32lb pike netted from tiny Ashby Canal

Further proof of the surprises lurking in our canal systems emerged this week with the capture of a 32lb pike during a netting operation on the tiny Ashby canal.

Bosses from the Canal & River Trust brought in the expertise of staff from MEM Fisheries to conduct a fish survey on the Leicestershire waterway and they were left shocked when the huge predator surfaced during the process.

It isn’t the first time they have unveiled giant fish from ‘the cut’ after they found an 8lb 2oz eel during a similar operation on the Grand Union Canal last year.

Team leader and company MD Ian McNeil was on hand to witness the memorable scenes and he told Angling Times: “It was an exceptionally large fish but once it has fed up for winter it should be around 37lb and could go over 40lb in the future as it was a young fish. It wasn’t alone either and we found seven other pike over 20lb on the day.

“People don’t realise how good canals are at the moment – they are definitely getting better and better. Not long ago we netted a stretch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and found over 1,000lb of fish in a 100m area and we’ve had tench to 8lb and carp over 40lb from other venues,” he added.

Former world champion Sean Ashby has won countless big matches on various stretches of canal and he hopes the latest revelations could entice more anglers to try their local stretch this year. He said: “Canals probably have more fish in them than they ever have before and they are underrated. I hope evidence that such big specimens are present could tempt more fishermen back on to the towpath.”