Sunday, 22 November 2015

Ultra Light Lure Fishing for Perch and Pike Pt2

My first Ultra Light Lure Fishing Trip to the Shropshire Union Canal produced a perch and a pike but it was hard work getting bites on that particular section so I moved on. The next weekend I decided to try the adjacent stretch and see if it was any better there. It was the weekend there was a yellow weather alert for heavy rain and it was already raining when I arrived at my new section of canal. The rain meant it was going to be a short session this time but it also meant not much canal boat traffic had been through the area.

Despite my session being short I had quite a few bites. I was using a 2” Relax Kopyto Shad worked close to the bottom of the wall of the canal. This particular lure is a brilliant big perch lure but the smaller fish have difficulty taking it and this tends to result in quick pulls of the rod tip as the micro perch have a go at the lure but miss the hook. I worked a short section of the canal from a bridge and along the margins until I came to some moored boats and during that time I must have had 10 bites. One of them was definitely a pike as I managed to play the fish to the surface where it thrashed around for a few seconds before throwing the hook. The rest of the bites were micro perch but it proved there were fish in the area so I resolved to return to this stretch with a smaller 1” kopyto shad to see if I could catch a few of the micro perch and get an idea of just how small these fish were. You can check out the video of this quick trip below.

Click to Watch last weeks Shropshire Union Canal lure fishing session

Fast forward a week and I was back at the same section of the Shropshire Union Canal I’d lost that small pike at. Unfortunately I arrived just as a second canal boat was about to pass through the section. These boats really cloud up the water and they have a negative effect on your lure fishing when they pass through. Needless to say my first fish through this short section resulted in nothing. I had a bit of a break and a chat with an old chap who’d been out filming an event with his Sony Handycam, I spent about 20 minutes chatting to him before I got back to the fishing. I was going to move on but I decided to do the section again because no more boats had come through.

I started again just before the bridge and before I’d got underneath it the rod tip pulled down indicating a bite. I bent into the fish and sure enough my Ultra Light Lure Rod doubled over. I was hoping for a big perch but when the fish eventually surfaced I quickly identified it as a small pike. Fortunately this pike didn’t manage to throw the hook like last weekend’s fish and eventually I chinned out a small jack. It wasn’t the fish I wanted but it was welcome none the less. We’d already seen snow overnight and there was a bitterly cold wind blowing and to be honest I was pleased to catch anything in these conditions. I was grateful to be wearing my Buffalo Special 6 Shirt in that cold wind too. I continued working the stretch but I had no more bites, the micro perch that were there last week had moved on and it was time for me to do the same.

Ultra light lure caught Shropshire Union Canal Pike

My next stop was the next bridge along and I found a place to park and started at the bridge again. I worked the bridge meticulously but I couldn’t buy a bite even with a small 1” lure. Eventually I decided to just try moving along the towpath where there were no apparent features. It was here I finally picked up a micro perch, all 3” of it, the fish wasn’t far off the size of my lure it was so small but at least it was the target species. I carried on working the open stretch of canal but no more bites were forthcoming so I called it a day with one jack pike and one micro perch to my name, not exactly what I was looking for but then again the Shropshire Union Canal is quite a difficult lure water up here at the northern end.

Click to watch Pt2 of my Ultra Light Lure Fishing Adventures

I’ve made a video of the second trip including the capture of my jack pike this week and you can watch the full capture above. I’ll be back on the Shropshire Union Canal again next weekend, it might not be the easiest of canals to fish but I intend to keep searching different sections of the canal until I get lucky and bag myself a decent perch.

Until next time, tight lines and be lucky yourself.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Ultralite Lure Fishing for Pike and Perch on the Shropshire Union Canal

As winter approaches I thought I’d hang the carp rods up for a while and do some ultralite lure fishing for pike and perch on the Shropshire union canal. I’ve crisscrossed the canal many times over the last 25 years when going to and from various carp lakes around Cheshire and I’ve made mental notes of the features I’ve stumbled across, mainly in relation to carp but features hold other species too, most notably pike and perch so I had no problem finding a starting point to target some of the canal's predators.

Click to watch the highlights of this Ultralite Lure Fishing trip on my Youtube Channel

I had a late start on Halloween and I arrived at my chosen section of the ‘shroppy’ just before midday. It was a calm day, no wind but no sunshine either, probably not the best conditions for catching pike and perch but not the worst either. There were plenty of boats on the canal and these would certainly work against me catching, I knew I was going to have my work cut out with the canal being well coloured up and visibility of no more than a few inches, I would literally have to land my lure on a fishes nose to get a bite.

The Shropshire Union Canal, home to the Pike and Perch I'm fishing for.

I started off with a small Mepps Comet Spinner and fished around and under one of the Shropshire union canal's many bridges, my thought being a small lure that made a noise my help me get a bite. I tried the bridge area for a good 20 minutes without success so I decided to put my rucksack on my back and start working away from the bridge area and along the canal. As I left the canal bridge I changed lure to a small Relax Kopyto Shad which was just 1 inch long, this was fished on a 2 Gram Jig Head with a size 4 hook and was attached to a 20lb Wire Trace. The wire trace was a bit heavy but the 1” relax kopyto shad was proper ultralite fishing and it would allow me to pick up any smaller perch along the way. I thought going small would increase my chances of getting some bites and as I get to know the canal I could increase my lure size and start targeting bigger fish. More than anything I was hoping that going ultralite would at least get me off the mark!.

An hour later I’d covered most of the reed bed without a single pluck at the lure and I was starting to think this particular stretch of canal wasn’t going to produce any fish. I was working my small lure close to the bottom and as tight to the reeds as I could get and out of the blue my lure suddenly stopped zig zagging along the bottom and held firm in the same spot. I applied some pressure thinking I’d caught a twig on the bottom when a fish suddenly shot out from the reeds. My Ultralite Lure Rod is weight rated and is suitable for lures weighing from 3 grams up to 12 grams so it’s a really light rod and the plump little perch I’d hooked certainly put a nice bend in the rod. The fish eventually succumbed to the pressure and after flapping about on the surface for a few seconds the perch rolled over and I was just about able to swing the fish out and into my hand.

A Shropshire Union Canal Perch caught on a Relax Kopyto Shad

Finally I was off the mark and a decent perch it was too, I didn’t weigh it but at a guess I’d say it was about half a pound, I took some pics including some close ups of my little Relax Kopyto Shad which was half way down it’s throat, he’d hit my little lure good and proper. Once unhooked I put my perch back in the edge, no easy task with so much reed growth but he went back ok and I gathered my tackle and started again with the same lure. I worked the same area where I’d just had a fish because perch are known to shoal together but no more fish were forthcoming and eventually I covered the whole reedbed with nothing else to show for my efforts. With time moving on I decided to head back to the canal bridge where my car was parked and have a brew and a bite to eat before trying the reedbed on the other side of the bridge.

Once I’d had a bit of a rest I walked about 300 yards along the towpath and the whole length was reed lined margins so I had plenty to go at. Eventually I figured I’d gone far enough so I started again with my 1” relax kopyto shad to see if I could catch a perch or maybe a small pike. This side of the bridge was as tough as the other half, I slowly made my way along the reeds working my little kopyto rubber lure as close to the reeds as I could get. Despite my best efforts I had nothing until again I’d covered about three quarters of the distance back to the bridge.

I was just covering some water were the reeds were a little nearer to the bank when again I thought my lure had caught bottom, it hadn’t and as I applied pressure to bring the lure up an angry little pike shot off along the margins with me hanging on and trying to stop it going any further. Despite it just being a jack it was hard work on an ultralite rod that’s not exactly designed to have a backbone. After a couple of efforts to get into the reeds I eventually had the pike under control and I brought him in through a tiny gap in the reeds and lifted him out and onto the grass before laying him on the unhooking mat once I’d unclipped it from my Nash Rucksack. I didn’t weigh the pike, at a guess it was two, maybe two and a half pounds tops but it was good sport on the ultralite lure setup. Again I took a few close up pictures using the macro setting on my camera to get a close up of the lure and of the mouth and teeth of my pike, you can certainly see why nothing gets away once a pike hits a fish, especially with all those razor sharp teeth.

A Shropshire Union Canal Pike caught on a Relax Kopyto Shad

I returned my pike through the same gap in the reeds I’d landed it from, gathered my gear together and carried on working my kopyto shad along the reeds as I headed back to the bridge. No more bites were forthcoming and when I arrived back at the bridge I decided to call it a day. I’d spent a couple of hours working my lure along the edge of the canal and I couldn’t complain with one nice perch and one nice pike caught despite the canal being busy with boat traffic.

This section of the Shropshire union canal is certainly worthy of further investigation and as the boat traffic dies down over the winter and the canal clears a little I think I might find more success on this section of the canal. Even if I don’t I can always move on to somewhere new, the Shropshire union canal has plenty of other areas worthy of a look both in Cheshire and in Shropshire. There is plenty to go at and I’m sure there are plenty of decent pike and perch to be caught, all I have to do is keep at it and I’m sure more fish will come.

Tight Lines


Click to Watch Part 2 of my Shropshire Union Canal Lure Fishing Video Diary

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

River Severn Barbel Fishing Pt1

If you’ve just stumbled across this blog you may not realise it’s been dormant for many years. As a carp angler I’ve published all my writing on the North West Carp Blog so please feel free to take a look if it’s carp fishing you’re interested in.

Early July saw me take a break from carp fishing as I headed south from my base in Wirral to the River Severn in Shropshire. My target for the day was River Severn barbel. Although I’ve caught the odd barbel in the past from the River Teme I’d never had one from the Severn so my mission for the day was to put that right and catch one.

My tackle for the day was an old carp rod with a 1.75lb test curve, it was my floater rod but being so light it was ideal to use for barbel fishing. The rod was coupled with an old Aero GT 4500 Shimano Baitrunner Reel loaded with 15lb Pro Gold Line, a proper carp setup if ever there was one, perhaps it was a little excessive for barbel fishing but it was a short notice trip and I didn’t have enough time to pick up and load a new spool of line. I do like to use gear that’s heavy enough to land my fish too, if I’m going to be sitting there all day I certainly don’t want to lose any fish I hook so a heavy breaking strain line suits me nicely. (Oh the best laid plans!) lol.

My simple pellet rig for River Severn Barbel

My end rig was 2 feet of 15lb Kryston Merlin, a green coloured sinking braid that I just happened to have in my tackle box. My hook was a size 12 Korda Kurv and my bait was a couple of the old style elips pellets superglued either side of the braided hair, this was fished knotless knot style with a Guru Tackle Heavy Feeder fished running on the line. Bait for the day was Dynamite Marine Halibut Groundbait laced with mixed trout pellets, elips pellets and a tin of spam.

I was advised that early season Severn barbel are quite often found in the fast and shallow runs due to the well oxygenated water, I had a friend with me and he knew one run in particular that was always good for a fish so he kindly pointed it out to me and I accepted his advice and dropped into a nice gravelly peg that was very comfortable to fish, no awkward banks and a little cover to hide from the hot July sun too.

I started with a dozen large feeder fulls of groundbait and pellets fished just above some fallen willows on the far bank. Once the bait was in I set about tying up a couple of rigs in order to give the swim time to settle. Once I was set up properly I re-loaded my guru feeder and dropped my first cast on the money. Surprisingly my swim remained quiet for an hour or so, it was a really hot day, certainly in the mid 20’s and the bright conditions weren’t helping. Out of the blue I got a quick knock on the rod tip that indicated fish were finally in my swim, 5 minutes later my rod tip buckled and my baitrunner went into meltdown as a barbel took my elips pellets and headed off downstream towards the willows. I was on it in a flash and I had a great scrap from a typical shoal sized barbel of just under 6lb. I phoned my mate Mike who kindly came to photograph my first severn barbel and a top job he did too. (Thanks mate).
Returning the fish was easy enough, I had a really shallow eddy in front of me and a pair of Wellies on so I was able to wade out and hold my barbel in the flow for a few minutes until it had fully recovered, only when it was ready did I let it go and my prize swam off strongly which is always nice to see.

Click below to watch the return of my first ever River Severn Barbel

After catching my first Severn barbel my swim went quiet for the rest of the day and I made my first mistake, I should have moved on and roved the river to search out some more fish but I made the mistake of staying in the same swim and just rotating my baits during the day. I paid the price for that with no more bites until 9pm.

During the day I did some filming with my Go Pro Video Camera and one thing I managed to capture was the reaction of small fish like minnows, dace and chub to groundbait. Just watching the video back it makes you wonder just how much of your feed is left after 5 minutes in the water. The fry completely obliterated my dynamite groundbait and it was gone in no time. Watching them I decided to put more and larger pellets in with my groundbait just to make sure I still had some bait in my swim after 5 minutes. I intend to make sure there are some bigger baits in my feeder all the time from now on, especially given what happens in the video below, just click and have a watch!.

How long does your groundbait last when the minnows, dace and chub get on it?, click to watch.

As the sun went down over the trees it was like someone just flicked a switch and the river came alive. My mate mike started catching and I got myself another run myself, this bite was even more vicious than the first one and when I struck into the fish I knew instantly it was a big one. For 5 minutes I tussled with this fish, I gained 5 or 6 yards only to lose it again and 5 minutes into the fight I found the fish was back in the same place I’d hooked it with me neither gaining or losing line as it held in the current. At this point the fish decided to wake up properly and it turned downstream and went on a blistering run, I clamped down on the baitrunner spool to try and stop the fish reaching the sanctuary of the willows and it literally flat rodded me, a few seconds later my 15lb line parted and I was left with that horrible empty feeling you get when you know you’ve just lost something special.

I was gutted at the loss and to make matters worse the fight had trashed my swim, I did manage a 3lb chub an hour later but as far as the barbel were concerned that was my last chance of the day. I thoroughly enjoyed my days barbel fishing and I’m already making plans for a return visit, the loss of that fish is still on my mind and I feel I need to make amends for that loss so my river severn barbel adventure will be continuing soon.

Tight Lines


My fluorocarbon pellet rig for River Severn barbel, click to watch.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Fishing Videos

It's been a long time since this blog saw an update, all my current angling is on the North West Carp Blog. I've recently been updating my Youtube Channel to compliment my angling blogging and I hope you like some of the clips and films shown here, I carry a Go Pro Video Camera with me every trip these days so my channel will be seeing quite a few updates as the fishing season unfolds.

I have plans to write Anglers Diary again but for none carp species later this year, my youtube channel will also support my non carp fishing which will be for perch and pike once we get towards the end of the year. In the meantime please have a look at the fishing films on my channel, like and share them and please subscribe for future updates. The channel is very much in it's infancy at the moment but a few clips have been uploaded already, please feel free to check them out below.

How to prepare tiger nuts for carp fishing, click to watch!

How to prepare maize for carp fishing

Snag and Pad Fishing for Cheshire Carp

Cromwell Carp Social 2015

The typical fishing day of a Wirral Carp Angler

North West Carp Blog Channel Introduction

How to apply lead coating powder to your carp leads

Playing a Shropshire Carp caught using a Kevin Nash Zig Float

Long Range Casting

A walk along the Meadows in Chester City Centre

Floater fishing, carp feeding on the surface

Looking for Lures?