Returning the favour

Those of you who saw the last zander video will have seen me fishing with Jacob Stone who is part of the Rapture UK team. We had a great day catching small zander and a few perch on the midlands canals, and while I was there I explained how the canals in the north of England are totally different. The midlands canals seem to be shallow and very murky water where the north has many larger canals and some with much better visablilty. So we planned for Jacob to come up to my neck of the woods and have a day fishing, see what we could catch and just have a good laugh.

With a two hour drive for Jacob ahead of him we were never going to be fishing too early, but he managed to get up to Yorkshire for just after 7:15. A quick call to the shop for some food and drink for me and then a little drive and we were fishing not much long after. Straight away Jacob was struck by the size and clarity of the canal and in no time he was getting hammered by what seemed like millions of small perch. We had planned to try and target the larger perch and jacks rather than the smaller perch. But that is easier said than done when there are so many of them about. The rod tip constantly seemed to be rattling round from them. Most you didn’t hook up on as they were too small to get the larger hooks in their mouth. A quick change to a smaller lure and you were catching, but we decided to stick to the plan and try to ignore these smaller ones, as best we could anyway.

That meant it would mostly be a hard slog. Lots of fishing and not much action but we were happy with that. Chatting and fishing and moving often to try and find some fish. We kept picking the odd perch up, often a crazily small one on a lure far too big for their greedy eyes. Every now and again I would catch a small pike which would get the heart fluttering for a moment as I was convinced it was a big stripey. After a few hours of this, and a few hours of rain, it was nice to find a few chunky, but not large, perch in an area around some flowing water.

At this point we decided it was time to move spots. Still raining and still struggling for a better fish, but not too damp that we had anything else on our minds other than to keep on plugging away. The new venue produced a flurry of tiny pike for me. I seem to have caught more titchy pike in this last few months than I have in my whole life, and I love it. They are super little creatures and I always try to imagine what they will one day grow in to. With luck that is. One of those little pike I hooked probably won’t live to see adulthood. As I was bringing it in, it came up to the surface, wriggling away like mad. When all of a sudden a much larger pike shot out from nowhere and grabbed it. I played them both for a while but didn’t expect to be landing either of them before eventually the much larger pike let go. I can only hope the little fellow will recover, but it didn’t look good.

So now Jacob was using the same lure as me. We’d been switching it up a bit to try and find what they wanted, but when I kept catching pike and he wasn’t catching anything he also switched to a jointed Rapala shad rap, my trusty firetiger. A while later I had a whack right at the end of the retrieve from what I beleived to be a proper one. I saw a bit of it, and it looked good, but it didn’t quite grab a hook. I quickly told Jacob to cast along the margin past me and run the lure through the spot. Just as it came past me he was smacked by the big perch, the rod was beant double, some head shakes and a bit of squirming from the perch. I grabbed the net and went towards Jacob to land it, when all of a sudden the rod flew back and the perch was gone. That might have been our one chance at a whacker and we lost. Ah well, that’s fishing.

We kept searching and searching with the same tactics. Running and gunning, trying to cover water and find a fish or two. I brought my shad rap along the margin, lifted it up and recast back out to the far bank. As I was watching my rod tip, a slow cloud of muddy water started to rise and grow, right where my lure had just exited the water only a few seconds earlier. I beckoned to Jacob to come cast across me as it was either a really big perch or a pike. He’s probably only done a handful of turns of the reel when his rod went solid and all hell broke loose. The drag on his reel was screaming and this pike was running him a merry dance. They are such good fun on the lighter gear. My net is a little bigger and was just about big enough to scoop it in safely. Hooks out, quick photo and smiles all round. A very nice fish to break up what had been a bit of slow fishing for a while.

After lots of graft and not too much more reward we decided it was time to move so again jumped in the car. It was knocking on now, and with a two hour drive ahead of Jacob I decided it was time for some sport. We’d missed our only decent shot at a proper one and I felt that finishing on a few fish was the way to go. The perch obliged and Jacob was knocking them out on his cheberushka rigged, crazy fish smelly as hell shad. I’ll have to ask him again what the proper name is as he bagged loads of fish on it. Plenty of small ones, a few chunkier ones and then to finish, a proper one at 41cm. We didn’t weigh it as it had a bit of an empty belly but it was a nice end to the day. Great bit of sport, loads of fish, not many monsters and we got soaked wet through but we didn’t give a shit. It was a reyt good day!

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