The canals I grew up fishing are definitely not the first thing that would pop into my head when thinking about picturesque venues. There wasn’t just shopping trolleys dumped in them, sometimes cars could be seen half submerged in their waters. Traffic cones flung from bridges stood out like oversized float tips and all manner of other detritus would often be seen floating by. Nevertheless, its on these places that I grew to love angling. So recently, on a trip to the supermarket, I made a slight detour and revisited a stretch I hadn’t seen for years. After a few minutes of walking the bank I knew I would have to come back with a few items of tackle and give it a try.
It had certainly changed a lot. The banks had been cleaned up and re-surfaced. The factories that sat behind the canal have long since been demolished and replaced by the homogeneous flats, that seem to have sprung up everywhere in Manchester. Its a shame really, I think that the place has lost a lot of character. A little bit of Manchester’s history and heritage lost to property developers. But this isn’t Grand Designs, onto the fishing.
I settled into a small wide and went about rigging up a waggler. Small hooks and light lines would be the order of the day. I only had a couple of handfuls of casters with me and planned to feed these via the catapult every cast, just three or four, until I started to get bites. The rig would be cast over the deeper water of the boat channel to the relatively shallow shelf, overhung by the big willow tree. The canal is heavily used by boats and I wanted to fish as far from the disturbance as possible. Within twenty minutes I had set up and began feeding casters two thirds of the way across the canal. Not long after this the flow started to increase which could only mean one thing. Barge! I wasn’t too worried though, I knew that there would be some casters on the bottom, stuck in crevices and suchlike, safe from being pushed too far out of my swim. I just needed to wait for the boat to use the lock, go through the swim, and down the other lock for the water to stopped pulling. When the water is pulling through you can still get bites but its more like fishing a waggler on a river, holding the rod and mending the line. On my third cast of doing this the float buried and I struck into a heavy fish. It took me be surprise a little actually, but once under control, I realised I’d hooked a fairly decent bream of around three pounds. Taken on single caster in just over 18 inches of water.
I was thinking roach would be more my target fish, especially where I was fishing, and never even considered bream. But I was not complaining. Shortly after returning the fish the barge passed me and began its descent via the next lock. I fed less often during this time but still a few casters were catapulted in further ‘upstream’ than previously. Another bite in the same part of the swim but this time I missed it. Just a tiny bit of shell came back. Could that have been a nice roach? More than likely. I carried on casting and feeding. Over the next thirty minutes I had two more bites that I missed. I tried altering the depth and changing the shotting pattern a few times. I had a feeling the fish had come up in the water but no bites were forthcoming. In fact in the next two hours I had no more bites at all. No more boats came through either. A flurry of bites in the first hour or so then nothing. I remember the canal being like this. The only fish that fed consistently were the huge shoals of gudgeon that now appear to be absent. All in all it was a very interesting (and wet) little session. Maybe I had been feeding a little heavily but the fish had been responding. I packed away after just three hours but was pretty pleased to have not blanked. It was very nice to revisit the canal and I imagine I will end up on its banks again sometime. Its a convenient location and obviously still has some good fish to offer. Once its worked out that is.
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Until Next time tight lines,