Monday, 6 May 2013

Wakefield wanderer.

About a week ago I headed down to Wakefield in West Yorkshire to visit my in-laws. Normally when I go down to visit I tend to fill the car with carp gear and go carping. This year though I decided to leave the vast amount of carp gear and just take my lure fishing kit in the hope of fishing some of the canals and still waters. As it was a family based holiday the lure fishing gear gives me the chance to pop out to the canal whenever I get an hour or two free from fatherly duties! After we had arrived and got the kids settled my first port of call was to join Wakefield Angling Club. For £32 a year this gives access to miles of the river Calder, the Calder and Hebble Navigation Canal and to loads of other still water fisheries, a bargain if you ask me!

The first day saw me pop down to the nearest stretch of canal and have a wander about. I was really hoping to find some chub as they are supposedly quite prevalent on the canal. With this in mind I went with a simple dropshot approach 5g weight, #8 Owner offset worm hook rigged with a 2" tail section of natural coloured Gulp! Sandworm. A couple of hours wandering and searching saw me hook up with one of the fattest little perch I have ever caught! It measured 25cm on the lure forum ruler and wasn't far off that in girth. Still it was my first perch this year and a blank saver!

My first Perch of 2013.
Fat as a pig!

Next couple of days saw me visiting the stretch of canal a bit more still searching for chub. I tried various approaches with the lures and had a couple of bites on a Cultiva Ring Kick Tail but didn't manage to hook up. A short while later I was bouncing the gulp sandworm section about near some overhanging trees  when I had a large bite and a heavy fish started shaking its head. As it rose up in the water I could see it was a nice sized pike. It tried to make a run or two but was quickly on the surface ready to come in. It was not a well fish and its sides were all scraped and marked and its tail fins and anal fins had fungal growths on them. It probably weighed about seven pounds but I really didn't want to cause the fish any more stress and after a quick photo on the ruler I slipped it back. Typical of the pike to take the worm when previously I had been over the stretch with pike lures It was a good job it had been hooked in the scissors as I don't think my 8lb fluro leader would have lasted long. My mate Jamie joined me soon after and again we fished up and down the canal with pike lures and perch/chub lures but no fish at all. The only thing that happened was that I managed to leave my lure forum ruler on the bank and when I went back of course someone had taken it, gutted!

An accidental capture, this pike was in terrible condition. I hope it recovers.
Jamie casts towards the overhanging trees searching for pike.

Day four and I had permission to take the day and go and fish one of the lagoons in Horbury. My Wakefield Angling Club members book states there are some big pike in the lagoon and that there were no restrictions on lure fishing, so needing no further encouragement I headed down. I met up with Jamie again who had also got a season book and we checked out the biggest of the lagoons. It looked good, clear water, reed lined bays with a steep drop off into deep water about eight foot out, perfect pike habitat! Jamie and I set about working lures around overhanging trees and along the drop offs. I decided to go big so went with a 7" Slug-Go rigged weedless with a 1g Decoy shot on the hook shank to allow the lure to get deeper faster. After an hour or so wandering and working the lure with no action I decided to break out the LRF gear to see if there were any perch about. I rigged up a dropshot rig with a #8 offset worm hook and 7g weight to which I rigged a tail section of Gulp! Sandworm. It took about half an hour to get some action in the form of a small perch, all be it on a section of earthworm!

Battle scarred, it looks like this perch has suffered a big injury in the past

Now I had established there were perch about I decided to try and cover both the perch and the pike by rigging up a Fungus Roach  9.5cm Savage Gear Soft 4play on a 7g #2/0 jighead. I left Jamie valiantly fishing float tactics and lures and I boldly stated "the fish will be in that corner of the lake where the wind has been blowing" and off I went to test the theory! As I worked my way around the lake I met some other anglers carping. They hadn't managed any carp but had picked up a nice 6lb jack on a spinner. After a brief chat I carried on working my way round to the bay facing the wind.

Eventually I made it to the bay and although I had fished all around the lake to get there I still hadn't had a touch. Standing atop a pile of large boulders I cast out into the wind and allowed the lure to sink deep. Once the lure touched the lake bed I would jig it up with a couple of sharp jerks of the rod and allow it to fall back down. In essence it was a very slow sink and draw retrieve only with extra twitches and jerks thrown in to make the lure flicker like a dying roach. When the lure was about thirty feet in front of me a felt a good bite so I dropped the rod tip and took up the slack line before striking into the fish. When fishing soft lures with single hooks its better not to strike straight away, I find that when you drop the rod tip and give them a bit of slack it encourages them to take the lure properly into their mouths. The pause between the bite and striking is only about one or two seconds but it makes all the difference! Anyway, fish on and the fight began with the fish boring deep with a powerful run. As I was quite high up above the water this made the fight a fairly vertical one and the majority of the time it was just a question of holding the fish in the fighting curve as it repeatedly tried to dive. As the fight progressed I could see it was a nice sized pike and eventually she was in the net! I clambered back over the rocks and found some nice soft wet reeds at the waters edge where I could lay the pike safely for unhooking. It was a nice conditioned fish and weighed 8.5lbs, my biggest pike this year and a great result for my first time on the lagoon. The carp angler I had spoken to earlier made his way over to see what I had caught and very kindly took a couple of photos of me with the pike before I slipped her back.

I like the textures in this photo,if only I could of got it focused better!
The 9.5cm Soft 4Play lure proved irresistible to this pike.
My second pike this year weighing in at 8.5lb.

That about wrapped up the fishing for the day and although we carried on for a couple of hours there was no more action. All in all it was an interesting trip and really great to get to know some new waters and with Jamie also learning the lakes I know that when I go back he will have found a few more places for us to fish. As always I can't wait to do it again!

Tight lines, Schogsky.


  1. Nice fish! Those jumbo perch sure are cool looking.

    1. Thanks Ben!
      I love our red fin perch and indeed I hope to break my perch pb this year. They are not as cool as some of the fish you catch though, I am in love with largemouths and smallmouths as well as a host of other brilliant U.S.A fish. As half my family are from America I do hope to come over and see for my self the truly fantastic fishing over that side of the pond!

  2. Lovely marking on that pike jake and that is a football of a perch!

    1. Thanks Col,
      yeah it was a fine looking fish and that perch was a proper bloater,the fattest I have ever caught! Hopefully the perch are waking up again and I can start getting some big ones!