Saturday, June 01, 2013

Esox elusive.

As my few trips to target pike this year have sadly resulted in not much action and only one pike hooked, that I managed to lose due to not having a net handy, I fancied getting the growing green stripey monkey off of my back. A quick text to see if my mate Jake was free and an hour or so later we hit the road. Arriving at the Forth & Clyde Canal a short drive later we were soon fishing and both decided to test out some Gulp! Alive Swimming Eels that Jake had procured recently.

Like most Gulp! lures these stink but have a fantastic swimming action. Surely the pike wouldn't be able to resist?

We thrashed the basin in front of us and cast around the pontoons and moored boats but no bites were forthcoming. After about an hour or so we both scaled down to smaller lures. The water was slightly murky so I went with a Savage Gear Soft 4Play in Firetiger. As we wandered along the canal a bit further we spotted hundreds of tadpoles in the margins and I then switched to an even smaller lure, a Lake Fork Live Baby Shad in Golden Shiner. This again yielded no results unfortunately. By this point Jake had switched to drops shotting Gulp! Sandworm sections for perch, which normally results in pike being caught but this didn't seem to be having the same effect for a change! Heading all the way back to where we started we were both pretty fed up with the lack of action when Jake finally hooked a fish and after I carried out netting duties a nicely coloured perch was on the bank.

A nice golden hue to this spiky little worm gobbling predator and it had nice bright red fins too.

Encouraged by this we carried on fishing heading in the opposite direction along the canal. I scaled up a bit and went with a 3" Kopyto Shad in Roach like colour. Casting to the pontoons and boats on the far side I slowly worked it back across towards me using a slow steady retrieve keeping it close to the bottom but imparting the odd twitch just to try and hopefully illicit a response form any fish it passed by. Plodding along about a metre at a time I finally felt a couple of sharp little tugs and hooked a fish. It soon broke the surface and I could see it was a small jack. I could also see that it didn't look very well hooked. I didn't apply any real pressure to the fish and called along the canal to Jake who had the net. Unfortunately whilst he came along with it the fish took the opportunity to thrash in front of me and spit the lure out before slowly swimming off. After several of hours of fishing with no action at all I was pretty annoyed to lose a second consecutive pike due to not having a net handy! With only a short time left before we had to leave I went back to my methodical approach, standing on a pontoon and casting to a long section of reeds opposite me and with pretty much my last cast I was rewarded with a second bite at the swimming croc cherry. Being a complete idiot though I suddenly realised that the net was further along the pontoon, a fair bit away from me. I had to quickly decide whether to play the fish along there or chance lifting it up the short distance to my hands. I opted for the later and luckily the fish was well hooked this time and stayed on.

My first pike of 2013. Hard earned to say the least!

We headed home, both quite disappointed with the fishing overall, but at the same time glad to have avoided a blank. I was pleased though to get my first pike of the year and whilst canal jacks are good fun I think perhaps we need to start trying some new stretches to try and locate some bigger specimens to work the Gulp! Alive Swimming Eels past. Maybe a less uniform stretch would be nice with a few more natural holding features. Some lily pads would be great as well because after seeing all the tadpoles I'm keen to try some frog lures soon as well for some surface fun.

Tight lines, Scott.

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