Sunday 15 May 2022

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.31

A man (_______insert other genders here) who wishes to become a successful horticulturist must first learn how plants grow, what they need for their sustenance, how they are influenced by their environment. He must learn how to get the best from his soil. Similarly, the angler who aspires to become good at his chosen art must learn about fish and about the environment in which they live. 

He must understand that this environment exerts a profound influence upon the feeding habits and growth rates of fish, and that all environments differ to some degree from each other. Canals are no exception. At first sight, they may look featureless. 

The banks often run in an undeviating line for several miles. The water has no distinguishing features of fast and slow water that are so common in rivers, except below the lock gates. It is difficult at first to know where to start and how best to fish. It takes time and experience to get the best from a canal. 

The beginner may have to learn slowly. He cannot make a better start than to walk along its banks, plumb the water, ask questions of those who know it well, and thus equip himself with a basic knowledge of the water upon which he can build his own construction of ideas, methods, baits and tackle. 

The first thing he will learn is that although all canals may look alike they are as different from each other as one member of a family group is from another. Some canals have waters of marvellous clarity, in which you may sometimes see huge shoals of roach and other fish. Other canals such as the ones I fish local to me are murky, greenish-coloured waters in which the fish remain largely in-visible. 

The bottom formation of these canals is often different too, and this difference inevitably leads to a varied reed-growth. In most canals, the deepest part lies roughly down the centre. The fringes of such canals are often thickly lined with emergent reeds. Only the 'boat-road' the channel kept clear by the boat traffic is really fishable.

In some stretches of canal I fish only the tow-path side is shallow and reedy and, the deeper water often found nearer to the far bank and extend roughly two thirds of the way across. Yet other canals have become so silted up, their original outlines blurred. 

Here the water is a tinge of green and close in its shallow, the reed lined far bank shallow too, but a whip length out it is a decent depth and that's why bream like it here.

Find bream and often you will find Zander so for this double dipping session it was out with the Zander deadbait set-up and it was back to maggots again to see what would come along.

Fishmeal groundbait this time though as bream seem to love it and it can often pull fish in to the area to feed when otherwise they would be quite happy milling around. An early start is required here because above and below there are locks and once opened it turns in to a flowing river and the deposited bait you've taken time over to distribute will be no more. 

Anyway back to the fishing, it took a good half an hour for the bream to turn up but in that time I'd seen a rather large fox milling around and also what looked like a tench roll. There is no reason why tench shouldn't be here if I'm honest because when it was non-navigable it was renowned for them. 

Now blog reader Jon Pinfold has designed and knocked up some glowing floats using a small CR322 and they look the dogs danglies and he has kindly given me a couple FOC to try out, so I might return in the week and give them a go as well as fishing for the Zander.

So 5 bream caught in around an hour and a half all of similar stamp which were 3 - 3.5lbs bravely showing their spawning wounds I assume. 

The whip does an admirable job if I'm honest because these are hefty fish especially when the odd one likes to think its transformed in to one of the hybrids what reside here. The first boat came through with Pepper the angler friendly dog onboard (I only realised afterwards) and that's when the Zander started to move around.

Squinting in the sun as I forgot my sunglasses two thought they'd like the roach offering where the 4lber was beaten by this >5lber. What wasn't good though was that I lost the first one at the net and that looked a 8-9 lber 😲 but it wasn't hooked just merely clamped down on the bait which after a head shake ejected it.

I rarely fish here for Zander if I'm honest, but its good to get accustomed to these lovely fish again especially when they are this sort of stamp and fit and strong to give a half decent fight. So yeap I'll be back to try and catch the bigger one that gave me the middle fin. With footfall increased 3 hours was enough and it was time for the off and back for a well deserved cup of coffee, strength 6 naturally.  


  1. Safe to say the bream have spawned Mick

    1. Yup, I want to come back as a bream in a new life !!

  2. @Keith.J: The float with the glowing tip has got my juices going Mick. Wonderful idea from your man!

    1. It is Keith, looking at some smaller versions and also some zander floats too hopefully. Will post details when / where they are available to buy.

    2. KJ: I'm in.

  3. I found these the other day, thinking of crucians...

  4. Replies
    1. Yeap and from an area off my radar really, and handy too so I'll be back !!


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