Highly-stocked commercials aren’t your only chance of making a big catch, as a record-breaking 84lb 10z net of canal-caught chub proved last week.
Now that the river season is over, many anglers have turned to the nation’s stillwaters to keep the bites coming, but not self-confessed ‘canal addict’ Eric Gardner, who landed no fewer than 47 fish to more than double the Staffordshire & Worcester Canal match record.
The angler from Burslem, near Stoke-on-Trent, located the huge shoal of chub seeking refuge under a moored barge on the far bank on the Wombourne stretch of waterway and set about bagging up on fish to 3lb by running a simple pole rig tight alongside the vessel.
Eric fished no more than 8m of pole to record his biggest-ever canal weight, fishing single and double caster hookbaits on a size 16 hook to 2lb 8oz bottom.
“I knew that there are always a few chub around the area and as soon as I dropped the rig in I was getting line bites and the fish were taking the bait on the drop. It was amazing,” Eric told Angling Times.
“Canals are my favourite venues by far. I turned away from commercials about 10 years ago because it always felt like fishing in a zoo. This kind of canal match is real fishing and it gives me so much joy to catch this weight of fish from a natural venue.
“It’s really sad that you don’t see anything like the same number of anglers fishing canals as you used to. The thing is, if you do your homework and fish the right swims good catches are always on the cards,” he insisted.
But it wasn’t just Eric, who fishes for Team Eclipse AC and blitzed the field during his local club match, who made the most of his peg during the course of the match on the Wombourne stretch, which is controlled by Wolverhampton Angling Association.
Second-placed Ben Garbett also put together an impressive 29lb 6oz net of chub, while the third-placed angler netted 221 roach on breadpunch for an 8lb 2oz total.