PIKE season is in full swing and now we will be having many more blogs by the Pike Anglers Club, to reflect the seasonal interest in the species.
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LOCATING BIG PIKE ON CANALS
by Alan Dudhill, general secretary, Pike Anglers’ Club of Great Britain
AFTER blogging here on the lively Angler’s Mail website about finding predators on gravel pits and then rivers, this blog looks at location of big pike on canals. This can prove very difficult to the newcomer.
Canals are usually fairly shallow, uniform in depth and may initially appear to be void of any features which you would associate with big pike.
Above the water you may find reed lines, lily pads, over-hanging trees & bridges. These are all good places to try.
The running water from a lock will hold a good head of prey, particularly in the winter when some areas may be frozen over.
However, underwater features may not be quite so obvious. Most canals are dredged on a fairly regular basis for boat access and this usually includes the removal of fish-holding snags, branches and shopping trolleys.
For this reason we need to look at subtle changes in the topography to find the slightly deeper areas where pike may be laid up or prey fish may migrate in the winter.
Wider areas at the entrance to locks and moorings are usually slightly deeper and offer some cover for prey fish. They also act as a holding pen for pike, which may hold fish in a small area for months.
Where boats pass under bridges, they often have to swing the stern about to get lined up with the bridge. This creates small pockets of deeper water at either side of bridges. Exactly the type of subtle change to the canal bed we are looking for when trying to locate pike on a stretch of water where there may be no obvious features.
A mobile approach is best when searching such waters for pike and as they’re usually quite narrow, a lot of ground can be covered in a day.
Lures are a good method to adopt but winter dead-baiting will sort out the bigger fish.
Even when using deads, keep mobile. If a swim is not producing, move on to the next after about 15 minutes or so.
Once you catch, sit it out for up to half an hour. There could well be a few pike held up in the same area.
On heavily fished or match stretches, larger pike often patrol the margins well into dark looking for any injured fish (easy meals).
For tips on the safe handling and unhooking of pike, and much more, visit the PAC website.
Better still, join the PAC online and help fight to preserve our sport for future generations.
CAUGHT A GOOD ONE? Report your pike catches exclusively to the best fishing magazine, Angler’s Mail. Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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