Canals on the rise as anglers flock back to fish them

A research project has revealed that the number of anglers fishing the UK’s canals has doubled in the last four years.

Hundreds of stretches had been left deserted in recent times as a result of the commercial fishery boom, but the latest statistics have shown a remarkable turnaround.

Officials from the Canal & River Trust have announced that sales of their Waterways Wanderers permit have rocketed by 100 per cent since 2012.

The ticket allows anglers to target hundreds of miles of canal for a small fee each year, and national fisheries and angling manager John Ellis believes there are a number of reasons for the revival. 

“Gone are the days when anglers saw canals as venues capable of producing small fish and nothing else, with the awareness of their incredible potential,” he said.

“Whether you’re a predator, match or general pleasure angler, there is certain to be a stretch close to home that will appeal to you.

“Add to this, improved access and pegging in many areas and it is easy to see why canals have drawn back a lot of anglers.”

A national surge of interest in lure fishing and drop shotting is also thought to have aided the comeback.

Korum-backed specimen angler Gary Knowles said: “No matter where you are in the country, a cheap and affordable stretch of canal that is home to perch, pike or zander will be on your doorstep.

“At the drop of a hat, with practically no preparation and carrying just a light rod and reel, shoulder bag and landing net, you are ready to go.

“You can walk for miles fishing a very effective method and catch some cracking-looking fish from both industrial and rural settings. Given all this, it’s no surprise to me that the popularity in fishing canals has increased rapidly.”

51lb mirror banked on only bite of trip

Liam cradles his 51lb mirror, which fell to a pop-up.

Liam cradles his 51lb mirror, which fell to a pop-up.

Liam McGoldrick had only one bite during a weekend session on Wellington Country Park – but he wasn’t complaining when it resulted in a superb 51lb mirror. 

Arriving at the venue in the dark, the 32-year-old baited up and cast out. The following morning he noticed fish feeding further down the bank, but rather than recast and risk spooking them, Liam left his baits in position in the hope that the fish would move out of the area and towards his swim.

That proved to be a wise move by the senior contracts manager from Kent. 

He said: “The bite came at around 10pm and it was just a single bleep, followed by the line pinging out of the clip. 

“I was on the rod straight away, and the fight was immense – the fish was extremely angry and did not want to give up!”

Liam used a Mainline Cell pop-up over a spread of bottom baits and presented it on a Ronnie rig made using a size 4 Gardner Tackle Mugga hook and a safety lead clip system from the same company. 

New Feeder Champs all set for 2017

Feeder fishing is the method of the moment.

Feeder fishing is the method of the moment.

Feeder fishing is set to become even more popular, following talks of the launch of a huge national event to celebrate the tactic.

In the wake of big competitions like the Feeder Masters and the triumphs of the England Feeder team managed by Tommy Pickering, bosses at the Angling Trust are drawing up plans to create an event which could be on par with the current National Angling Championships.

Team England Veterans squad man Joe Roberts and former England International manager Dick Clegg are two big names who have been discussing the plans after increasing demands by anglers and clubs that wish to see the creation of such an event.

Said Joe: “It’s still early days but we hope to create an event that could see as many as 200 anglers in 40 teams on the bank. 

“The recent launch of the World Club Feeder Championship means every nation has to find two clubs to represent them, and we think this would be a better way of qualifying for it than the system we have at present.”

This year’s qualifier for the World Club Feeder Championship was held last weekend and was won by Preston Innovations Telford, with Drennan Barnsley Blacks runners-up. Both qualify for the 2017 World final in Spain.  

The event was held at Barston Lakes in the West Midlands, but Joe believes the new version would require a much bigger venue if it was to go ahead: “Major events are quite difficult to organise in the UK because of the lack of venues able to cope with that number of anglers. The River Trent would meet all the requirements, and really suits feeder anglers,” he added.

New of the new event has been welcomed in the match fishing fraternity, and England International Feeder Team manager Tommy Pickering who said: “All the other nations who enter the World Club Feeder Champs have their own feeder national events, so it’s only right we should have one two. It would be a great spectacle,” he added.