A LITTLE BIT OF WHAT YOU FANCY (Staffs/Worcs Canal chub) – Blog entry 570

‘A little bit of what you fancy does you good’ is a well-known saying that I’m sure most of us are familiar with. It’s used in conjunction with things like chocolate, sweets and such-like. In other words, naughty but nice. Well this week I fancied having a go after some canal chub, hence the title of the blog. However, in this case there was nothing ‘naughty’ about my desires. It was all good, but what about the fishing? Did that turn out well?

It was nice to get back on the chub
It was nice to get back on the chub

My canal chub angling in the last couple of seasons has been exclusively winter, so it was nice to settle in a swim that was overgrown with greenery as opposed to barren and threadbare as far as nature is concerned. Would the fish still be as obliging though? The answer was yes and, just as in the winter months, I enjoyed myself as I saw a few fish hit the net. Targeting something decent meant that although I had pretty much constant pluck-action from small fish, the bigger baits ensured that just ones over a certain size would make the bank.

This was as small as they got this week
This was as small as they got this week

I run through my rig and bait set-up in the video. The bait is Barbel Stix from SBS, although that has now been discontinued. I’m actually on my last few packs and will be sorry to see them go. They have produced plenty of barbel and chub for me over the last few years. Also, my ‘claim to fame’ goes with them. It was back in the days when Des Taylor ran SBS in Kidderminster and he showed me the new product that he was developing. The packaging said Barbel Sticks and I suggested that the spelling Stix would be appealing. Des liked it, and the rest as they say, is history. Or was.

In the net and on the bank
In the net and on the bank

All my sessions this week were short ones and with the boat traffic on the Staffs/Worcs Canal now increasing as we hit summer, then that also meant very early and very late as well. In the case of the former, to be on the water at first-light I’m looking at an alarm clock setting of 3.30am. The early bird catches the worm and while a lot of anglers moan about the disturbance that boats bring, the answer is to fish around them. It’s no good turning up at 10.00am and spending the whole day complaining. In fact I’m back home by then.

A surprise carp put in an appearance
A surprise carp put in an appearance

The chub I caught were all in good condition. When I was younger, as in a kid, the canals were very popular. In fact if you were going on the weekend, you had to check the Express & Star (local newspaper) on the Friday evening to see which sections were free, as matches were common. Now, it’s no issue. Even if you turn up and there’s a contest booked, you just move to the next pound, or even the same one as most have just a handful fishing. The rise of the commercials changed the scene for sure.

A nice fish to end the week with
A nice fish to end the week with

But from a specimen anglers perspective, the canals are flourishing, with good fish of all species being found on my doorstep. And certainly in the summer, they’re pretty wild and overgrown. Unless the powers-that-be get their environmental vandal head on and strim everything in sight. Anyway, that’s another issue. As far as the canals are concerned, don’t neglect your local. Why not get down there and give it a go? You may be pleasantly surprised. (Published June 14 2014)

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