There’s a two-rod limit on this canal, so most of the time I will float fish, but every now and again I will switch one rod to sink-and-draw tactics for half an hour or so.
This swim is a fairly typical one for the Runcorn Arm, with the canal being about
5-6 ft in the middle. It is a separate section from the main Bridgewater Canal, and since there isn’t really anywhere to go on its 4.5-mile length, it does not attract too much boat traffic in winter. As a result, it will often become gin clear after November, which can make the fishing difficult.
When the pike want to feed, they will, but when they don’t, they can be insufferably stubborn!
Lymm AC control the fishing where Danny was for this feature. A Lymm AC canal permit is priced £33, with no joining fee. It also covers lengths of the Llangollen and Shopshire Union Canal. Visit: www.lymmanglingclub.com Email: member[email protected]manglersclub.com
Winter days are short, so I always try to start fishing an hour before sunrise. I have caught plenty of pike at this time, and at dusk, which are the peak feeding times.
In addition, there can often be a period that we refer to as ‘pike o’clock’ during the middle of the day, any time from 11am until 1.30pm. I don’t know why pike are triggered to feed at this time, but it pays to be ready for it.
My simple strategy is to fish one rig down the middle of the canal, where it’s deeper, and one rig to the far bank moored boats, with a smelt on one and a herring on the other. Match anglers will tell you that roach like to stay under boats, and pike are rarely far away.
It can be a bit of a waiting game, but regular casts, a change of hook bait or a little twitch of the bait can help induce a take.
I like to stay active, so I will bring the float in regularly, switching to sink-and-draw to try to tempt a pike to strike.
The one crucial piece of advice I would offer with regard to sink-and-draw is to never be too eager to lift the bait out of the water. I’ve lost count of how many times I have had a pike come out of nowhere to snatch a bait right under my nose!
I’ll often explore either side of my swim with the sink-and-draw rod, keeping an eye on the float rod at all times.
Regarding timing of the strike, my advice is to allow the pike to head off with the bait before setting the hooks. Don’t wait too long, though, as you will run the risk of deep-hooking it.
When the water is clear, I have found that pike activity can be triggered by a passing boat, so pay particular attention to your floats after a boat has gone by.
If you find shoals of silver fish, you can be sure that pike will be in close attendance.