A warm welcome to this blog update, i hope i find you all well and your nets wet. In this blog i hope to showcase what fantastic memories can be made along the banks of the very underrated Bridgewater Canal. grab a brew and let’s get into this blog.
The bridgewater canal Runcorn, four and half miles long and a place that holds a special place in my heart as living a stones throw from its urban bank as a 4-year-old boy I learnt to fish with my Dad. Back then fishing was owned by Halton Joint anglers who’s fishing signs still adorn some of the old building walls. This was however Pre commercial fishing days its banks where the places you would find the stars of angling and the canal was home to some huge national matches Back then the canal was a very different beast it had been home to huge shoals of bream, big roach and of course the un-catchable carp but one species was starting to begin to show in growing numbers and this species was the pike i can remember seeing pike so small they appeared to look like glass on the bottom of the canal, that was a good 15 years ago and we pick this story back up in 2018 where we go in search of that pikes descendants.
2015, two carp kills, a huge reduction in boat traffic and an even bigger reduction in anglers fishing the canal is a very different animal to the one i fished as a kid. The biomass lost during the carp kills was taken up with bream. skimmers, roach and tench and as such the pike are now numerous and in amazing condition. During 2015 the average size of pike was 9lb and multiple catches in one session where not uncommon including good fish to over 20lb
An avid pike angler i enjoyed a good season that year on the banks of the canal and made many happy fishing memories but that year was tinged as it was during this year i began to see signs of poaching on the canal. It was during this season i was contacted by a bailiff called Mark and joined a team of passionate anglers who all cared deeply about the canal and its inhabitants and over the past 18 months we addressed the issues head on, found the traps and worked with the Environment Agency. From a piking point of view there was an impact felt but that impact has been minimised by the hard work of the team and in 2018 its potential can be seen in the short blogs below.
Repaying the carping debt…
In the previous blog about carp on the canal you can see how influential mark was in teaching me how to fish for carp and come the Autumn it was time to repay that debt. Mark had never fished for pike on dead baits before and was really keen to try to land a double figure pike.
With canal piking i always find simplicity is best and its the mechanics and safety of the rig that are important. Canals are snaggy and the Bridgy is up there with the best so 60lb braid is a must to leave no baited traces in the water. Set up wise a simple float stop down, two beads, dead bait pencil float down to a 18 gram ledger weight and a swivel i simply attach a home-made wire trace and your away.
It did not take long for mark to get of the mark with this beautifully marked jack pike, a fish that got the ball rolling and began the hunger for bigger specimens.
October is a fabulous month for piking on the canals as the leaves are yet to fall into the canal and alter its PH level and the canal also still holds a good colour. The other good factor is sessions after work and mark well and truly had the pike bug as a phone call in the last hour of my work shift conformed
“We going piking for a few hours tonight Danny”
The beauty of piling is how quickly you can have your backside bank side and fishing an in no time the rods where in position and we had the best time of day to come. Into dusk is bite time for predators and it came as no surprise we both picked up fish and mark upped his PB to just under 7lb
A week later and an early morning start on the canal arriving at first light we cast out our baits, there was only one bite that morning and it fell to mark, sometimes in fishing pictures speak a thousand words and the picture of mark with his new pb of 14lb2oz.
For this piece i could have chosen any of the pike memories i have made along the towpath of this lovely water way, maybe for future blogs? But i chose this on this as i feel shows how special the canal is and if you put the time in she does release her rewards. A video of this session is available on the link below
Watch marks pike capture here: https://youtu.be/2bWjddzRO4E
I hope you have enjoyed this blog and why not get down the canal and give it a go for yourself and if you like these blogs and would like to see more content let us know in the comments section.
Danny and Mark