Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Wednesday 29 March 2023

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.51 (Canal Carp)

Sam's homework this week couldn't be more apt, you see he could have just gathered the thoughts in my head about these modern times and I'm sure I could get him to put pen to paper and back to a society I'd rather live in. 

Doesn't help I'm not feeling the work vibe at the minute and with the weather being pants as well that combination ain't doing me much good. 

Still, these short and frequent trips to the canal does move the needle back to an utopia, and that fresh air and towpath trudging does help keep me on those often wayward tracks. Those tracks for todays session were to try and catch one of these elusive carp that reside in this section of canal.

Canal carp fishing is often a lonely and dedicated art, with a high percentage of nervous breakdowns and suicides among its practitioners. You might bait up a spot for a few days in advance and, then sit there all night with a damn great ball of breadpaste or boilie on a hair, when just after dawn the whole thing is chomped up by a shoal of bream. (For some double dipping I'd have a zander rod out)

Locate the carp and fish the margins is often a good way of fishing for them and the tried and trusted method of surface fishing with a crust, that will consistently bring results. Late evening-during the night and  morning, are the time to try this method but carp have been taken by it during the day. 

On some waters, the carp love to rove along in the edges, and along the rushes, looking for various forms of food. In well-fished waters, when other anglers have gone home, and all is quiet, they have learned that many an easily come-by meal is to be had by roaming round the edges. Here they find a few crusts the remains of someone's bait, a little farther, a few more crusts-the remains of someone's sandwiches. All this unintentional surface-baiting, and ground-baiting-has helped to educate the fish to form this habit of bank-feeding.

At night, they can be heard like noisy pigs- slop, slop, slop, then quiet. Again the sucking breaks out, a little nearer this time. The anglers heart is pounding as he sees large ripples rolling away, with their centre not far away-then again all is quiet. The expectant angler suddenly half hears, half sees, his line rustling through the rod rings. 

He does not know whether he heard the crust sucked into the fishes mouth or not, as he responds with a fearful strike. A curse may be heard as the rod bends for a second, and then whips the hook straight back past his ear, for it has not taken hold. 

Alternately, a gasp of " Got you, you," as with steady hands, but trembling heart, the angler wonders at the power of this creature, that speeds towards the centre of the lake making the rod bend double and the reel sing, as if they were having no effect at all, "It's only a 10-or12-pounder," he says to his friend, but secretly he is wondering "The way this is fighting it must be a 20-pounder." Margin-fishing at night can be one of the most tensing forms of carp fishing.

The manner in which the crust is fished is exceedingly simple. A rod rest is pushed in the bank, in such a fashion that the rod, resting in it, will project with its tip immediately above the position at which it is wished to fish the crust.

 The hook is threaded into the outside of the crust which is lowered on to the water making sure that no line rests on the water. The bail arm is left open (or centrepin and loose ratchet) and a bobbin or stick placed across the line or a couple of loops of line is pulled off the reel.

The strike should take place almost immediately where "One, two, three, bang. One disadvantage is that it is absolutely essential that the anglers must be as quiet as humanly possible, and not cause any unnecessary vibrations, it is merely the length of the rod that decides how near to him the carp must come to take the bait. 

I arrived at 5.30pm and hot-footed it to the swim where I'd seen the carp and got the zander rod out before sorting out the carp rod.

This section of reeds is a good 20 yards long but there are certain areas where a visible gap is evident so a piece of bread went in there to try and intercept one of the carp. A few freebies and a handful of pellets as well to try and get a reaction.

Plenty of action in the area, such as ducks fully submerging and popping back up again, a Labrador that was enjoying a dip and the surface of the canal trying to replicate a force nine. The rain started just before 8'oclock but it wasn't until dusk had been and gone when the heavens opened. 

Best laid plans and all that because there was literally was no fish activity whatsoever. Those zander didn't turn up as the light went and the carp, well suspicious in their absence. I never thought it would easy to catch one, I just need to keep on ticking the sessions off. 


  1. Bread paste, centre pins....is Bernard Venables the guest blooger ?

    1. Nought wrong with a centre pin Gale !!!, love using them !!!

    2. I was given a JW Young about 25 years ago. Nice bit of engineering but gets used about once a year. Just to remind myself why I used fixed spools 🤣


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