Let me start by saying, I’m a newcomer to lure fishing. Well, I say newcomer – I’ve actually just realised in writing this passage that the opening statement is not strictly true. I did, in fact, capture my first lure caught fish over twenty years ago. On that occasion the fish in question happened to be a very stupid Irish pike. I call his intelligence into question not because of his nationality (heaven forbid), but because of the fact that he was caught twice. On the very same spinner. The second capture occurring within thirty seconds of being released back into the gin clear water. I didn’t have the heart to trouble him a third time (he must surely have been a “him” because I’m reliably informed that the female of ANY species is considerably more cleverer that what the males are).
Let me start again then by saying, I’m a RELATIVE newcomer to lure fishing. Let me also say that Sheffield & Tinsley Canal’s pike population seems to bear little resemblance to their Irish cousins in terms of intelligence. As a consequence of this, I have had little success in catching them. I know they are there, as I have seen them with my own eyes. I have also seen evidence of them having been caught, and indeed eaten on the bank (and washed down with eastern European lager judging by the empty tins strewn beside the spent camp fires). My crude initial attempts at luring them with an array of extravagantly coloured plugs usually resulted either in a sobering blank or a lucky dip prize from the pungent silty canal bed (the most memorable of which happened to be a miniature black bag full of dog crap – nice).
A change of plan was needed, and I started to amass a collection of rubber shads.
These were much more natural looking in the water, and due to the upward facing single hooks as opposed to the underslung trebles, I was hauling out fewer lucky dip prizes. I did still lose the odd lure to the snags, and in pulling for a break on one session I did get exactly that…..
That was not as a consequence of using rubber shads though, as I’m sure a plug would have resulted in much the same explosive outcome. Anyways, the main thing was, I started to catch pike. Not very often, mind, and no bigger than 4lb or so, but it was considerably more fun than blanking.
The trouble was I was only catching on every fourth or fifth sitting – not good when four or five short after-work sessions could easily span several weeks. By scaling down to a mini jig outfit I found that I could target the canal’s large population of juvenile perch, and catch several per session – a much better use of my limited bank time.
So there I was. The Perchmaster. Getting jiggy with it, and I couldn’t fail. However, there are only so many 2oz perch you can catch (without really trying) before you start to get bored. It was almost too easy, and as a consequence I sought a new challenge away from the canal.
Fast forward a year or so, and the silty old pterodactyl beckons again – only this time she’s not giving up her striped jewels so easily, the moody cow. Now the jigs don’t work (they just make you worse). I’m made to look cack-handed with the lure rod and I can’t buy a pull, pluck or even a follow.
Times is hard, and as a result, I’ve turned to the absurdly alien method that is drop shotting. Yep, the one whereby you drop a tiny lure in by your feet and try to impart miniscule movements upon it, via a 3ft long rod, by shaking like a shitting dog. I’ve already bought the necessary gear too. Well, all except the seemingly necessary specialised £150 Japanese glorified bomb rod top section with a handle on it. Instead, I chose to splice a 1.5oz glass quiver tip into my light lure rod instead, and very nice it is too. Being around 7ft in length it can also double up as my canal roach light bomb rod too – two birds and all that.
So here I am, a few sessions in with perch on my mind. I’m not after 2oz tiddlers this time, although I’ll happily wade through them if necessary. I’m after something in the pound plus bracket. That might sound like a feeble target to some, but it may be harder than it first appears, seeing as I’ve never actually seen evidence of such a perch in these waters. Plenty of juvenile stripies, loads of jack pike and lots of prey fish too - I just haven’t seen any decent perch. Surely there must be some…..mustn’t there?