Canal Pike

Wind and rain seems to have been non-stop for the last couple of weeks, and considering the river Exe was in flood a couple of days this week I wasn’t that hopeful of being able to get out fishing over the weekend. However, the weather forecast seemed to show the wind easing off over Sunday so I decided to grab my chance. Despite a pretty hectic weekend of family orientated activities I managed to get out down the Tiverton Canal this morning for a quick 2 hour session. Experience has shown that whilst the rivers may be a flooded un-fishable mess, the canal will often remain crystal clear. Fingers crossed! I arrived at the Greenway section near Halberton, in the dark and wasn’t feeling that encouraged by the blustery & overcast conditions and it wasn’t until first light that I could actually see the water I was fishing in. Given the amount of rain we’ve had over the last few days it was a relief to find the canal was very clear.

I stuck with the successful #5 rod and #8 floating line combo that has been working so well over the last few trips. I worked my way along the canal trying out a couple of my self tied flies without any sign of activity until after switching to a small fly that Isobel had helped me tie a couple of weeks ago, I had a small jack rush and grab at the fly. Frustratingly the hook didn’t take hold and the jack couldn’t be tempted to come back for a second attempt.

I decided to rest the swim and moved on, before coming back 20 minutes later. A few casts convinced me that I wasn’t fooling my quarry by presenting the same fly to him so I switched to a larger shop brought grey and white fly. Despite the fly being fairly big at 5-6″ long, it cast very easily and sank slowly too – allowing a very slow a twitchy retrieve without snagging the weed on the bottom. The second cast was hit pretty decisively by something that obviously wasn’t the small jack! The fish went crazy from the first moment and fought like a demon. I was really relieved to get the net under a fat, healthy and toothy looking pike that tipped the scales to 7lb.

Tiverton Canal Pike

I’d crushed the barb on this particular fly so it is effectively a barbless hook which made unhooking a doddle! A quick photo and after slipping the fish back, I examined the trace… Whilst the wire itself was in perfect order, the snap link itself had snagged the net. A gentle pull to free the snap link from the mesh and it pulled straight! What crap! Absolute miracle it didn’t do this whilst I was playing the fish! Lesson learnt – I certainly won’t ever use these again!

Wire Trace snap link

Thankfully it was a lesson, that didn’t cost me a fish..

The Grand Western Canal has been kind to me of late – whilst none of the pike have been monsters, I had caught now on the last 5 trips here! Famous last words? Hope to extend the run of good fortune next weekend.


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