Our day on the canal started off in bright sunshine – great for two of us but not so good for the hungover member of our trio. We parked the car amongst the old warehouses of Ancoats and made our way to the Rochdale Canal, where we tackled up with lures and traces. Leapfrogging our way down the towpath, the canal seemed to be devoid of fish until this monster committed hari-kari on this “natural”looking mini lure.
Once we got as far down as Piccadilly basin, i was wondering if the bright sunshine had put the fish down, so i put on an old favourite of mine, the bright green bottom grubbing Big S. Five minutes later I was into my first Jack of the day.
After this early success, i unclipped my lure and passed it over to Tom, to see it would help him break his duck – it didnt take long for this lure to attract more interest – and Tom was unlucky to loose a fairly decent fish pretty much immediately after tying it on
After taking appropriate Saturday afternoon refreshments, we made our way down the canal towards Castlefield. I had another little perch with eyes too big for its belly, but we couldn’t get any more action with the Pike. It was a good afternoon though, as we got to see Manchester from a different perspective. Our afternoon was finished off in the Knott Bar – fantastic real ale.
Hi Mike, what kind of size to pike get to in these basins/canals?
Not an easy question of course but I'm coming at it at least partly from the Salford Quays connection. I can't quite recall if the Quays basins are connected to the Irwell (as initially the Ship Canal) but there have always been suggestions of some seriously large pike in the Quays. Large as in fish that quite comfortably exceed the 30lb mark.
They're relatively neglected in terms of angling pressure but very well populated in supplies of prey so, whilst rumours are just that (I'm not aware of any known captures at these weights), the potential components are there. At least for some urban myths of the slightly different kind!
Great blog entry btw – very resonant of the piece I read (in the Observer I think) about piking in central London.
Mike Duddy says
I hope this article satisfies your curiosity
I would think that a fish of this size is about the top end for the Rochdale Canal or the Bridgie. I have heard of bigger fish but they will be so few and far between that it makes fishing for them probably not worth the effort.
With regards to the quays – i once hooked one that was so big i could have put a saddle on it. It ran, and ran and ran then the hooks pinged back out at me 🙁 I saw the fish take and would guestimate a high 20 or low 30.
Have had a chat with Tommy the baliff and he agrees with me that most of the pike in the quays have been cooked over the last 2 or 3 years and that the fishing is now very poor.
I would guess if your after a real biggun then the ship canal would have to be your best bet – but again its needle in a haystack time.
Quays are connected to the ship canal via a lock gate.
The ship canal is a canalised section of the river irwell.
There are lock gates at pomona linking the ship canal to the bridgewater canal, which in turn links into the rochdale and ashton canals.
Thanks for the link – I can imagine a pike of that size being a surprise to many of the commuters in central Manchester.
Your experience in The Quays (Huron Basin?) is interesting – though I guess you'll recall it under a different term! – as it fits with the pattern of what I'd heard though not seen. On that subject, I've also watched any number of hopelessly equipped (think Argos or even worse) people spinning in the bigger basins. In fact, they're probably the majority of anglers around there and that's puzzling, at least if we're talking something other than pike. As far as I know there are still large numbers of bream (big bream) around and more than a few decent carp.
Back to pike and myths that ring true – Lymm Dam very definitely had some large fish as did a number of the nearby but usually nameless meres: THAT lake in the deer park with it's giant carp also has some resident pike of a monster size.
That article on urban piking in London is no longer accessible from the Observer site though I might well buy the book – here's a link to a review of Blood Knots:
Mike Duddy says
Send me an email – i cant give all my secrets away on a blog.
Nice to see your blog again and I thank you for your visit to my blog.
I was really so long did'nt come here, and I see that everything doesnt change as I find again your fishing pleasure, river and fish. It's very wonderful. I love your nice hobby and activity and the way you describe at your blog.
Please keep on writing. I hope I can often visit it again, as I really have a little time in open the blog again…
have a nice day….
Love the blog, the potential from these inner city sites must be huge.