Fishing On Canals


Less fashionable but well worth a mention, various particle baits certainly merit a trial for catching carp and tench on canals. The list is endless, but one or two really stand out. Maize and various beans can be good for tench, but my all-time favourite carp bait for canals is the tiger nut. These are ultra-durable and highly selective, with the big advantage that bream don’t seem especially partial to them. Whichever particle bait you try, they must be properly prepared to be safe for fish, usually by soaking and boiling.

Dead and Live Baits

Predatory fish demand a very different menu to the other species. Coarse fish such as roach, bleak and perch can be used live or dead. However, do always harvest your baits from the water you’re fishing. Transporting fish between waters is totally irresponsible, not to mention illegal, due to the risk of transferring diseases and parasites. Methods and typical bait sizes are dealt with in the species chapters on the various predators.

A selection of deadbaits for pike. The dyed versions stand out better in murkier waters.

A more convenient and deadly way to catch pike is with frozen sea baits. Here you’re spoilt for choice: mackerel, herrings, sprats and a host of others all work. canal fishing rigs Sardines would be perhaps my first choice for pike, owing to their high oiliness and the fact that they are so soft, your hooks will pull straight out of the bait and into the pike when you strike.

Fishing On Canals Photo Gallery

You might catch plenty of pike with plain baits sitting on the bottom, but dyed and popped-up baits can be even more successful. Yellow and red coloured deadbaits stand out well in coloured waters. Lifting your bait off the bottom is another excellent strategy for legering techniques, achieved with the addition of foam or balsa. An even easier solution with whole baits is to carefully inject them with air.

A less popular strategy is to groundbait for pike, but a simple mix of brown crumb laced with fish oil and chopped pieces of bait is a great way to attract predators, especially in wet, coloured conditions. A suitably bloody mix can be thrown in around your rig, or used in a swimfeeder.

Bloodworms are quite a specialised bait but unbeatable in tough conditions.

Bloodworm and Joker

Although only used by a tiny minority of specialists these days, these natural baits were once regarded as the most reliable way to put together a good catch on a tricky canal. Bloodworms were seen as so deadly that they were banned on many waters. canal fishing near me Where permitted however, they still make a fantastically natural and effective bait. Every canal contains countless bloodworms in the mud and silt on the bottom, hence even the most wary fish take them without the least suspicion.

In brief, bloodworm tend to be fished on light lines and tiny hooks into the 20s. Jokers are the smaller larvae, which are mixed with damp leam and sometimes groundbait to form balls and used to prime the swim The method is primarily one which will interest winter match anglers.

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