The keen canal angler develops a deep, personal connection with their local water, which is more than mere nostalgia or accumulated knowledge. I’m not sure how else to express it. My own love-hate relationship with Exeter Ship Canal, for example, spans a quarter of a century. Even today, I retain a childish excitement, never quite sure what the next bite will bring. There are still dog-days but also sessions where just about anything seems possible.
The variety of fishing on my local canals alone is phenomenal, and in the course of a season you might find me there with anything from a long pole to carp tackle or flyfishing gear. If nothing else I hope that this blog shatters any fixed ideas that canal fishing is a narrow discipline. It is as fascinating and varied as you make it.
Canal Map Uk Photo Gallery
A colourful net for the author from the Newport Canal, Shropshire.
The same could be said for all of Britain’s canals, and I hope that wherever you live you will find helpful tips and great places to fish in these pages. My own travels in compiling the blog have taken me the length and breadth of the country, from the Scottish Highlands to Cornwall; from inner city London to the not-so-grim North and the great maze of Midlands canals. My wingman Russ Hilton deserves extra credit here, for he helped me negotiate countless miles of B-roads and ‘Bates Motel’-style accommodation with unerring optimism and humour.
A special mention is also due to all the canal enthusiasts, clubs and tackle shops who helped along the way. It was an incredibly uplifting experience. Look beyond the doom and gloom headlines about cormorants and illegal fishing and a very different picture emerges: in the majority of cases our canals are rich in fish of all types and sizes. Contrary to the fear peddled by our media, we also live in an incredibly friendly country and I found this to be truest in the very places people had told me were ‘a bit tasty’. We didn’t find any folks warmer, funnier or more welcoming than on the towpaths of Glasgow and Birmingham
Above all else, my travels were a reminder that as well as being a deep part of our history, canals are also very much a part of our present. Perhaps it’s time anglers shouted a little louder about these places. In terms of value, variety and sheer consistency canals offer something far beyond what we modestly refer to as ‘bread and butter’ fishing. See you on the towpath!
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