With the explosion of commercials in recent years canal fishing has become less popular in many parts of the country but there is one canal in the south which still attracts hundreds of anglers every week, many of whom enjoy a healthy match circuit which the venue boasts.
The Kennet & Avon Canal at Bathampton is both idyllic and excellent for fishing so whether you’re a matchman or a pleasure angler looking for something different than a carp filled pit it can provide a great day out and it won’t cost you the earth.
The canal here is not hard by any means. Double-figure nets are commonplace with a good head of roach to 2lbs, bream to 5lbs, tench to 3lbs and perch to 4lbs as well as chub, carp and gudgeon you never know what will sink your float on any given day. The pegs opposite The George Inn are cracking for those looking for plenty of bites and you will find not only small fish but some of the bigger roach, skimmers and perch by fishing caster tight to the far bank. Look for a couple of feet of water and regularly loose-feed caster with a tosspot or by hand after cupping in a few at the start. Use a light pole rig with strung out shot, starting on a single caster but moving to double if you think there are some big fish around. However, it is probably best to start a session on another line first to let the fish settle and this can be either bread punch, which works well on this stretch, or squatt and pinkie over a little groundbait. In the summer months the canal sees a fair bit of boat traffic so it may be best to fish this line closer in at around 5m in around 5ft of water at the base of the near shelf to escape the disturbance of the passing barges.
Big fish can turn up on any line so it may be worth doubling up your elastic, especially during the warmer months to give yourself a chance at landing that bonus fish. Some anglers also fish a chopped worm line in the deeper part of the canal or across the farside to a feature such as a boat or overhanging tree for the bigger perch and tench which reside in here.
Bathampton Angling Association control 8 miles of the canal from the starting point in Bath right down to the Avoncliffe Aquaduct at Upper Westwood further south.
Prices: £3 a day from local tackle shops, Bathampton AA or £35 a season, £15 concessions
Contact: Bacon’s Tackle 01225 448850 www.bathampton.org
Location: Kennet & Avon Canal, Mill Lane, Bathampton, Bath, Somerset, BA2 6TR
Facilities: Public house
Rules: No bloodworm or joker between 16 June and 30 September, keep 25m from moveable swingbridges, ensure all nets are dry before commencing fishing