Friday, 29 May 2015

All Comes Good Fishing The Bridgewater Canal....

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update I hope I find you all well and your nets wet.  Another week on and another week closer to the rivers opening and i can almost feel the start of the season in sight.  I have booked the opening day off work and at the moment a few plans are being talked about as to how we are going to start the season.  One such plan involves being on the bank as the clock strikes 12 on the opening evening, something i have never done and if the weathers OK and the rain leaves the river in a good state then fingers crossed for this happening.

Onto this weeks update and we start with the introduction of course, this week it include the next part on how to fish the canal and this week we look at the different lines we fish on the canal, not line as in tackle but the places within the canal we feed and fish.  Also in to introduction is a look at something that recently happened at a local lake involving the swans that nest there and we finish up covering a little trip i had to Go Outdoors using a gift voucher up.  The fishing this week See's me taking a huge, but calculated risk on going all out on one bait.  I was confident but would it work?

On to the update.

What Lines To Fish On The Canal..

So in previous updates we have talked about where on a stretch of canal to fish and then gone into detail on baits and tackle to use, so you find yourself sat on your box with your pole rig ready to go and your bait box loaded with bait and you are faced with the canal in front of you.  A case point to remember here is all canals are different and they can change dramatically from swim to swim even within the same canal but we will work on the principle of a standard straight on a canal where boats go right down the middle.

The diagram below shows a cross section of the canal and as you can see it is not the simple straight down across and back up dug out piece of water it seems.

This is when the most valuable piece of kit you own comes into play and its a piece of kit that baffles me when i see people just set up and cast in. This piece of kit is of course a depth plummet and it will allow you to find out the places you want to fish on the canal.

So lets look into the different areas on the canal and how i fish them..

The inside line...(yellow Line)

The canal generally will go to about 2-3ft right off the very edge at your feet and then go out at this depth for a bit then as it reaches the boat lane it will gradually drop off to a point where the canal levels out, normally at around 4 sections of pole.  Using your depth plummet you want to keep shipping out inch by inch till you find the point where the the slope finishes and starts to level out, this area is known as the inside line and is a place fish will patrol and feed along as all the food that falls into the canal will slide down the slope and settle here.

This line i find as soon as i am set up, i line up with a far bank marker and mark my pole so i know i am right over my bait when i fish it.  I feed this line straight away with two balls of ground bait laced with pinkie.  I do this so this line has time to settle and fish to come in while i plum up my other lines as by the time i have done that there will normally be fish waiting on this line.

Down The Middle Line....(Red Line)

This line is exactly what is says on the tin its a line fished right smack bang down the middle of the canal.  The line is a dangerous line to fish as it is right where the boats go down the middle and i have found it to be hit and miss on and changes from canal to canal.  The canals where there is a lot of boat traffic you can do well on it as the boats coming one after each other does not really bother the fish who are by nature of living in such a coloured canal used to finishing fish by smell and feeding in this water.   A line if i am honest i steer clear from as you can never really know where you bait is after its been churned up by boats but does seem to produce well early mornings and is a good line to move out slightly onto if the fish back off early on in the session before the boats start up.

Bottom of Far Shelf....(green line)

This is the exact same part of the canal as the "inside line" but on the other side of the canal.  The far sides of the canal are normally a lot shallower than the inside and the you normally find a more dramatic drop in depths.  Moving your pole along the far bank towards yourself you will find a gentle change in depth and then it will drop quite fast into the boat lane and you are looking for the point where the canal levels off and again this is where food will naturally collect.  This far bank line you will see later on in the blog as it is the line i fish in this weeks blog so to see how well this line can fish read on further down the blog.  A line i fish with baits like castor and maggot due to it containing a better stamp of fish that stay clear of the tow path side and the noise that goes with it.

Far Shelf Line......(Blue Square)

This line is fished right over the far side of the canal any where from the edge of the canal wall back towards the drop off.  I start off on the other lines whilst i feed this line with maggot or castor and leave this line as long as possible before i go over and fish it.  This line is where i expect to catch well and also a better quality of fish.  Big fish like car, tench and bream love to hug the far bank line and a carefully fed swim built up over a few hours feeding can be deadly and produce some surprises.  A line i normally fish on the pole but also a great line for the waggler as the shallower depths make holding bottom easier and also a line you want to be fishing over depth on as not to spook the fish.

This line is a priceless line when you want to fish a all day long session on the canal as its well out of the boat traffic so you know your bait is not moving away and also when you look at a canal after a boat has gone thought it is always the edges that clear first so this with better light can mean some fantastic fishing.  Also the line i would choose if i was baiting up the canal for carp with boilies and hemp as you know your bait is not going anywhere.

Shopping Trip Stocking up....

I was recently given a voucher for Go Outdoors and i had a few quid still on the card so this week i decided to pay the shop a little visit to see what i could pick up.  With the river season fast approaching i decided to stock up on tackle i use week in and week out in great numbers, weights and hooks.   It is safe to say behind line for hook lengths these two are by far my most common purchase with a number of hooks being lost on each session to either snags of blunting from catching the fish. 

These hooks are my new favourite hook after the Kamasan Animals and its purely down to the smaller size of the hook compared to the animal i choose these ones as you will find a size 14 or 16 in these hooks is the equivalent in size to an kamasan animal 18 or 20 and on some days you really want this smaller hook.  I am not really a fan of using big hooks for chub fishing either as i have landed plenty of chub on size 20 and size 18 hooks i don't think twice now and the fact i use mainly maggot and caster means i rarely need a big hook.

A nice purchase that will see me OK for the first few months of the season.

Some Sick People In This World

For some years now my trips to the local canal have been made even more magical by the local pair of swans who each year appear on this canal and raise a  number of young cygnets.  It has been great to see them arrive, raise a family and then see this family grow on through the year till they part.  Well it is with great sadness i logged into Facebook a week or so back and saw the horrific news that someone on a bike had pulled up grabbed a stick attacked the swans to the point they moved off the nest and then thought it was "fun" to smash three of the five eggs on the bank side path!!

Needless to say the pair have abandoned the nest and the two eggs in it and up to yet are showing no signs of trying to raise another brood.  What is wrong with these people? Seriously what is wrong with the people in this generation where we have people who think that this is OK?  It really does make me worry about the people in this world my children will grow up with.  It is not just a local thing either i an a regular viewer of Stewart Bloors videos and he reported this week that a coots nest had been attacked with stones and smashed eggs all over the nest! 

These are the pictures from facebook i posted them just to show the world how sick some people can be.  I only hope Karma is real. Not so much a rant than a release there but, even typing this bit now i am like "Why!!. 

On to the Fishing...

Putting It All Together On The Bridgewater...

So after a number of weeks fishing the canal with quite good results i have felt it was time to draw some conclusions from the trips and try and have a session where i tried to get the best from the swim i was fishing.  The session unfortunately came on the same day i was due to attend a wedding party in the evening and with a few jobs still to do that day i only had a few hours to fish in the morning.  This in mind i knew i would be fishing from around 5am till 10am.

The past few sessions i have fished pinkie and maggot down the edge and experimented with a number of baits to target the better fish on the far bank line.  The better fish had certainly come on caster and on the passed session they had come down the bottom for the far bank shelf line.  This line had produced a nice tench along with some quality bream and roach but i had not really targeted this line all session so on this session i was a man with a plan i traveled to the bank with only Hemp and Castor shown below.

Pluming up i found the base of the far bank shelf and fed two good pots of castor and hemp and i also set up a far bank line just in case the warmer weather saw the fish move back up the shelf.  I also fed this line with the odd sprinkling of castors all session just in case the swim i intended to fish died or did not get going. You always need a plan B on canals and sometimes a C and D.

The session in all honesty got off to a great start with the float shooting under as soon as the castor hit the bottom with a quality bream.  I only set up on top kit for the session and that was with white hydro elastic, the thought behind this was i wanted to target the better fish and i knew there was a good chance of a tench or big bream showing up so i wanted to be prepared, i knew i might bump the odd smaller fish but i was thinking that if it was small enough for me to bump then it was a fish i did not want to catch any way.

After a number of put ins i was into a strange stamp of fish that looked like skimmers but certainly has some roach in them.  They put up a great fish on the pole and i am certain they were roach bream hybrids.  The swim either way was rammed with these fish and they where of a good stamp and as each one went into the net i began to think if these keep up i would be on for quite a solid net come the end of the session.

After every other fish i fed the swim with a cad pot of castor and hemp.  I was sure there would be fish feeding on the bait as it fell through the water columns so i did not think i was over feeding the swim.  This amount of bait is quite unusual for a canal session but the bites where coming thick and fast so i fed the swim as per how i felt the fish where feeding.

My thinking was that getting a decent bed of bait down might see a shoal of bream turn up and if this happened it could really pile on the weight quite quickly, remember on this session i was trying to get the best from the swim by trying the best method i had found for getting the better fish.  Normally with castor it can be a waiting game for really big fish like bronze bream and tench to come along but on this session a good stamp of bream where really on the feed.  Eventually the swim die off and i knew something bigger had moved in, a slow bite developed into the float sliding under and i was into a better fish, not a tench but a nice bream that gave itself away with the rhythmic thudding on the elastic as it came in.

As the session wore on some better quality fish started appearing amongst the skimmers and odd better bream and as with other sessions it took a while for the roach to start to come on the feed.  I believe these fish move up and down the stretch searching for food and when they move in the area they then show in your catches.  A fish that is the real prize for any canal angler and although not the big roach i know are in this canal i was happy to see roach starting to show.

Within the last hour of the session the bites kept coming with bites coming thick and fast and i was sure i could have fed the swim with even more bait and maybe got some of the tench in on the act.  These tench might have even settled on my far bank line but this line was not even looked at due to the fishing being so steady on the line down the track.  It is very rare on the canal for one line to fish well all session and in that last hour the bream moved in.  I landed one and lost two, in hindsight these would prove costly as they would have sent me over that 20lb mark.

Like with all good sessions they are over all to soon and i was gutted packing in as i knew i had put together a solid weight and given the rest of the day god knows what the weight would have been.  The final net went over 19lb of fish and needless to say i was over the moon.  The plan in my eyes had worked in i had battered my biggest weight for this season off there and given the net did not include a single tench 19lb of fish shows how steady the action was in just over 4.5hours fishing.

Going home reeking of success that only comes with a canal bream session i was over the moon and that evening sat in the beer garden the first pint went down a treat

Till next time i wish you all

tight lines



Friday, 22 May 2015

Pole Fishing the Bridgewater Canal - What Tackle To Use

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  I start this weeks update by again saying how well it has been getting such great feedback to these canal blogs.  This week i have received quite a few messages and emails saying that the previous two blogs have really helped them out in tackling the canal.  Feedback like this is like a big boost in the arm when writing blogs as there is no better feeling than someone letting you know that your writings have in some way helped them.

The previous two updates are listed here:

WHERE TO FISH ON A CANAL - Canals roots dating back to the industrial times can look quite featureless places and as such we have to take advantage of any features we find.  This blog shows how i go about picking out places to fish on the Canal and it also crosses over to my river exploration.

WHAT BAITS I USE FOR CANALS - This blog update covers all the baits i use on canal fishing sessions from the tiny pinkie through to corn.  This update also includes a small video on how i mix my ground bait for canals.  The session is an in depth look at how i use different baits to figure out my approach for waters.

This weeks blog update See's me looking at the tackle i use for fishing the canal and a simple rig i use for fishing the canal.  A look forward to this weekends bank holiday and my plans and the introduction finishes with a look at the upcoming river season.  The fishing is a session on the Bridgewater Canal where i have a play round with a few baits in preparation for a big hit session the next weekend.

On with the Update-

Tackle To Use For Fishing A Canal -

In this part i will try and share how i fish the local canal and i will break it down into two sub headings.  The first will cover the pole top kits i use and the second i will cover the terminal tackle with the current rig I'm using.

Top Kits For Fishing The Canal -

Number 6 Elastic - Pinkie/squatt line mainly - I have one pole kit fitted with really light elastic which is so soft you need to net every fish basically you catch it is so fine.  This is the first elastic i use when fishing a new section as you can hook and not bump every fish you strike into as it is so soft.  This i use mainly on my pinkie and squatt line as generally the fish you catch are smaller roach and skimmers.  A great place to start when wanting to judge what fish are in the section.

Blue Hydro Elastic - All Lines - This is probably my favourite elastic to use out of them all as it is soft enough for you to catch most silvers but also gives you a chance if you hit a bream, tench or big perch.  The elastic does have a lot of stretch in it so i find it lacks the back bone to ease fish like perch, tench and bream away from snaggy swims like reeds etc if you are fishing near them.  A great all round elastic for open water and my normal far bank maggot and castor top kit.

White Hydro Fitted with Puller - Castor/maggot/corn line - This elastic only comes out when i know there is a high chance of catching better fish and if i am hitting fish regular on the other elastics but either not getting them in or it being a real struggle.  I use this elastic mainly when i go all out for better fish on castor and hemp.  My though here are that in know i will bump some smaller fish but if i do i work on the mentality that if i did bump it, it was probably not a stamp of fish i am targeting any way.  As strong as i go on the canal and an elastic you should get most fish in on a canal barring big carp.  Probably the most exciting fishing is when i use this as i know i am going all out for bigger fish.

Terminal Tackle I Use For Canal Fishing -

There is no doubting that when fishing a canal our approach has to be more refined than fishing any other type of water.  In summer the canal is more coloured than winter so you can get away with the rigs i am using at the moment but come October to winter you will have to really refine right down sometimes to tiny size 22 hooks and one pound breaking strain hook lengths for bites.  The main thinking here is that summer and winter fishing on a canal are two completely different animals all together.

Canal Floats - 12x 4 floats
To be honest this is an area i am completely lost on and there are so many different weights of floats which just confuse anglers i think.  I go into the shop and i pick a float that looks light with a nice long bristle.  If i am looking at weights along the side i normally go for a 12x4 float.  I don't really look at this in to finer detail as i know when it comes to fishing with it i will have the weight shotted so the bristle is a mere pin prick.

Line - Bayer Perlon 1.7lb or 2lb1oz -
At this time of year i will fish my line straight through on 1lb 7oz line.  I find this line is fine enough to get bites all day along and catch small and big fish alike.  A lot of anglers use hook lengths but with tench around i work on the mind set that i don't want any breaks in the line that will create a weak point.  On the far bank line and when using a bigger hook like a 18 or 16 hook i will up to 2lb1oz line.

Hooks - B525 size 20 or 18 hook
On the canal i rarely go above a 18 hook unless i am using a bait like worm of corn.  Fishing rivers for chub has taught me that hook size does not necessarily equate to increased chances of getting a
fish in.  I regularly fish the river with a size 20 or 18 hook and even with the pressure of the river you find the hook well in the lips of the fish and not going any where.  Hooks i have ultimate confidence in and catching all the fish you see in my blog for the past few years.  Be prepared in winter though to tie up a few rigs at home with size 22 or even 24 hooks.

Weights -
 Probably the most important item of tackle behind the plummet shown in the picture for me.  You would be amazed how a weight pinging off your line can change how your float behaves and fishes.  When you get on the canal the first thing is do is plum up then set my use the shots to set the float.  This where your smaller shots like number 12, 11 shots can be the difference between a full bristle showing and a sensitive rig to just the tip of the bristle showing and a ultra sensitive rig.  Little difference like that make a huge difference.

My Current Rig Setup -
I always set up a few rigs at home as it saves so much time on the bank.  Tie the hook on using your favourite knott, i use a Palomar.  Then spool off enough line for the swim you are going to fish, you will find most will be covered by your top two sections. Slide on your float and pole rubbers to attach the float to the line and tie a overhand loop in the top to attach the rig yo your pole.  Set the float about the depth you are going to fish and add a bulk shot half way down the rig, for me its normally 2 to three number 8 then attach two number 12 shots equal distant apart form the bulk shot down to the hook.  One pole rig made and ready to go, it is a simple as that.

Well that's tackle covered next weeks update will cover where i fish my lines on the canal and why i fish there.

Bank Holiday Circus

In fishing you are always learning that goes without saying but i also think you have to also learn from past experiences and that is so true when it comes to Bank Holiday weekends.  They are always very appetising to me as an angler, what with 3 whole days to go at and the high chance in May of warm sunny weather.  Experience has taught me to think other wise though.

Bank holidays are a great time to go fishing but picking your right venue is a must and taking time to make sure you have chosen well is essential.  time has taught me to avoid places like canals, club waters and commercials as major hot spots for instance.  The weather and bank holidays seems to mix together to encourage all types of idiots to emerge from winter hiding and converge on waterways in the hope of either exploring the outside world of going fishing.

One example that springs to mind is a trip a few years ago on Flushing meadows fishery.  I arrived as the gates opened and enjoyed a good half an hour of peace and quiet before it happened, an idiot arrived.  A few lads spread evenly round the pool i was fishing a margin line on big pieces of meat, minimal feed, you don't need it on here when after the carp.  A whole bank to set up on he pegs in 7 maybe 8 yards up the bank.  So scene set picture this, he then opens a whole tin of sweetcorn, the big tins, then proceeds to hand full by hand full lob in the whole tin of corn.  To my amazement he then picks up another big tin of corn out of his box and begins fishing.  I just shook my head in shock at first but i must admit it was funny seeing his swim like a Jacuzzi of bubbles as the bream had a feast while he sat without a bite all day watching me catching fish in the margin.  By midday he was over asking questions and i helped him out but it just shows what it can be like had he fished the margin and put that in none of us would have caught! 

Canals avoided for the obvious regatta of boats that will be out in force come the weekend and on most canals they start quite early on compared to normal weekends out.   This weekend i am planning on getting some decorating done although i do have a pint of maggots so i might get out for one of two.

River Season Round The Corner

Where has the time gone it seems only yesterday we wrapped up the pike season and the river season and now its only just over 20 days till we will be back on the banks of the river.  Personally i have enjoyed the challenge the canals have brought me this closed season.  Working out a new stretch and then it all coming good has been a great achievement for me and i have also enjoyed writing theses blogs.

It has also been a time of great change for me both with two children under three and moving into a new house that needs decorating head to toe it has meant fishing has really been an as and when affair.  My plans for the early season are to explore the places we found chub last year and see if the warm weather brings in other species like roach and dace so that is something i am really looking forward too.  The new river season is certainly on my mind a lot now and that will only increase as we get closer.  I might run a small series in the introductions of my favourite sessions on the river as we draw close as i think that would be fun so look out for that.

On to this weeks update

Mixing It Up On The Bridgewater...

Sometimes in angling i think you have those moment where your head is full if that many ideas on what you want to do on a session you end up not giving your all to one particular plan and not getting the best from that scenario but on the other hand i also feel you need to have sessions where you try new things because if you don't how will you ever know the reaction of the fish to another bait?

The previous session i went with a game plan of fishing caster over the far side and this worked really well but i was yet to settle on a set game plan for the big hit session i had planned for this venue before the rivers opened again.  This bit hit i was hoping would be a Nice round off to the canal sessions but before i committed and drew up a final game plan for that session i needed to explore all possibilities and i think this shown in my bait tray.

As you can see it contains almost all the baits mentioned in last weeks blog with Castor, hemp, maggot, pinkie, ground bait and pellet all on show.  To gauge the reaction to the baits from the fish i fed two short lines down the shelf, one on maggot ground bait and one on pinkie and ground bait.  I also fed a line on the far shelf base and one  right over on the shallow far shelf.

Fishing 4 lines is never easy and it involves a lot of feeding and topping up of these lines and i knew concentration was the key and i also knew mine would drop as i caught fish so i set myself a short window to fish and was to be packed in for 11am. 

The conditions on the day looked perfect with a cool day planned with plenty of cloud cover i expected the middle lines to produce well early on and the far bank lines to also benefit as the fish do seem to spook on that far shelf in the sun.  Both lines fed on the near shelf with two balls of ground bait on each one laced with pinkie and one with maggot.

I started over my pinkie line and was straight into fish.

This line was providing plenty of bites but all seemed to be of this stamp or smaller so i fed one more ball of ground bait and went over to my maggot line.  The fish on the maggot line where noticeably bigger and by a good way with some nice skimmers mixed in to boot.

This in my eyes was showing me that maggot might just be the way to go down the track for the slightly better fish and this was proved even more when i moved back onto the pinkie line and picked up another small roach.  The maggot was picking up better fish but i was still picking up some of the smaller ones as well.   While messing around on these lines i was flicking the odd few casters over my far bank line whilst also stopping in between to feed the bottom of the far bank shelf line with castor and hemp.

I have to admit it was hard work juggling 4 swims while trying to concentrate on fishing the swim i was in at the moment.  I fished the inside line till bites dried up and knowing that boat traffic may hamper my chances on the 3/4 line i went over this first on castor.  The bite took me by surprise as it was quite quickly i was into a fish and as i expected the castor was picking out a better stamp of fish on a consistent basis.

On this line i expected it to be quite an unknown as it is a line i really don't fish when on the canal so it was a great discovery for me as better fish after better skimmer kept coming to the net and the session was really coming together to show me some new stuff about canal fishing.  It was then the bites died completely so i went over the far bank line as surely there would be fish waiting but no nothing at all.  I went round all three lines again down the middle but nothing, you could say big fish moved in but on all three lines at the same time? Not a chance and i knew that i had a pike in my area and it was on the hunt.

This was confirmed by the fish in my keep net all coming up to the top as if there only chance of survival was to get out of that keep net.  As with all my sessions i had a pike rod to hand so i reached over for it and put it together and readied it for action.  Eventually i managed to catch a fish on the pole and bringing it in resulted in the normal bow wave behind the fish, this pike was only small but certainly on the feed.  The fish i was bringing in had been grabbed and had a deep laceration down its flank so it was on the hooks he went.  It didn't take long before the pike claimed its meal and was having its picture taken before being released away from the swim.

It always amazes me how silver fish know a pike is on the feed and it is still quite surprising to me how quickly they settle into feeding again once the pike has gone.  Swims that hadn't produced a fish 10 minutes ago now alive with bites and this is the reason i take the pike rod as you could literally be waiting ages for the pike to move non otherwise.

I went over the far bank line as i hit the pike down the middle so i guessed it would be best to rest the lines.  The fish over the far side where OK fish but not as good as down the shelf where the better bream seemed to be.  I settled down back on my castor line down the middle and after a few bream i hit into a real bonus fish in a 4 1/2lb tench which really showed the benefit of castor.

To be honest i stuck on this line for the remainder of the session as i was intrigued as to how it would fish and learn from it.  It fished well all the way till 11am and the quality of fish coming on this line went from strength to strength with some really nice roach showing as well.

I called it a day as a load of boats trundled right through the swim.  It also felt like the right time to call it a day as i had learnt a good lesson fishing a new line and had something to build on.  A 10lb8oz net in only a few hours i was made up.

Well that sums up another blog update i hope this weekend is kind to you all,

till next time

tight lines


Friday, 15 May 2015

Baits For Canal Fishing and Tench On The Bridgewater

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  It has been great to see this week how well last weeks blog update around how quiet canals are has been received it has drew debate on all forms of social media and hopefully the debate has stoked a few anglers to give the canals a try.

It has been a busy week for myself with the blog putting together videos and getting pictures for this update and others to come.  This way of writing a blog is not really why i wrote the blog as fishing and the voyage of discovery that goes with learning the art of fishing should be down to the individual.   There is no better feeling than blanking and getting it wrong, sticking at it and then starting to get results as you learn.  I am fully aware though that some anglers don't know where to start with canals and are quite daunted by them so it can do no harm me sharing all i have learnt fishing canals and how approach them if it at least helps someone out wanting to fish the canal but not knowing where to start.

I hope the previous blog and this one don't come across as preaching or me saying this is the way to do it.  The blogs are just my way of fishing canals and how i approach them  so always bear that in mind when reading them.  It may also be the case that the canal you fish is completely different to the Bridgewater and you may need bigger baits or stronger line.

In this weeks update we look at what baits i use on the canal and we look at each one in detail and the benefits they bring.  The next section is a video on how i prepare my ground bait for fishing the canal so it is working and prepared to do the job i want it to do.  We finish the introduction with a surprise i received this week when out of the blue last weeks blog was featured in an online magazine!!   The fishing sees me again fising the canal and i begin to change things up based on what i have learnt from previous sessions on this new section of canal.

So onto the update..

What Baits For Fishing Canals??

So in last weeks blog we covered location and picking where on a canal you want to target.  You have gone out and you now have a fair idea where on the canal holds a few fish and the locations along them stretches to look out for when planning to fish.  The next step is to look at baits for fishing the canal and there is a whole host to choose from. 

We will start with the smallest baits and work form there..


These tiny maggots are the larvae of the small little house fly that pester you in summer and these tiny baits are deadly on canals.  On a canal when you are trying to build a picture of an area you really want a bait that will catch everything that swims.  This includes some fish that may only be 1oz in size but fishing normal baits your float will be going under but you will miss the fish if you are not using a bait small enough for these fish.  You could literally be getting a bite every put in but not hook a single fish if you where using a bigger bait like maggot and its only when using this bait you see what the fish are.

This bait is best fished down the middle and mixed in with your ground bait, fed accurately via a pole cad pot will ensure these maggots get to the bottom and you are fishing right over the baited area.  A single our double pinkie or squatt on the hook and your away, an excellent bait and one i always take the canal.

Bread Punch

Normally regarded as a winter bait for canals liquidised bread and bread punch is great bait for silver species like roach and bream.  A bait that i normally feed down the middle track instead of pinkie and ground bait.  It is a bait you have to feed carefully as it is very easy to over feed the fish on it.  A chap days fishing can be had on a few slices of bread liquidised and two slices for on the hook.  A top tip is to place the bread in the microwave for 10 seconds and roll it thin this way its easier to punch.


The larvae of the bluebottle these baits come in all manner of colours but over the years i have found white, red and bronze to be the best.  These baits are great fed on their own on a far bank line for better fish on your first sessions out learning a water as they will pick up the better fish that hug the far bank.  The white and red are great also when you know your pinkie or squatt line has better fish to be had but you are getting hammered by tiny fish.  This bigger bair is the same colour as the smaller pinkie or squatt but to a fish this bigger bait is too much to resist and can ofter see you picking up the better fish on your pinkie and squatt line.

Once you have fished an area for a while you will build a picture of the size of fish in the section and later on in the blog you will see after past trips hitting better fish i go completely over to maggot instead of pinkie and squatt to single out these better fish i know are there.  read on to see the results.


Casters are the cryssalis form of a maggot before it turns into a blue bottle. There is no getting away from it castors are "THE" bait on canals for the better fish.  There is a saying "You catch more fish on maggot but you catch better quality fish on Caster".  As a bait if you can get fish feeding on castor you are in for a special session indeed as it normally means you are getting the better fish in the canal.

The beauty of casters are the fact they will stay where you feed them.  I normally feed this bait with hemp, a bait we will talk about later and these two baits together make a deadly combination for big canal roach and bream.

I normally feed casters on my far bank line once i kn ow thee are better fish in the area.  Firing over 5-6 castors every 10-15 minutes while fishing my pinkie line down the middle it allows the better fish to move in and get comfortable on the bait.  The longer its left the more confident the fish feel and once you move over to the far bank caster line after a few hours you need to be prepared for the better fish to be there.  Remember though you are fishing for better fish, the small fish are more feeding on the movement of a maggot where as this static bait seems to only pick out by the better fish.  Also remember you are fishing for better fish so you wont normally get as quick bites on castor as say maggot but the fish will be better quality.

 I will be including a top tip for getting your castors just right in a upcoming blog.


No explanation needed here good old sweetcorn out of the tin add the juice from the tin to your ground bait, of course, we all know it works haha.  A lot say freezer bought stuff but its got to be jollly green giant for me it just smells so much more....well sweetcorny (not even a word).   I use this bait when i am going all out on the canal for tench, bream, carp or really big roach a few grains fed on the far bank line and then it gives you the option to try it on the hook.  A fantastic bait but careful not to over feed it.


The seeds of the cannabis plant these seeds are treated before they are brought into the UK so plants cannot be germinated from the seeds.  When cooked they turn jet black and a white kernal appears from inside the seed.  This bait fish love and there is one species in particular, the roach, roach absolutely love hemp and if you can get them feeding on it you would be amazed at the size of fish.

There are many theories to why hemp works but i believe the thought process that these when on the bottom of the canal resemble a bed of water snails and the crunch of the shell with the soft white centre i imagine they are similar to the feeling of eating water snails when the fish eat them.  Mixed with castor or corn its a deadly bait for feeding into the swim.


Being quite and old school angler that generally fishes using tactics used 30-40 years ago i still see pellets as new when in reality they have been around for a number of years now and to some fish are now probably regarded as their natural diet.  There is no doubting the attraction of pellets to fish and although i never actually fish with pellets on the canal i know a number of lads who do quite well. 

The pellets i use are the 1mil micro pellets and they are simplicity itself to prepare simply empty into a bait box when you arrive, cover in water and then straight away drain all the water out, it 10 minutes they will be ready to go.  Excellent for attracting and keeping bream and skimmers in your swim and for this reason i mix them into my ground bait mix.

So that's it for baits i use on the canal next weeks update will cover what terminal tackle i use for fishing the canal

How to Mix Ground Bait For a Canal Session..

There is one bait missing off the list above and in my opinion it is the most important bait for canal fishing and a must for any session going the canal.  I would go as far to say that if i did not have ground bait in my tackle box for a session on the canal i would pick another venue to fish.

Although canals look quite small in width we have to remember that canals when considered by how much water and miles they cover are huge.  When you see shoals on the canal in summer you will see they travel along the canal in shoals in search of food and even a small shoal of roach can cover a large length of canal in a day.  What we want is for the fish to be attracted down to the bottom to feed as they pass over our swim and ground bait is what we use for this.

Canals also are major highways for boats and some canals can literally be a boat every 10 minutes.  This activity stirs up the bottom and leaves the canal quite coloured.  When this is the case the fish we are fishing for stop don't just stop feeding, this is their home remember and they are used to boats and the water colouring up, they still have to feed to survive.  The fish then move over to smell to locate their food and all baits even maggot and worms give of smells into the water that attract fish but ground bait is by far the best for attracting fish into the swim when its coloured.

With canals our approach has to be a lot more refined and as such we need to give extra attention to our ground bait.  When first mixed it will contain a lot of lumps of ground bait and these fed into the swim will over feed the fish so we riddle the ground bait.  I have put together a short video below on how i prepare mine.

Blog Featured In Online Magazine..

Sat in work on my dinner break this week i got a notification through the blogs Twitter account, @satonmyperch, that the blog had bee selected to be featured in an online magazine.  The magazine article can be found on the following link.

link to article:

It is always great when i am contacted to say my blog is being featured in top ten lists, magazines and other bloggers pages but it is special when it comes as a surprise to you.  I was having a pretty poor day in work on this day and this cheered me right up!!  Thank you for selecting my blog to be featured it means a lot.

On to this weeks Fishing...

Pole Fishing The Bridgewater Canal - A Plan comes togehter..

Although the information I am sharing about how i fish a canal might seem like i know a thing or two about canal fishing the reality is I am still very much learning.  In this weeks blog i talk about how i approach a new stretch of canal by using Pinkie and maggot to catch any fish that swims to give me a picture of what is in the stretch and then build a game plan from there with the final outcome of this to be me fishing the section of canal and getting the most i can out of it.  This may range from me finding out the stretch is full of tiny fish and skimmer so my approach to get the most might be to fish close in and get the fish feeding shallow so i can catch as many as possible quickly but it has been the other way with this section i am fishing.

In past trips i have caught a lot of small fish on pinkie down the middle and quite a few better sized skimmers and roach and i have also hit the odd really big fish that on my light elastic i have had no chance of stopping.  I was at a quandary to what these fish where but the answer came on the previous session as sat on the bank setting up in the early morning, well it was only just light enough to set up, i saw a tench roll right in the middle of the swim and there my answer was.  I didnt not have the tackle to land the fish on that session as i did again hit a better fish.

When asked for advice on fishing i always say there is no substitute for getting out on the bank, you can read and watch content online till the cows come home but there is nothing that will teach you more than getting out on the bank at the crack of dawn and fishing the water.  With all this in mind the process of formulating a plan began.

So on past trips i had fished pinkie down the middle and fed maggot over my far bank line.  The middle line had brought small to medium sized fish and the odd better skimmer and when i went over to the far line the maggot swim consistently was producing a sustained line of quality fish with the odd special roach capture.  I drew from this this that the pinkie was doing what i wanted it to do i was catching all fish that swim including the odd better fish that was keeping the net ticking over while my far bank line built up.  This part of my set up i was not going to change as it was doing what i wanted it to do, it was strangely enough my far bank line i was to make all the changes on.

Changes to far bank line attack

The first change on my far bank line attack was the pole top kit, i replaced my match kit loaded with blue hydro elastic for white hydro to give me that extra back bone i needed to get the tench under control.  The second change i made was with bait i moved over to feeding caster on the far bank line instead of maggot and teamed this up with hemp seed.  I was slightly worried about bumping fish with the heavier elastic but then again i knew fishing caster that if the fish was of the quality i was expecting then i would have no problems with hook pulls.  The next change was u upped my line from 1.7lb line to 2.1lb breaking strain and fished this all the way through.  It was only a half a pound difference but on a canal it can make the difference and feared 3lb plus line would see me not fishing fine enough for the roach.  The final change i was making was in my policy of leaving the far bank line hours before fishing it, normally around 9-9.30 when the boats come, on this session i would be going over earlier around 7.30am just a hour and half into my fishing.

Starting off just over the marginal shelf where the canal begins to flatten out i fed two balls of ground bait and pinkie, even before i had attached any lines to plum up my rigs.  I knew from past trips where i was going to fish so feeding the swim now and leaving it while i sorted out my top kits for the far bank line and for this swim would give the fish time to settle on the bait ready for my first put in.  The lines prepped i fed the far bank line with caster and hemp, initially with the cad pot for accuracy and get a set area to fish when i go over there but i knew later feedings of Castor would be by the catapult.  The lines plumed up i put my far bank rig down for a bit and fed a small nugget of ground bait and pinkie down the middle line and lay the float right over the baited area, as predicted it was not too long before the float slid away and a small skimmer was heading into my palms.

As i have said previously, with canal fishing you have to be realistic with your fishing as very rarely do you go in first time and pick up a really high quality fish, unless you are just targeting them of course.  Most of the time your first fish will be a small skimmer or roach and some times these can be tiny.  This is where i feel canals offer new anglers something that i feel some of the angling world is really beginning to miss and that is the appreciation of better fish.  When you have caught small 1-2oz fish and then say a 6-10 oz skimmer or roach comes along you really see this fish in a different light and appreciate it, better fish looked at like this then become something special and as they should be the jewels of a session rather than the expectation as they can be with commercials.

Any how i digress, as the swim built so the bites became more confident and the quality of the fish improved slightly.  The fish really got their heads down at one point and it was a fish a chuck with quite a few fish coming in quick succession.  On this bit of canal i have noticed the swim can die really quickly down the middle and i think the main reason is pike.   I did have my pike rod on me with this session but if i am honest my whole mindset is on pole fishing at the moment and having a go for a pike in the swim is really being looked at as a last resort to relocate them further down the canal away from the swim.

The fish will always back off on the canal so adding just a few feet onto the line your fishing can see you picking up bites and I mooched and etched my way to 7.30am picking up a bites here and there whilst pinging castor over the far bank line.  The time had come to have a look if anything had settled in over there.

It can be quite hard work on castor at times as you know in your head bites will take longer to come than maggot and i knew had i fed maggot over there or even put maggot on the hook i would be catching a few fish and maybe the off better stamp of fish as well but i was a man with a plan and i waited it out on castor.  The float knocked and slowly moved along the top before slipping away, fishing over depth to lay as much line on the bottom as possible to not spook the fish this was how i wanted it to work except i expected the elastic to move but to prove all the best laid plans don't work a small roach was the culprit.

Feeding the far bank line again, only with 4-5 castors, i went back over and re started my vigil.  lifting and dropping the bait adds a little attraction and it was just after letting it settle again the pole float zoomed under and upon lifting the white hydro came oozing out of the end of the pole.  I knew the fish where about and i was expecting them all the time so as soon as i knew i was into a better fish i began shipping back straight away to coax it away from the snags.  It worked a treat and the fish being played down the middle of the canal was a different animal as it plodded up and down and in knew it was just a case of letting the elastic tire it out.

As with all better fish it knew where home was so there where a few nervous moments but eventually and more a puff of the cheeks in relief than excitement the tench slid into the landing net.   Weighed it went 3lb 9oz, i knew there was a chance of  more and i also knew i was  not going to be around till much after 11.30am so i placed it in the keep net and to be extra careful i staked the net along the bank.

The tench returned i fed the swim with a good pot of hemp and caster and over i went again.  The plan had worked a treat but i must admit to being a bit lost at this point as i really did not know what to expect.  The better fish i target using this tactic are normally bronze bream that are normally in shoals so you expect maybe some more but with tench i was happily in unknown territory and learning a new lesson.

The next few bites where from roach and the odd better skimmer but then the swim died a little and i thought to myself, wait this out it could be better fish.  A good 10-15 minutes latter the float slid away again and this time the water erupted with a big swirl as i struck and i knew i was into a better fish.  The fish was strong and powerful and in the early exchanges i never had it under control as it snagged me up and come off on a number of occasions, luck pays a huge part some times.  The pole tip under the water i hoped and prayed the fish stopped and turned and came round back towards me as it headed off down the canal.  In my head i was carp all the way for sure.

Thankfully the fish turned and a battle of me letting the elastic wear out the fish in the middle of the canal endured as held the pole above the fish adding a removing sections.  It eventually felt like i was beginning to win as my float came up through the water and broke the surface.  A glimpse of olive dark green as she turned and i knew i was into a nice tench  which added a whole host of pressure!  She finally saw my side and in the landing net i could not believe how lightly hooked she was as the size 20 hook was just nipped through her top lip!  At 5lb she was a fish i was ecstatic over and am still buzzing about now as i write.  A run of the mill fish in some places but for a canal on the pole on light medium elastic a battle i will remember forever.

I guess i had not returned this tench long when i was again into a better fish, this fish from the outset was not in the league of the past two fish and the elastic had it well under control from beginning to the end of the fight.  Another tench and i was made up to have had three tench in the morning. 

Going back over i got bites from roach and skimmers straight away and i knew there and then the tench game was up really.  Time moved on and the clock ticked round to 11am and with the warmth came a regular stream of boats and people on the towpath.  The last fish of the session was this nice bream below.

I decided to call it a day after this fish as i had a mountain of decorating to do at home and in my head i thought i had caught the best of the fish and was happy with what i had sitting in my keep net.  I was also conscious that the fish had been in there for around 3 hours at this point and although settled with plenty of room the increased temperatures i knew it was time to pack in.

The final net went 15.8lb and of course a quick cheeky shot of the three tench was a must.

A quick Reflection

So packed in i looked back on the session and began to analyse it.  Firstly it was very apparent the castor was picking out the better fish and although i was waiting for bites when they come they where worth waiting for.  The odd better skimmer also showed there must be a good head of these to try and directly target on future sessions.  The tactic of going over the far line earlier really had paid off well and i was made up with that.  I feel the whole collection of sessions has shown how you can build up a picture and tailor your techniques to get the best out of a situation and i hope this blog in particular has shown that.

Till next time

i wish you all tight lines


Friday, 8 May 2015

Pole Fishing the Bridgewater Canal and Monster Pond Perch

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  I have to say from the outset these past few weeks getting back on the canals has really saw me having a great time on the bank.  I am not currently fishing the old haunts i fished as a kid but just being on the canal has brought back so many memories for me and at the moment the only thing that is missing is the sight of the bark black and bronze flanks of a big canal bream breaking the surface.  Hopefully i will experience this before the rivers open again.

This weeks blog update introduction See's me giving my thoughts on the lack of kids fishing on the canals and ponds and my thoughts behind what is to blame.  As a result of that i will be covering all aspects of my approach to fishing canals in the coming weeks and we finish the introduction with a little on the pike review going live.   The fishing this weeks See's me fishing on a private pond called Curlston mere where the swim dies and for once i find out why and the second trips sees a morning session on the Bridge water that i hope shows anyone reading who is fed up with the rat race that goes with commercials that the canals are a live and well and are great places to fish.

on to the update..

Bite A Chuck But The Banks Are Barren....

It is safe to say we are living in the Golden era of fishing, never before have fish grown to such large proportions, never before have our rivers and waterways been so clear and unpolluted and never before have we had such a wealth of places to fish with commercials dotted all over mixed with the lakes, canals and rivers we are literally spoilt for choice. 

That is the good news story of the times we live in but i also feel we are living and witnessing the demise of old school fishing as we know all remember it.  I first started to feel like this when i was fishing on the banks of the River Dee and noticed that i was by far the youngest angler on the bank.  Many excuses not to fish rivers are presented from rivers being muddy and dirty uncomfortable to people saying walking endless fields and lugging their gear was not up their street.  That may well have been the case but the river i was fishing was the River Dee at Farndon where you can park your car at the back of your peg and you fish off sturdy relatively clean EA pegs so this kind of blows that out of the water.  The simple fact is that the art of trotting a float and fishing rivers is dying, not all over the country but certainly in the areas i fish.

At the time i thought it was just rivers that where quiet but the past few weeks fishing on the canal and local ponds has genuinely shocked me.  I would say i have been fishing 5-6 times on canals and ponds the past few weeks and i think i have seen 4 anglers in that time, not counting the same ones on different visits.  The fishing on all the trips has been steady with regular bites and some nice fish to boot yet on most trips i have not seen a single angler wetting a line.  I drive along miles of the canal to get to where i fish and pass it every day on my commute to work and see the empty banks.

As a kid growing up i remember the sights of 100-200 pegged matches on the canal and the local ponds where always a rate race to get their before your mates to get a peg.  I now think the canal and the local ponds sit below rivers in the pecking order.  Are we slowly losing canals and ponds as a place where young anglers are born and skills are learnt? I don't fish commercials regular but have there fish filled commercial ponds now become the place to go because you are guaranteed to catch something?  or is it that kids growing up are no longer in love with angling as we where as kids and we are facing a gap in years to come of new anglers coming through?  I am a Strong believer that if you can fish a canal you can fish anywhere as the refined skills you learn fishing a canal and feeding truly wild fish that don't need our baits to survive are being lost for the generic 5lb line to 4lb hook length attached to a pole and a pellet on the end fishing for a carp a chuck?.

It is also possible that with the rise in popularity of carp fishing that we are facing a scenario where dads have only ever carp fished so then their children are naturally shown carp fishing so you are left with anglers that may only know one way to fish.  Either way i hope the tables turn and the canals and ponds are discovered by youths its such a crying shame that the banks are so empty and i will be trying to include as much as i can about canal fishing in my blogs in the coming weeks to try and help as much as i can for people wanting to try it but now knowing how.

Where To Fish On A Canal...

Canals are very similar to rivers in the way that they can be quite long in length and location plays such an important key in catching fish.  When i am looking for places to fish on both rivers and canals i always start off at my computer screen with a A4 pad of paper and slowly work along the length of canal to find certain features and areas that require further investigation.

Initially i am looking for any type of features that provide cover for the fish such as reed beds, bridges supports that come across the canal and wides in the canal where the canal is naturally wider.  On google maps you can sometimes even see the stretch before you visit as you can view it from the street view where roads go over the canal or along side so Google Maps is the place where i start and pin point a few key areas.

While on the Internet its also worth doing some searches on the canal you are going to fish as you can guarantee someone will have posted some kind of report from a session on the Internet somewhere.  Don't always read these as gospel as they may be a few years old but use them as a pointer to what the canal can hold.  Another good avenue is to look for where the club that owns your canal fishing has matches and the type of weights that are winning them, chances are these people have fished matches for years and invariably hold matches in the good spots on the canal.

All said and done though there is no substitute for getting out there on the canal yourself and looking at the canal first hand.  Summer is a great time to get on the canal as in the blistering heat you can count on the fish to be up on top showing themselves and this is where you find out where on the canal your better fish like bream and carp are holding up as in the blistering heat you are bound to come across this sight.

Once you have a fair idea where the fish are make a note of the amount of boat traffic your canal has, blistering hot days are great for this as you see how many boats use the canal at peak time.  Most canals will have some form of boat traffic and you should never as an angler see these as totally bad as although the canals do pollute the waterways they also impart movement and colour into the water that the fish need to feed and also get used too.  The canal i fish on the Bridge water does have a bit of boat traffic so if this is the case you need to take this into account when picking a swim.

So you are stood there on the canal and it all looks the same and picking where to fish can be a hard task.  The boats on the canal will all normally follow a same line so what i look for in a swim is an area where i can feed away from this main boat line where i know my bait will not be disturbed.  I walked the local canal after work today and these are the features i would fish on one section of canal.

Up the side of the bridge will no doubt be shallow as no boats will have been able to go though there and as such the silt will have built up.  This area is a great area for fishing as you know any feed going over there will not be disturbed by the boats.  The stone work also offers a feature that species like roach and perch love. 

Reeds are fantastic areas of canal and the places i always head too as they offer you so many options.  Up the front of the reeds will be deep for you early line and up the ride of the reeds offers a line again where you can feed and not be disturbed by boats.  Reeds are naturally areas where fish come to spawn in the warmer months and the very nature of the reeds attracts all manner of insects and invertebrates which in turn attract the fish that feed on them a great natural area to find fish on a canal.

On this picture you can see the canal widens slightly, no boat is ever going to go over there naturally as it moves along the canal and any fish following the far bank wall will also be pushed into your swim as they move along.  Great places for bream but be careful as areas like this are also prime areas for boats to turn round and believe me some will think nothing of turning round in front of you.

As a rule i generally avoid turning circles, marinas, boat yards and ends of canals for this very reason as although boats generally do not effect the fishing a barge turning round pumping its engine turning really does ruin the fishing and can do for a good hour or so.

So that is location covered in the next blog we i will look at where at baits i use on the canal and preparing your ground bait.

Pike Season Review Goes Live

Finally before we get into the meat and potatoes of this update this week the content of the "First Pike Season" went live.  This page documents the whole pike season through all the months of autumn and Winter.  I have tried to explain the journey as i saw it and the lessons i learnt along the way.  It was a season where there was certainly more highs than lows and in reflection it will be a season i will never forget. What an adventure it was as fish from 2lb to nearly 22lb made an appearance.  A link to the page is at the top of the blog or can be found on the following link.

My First Pike Season

Please take a second the read the blog as it did take me some time to put it together and feel free to share it on your pages.

on with the Fishing..

Morning Session on Curlston Mere...

With a day booked off work and no commitments till the afternoon i decided to give the canal a rest and head off to a little slice of fishing heaven called Curlston mere.  Its a old pond situated on farmers land that we have been aloud to fish for a number of years after my uncle did some work on his farm.  The pond is proper old school pond fishing and it contains a decent number of silvers as well as some really old looking wild carp that when you get on the bank are like bars of buttery gold.

On a recent trip in early Jan i think it was myself and my uncle has a surprise capture of a very nice perch, we should not have been so surprised as the amount of roach fry in this venue is more than enough for such a predator to grown to a nice size.  My plan for the session was simply to fish maggot in the margin while feeding up a 11 metre line hoping to latch onto some of the big roach i knew can show on this venue.

Feeding pinkie on my inside line i was soon getting regular bites and plenty of activity to suggest a few fish in the swim.  The main of the fish where only small roach like the one below.

The swim was ticking over nicely with the odd small perch also starting to show and then like a light switch going off the swim died.  I moved over to the far line and picked up the odd fish on the drop but holding out 11 metres of pole is never fun when your not getting a bite so it was back onto the near line.  Not a knock for a good half hour not even a knock and i was on the verge of calling it a day and heading home to get ready for the jobs i had planned when the float shot under and instantly blue hydro elastic was oozing from the top of the pole.

The fish bolted for the safety of the snags but with carp being around i had been prepared and had my extra sections to hand.  Quickly adding sections i obviously thought carp as i dipped the tip under the water to increase the drag on the fish.  At this point i was convinced carp and then the fish stopped and turned and it was not the normal actions of the carp that keep going till you get over them.  Getting the fish in the edge i saw it was a big perch and not a fish i wanted to lose.  Straight away i was praying don't come off and thankfully i slid the net under the green flanks of an immaculate perch that went 2lb 5oz on the scales and the scary part was it was spawned out.

The fish turned the session around for me and i headed off home with the songs in the car playing loud i was buzzing.

Bridgewater Canal Fishing on the Pole..

Saturday saw me back on the banks of the Bridgewater canal looking for some steady action on the pole.  Knowing from previous sessions the amount of fish in the area there was no rush setting up i took my time getting my gear sorted and peg comfortable.  I knew where in the peg i would be feeding so before i set up my gear i fed two balls of ground bait and pinkie on my middle line and fired over some maggot on the far bank line.

With the peg fed and already accumulating fish on them i plumed up the swims.  I will go more into different tactics in coming blogs but on this session i set the float so the my number 10 dropper was just touching bottom.  The swims plumed up and each top kit to hand i began to fish over my middle line on a single pinkie.  The time 6am and straight away soon as i put in the float slid away as the fish moved onto the ground bait and pinkie.

When canal fishing you have to be realistic about the fish you are going to catch, 85% of your bites if you are fishing like i do for everything that swims of any size are going to be canal sized fish like this up to around 5-6oz although if the session goes to plan they will not make up that percentage of the final weight as the better fish on the sesison should be between 6oz to 2lb. 

The middle line i always feed with the pole pot mixing the pinkie in with the ground bait.  The canal being so deep this ensures all the bait gets to the bottom and reduces the risk of the fish moving up in the water as this can lead to problems with the swim.  The far bank line was still being fed by the catapult with loose offerings and no ground bait.

As the middle swim develops and you catch a few of the early fish that have moved in on the bait it does eventually attract other fish in and that species is normally the perch and it was not long till the first billy of the sesison made an appearance.

At 8am the bites on the middle line dried up, this often happens on the canal but in my experience it happens a lot quicker on this canal and i think it can be attributed to a number of things, either i am not getting my feeding right and I'm underestimating the head of fish down the middle and feeding too much, bigger fish are moving in and i am not giving them long enough to fall for my bait or finally and i think this is the real reason the swim is dying, Mr pike moving in.   The pike on the canal often sit down the marginal shelves and this activity of fish feeding surely would not be going ignored.

Waiting 1`0 minutes without a bite down the middle i knew the time to go over the far side was coming so i fed a large pouch of maggots and concentrated on trying to get a bite down the middle.  Eventually one came but it was a tiny tiny gudgeon and i knew there and then it was time to move and the skimmers or perch where not around.

Fishing every week of the year i have learnt the hard way that its always best to have a pike rod with you whether it be summer winter or fall as although we associate these fish with winter these fish can be very active all year round.  I had a feeling Mr pike was about so before i went over the far side i had a little try for a pike.  Knowing if one was in ambush it would not take long i only gave the bait 2-3 minutes over my middle line before i pulled out my far bank top kit, obviously Mr pike was not about.

Straight over the far bank on maggot the first bite was instant as the float fished over depth slid away and the elastic was showing that erratic action of the fight of a roach.  In my head i thought "well if my pike is about this might be it for this roach"  Thankfully no such brutality happened and my palm was graced with a silver anglers delight of a nice canal roach, i am sure there are better to be had but it was nice to see these around.

My confidence was up after this as i knew from experience that fish of a similar size on canals seem to shoal together.  It is very noticeable when you fish a swim from scratch, first of all the small fish are there and then once the better fish move in they all seem to be of a similar size.  This hunch was proven correct as a few plump roach followed this fish into the onion sack.

The early morning fishing down the middle is as much to keep myself occupied while this far bank line attracts fish as the far bank is where the better fish feel comfortable to feed with plenty of cover and away from any noise on the tow path so i knew this part of the session would be where my main weight would come from and after a hour or so fishing catching roach and the odd better skimmer i knew i was putting a few pound together.

I don't really feed in a tight pattern on my far bank line as i find with bigger fish like bream and roach its best to keep them spread over an area and set your float so its over depth at the back of the swim and dead depth closer in.  This way you can move all over the swim picking up bites and i don't think you spook the fish as much.  The skimmer above was picked up doing this as was a few of his brothers and sisters who were showing signs of getting ready for spawning.   These fish for me on the canal are certainly the bonus fish along with the big dark bronze bream but these can be very very hard to track down/

The session coming to a close a few better bream moved in amongst the fish and it literally was a bite a chuck.  The over cast conditions kept the fish feeding all morning and it was great fishing on the canal.

The time to call it a day came and i was literally gutted to pack in.  The final net went just under 12.5lb.

Well that it is for this weeks blog i hope you enjoyed reading it and if you have any questions around fishing canals or fishing in general or you want to share your canal fishing pictures feel free to contact me.

till next time

Tight lines