us for one solitary run. So I am sure I could be forgiven for being less than enthusiastic as the river once again topped the banks earlier this week coupled with some arctic conditions to boot. Therefore, as the weekend approached I my options were limited to stillwaters or canals.

I opted for the B'ham-Worcs canal with Perch and/or Pike the quarry. The canal has little form for Pike as far as I know but with few local stillwaters containing Pike to choose from my options were severely limited, especially since the overnight temperatures threatened a freeze over. I certainly like a challenge but I do think that I may make things a little too challenging at times.

I packed my weed rake as an ice breaker but with temperatures around freezing the previous night I was only expecting a thin covering of ice. On arrival, I was disappointed to see that I had
underestimated the extent of the ice and before me was a canal that was close to unfishable. I have to admit that I almost turned back and headed for home. However, the only way to break my wretched run was perseverance so I attempted to clear a patch that would allow me to drop-shot a small minnow replica. Despite my brave attempts, it simply wasn't working. Again I thought about calling it a day when I noticed a clear patch in the ice a few hundred yards away. This area proved unproductive but it brought a bridge to my attention, which was dark, gloomy and ice free. Surely the perfect place for a Perch to seek sanctuary? After five minutes or so and completely out of the blue the familiar thud of a bite saw a small but welcome Perch find its way to the surface.
A fish at last

Soon after a barge passed by, which of course made a decent job of clearing the ice but also churned up the bridge peg. Despite persevering for a further 20 minutes it was obvious I was flogging a dead horse here so I headed back along the towpath to where I had originally started. With this area of the canal basking in sunshine and benefiting from the earlier barge it felt like I was spoiled for choice compared to the last hour or so.

I continued to drop shot in the forlorn hope that another Perch might be in attendance. I'm sure the many passing joggers and walkers thought I was a raving lunatic for fishing a mostly frozen canal and I had to agree. So you can imagine my satisfaction when the rod hooped over and I was connected to something more substantial. It was quite exhilarating on the light drop shot rod as the fish took line and kited towards the sheets of ice. It was then that I caught a glimpse of a small Pike,
An impeccable Jack Pike
which had me fumbling to grab my net. So my first Pike from the canal confirmed their presence and in doing so put a completely different complexion on my approach. The Pike was a only a few pounds but it was in superb condition. With faith restored, I now had a float fished sprat in position in the hope it was not a one off. Fishing a venue for the first time and one that has so little information adds to the anticipation. Who was to know what else was lurking beneath the ice?

The breeze pushed a sheet of ice across my floating braid. I moved the float to stop it being dragged out of position. It then twitched and slid away purposefully. A strike lifted the snagged ice sheet from the water and set the hooks. This fish felt better and it surged right for the intact ice. It was quickly brought under control and drawn over the waiting net where it then proceeded to hurl itself clear of the water in spectacular fashion in a bid for freedom. It was safely netted and once again a beautifully patterned Pike was banked. A quick weigh showed it was just over 7½lb. Whilst nothing special as far as Pike go it was a decent return for the venue and certainly makes another visit in more favourable conditions well worth the effort.

My recent poor run was over and although three fish may represent a modest return to some, I was more than satisfied given the conditions almost had me turning back to the car three hours before. It was reward for perseverance and just goes to show that you can't catch sat at home thinking about it.
The biggest fish of the session


  1. A good result in difficult conditions...

  2. Cheers, Jimmy. The conditions certainly made it more satisfying.