Tuesday, 2nd February, saw me on the banks of my club’s stretch of the Shropshire Union Canal with my canal pike float fishing gear – 3lb TC rod (actually a Ron Thompson Sea Bass rod), 40lb braid main line, 30lb wire trace and a size 2 single hook – I was intending to use small baits on this session – and did so – but I did carry other traces suitable for larger baits in the event I needed them. Weight on the line was a Grey’s Prowla Quick Change type – 8g – and the float was a medium size ’30 Tackle’ traditional type pike bung. I did originally start with the small size bung but found that the weight was marginally too large and that that float slowly sank but the medium was perfect with about ¼” of the bung above water. Tackled up this way meant that if I had have desired I could have easily switched to a ledgered bait by simply removing the float via its slotted side…
And so, I arrived at the canal a little after 0815, and parked by the bridge at which the club’s stretch commenced and thus was at the water’s edge within 1 minute and, as I carry my rods ready made up, the first bait was in the water within a further two minutes… and I elected to use a ‘jack’, injected with about 2-3ml of an emulsion made by dissolving lecithin (emulsifier) into 80ml of water and adding 15ml of mixed oils (cod liver, lamprey – and a fish oil mixture used to distract our ferrets when claw trimming) plus about 5ml of ‘Predator Plus’ additive and giving a good shake.
The water was crystal clear – and remained so all day long as boat traffic was almost negligible – the only watercraft being a rowboat type craft with an electric motor with an old guy – and which insisted on travelling along the canal 4’ from the towpath side… being kindly I like to think he was an in-the-know-angler really and keeping away from the far bank where I was placing my baits at that time… :)
[I use an emulsified oil mix in preference to ‘raw’ oil for a couple of reasons … (a) it preserves costly oils by turning 10ml of the concentrate into 100ml of working solution … and as pike can sense small quantities then there is no need for super strengths… and (b) oil in itself is immiscible with water and thus the smell/flavour as it leaches from the bait will be confined largely within the drops of oil that escape from the bait and which will generally will rise towards the surface developing a cone shaped area as it does so ie the point of the cone is at the bait with the larger base area at the water surface – thus most of the attraction is away and up from the bait and so pike at near the floor of the water will get very little sense of it… however, emulsion, made up as an emulsion is, of water enclosed oil micro-droplets act very much as water itself does in general and thus is more compatible and miscible and will spread outwards in all directions from the bait rather than only upwards… thus this in itself also maximises the pulling power of the oils and probably more than compensates for the lesser quantity used….
Thanks to John Watson’s ‘River Piking’ video for this tip]
Anyway, I fished the first spot for 40 minutes casting at intervals to different areas – far bank, under the bridge itself, boat channel, etc, etc and then elected to move on – and I did the move every 20-45 minutes to different interesting areas along the canal probably covering 1/2 mile or so before packing in at around 1330…
Result? Not a single touch all session…..again… :)
However. I would have stayed another hour or so had not been for an overcast into the far bank shrubbery… as usual with 40lb braid getting the tackle back intact was no problem BUT when it freed itself the end tackle catapulted over the canal and wrapped itself around the rod blank – in two places, hook and weight at one point and float and intermediate line a bit further up – and so it was a devil’s own bird nest and would have required a cut-and retackle, so I decided, taking into account the lack of action – and the cold fingers too – to pack the gear up, drop it in the car and bring it all home to resolve the issue.