Bottom fishing might be the first choice method of many carp anglers, but on the canals legering represents a very different challenge. Boats, bream and crayfish can scupper the most perfectly presented rig, while the average towpath certainly wasn’t designed with the typical carp angler in mind.
Some canals do have areas where long-stay angling is possible, but a better starting point is usually to travel light with just one, or at most two, rods. This way the angler can stay mobile and avoid bother with cyclists, boaters and other canal users.
Ulverston Canal Fishing Photo Gallery
End tackle can be kept extremely simple, such as a straightforward bolt rig set-up. My usual bait preference is for a pop-up boilie, simply because this keeps the bait out of silt and debris and renders it supremely easy for a passing carp to find. The fish are seldom heavily pressured, so a potent smelling, obvious bait such as a bright pop-up is ideal. In many cases, back leads are also essential to keep your main line pinned to the bottom and clear of passing boats, canoes and water birds.
As with fishing floating baits, bottom fishing is all about location. Bottom browsing carp are not as easy to locate as surface cruisers, but do sometimes give themselves away by bubbling, stirring up the bottom or rolling. They particularly love tight spots such as far bank snags, so accurate, underarm casting is the order of the day.
When it comes to feeding, caution should be exercised on canals. Many waters have a good head of bream and the introduction of bait en masse can see your swim invaded by these slimy residents. Hence a safer option is to introduce just a handful of bait and a small pva bag of goodies along with your hookbait; this represents a nice accurate solution.
Pre-baiting is another way to draw in and settle carp in an area, but it must be done with caution. A big bed of small particles such as hemp and maize is certainly harder for bream or crays to obliterate. I combine this with a few large boilies or, better still, big tiger nuts. Introduced every few days in a handful of areas, you are likely to interest resident carp even if nuisance species also take their share.
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