Canal perchI’ve been reading recently about the number of Zander currently being caught out of the Trent and Mersey canal and I really wanted to have a go for them.  I have to say I have never done exceptionally well on canals.  One early morning session last year saw me get a few small Perch on shads but other than that I can’t ever remember having an enjoyable session.  For me they always seem too shallow.  The margins rarely seem to be more than eighteen inchess deep and even in the so called “middle channel” you get barely more than three foot of depth.

Anyhoo, I decided that I was going to get up early on Sunday morning for a few hours lure chucking and be home in time for breakfast.  I arrived at 5am to a lovely mild morning and I couldn’t wait to get started.  I’d got my little lure rod setup with a shad in my favourite colour (yellow) that I like to use in coloured water.

I arrived at the water a little after 5am and the plan was to have three to four hours and be back in time for breakfast.

Now i’m not really a lure fisherman so I wasn’t expecting much and the first dozen casts resulted in branches and leafs wrapped around the shad.  It was starting to prove very frustrating.  Everytime I cast to a likely looking spot I ended up dragging a twig through it rendering it useless even though I was only using a very light jig head.  Eventually I came to another likely looking spot and I cast the yellow shad into 18 inches of water alongside a bunch of Iris’.  The first 2 casts resulted in a couple of very savage “hits”.  On the 3rd cast a very nich Perch that looked will over the 3lb mark followed the lure right to my feet.  With it’s fins bristling it took one look at me and shot off towards the centre of the canal.  Feeling a bit gutted I had a couple of casts towards the middle in the hope that the fish would return but knowing full well it wouldn’t.

I then had a little purple patch of takes and fish that made me think maybe canals aren’t so bad after all.

Once the action dried up in that spot I continued my way further up the canal where I didn’t get another take or follow and I was back to feeling despondent about the place.  It was amazing how one spot could reward you with some action where the rest of the canal seemed devoid of fish.  So many fishy looking features were barren of any life.

I arrived back at the car having spent just over 3 hours on the canal.  I’d like to say I will return but I probably won’t.  It was just another “filler” until the rivers open.  It’s just a shame I can’t find a “filler” that’s full of fish and the quest for a Zander continues.


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