When I first fished the Yorkshire canal system, a bream or skimmer was a bit of a bonus.
Today it seems all the UK’s big canals have an abundance of bream and skimmers, which have become the main target for pleasure and match anglers.
My local Aire & Calder and New Junction Canals are typical of this, seeing bream and skimmers win almost every match and making them a popular target for the angler who’s after something that pulls back a bit harder than roach.
However, these big waters are very different to the narrow, shallow venues we think of as typical canals. They’re often 35m-40m across and 11ft-plus deep down the middle, and subject to a lot of movement from the big boats that cruise up and down and the lock gates that regularly open and close.
This is what makes the feeder a brilliant way to approach these venues. You can achieve that perfect static bait presentation that the waggler or even the long pole can’t hope to match.
Here's six tips to help you get the most from the feeder on canals...
Bottom-weighted 20g feeders allow accurate casts. A Hex Mesh Rocket gives way to a window feeder later in the day.
Go for braid!
I use 0.12mm Absolute Feeder Braid with a 7m shockleader of 0.26mm (8lb) Sinking Feeder Mono to deal with bigger fish.
If worms are a good hookbait I’ll start putting more and more chopped worm through the feeder.
Use a bit of fishmeal
My favourite F1 Dark mix with Sweet Skimmer gives the groundbait a touch of fishmeal and is a winner for bream.
My rig starts with a twisted boom and 60cm of 0.14mm AccuPower to a size 14 hook, but I’ll go down if need be.
Read the bites
Look for big pulls on the tip, then gently pick up. Striking at false indications all the time can unsettle the peg.