A bank holiday combined with a little bit of sun is guaranteed to draw large numbers of anglers out to the water’s edge. And so, when I drove to the canal stretch I am currently fishing, it was no surprise to find that the car park was full. Although I managed to park my car on the road, due to it being quite narrow I had no intention of leaving it there overnight. But as I had arrived there quite late in the day, I knew that the pleasure anglers would be leaving soon.
I didn’t have to wait too long before the first one set off for home, allowing me to pull into the space he vacated. As I was there for the night, as long as I could get fishing before dark that was all I desired. As my rods are in a holdall and already made up, complete with rig, it’s nothing more than joining the two sections, putting on a boilie, and casting into the water.
I’m fishing off a pod for my canal carp campaign, and due to the restrictions of the towpath, having to push everything as close to the edge as possible. Bite alarms and swingers complete the set-up. It also means that stretching out on the bedchair, I can get some sleep in-between fish. But I don’t have the luxury that is usual in these situations though.
Never being too far away from potential snags such as reeds, rushes etc, I keep my boots on and only wrap the bag around me to keep off the chill. It’s important that should I doze off (I am usually a very light sleeper when fishing) I can be on the rods very quickly should a fish take the bait. As it is the canal, I am literally right next to the pod anyway, and as I lie on the chair, with just a gentle stretch I can reach out and touch the rods.
Prior to casting out, I baited up a couple of spots with seeds. I didn’t put in too many, it was only an overnighter and I do want to get an idea of fish density before I start putting out too much bait. However, I wasn’t that cautious as the previous sessions had told me that there are plenty of chub in the stretch, and they will invariably be attracted to any feed that goes into the water. But while I’m not too concerned about overfeeding, I would sooner stay this side of the caution line if possible at the moment.
Although I did manage to doze off a couple of times up to 1.00 a.m., the continual chub activity meant that I was always on the go, one way or another. I was either standing over the rods waiting for the bleeps to develop, or re-casting after yet another fish had taken the bait. But still no carp! By the early hours though even the chub had given up, and I managed to get a spell of the old shut-eye, finally waking as day broke. With a mist covering the water, even the canal can look attractive at first light!
To round the week off I was back on the canal on Friday evening. Various circumstances had conspired against me during the week, meaning that the other session I had planned did not materialise. And as I was travelling to Leeds to see Wolves play the next day, my intention was to fish till midnight. I also decided to pitch up at a new swim, some distance away from my previous sessions, which were all within the same area.
The peg looked very ‘carpy’ when I had seen it on a previous walk along the canal, and it was one of those spots that you simply know you have to fish a couple of times. Otherwise the fact that you hadn’t tapped into the potential would always be on your mind! It is a section where the canal widens out quite a bit and looks like the sort of place where a carp or two should be in residence. Well, there is only way to find out, and so at 7.30 p.m. I cast out, put the rods on the pod and settled back for the evening.
I have made a new batch of boilies to fish with on these canal sessions. It means I now have two different flavours fishing alongside other – the new one and the fruit flavour I started off with. Forgive me for sounding a bit vague – I try to be generally open, but there are some things that have to come under the Angler’s Official Secrets Act!
It was a nice evening, the most important feature being that it was dry. The one limitation with general canal fishing is that space is at a premium. Bivvies and shelters are a definite no-go, and in many swims even an umbrella is pushing it. I live in a street of terraced houses, and when they were built a hundred years ago, the motorist was not a factor, hence parking is always a problem. In the same way, when the canals were built, no one took into account the futuristic specimen angler!
As the session wore on there were several larger fish topping in the area, and I was hopeful. However, my boilies remained untouched. With my mind starting to wander more and more towards Elland Road and my visit with Wolves, I packed away a little before midnight and set off back home. As always I did a mental review of the session, and cutting a long story short, I decided that the swim is definitely worth another trip or two before I discard it. You know when you get that hunch that there is something in there somewhere…
(Originally published April 2005)