Thursday, 12 May 2022

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.27

I didn't get far in to 'The Art of Canal Fishing - Billy Makins' which is on Amazon Video as when he started to talk about size 22 hooks and 14 ounce hooklengths it got a bit alien to me if I'm honest. 

The pioneer of non-bloodworm tactics by the use of maggots he amassed a huge bag full of fish after a quick fast forward (well ok, not quite 3lb) but he did get plenty of bites I might add. Now the most popular bait used by canal anglers must be maggots. Every known species of fish will take them, and some anglers use little else throughout the season. 

In years gone by the most |popular maggots are probably ‘gozzers’ (no not rozzers Sam !!! ) a strain carefully bred in the flesh of dead game birds and ‘annato’ maggots, which were bred in hearts impregnated with annato dye. ‘Squats’ and ‘pinkies’ are smaller maggots used almost solely for groundbaiting.

Breeding these maggots is a specialist’s job which should not be attempted by the amateur until he has acquainted himself with all the necessary related information. Laws exist regarding the breeding of maggots. If they are contravened, prosecution can result.

The normal colouring of maggots is white or pale yellow, but they can be dyed various colours. The most popular colours are red and bronze. Blue and green maggots can be obtained too. Coloured maggots look more attractive to the human eye, but whether or not fish find them so is a matter for conjecture. Experiments conducted by research workers indicate that fish have a wider range of visual achievement than is generally believed, so the appeal of coloured maggots cannot be altogether discounted. 

Nevertheless, the angler using maggots should concentrate on size and liveliness rather than colour. Fish are stimulated more by movement and size than they are by colour. A fat, soft and lively maggot will usually take more fish than a small, tough maggot, irrespective of its colour. Odour is important too, and if the maggots are sweaty and have an unpleasant smell. 

They should be cleaned several times in bran before use and then kept in a large tin with some maize flour to aid separation. Plenty of holes in the lid otherwise they could get like Keir Starmer awaiting the police report on curry and beergate. 

For this session you see it was out with the maggots and a little groundbait for attraction, I just fancied a bite or two you see and I'd earmarked a swim I walked past recently that had some nice reeds close in which could well offer sanctuary for some fish. There are some nice hybrids here but the plan was to start on the whip initially and see what turned up and then switch to a more suitable float rod if I was under gunned. 

Only a short session but with work becoming all-consuming (tooling releases immanent for the components I've been designing) just a couple of hours here and there really does work wonders for the mind. Just a little time away from the diary makers and timetable dictators gets me back on track again.  

One day mandatory in the office now where to be honest with the tunes on the CAD machine is bashed far more frequently WFH, still it's good to see people other than the wallet raiders. 

Anyway for some reason I'd missed a couple of 'unmissable' bites on the lift float set-up so I was hoping a more conventional approach would lead to more fish hooked and less bites missed. 

It could well have been smaller fish dislodging the 'trigger' shot without getting the hook anywhere near their mouths. (I was using gob stopping 30mm folded disks after all.

Anyway to the fishing, boy bream dreaming or what !!!

After plumbing the depth and fishing just up the slope I fed some groundbait and it it didn't take long for the first bite and then the bites kept on coming. All on maggot with the odd one on maggot and tiny worm combo. 

I missed a few bites as well but the whip did an admirable job apart from a hard hybrid that give me the middle finger and despite the whip bent double and me following it down the canal the size 16 hook pulled.

You do wonder why canals in this neck of the woods are hardly fish because 6 decent sized bream, two small eels, one foul hooked would have been heading towards a 20lb bag of fish all within a couple of hours.

The biggest wasn't this one, but one approaching 4lb or so I'd imagine, the sun washing the picture out completely. This is about the best I could muster up. Certainly an enjoyable session and I'm actually enjoying this canal fishing lark now when I'm just fishing for bites. I'll be back I think, next time with Sam in tow hopefully. 


  1. @Keith.J said: Lanes maggots are the biggest juiciest fish delicacy this side of Nagasaki in my opinion. Lovely brama.

  2. Hello @Keith.J, they are indeed good maggots, my local tackle shop goes a couple of deliveries from them every week. Anyway I'm back out again for them later, Sam with me this time. I really don't mind catching them unlike other anglers

  3. Nice bag of fish Mick. I'm also determined (when I eventually get out again!) to have plenty of catch anything / everything sessions. As for bream - always had a soft spot for them. Love a slab!

    1. Only you can make that happen Sean !!!, this was a quick smash and grab like most of my sessions are these days. To be honest the thought of a >24 hour session would put the fear in to me !!!. little and often works, it really does

  4. Nice catch Mi k. I remember breeding gozzers in my dad's shed. It's fair to say I was more pleased about it than him.

    1. Lol night surprised !!!, but yes a really enjoyable session


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