TAC­TICS

Anglers Mail - - Anglers -

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!

TICK­ETS

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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.

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