Friday, 31 May 2013

Sankey Canal Widnes

A warm welcome to this week’s blog update and as a change to the normal blogs of late I think this week I will begin the blog with talking about where I am with my fishing at the moment.  The past three months the quest for a 10lb carp has pretty much taken over my fishing and really occupied my thoughts on a daily basis and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute chasing this goal from baiting up curlston mere full of anticipation only to blank to the never ending precession of tench I seemed to catch.

I started the quest not knowing a thing about carp fishing and distinctly remember sitting in the break out room in work reading up on my iphone how to tie a hair rig and then going home that evening to attempt to tie one up (with minimal success) and at that time I felt about as far away from catching a double figure carp than at any other time on the quest.  At times during the quest I did question why I set myself this challenge and it seemed all around me was pictures of nice carp being caught so much so I visited High legh for some silver fishing only to bump into a fella who had just caught a 14lb carp fishing a pellet 3 ft under a dibber float, so easy yet I was nowhere near my goal and I could feel the pressure mounting on my shoulders, little did I know I was only days from achieving my goal.

The quest to catch the carp is a challenge I am so glad I set myself it has taught me so much about the world of carp fishing and also discovered I have quite a good knack of catching tench which I never really knew I had.  The quest has also improved my angling skills there are knots that i have never tied before that I can now tie in my sleep but apart from the fact I now am confident going to the bank knowing my rigs are working I think the biggest thing the quest has taught me is patience.

To read my quest for a 10lb carp follow this link:

Looking to the next few weeks I have a few jobs to do before the river season opens I have to load my new feeder rod up with 8lb maxima and also need to replace my trotting line with a new spool of Drennan float fish line and also need to take stock on how much hemp we still have left to gauge when we may need to bulk buy some more.  The rest of the work to be done before the rivers open is all about preparation in doing my homework on the new stretches we intend to visit on this subject I do get a fair few emails asking me about locations on the rivers I fish and my reply is always the same, get yourself online and searching on Google Earth to pick a few locations that look like they hold fish and then do the ground work in getting yourself on the bank and if you can fish the place fish it and if not sometimes just spending time looking at the water can give the fish that inhabit a certain stretch away especially if you visit on first light or at dusk. 

This river season I intend to mix my fishing up a bit between trotting and feeder fishing for bigger species like barbel, chub and bream and the new river we intend to fish will give me much better access to these better specimen fish and the lessons learnt from my few months carp fishing can only help me in this different angle on my fishing.   The river Dee this year will really be make or break for me with the Warrington Anglers Card and how good it is during the summer months will be the deciding factor as I already know from experience the stretches Warrington now have will not fish in the winter due to how far upstream they are.

Away from angling i have been busy watching Springwatch this week which is on BBC2 at 8pm every night and was even more pleased to see that the star if their show is none other than Monty the Osprey from the Dyfi project I featured a few weeks ago on my blog.  It was great to see the BBc taking an interest in this project and also great to see monty on the TV for all to see.  If anyone is interested in keeping up with Monty on the Dyfi Project I have added some information below as to where you can keep up with the rest of his exploits before he migrates back to Africa later this year.

Dyfi Project website:

On to this week’s fishing

The first outing this week actually put the blog back one day as I decided to take advantage of a warm evening on Friday and hit the banks of the venue I have been targeting for the 10lb carp, of course this time the pressure was off and I was able to sit back and enjoy the session.  I fished Friday evening from 6pm till 9.35pm but it wasn’t till after 9pm I started to feel confident as a few fish started showing in my area but barring one dropped run around 9.25pm nothing much happened but I did vow to return the following morning.

Arriving at the venue just before sunrise I was quickly into the swim I have targeted extensively on this lake and again decided I would just give it a few hours till around 9am.  I was full of expectation but the place was strangely quiet with only one fish showing all morning and that fish was right out in the middle.  This goes against all the stuff I have seen on this venue in my past weeks watching it and it was my thinking that the fish get in the shallow area I am fishing in the late evening and early mornings, I guess that’s fishing for you if it was easy it would be boring and this carp fishing has really got my mind ticking over about what I could do better.

This more relaxed for of fishing has given me a chance to indulge my love for British wildlife and my trusty binoculars above below have become my new best friend and I must say are great for watching wildlife from afar especially now most of the birds have young and can be quite hard to get close too.

As is the same on most angling trips 9am and the end of the session came around all to quickly but before I left I decided to have a bit of a lead around to gauge the depth I am fishing in and the bottom, I found the bottom to be very clear but quite shallow in the bay I am fishing which concurred with my feeling that this shallow bay is a place they only get to in the evening and early morning when light levels are low.   I also had a quite scout round the rest of the venue and found a lovely looking swim with a sunken tree that I certainly will be trying in the coming weeks and finally I did notice that the water was quite clear on Saturday which I think was down to the wind not blowing into this corner last  week but what it did do was allow me to test my bait in the margin and it surprised me how much silt was on the bottom, so much so I couldn’t see my bait.

Saturday afternoon I travelled down to Stapley Angling centre on the Lakemore Complex to stock up on a few bits and bobs, some of the purchases were a must like the new hook length material to replace my line that has been snapping on late and others where a bit more of a tactical gamble such as the pink pop ups which I am hoping will score me well on this venue when I am fishing the shallow swim as I am hoping this in your face bait will stand out more in the silt and hopefully score me a few more bites.  I have also put a few “additives” I purchased a few months ago to good use for glugging up some bottom baits for future short sessions.

The Sankey Canal Widnes - Warrington Anglers Card

For some time now both me and my uncle have had a real urge to fish a canal but with our past forays onto the bridgewater canal and the Trent and Mersey canal bearing little fruit we have really lacked the enthusiasm to get out on these two waters that all changed when a conversation in a local tackle shop put us into the Sankey Canal in Widnes.  The Sankey Canal is a water I have only fished one time before and apart from a few eels I cannot remember connecting with much else but that was a few years ago now and reports where it was fishing well for silvers.  We arrived on the venue and was instantly met with a few fish topping along the stretch which really did get us excited for the session ahead and with the odd fish moving in the far reeds we just couldn’t wait to find out what lay beneath its liquid gold surface I can honestly say it has been a long time since I was so excited at the start of a fishing session and as you can see from the picture below the place looked beautiful.

Setting up in swims close to each other we both decided to fish the middle as both our poles where nowhere near the length needed to reach the far reed line.  The session started well for us both with us both getting into roach and rudd from the off although we had to wait a bit between bites the fish came steadily to the net for us both during the early parts of the session and we both commented an hour or so in that we had caught more already than any session on the trent and Mersey canal.

As the session moved on the roach and rudd where replaced with the odd skimmer bream and perch but the tow on the canal was beginning to make fishing quite difficult and bites became harder to come by for us both.  My uncle moved over to the rod and continued to catch regularly against the far reeds while I stuck it out on the pole line.

During the session both me and my uncle had bumped fish that felt very good but we both failed to connect proper with these fish but just as the tow was becoming a real problem I connected with a fish that immediately felt solid and kept deep for the beginning of the fight before giving in and coming to the top, of course only a bream fight so poorly but little did we know till it was in the net just how big this bream was.  The bream was deep and had really dark brown flanks that reminded me of the bream I used to catch as a kid fishing with my dad on the bridgewater canal.  Topping the scales at just under 5lb I was more than made up with this capture.

Of course we both knew where there were one of these fish there was bound to be more but from the capture of this bream marked a point in the session where the tow became unbearable and the canal resembled a river then a calm canal.  We got speaking to a local angler who advised us it was the face the Fiddler Ferry where drawing water from the canal for cooling purposes and we had been really unlucky as it was a really rare occurrence.  WE continued on with the session and eventually called it a day around 2pm when the bites completely died.

My uncle net

                                                                           My net

We both left feeling happy with the session and vowed to return again soon with a view to targeting those bream and silver shoals and both agreed it was one of the best still water sessions we have been on in a long time.

Till next week I leave you with the best visitor I had to my peg on Sunday, my little baby girl who paid us a visit on the canal and what a joy it was to see her as we are normally further afield and not in walking distance for her to visit me on the bank.

Tight lines



  1. gosh

  2. Nice stuff about the canal. I'm going on Saturday see how it goes