As some or most of you who know me personally or read my blogs will know that Carp fishing is my bag, I love nothing better than to sit there for days on end blanking haha, with the odd occasion that my pearls of wisdom actually work and I hear the sound of the alarm whining.

However the urge to turn my attention to the toothy critters sometimes gets the better of me a days spent chasing the Esox on the canals is just too inviting to turn down. Especially with the inconsistent weather and the carp not really feeding or having it, seems the perfect time to get the bung out for a session or two until the weather settles down.

So why do I choose the canal for my predator fishing?

The answer to that is quite simple ‘Versatility’. One stretch could be very urban and built up offering refuge in boat yards bridge’s, and wide open sections, then walk a mile or two and you could be in luscious countryside with a section covered in lilies and over hanging trees with very narrow sections an ambush points galore so it offers a different fishing situation dependant on the area you wish to target.

Heading to a well-known hot spot stretch out in the sticks called Marsland green I was optimistic that the pike would be stacked up in numbers taking full advantage of the peace and tranquility with bait fish a plenty in this area it was a no brainer to being the day’s session here….. How wrong I could have been!

Upon arrival at first light the section looked spot on a slight colour to it (Normally this section is gin clear like the other sectioned mentioned in previous blogs) which was a great sight as it 9 times out of 10 fishes better when there is a tinge too it.

The bung went out a baited with the classic canal dead bait the humbled Roach, the staple diet of any predatory fishing that reside in the canal system of the UK. The other rod was on a very very under used bait but has been a firm favourite of mine for a number of years an a bait I consider to give me an edge over the standard sea and coarse bait is the Trout. Tough, durable, colourful, and oily I belive this bait fish really does get you a bite when the going gets tough and they aren’t really on the hunt. So next time you are out for a session grab yourself a pack and give them a go.

So a few hours passed and the weather changes a strong right to left wind sprung up and the temperature dropped drastically, with conditions looking more unfavourable but the minute and the fact the bait fish had stopped showing made me have a think where can I go. Ahhhh the old favourite haunt Butt’s Bridge Basin.

The decision to move here was again simple it reflects the reason why I only Pike fish on the canal. This urban built up area holds back the wind and elements and makes it especially in winter several degrees warmer which in turn moves the bait fish here then follows the predators.

Car loaded and a short 5 min drive and I was on the bank in the new section this just felt right several degrees warmer already but this time it was just before mid day with a few more hours of the sun getting up it was only going to increase. A gentle ripple and bait fish scattering was proof that the move was worthy.

Rods out again on the same methods however this time I fished the bung slightly different one was fishing off the bottom roughly a foot or so off bottom. In conjunction with a Fox Hi-Vis Dart this can drift around the section on the wind searching out the fish. The second rod approximately 2 foot over depth laying on the bottom incase there in the mood for a static bait.

A 3rd rod was deployed as a wobbling rod, nothing better than a wobbled smelt searching the water enticing them for a snack.

About half an hour had past and the bung were working perfectly and I was confident of action.  Plugging away on the wobbled smelt giving the bait the best possibility of getting some attention then BANG fish on the hard work paid off and relentless casting to the same area proved that the fish area here. The fish must have seen that bait go past its nose for at least half an hour the a different action through the swim it was on it. A scrap and a tussle later it was in the net a small jack of around 4-5lb was in the net. I don’t normally like netting them as I prefer chining but with a flying treble the only option was to net.

Another hour passed with no more action on the wobbled smelt, brew and a butty time it was. Scanning the water tentatively watching the bungs I noticed the over depth rod bob slightly surely it would have been missed if I hadn’t of used the correct float. something was investigating a few static seconds later the float hadn’t sailed away, a gentle lift of the rod and a pull of the line to give the bait a new lease of life BANG it was in again. This instantly felt like a better fish not a huge fish but slightly better. Again a flying treble needed the fish to be netted, the bait used to lure this Pike on was my favourite secret (Well a secret no more) a nice Trout.

Would I have caught this extra fish if the Roach was in the same position as the Trout I beg to differ. So be different when it comes to trying a new dead baits out you will be surprised thinking outside the ‘Typical’ dead bait box will get you extra fish.

That was the last bit of action to happen that day.

So my 5 top tips for canal piking are

  1. Keep mobile and don’t be afraid to moves swims or even sections
  2. Be different when choosing dead baits
  3. Always have a rod for wobbling
  4. Good strong tackle is a must, underwater snags are rife in canals especially in Urban areas
  5. Simple bung rigs but be different with how they present a bait in the water

Hopefully the lakes havent got a lid on by the next time I get out then CARP CARP CARP

Tight Lines

Jamie