Canals have to be a prime candidate for lure fishing for both Perch and Pike. You can cover a lot of water travelling light with lure rod and a selection of plugs and spinners. The fish holding features are all within reach of an easy cast.
The problem with fishing worm is that it is not a very selective bait, in the winter and fishing chop, yes you will catch mostly perch but they are hardly likely to be big..I think to selectively fish for BIG perch you will need to fish lures or spinners, a tiny mepps is about right....
Personally I wouldn't use a match rod for lure fishing. You might get away with it for perch, but if a decent pike grabs hold you will be undergunned. Lure rods are shorter, stronger and through actioned to cope with pike. They will also cast a lure a lot better. Talk to your tackle dealer and see what he has got to offer in your budget range.
I would use a small livebait fished under something like a chubber float, I dont think you can beat it for big Perch/small Pike. If the canel has flow you can trot it down the near or far banks as close to any features or bankside rushes as possible...and I do mean close. With Perch even a inch or two can make a big difference at times.
Nick, I just tend to use a rod, line and maggots to catch livebaits or a home made minnow trap (hard to describe and probably not really needed) but if the margins are deep try sweeping your landing net along the edge a few times (a fine mesh one!) sometimes that can get you a few livebaits quite quickly. Do check livebaiting is allowed on your water and also remember that you have to catch livebaits from the same water you are fishing to stop the spread of disease.
I know its not easy but if you can find someone experienced to take you for a day it would probably help sort alot of stuff out for you.
There are a few ways of making one but I guess the most common one is to use a wine bottle, the sort with a concave bottom to it and with clear glass if possible. You break a hole through the concave part...not the whole bottom of the bottle just the very apex of the concave section, big enough to allow a small fish to swim through it. Put some bread in the bottle attach it to some line lower it in a bit of river where there are minnows leave it for 15 minutes and pull it out...loads of minnows! .....they will swim through the hole into the bottle but find it very difficult to swim back out. To be honest using glass is a bit of a pain and if you can make something similar in plastic it is allot easier and safer to do/use. Other way of getting small fish as I say is to try that landing net thing I mentioned...its quicker!