Clint Walker - A Wander Up The Canal
This week, I fully intended to have one last carp session before jumping on an aeroplane to travel across to the other side of the world, but wouldn’t you know it, a short spell of hot weather, and love takes over! On most of the waters I fish, the carp are either fully engaged in spawning, or very close to it, so I’ll have to wait as I don’t believe in fishing for them at this time. Hopefully, by the time I get back, it will all be over and done with, and I can get the boilies out to try and bag a whacker! In light of events, and with extremely limited time, I grabbed the lure rod, and set off for a wander up the canal…
A stretch of water that I love, and fish regularly, has recently been taken over by a club… bad news. Previously, it was free to fish (subject to waterways wanderer permit which covers all unmanaged canals where fishing is permissible, but unadopted) and I enjoyed many hours flicking lures around in pursuit of perch and pike. It’s not all bad news though, as the club which has taken it on, well, I’m already a member! Excellent! I was keen to enjoy an hour in the sunshine, so took my new Sonik Magna dropshot rod, a handful of tiny lures, and marched across the field to the water’s edge to try and catch something worth photographing.
Although marketed as a dropshot rod, it’s obviously easy to rig up a light jighead too, and as my jig was firmly nestled in the retaining eye after my last session, I started off by twitching a tiny shad along the nearside of the canal in likely spots beneath a bridge, and in the shadow of overhanging trees. Not a tap. Not a flicker of interest… I spent the best part of twenty minutes slowly flicking the lure up in the water and allowing it settle before I felt a tentative pluck, and although I left the bait for a second or two, nothing happened, so decided to change to dropshot…
A size 10 Fox dropshot hook was quickly threaded up the line and secured, with a Dinsmores bulb weight added below, and I selected my first lure. I have a dwindling stock of tiny orange imitation fish, in fact after desperately searching through my tackle bag, I found I was down to my last one! The water was coloured, the result of a couple of narrowboats passing through, and I think an orange lure stands out really well in murky water, although many other anglers will also have their favourites, so I carefully slid it around the point of the hook, and swung it out to the base of the nearside shelf.
As I delicately tapped my rod butt to impart movement, I noted a scattering of fry to my right as a predator struck from below; a good sign. I moved position, dropping the lure in the midst of the expanding ripples, and continued to watch the braid hoping for a quick strike. It wasn’t to be… I stayed for around fifteen minutes, constantly moving the lure, but couldn’t entice a bite. I tried changing the lure, and the depth at which it ‘swam’, but to no avail. I had also spotted carp rooting up the reeds, and was confident that I wouldn’t hook one using a lure, so opted to cross the bridge, and move to the other side of the waterway to search for a predator.
Pushing carefully through the undergrowth, I spied fish moving along the edge of the weedy margin so plinked my lure in carefully and left it flutter in the shallow water. I lost a perch. A small fish, but at least it was interest, so I spent the next five minutes carefully lowering the orange tempter between reed stems and overhanging twigs trying to find a ‘nest’ of perch. As I moved the lure towards me I hooked the bottom… A fraction of a second trying to release the lure, and both the pike and I realised what had happened! The predator had obviously turned on the lure, and sat there chewing, and when I moved it, the hook point pricked in, and the pike exploded out of the shallows and steamed out into the canal! Yes!