Grand Western Canal near Tiverton on a grey and overcast October afternoon, and there’s a definite autumnal feel to the countryside. This is the time of year when my mind always turns to pike fishing with so many memories of previous years trips to look back over and take inspiration from. After my recent trips with Jason up on the River Avon where he had success with lure fishing whilst I struggled with the fly, I decided to just break out the light lure rod, a fixed spool reel loaded with braid and a few lures. I packed a selection of plugs and shads but ended up using the shads in the end.
I started on the Minnows Caravan Park section of the canal which is particularly shallow and often quite weedy. On arrival I found that a lot of the summer weed had died back and the water was crystal clear. Knowing that on this stretch of the canal that I would more than likely be encountering small jack pike I started off with a tiny inch and a half long perch coloured soft shad.
It didn’t take long before the first little jacks were throwing themselves at the lure. In the clear water I could watch them attacking the lure – but due to their small size and the fact the shad only had a single hook in, it took quite a few misses before I connected with anything. This little jack gave a spirited little scrap before slipping the hook just as I reached for the net. A short while later, after numerous other seemingly suicidal pikelettes launching themselves at the lure, I did hook and land one to save me from the awful blank.
The one fish on the bank really doesn’t give an accurate picture of the session. It was pretty action packed and a lot of fun – which at the end of the day is all I could ask for! What was really interesting was that I would often be fishing a section of water where due to the water clarity and shallowness I could see the bottom and everything in the water, or so I thought… I’d be retrieving the lure through a barren fishless section thinking about moving on, when the little pike would appear out of nowhere to snatch at the lure. Just goes to show how amazing their camouflage is. It also shows that it’s always worth a cast even if you think there’s no fish present!
I did stop off on the way home on the Greenway section of the canal which I knew is a lot deeper, but on arrival found it really coloured and murky.. Such a contrast to just a mile or so up the same canal! Half an hour spinning with no activity convinced me to call it a day. Still, an enjoyable days fishing!