You may think that deep water is always best in the cold, but clear canals with only 3ft of depth can produce surprising results if you get the basics right…
Fish down the peg
Big bonus fish are always handy on a canal and, realistically, you’re looking at perch as your target. Canals are full of them, but they like a bit of peace and quiet. This means fishing well down your peg with 10m or 11m of pole into the deep central channel of the canal with a lobworm tail or half a dendrobaena worm. Pot in some chopped worm and caster here from the start, and keep having a look every 20 minutes or so.
Don’t rule out groundbait
Even though the water may clear, groundbait can still work as long as you use a dark, low-feed mix. Fish this on a separate line well away from your other swims. It will either be very good or a bit of a struggle, so don’t expect a bite a chuck off it! One ball the size of a golf ball holding just a few dead pinkies and casters is your starting point.
Target the boats
To have a boat opposite your peg might sound brilliant, but you have to work out what type of boat it is. If it’s being lived on, there might be too much noise for the fish to be sat there. However, if it’s moored up with no sign of life, you’re in business and have a chance of catching by fishing tight up to the boat for longer, as it will naturally attract bigger fish like perch and skimmers. This area is almost always one to fish in the final hour using casters.
Use chopped worm for a boost
Chopped worm isn’t just a feed for perch on canals, because big roach love it too. Pop in a little blob of a ball of finely-chopped worm still in the soil to put some cloud in the water and add a few casters. This is very much a throwaway line, though, one that will either give you a few bites or nothing at all. If and when you do get a bite on it, expect it to be from a quality fish.
Create a bread cloud
There are two options for bread feeds – liquidised or punch crumb. In clear water, it has to be liquidised every time. One loaf blitzed in a blender will be ample, and the reason ‘likky’ works so well is that it puts more of a lingering cloud into the water close to the bottom. There’s more food content too, which is a must if skimmers are on the cards. Feeding is done with one ball squeezed a little, but also adding half a pole cup of loose bread on top of it to help with the cloud effect.