Finally, I’ve managed to find a few afternoons and a couple of spare days to wet a line. I didn’t want to travel far, so I fished lobworms on one of my local ‘cuts’ hoping for a big perch or two.
My tackle and bait was the same as it’s always been. 4lb line straight through to a size 8 to 12 hook, depending on how finicky the fish are. I use a small 2 Swan shot paternoster some 3 feet above the hook and bait is always the ever reliable lobworm. That’s as simple as it gets. I use light bobbins combined with alarms for bite indication. That way I can scan the water looking for fish activity, without missing any bites.
I was worried I may be too late for the perch, as prior to spawning they seem to shut up shop and vanish. The first evening was promising though as I landed a perch of 2lb 11oz as well as a very fat bream that was almost 6lbs
After that promising start though, it soon became apparent that I was too late for a big perch as my bobbins danced to the bites from all kinds of fish. Roach, bream, silver bream, roach x bream hybrids and lots of smaller perch all took a liking to my juicy lobworm hook baits
I also caught a few of those rarest of fish from a South Yorkshire canal……Sea trout!! That’s right, I caught 3 sea trout and I know mates who were fishing the same water caught a few of these too!! How strange.
The biggest problem has been the amount of jack pike that take the worms. I’ve not encountered these before on worms, but everybody was getting plagued by them this season. There must be a good head of them in the canal. Lets hope the balance of predators isn’t shifting from big perch to lots of small pike.
On my last attempt for a big perch, in mid April, I sat biteless until well into the afternoon when a dog walker shouted over from the far bank. He told me there was a big pike sat in the margins on his side of the canal. When I enquired how big, he said it was ‘as big as his dog’…..which was a labrador!!! When perch fishing I always have a lure rod stashed in my holdall, so I reeled the worms in and went to the far side of the canal to see if I could catch this ‘dog’ of a pike. After 30 minutes of flinging my lures everywhere, I’d not seen ‘the’ pike, or any pike. I’d not had a follow or anything. I wondered if I’d been had or not!
I returned to base and carried on with the worm fishing and caught some perch around a pound plus a nice chunky roach. In the warm weather and clear water, a carp could be seen cruising over my baited areas and it looked a good size too. As the light faded and I struck into a jerky bite, I thought this is what I was attached too, as it was a lump of a fish that I couldn’t do much with. It stayed deep and every time I got it close in, it would power off to the other side of the canal. After this process had been repeated 3 times, it came to the surface on the far side where I spotted the shape of a pike. Thinking I was playing one of the troublesome ‘jacks’ I gave it all the 4lb line could give, but I was struggling to do much with it.
Eventually, after a good few minutes, a very fat pike squeezed into my 30 inch landing net, complete with my lobworm hooked in the scissors of its jaw! It was here that things went a bit strange. I thought I saw another fin in a strange place on the pike. It was only when I tried to lift the net all hell broke loose. There were actually 3 pike in my net! A quick inspection revealed a couple of red, battered looking males that must have stuck to the female, during the fight, like glue! I was gobsmacked and could only just lift the net out of the water.
I quickly weighed the males before putting them straight back. This was because I’ve heard it said that they don’t usually weigh much more than 6lbs. These males went 5.14 and 8lb 1oz, so I suppose thats not bad for a male pike (I think)
Then I weighed the big girl before taking 2 quick photos. She went 20lbs 15oz which is a cracking pike from a canal, although I didn’t catch it how I’d have liked to. I wonder if it was the pike that was “as big as a dog” It was certainly fat enough.
And with that fantastic, but bizarre capture, my perch season is over (I think) and it’s time to target other fish and take on new challenges. I’ll leave you with one last photo of a silver bream and a roach x bream hybrid, as many people confuse the pair for each other. After catching both on my worms, I couldn’t resist taking this photo, though the fading light makes the subtle differences harder to spot.