Posted by Aqua Products Wednesday 18th October, 2017
Canal Carp


A recent Aqua photo shoot saw me in a slightly alien carp fishing environment. Having fished all over England and France for carp in waters ranging from the legendary Cassien to small commercial ponds in northern England it came as a shock to me that a new waterway would feel alien to me. The last time I baited a hook in anger on a canal was when I was about fourteen years old, I was fishing a coarse match for my school and roach, perch and bream were just about all I was hoping for. Since then I’ve done a little bit of lure fishing for perch and pike on a disused section of canal near my home. All in all it leaves me thinking that I really should have done some canal carping over the years, unfortunately I guess it’s just one of those things and I haven’t.



 The shoot made me think of how I would go about fishing the canals and I guess it boils down to the same key elements - location, presentation and bait. I firmly believe that to open the door to success we really only ever need to follow these elements. If we can find where fish want to feed we only need to present something they want to eat naturally to them and we’re in the game. I know this is massively simplifying things but it’s how I go about all of my fishing. Location is everything, without this we’re stuffed. Locating carp on canals has got to be about the angler covering as much ground as possible. The far bank isn’t ever going to be out of range but the towpath can go on a long way! The use of a push bike might be one way of getting up and down the length of a stretch of canal to look for signs of fish. Polarised glasses are going to be a big help too. Features on long straight stretched of water are going to be like beacons to fish too. Moored boats will offer shelter and warmth to fish as will bridges and boat yards. One thing I will mention is making sure you are courteous to the boat owners and users, bouncing 3oz leads off the side of someone’s pride and joy isn’t going to help you make many friends in the boating fraternity. On that thought I guess it’s fair to make sure our presence on the bank isn’t too disruptive to other canal users, keeping rods back leaded and on single sticks parallel to the bank to keep them out of the way of passing boats in the water and walkers, joggers and like like on the towpath seems fair enough to me.



Presentation seems like a problem that can be solved by keeping things simple and using appropriate rigs. I’d think about pop ups where I’m unsure of what my lead is going to land on in the event of casting to showing fish or to a likely area for the first time. I prefer longer rigs and a lead clip set up but I’d also consider a helicopter set up too. I’d be expecting silt to be the substrate in the majority but feeling each cast down is going to give me a better understanding each time. As in most carp fishing the firmer the drop the shorter the rig and the more likely I am to but a balanced or bottom bait on the hair.



Staying mobile has got to be a good idea too. Initially this could be through observation and even pre baiting spots but once you’ve established where you think the carp like to be, you might refine things down to three or four hot spots. Trickling bait into these spots regularly to encourage the fish to frequent the area should pay dividends, this could be in the form of the spots firming up but also, in time resulting in regular bites.


Andy Ormrod


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