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dannyash

Canal Carping

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Afternoon all, I spent the close season fishing the canal, after fishing the rivers for a season, targeting the perch mainly, with some good catches of perch around the 2lb mark, with loads of fish over 1lb. During a later session, torrential rain for most of the morning, after a succession of smaller perch, which were causing me some issues swallowing the hook ext, I thought il target the better fish, out comes the size 10 hook, 4lb bottom with 5lb line on the reel, bunch of maggots fished at 1 1/2 foot over to the far margin, shortly after I cast in the float shot under, upon striking the bite a scaley mirror shot out of the water, with it only being 18inches deep over the far side, I jumped out of my chair and was in connection with a carp, after getting caught up in vegetation above me, several branches were uprooted from the bottom of the canal during the battle, I managed to land the carp. It turned out to be a cracking little mirror, had no scales on me but I estimate maybe around the 15/16lb mark! 1437470947_Screenshot2019-08-31at18_11_16.thumb.png.efe8fbb0ec98f00144fbeff1d6b9370e.png

 This got me thinking, would it be worth putting a bit of time down there and go out to specifically target the carp with proper carp gear. I didn't act on this at the time and me and my dad were back down the same strip of canal a few weeks later, again targeting the perch, looking to have a little match. We had both been fishing for about an hour, both catching a few perch each, I was just edging it with a slightly better fish. A short while later I look over to see my dad in connection with what I thought was a large branch, or large snag on the bottom, I laughed to myself, turned back to my own swim, he then shouts over " I'm in to one, carp " obviously he's joking due to me hooking that carp the other week. A few minutes later I look back over and he's still hooped into something, he was actually in connection with another carp, I went over to assist with the netting, playing it very gingerly due to the light match tackle, he did manage to get the carp to the surface, we both saw the fish, it was a cracking common, much larger than the mirror I had last time, it shot off again in search of a nice snag in hope to free itself, the battle continued for a few minutes, he managed to play the fish back towards the bank where I was patiently waiting with the net, I got into position, the fish was surfacing, it then took one last searing dive and it was off!!!! Gutted! After seeing that common on the surface and then looking at the fish I managed to land, we were in agreement that the common was easily a 20lb fish!! It was now time to take this a bit more seriously, iv always overlooked that canal, even tho I do drive past it daily to work! What are the chances of the only 2 carp in that stretch of canal being hooked by us in the space of 2 weeks!! Im not sure of the numbers in the canal but it has to be worth a go!! 

Anyways, there's the scene set, now lets get down to the fishing! Iv done 2 sessions now, on the same strip with nothing to report, not too surprised as I knew from the start it would be a challenging campaign. Im happy that my stretch of canal is the right choice, the first 3 miles of the canal stretch is a baron strip, no cover, very open and industrial, not to say the fish don't make there way up here, I don't think its the place to target, the part im fishing is very accessible for me to trickle a bit of bait in to some likely areas, which may or may not be beneficial? Both carp have been hooked on maggots, bream are present so would it be wise to pre bait with a mixture of maggots and boilies, I strongly believe them carp were drawn into the swim due to us spraying maggots around, catching bream, roach and perch. its a sheltered part of the canal that runs though a residential estate, its the first bit of cover ( treelined both sides, overhanging cover ) This may prove well during the winter months also, just providing that little extra cover. 

So im happy with the location, im happy with my gear, im not sure about rig choice? Due to the location it is extremely snaggy in all areas, bar going down and raking a section im not sure what to do? Its littered with binbags, crisp packets, branches, old tow ropes ext, proper canal. I would of liked to be a little less conspicuous than raking the swim really, maybe fish, long multi rigs with 2" popped up sections to keep the bait free from the silt? My bait choice is the pacific tuna boilie with the matching white popups? Don't think it matters? Maybe introduce some maggots or breadcrumb just to create some disturbance when baiting? 

Cant wait to hear some feedback from you, canal carping is brand new to me, I know the concept is the same but its a whole new ballgame for me! All the best, anything you can think of that will help me will be much appreciated. 

Cheers 

Dan

 

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I love getting on the canals, always approaching them with the same basic game plan mate. 

firstly, location is the most obvious thing, however it's surprising how often it is skipped over. Often, canal carp are not as pressured as their lake brethren, so can be easier to see and pin down. You say that one section is relatively featureless? I would hit that with a prebaiting campaign. My start would be with hemp/particle/corn/pellet with a few boilies added. Keep it going in initially to attract all species. As much as I want to stop other species in their tracks, I won't go straight for boilies until I know carp are visiting regularly. Flowing water carp (river/canal) tend to be very nomadic, especially in stretches where there are little in the way of cover or features to hold them, this is where I would attempt to create a reason for them to visit a chosen spot time and again  using bait. Once I was happy I knew carp were hitting the spot regularly, I would do away with pellet and corn etc and wean them into boilies to deter the nuisance species and target the carp better. 

Although flowing water carp are less pressured, they can be spooky - catching one carp off a prebaited spot can spook the others and they often drift away, so I try get as many spots going as possible. Then I can leapfrog the carp on the move and be set up waiting as they reach my next spot. Good thing about most canals is you can follow the carp along the bank. 

More of my successes come from sections with lots of features and bushes etc, boats and marinas are good places to try. Get a mountain bike and some polaroids and go searching. Carp are always gonna drift from one section to another, unless something holds them. Lock gates, weir pools etc. I find once i am on fish, they're catchable, the trick is to find them first. Find them,  feed them, catch them...

Rigs wise, I tend not to get too riggy anyway, I believe location and quality bait is key anywhere, especially on a canal or river. Long casting is generally not an issue, so I tend to go for strong and simple gear. My main line is .35mm Shimano technium, (got 20lb b/s on testing it myself) with leadclips or inlines as a lead arrangement. Hooklinks are often just mono or a tough coated braid. Simple knotless knot to a strong size 4 hook. I'm an avid leadcore user,  although I'll also use rigtube as happily. I want something tough and abrasion resistant, not all techy and complicated. If bottom debris and crayfish are an issue, then pop ups would be my choice, if I can present a bottom bait without any problems, then I'd go for that first. 

Backleading to prevent boats/kayakers etc catching my lines is important as well as keeping my gear on the path clear so walkers/cyclists don't run it down! I like to keep light and mobile so I can keep moving onto fish if my present spot isn't producing, before finding a night spot in a quiet stretch to do an overnighter. - this I bait regularly to keep the carp interested. Somewhere a little less snaggy and more open for fish safety reasons after dark. It's ok fishing locked up in the weedy/snaggy bits in the day where you can be on it and in control quickly but at night, I want it a bit more risk free where a run off a clutch won't cause issues. The carp will leave the snags and explore more at night anyway, so you make the best of both worlds. 

 

FInally, if you can rake the swims of crud and bait them, then try it - if all you do is clear a load of litter off the canal bed, then it's a good thing! I'd try get as much out as possible, anglers are guardians of our environment, rubbish is an eyesore and anglers tend to get blamed - more flak we could all do without, even if we are blameless. Clear the spots, with the rubbish and the carp gods will smile on you. 

Canals and rivers are tricky venues, but I love them. They fish through the winter too usually, I've got a little canal lined up this winter... 

 

Good luck mate. 

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On 02/09/2019 at 12:28, ouchthathurt said:

I love getting on the canals, always approaching them with the same basic game plan mate. 

firstly, location is the most obvious thing, however it's surprising how often it is skipped over. Often, canal carp are not as pressured as their lake brethren, so can be easier to see and pin down. You say that one section is relatively featureless? I would hit that with a prebaiting campaign. My start would be with hemp/particle/corn/pellet with a few boilies added. Keep it going in initially to attract all species. As much as I want to stop other species in their tracks, I won't go straight for boilies until I know carp are visiting regularly. Flowing water carp (river/canal) tend to be very nomadic, especially in stretches where there are little in the way of cover or features to hold them, this is where I would attempt to create a reason for them to visit a chosen spot time and again  using bait. Once I was happy I knew carp were hitting the spot regularly, I would do away with pellet and corn etc and wean them into boilies to deter the nuisance species and target the carp better. 

Although flowing water carp are less pressured, they can be spooky - catching one carp off a prebaited spot can spook the others and they often drift away, so I try get as many spots going as possible. Then I can leapfrog the carp on the move and be set up waiting as they reach my next spot. Good thing about most canals is you can follow the carp along the bank. 

More of my successes come from sections with lots of features and bushes etc, boats and marinas are good places to try. Get a mountain bike and some polaroids and go searching. Carp are always gonna drift from one section to another, unless something holds them. Lock gates, weir pools etc. I find once i am on fish, they're catchable, the trick is to find them first. Find them,  feed them, catch them...

Rigs wise, I tend not to get too riggy anyway, I believe location and quality bait is key anywhere, especially on a canal or river. Long casting is generally not an issue, so I tend to go for strong and simple gear. My main line is .35mm Shimano technium, (got 20lb b/s on testing it myself) with leadclips or inlines as a lead arrangement. Hooklinks are often just mono or a tough coated braid. Simple knotless knot to a strong size 4 hook. I'm an avid leadcore user,  although I'll also use rigtube as happily. I want something tough and abrasion resistant, not all techy and complicated. If bottom debris and crayfish are an issue, then pop ups would be my choice, if I can present a bottom bait without any problems, then I'd go for that first. 

Backleading to prevent boats/kayakers etc catching my lines is important as well as keeping my gear on the path clear so walkers/cyclists don't run it down! I like to keep light and mobile so I can keep moving onto fish if my present spot isn't producing, before finding a night spot in a quiet stretch to do an overnighter. - this I bait regularly to keep the carp interested. Somewhere a little less snaggy and more open for fish safety reasons after dark. It's ok fishing locked up in the weedy/snaggy bits in the day where you can be on it and in control quickly but at night, I want it a bit more risk free where a run off a clutch won't cause issues. The carp will leave the snags and explore more at night anyway, so you make the best of both worlds. 

 

FInally, if you can rake the swims of crud and bait them, then try it - if all you do is clear a load of litter off the canal bed, then it's a good thing! I'd try get as much out as possible, anglers are guardians of our environment, rubbish is an eyesore and anglers tend to get blamed - more flak we could all do without, even if we are blameless. Clear the spots, with the rubbish and the carp gods will smile on you. 

Canals and rivers are tricky venues, but I love them. They fish through the winter too usually, I've got a little canal lined up this winter... 

 

Good luck mate. 

Appreciate the reply mate, some cracking info there which I'm going to implement into my fishing. Iv only done 2 sessions targeting the carp on the canal in my life so its a nice challenge for me and something totally new! What would be your reason for baiting the baron stretch of canal? Opposed to the stretch with near and far side cover? Main reason I ask is the 2 fish sightings/captures have come in the central section of the stretch that is the most tree lined and has the most overhead cover, this is where I was thinking of starting to bait, the main reason for me is access, I drive over this part of the canal daily, which means it is very simple to park up and trickle a bit of bait into and its far less fished and much safer than other parts of the canal. Actual baiting would you spread your bait out in a good sized area instead of localising under one bush for example? Due to the snaggy nature and having to fish locked up in some situations, would you be too concerned beefing up your tackle, I imagine you can be a little more crude with the rigs, to a certain point, bigger hooks, bigger leads ext. Another thing I was thinking, due to hooking 2 carp float fishing maggots for perch im tempted to still incorporate maggots into my mix, I feel on the previous sessions the disturbance of the smaller fish eventually got the carp interested enough to move in. I look forward to hearing from you mate, 

all the best

Dan

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Dan, 

When it comes to prebaiting, I would definitely aim for the spots that you have seen carp already, plus spots where you know they have been caught from before. If you've had a few, and you can tap up the local tackle dealers or bailiffs etc for info, then it gives you something definite to start with, as opposed to hitting a "virgin" canal without any sightings or prior info to work on. You hooked two on maggots? Then you're on the way to a decent start mate. You seem to have a good idea where to look and start from, which is the part that puts a lot of prospective canal anglers off when carp hunting. We are all guilty of dropping into swims and venues, blanking a few times then giving it up as a bad job! If you're happy that you've found a few to target, then I'd start there with a view to either building on that area or stretch, always keep an eye out for further opportunities or something to move onto if it doesn't pan out. 

In reference to baiting a particular area, I like to initially spread it over a reasonable area, maybe if I'm aiming at a far margin, then spreading it 2-4 rod lengths over a potential feature - say a bush, sunken branch, a boat, weedbeds, reeds, lillies, ledge etc etc. If I had a choice, i would always look for a stretch with lots of overhanging trees and shrubs to provide shade, shelter and cover for the carp. With rivers and canals, you can often find a deep central channel for boats etc and a distinct marginal ledge near and far margins. They would be the areas I would aim for as the central channel can often be weedy and choddy, plus with canal traffic and the absence of cover, make these areas a lot less attractive than the margins. Just remember to backlead into the central channel to keep your line pinned down away from boat props and dagger boards! 

Initially when baiting I want to introduce something that's going to stop a nomadic carp on its travels and want to feed, so I spread it fairly wide to give me a better chance of intercepting them. Adding maggots, bread, hemp, corn, pellet etc is a good tactic initially as small fish activity will attract the carp and also help clear spots in which to present a rig. Once I was happy that I had carp feeding regularly, i would personally want to cut down on the small fish food and wean carp onto boilies and rivers etc, reduce bream and other nuisance species from destroying my hookbaits. It's a personal thing, I know when I've got them feeding on boilies, then fishing a boilie over the top should increase the chances of a bite being from a carp. Fishing maggots or corn etc would see me being breamed out! Once I was happy I had a spot that will do me a bite, i would start fishing it, trying different spots until I located areas that produce more carp than others, the hotspots along the marginal shelf. Then I would narrow my baiting down to those areas, to keep the carp coming there over and again. If you have spots you can visit on your way to work, so you can keep trickling bait in, that's ideal. As always though, it's best to keep several areas ticking over as if angling pressure moves them from one spot, you have others to move onto and try, if you only have one hotspot to go for and that spot goes dead then you're a bit stuck and have to start again from scratch. With a few spots dotted up and down the stretch all getting bait, they will get used to finding your bait and seeing it as a good food source, making them more likely to eat it again when they encounter the spot with a rig on it. Also if spot A blows and fishes badly, you know spot B is primed and you can move on there, then spot C, D etc.

I would only bait the featureless sections if that was all I was faced with to be honest. I have a local stretch of river that has a lovely common in it. The river itself is a drain, the bottom is largely silt and featureless. The banks are bare for miles, any decent shrub or tree is blown down by the sea winds or eaten by cattle! As a result, I watched the river and spotted him rolling in the same area several times. A quick lead about with a marker rod found nothing other than miles of flat slit as far as I could check, the only variation was the marginal slope. Which was exactly the same depth and variation all the way along, nothing worth noting as a reason for the carp to visit one spot over another. The carp are extremely nomadic and range up and down the river for miles, so I wanted to bait the spot I had seen the common roll heavily and regularly to make my own feature on the bottom, lots of free food all the time! If they're on the lookout for food and I can give them what they want, there's a bigger chance of getting them to stay in the area. Think of foxes and rats, they purposefully hunt in towns as they know it's easy free food, as humans we have educated a wild animal to come to our kebab shops after closing as we as humans leave lots of free food for them to eat every time we put the bins out! 

I would love to post a picture of the "rolling common" but... 

I didn't catch him...

best laid plans of mice and men etc...

had a few lovely little mirrors though, which no one had seen before, so it worked I suppose! 

as for rigs etc, yeah strong and simple mate. If you can fish safely with a loose clutch, then it's ok to do so. If you need to fish locked up, then make sure you have strong bank sticks and a rear rod rest that really holds the rod in place, I find when fishing locked up, as you need to be on the rod straight away to prevent the carp reaching the snags, they can't build up a head of steam to yank the rod in anyway - you should be on the rod before that happens. Just keep the rod pointing directly to the rig to minimise the chances of the rod being pulled to the side where it is more likely to jump off the buzzer. Snag ears are a good idea too! 

 

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Spot on mate, appreciate you getting back to me, really looking forward to getting stuck into it now. Il hopefully try to keep a bit of a running update going.

Many thanks for your help 

Dan

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No worries mate, it's worth it, personally I always get more of a buzz catching carp from a canal or river than lakes now. It's the element of the unknown, having to work at it, I get a sense of achievement from a canal carp weighing mid doubles that I probably wouldn't even weigh or photograph out of a lake. 

Very best of luck pal. 

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