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