Head to the Grand Western Canal for great fishing...

The whole of the UK is crammed with top-quality coarse-fishing options but some areas still don’t get the recognition they deserve.

Devon and Somerset are among the counties that are often disregarded but those in the know are fully aware of the massive opportunities both areas provide anglers.

Commercial fishery enthusiasts are catered for with bagging havens White Acres and Stafford Moor and even those who enjoy a spot of canal fishing have one of the most underrated waters right on their doorstep.

The Grand Western Canal may be less than 12 miles long but every inch of it has the potential to produce the goods, with a wide variety of species on the cards.

Starting life in the Devon town of Tiverton, the GWC weaves its way through the villages of Halberton and Sampford Peverell before its journey comes to end just north of Burlescombe at Lowdells Lock.

Although locals will wax lyrical about their favourite hotspots, the true beauty of this rural waterway is the fact that you will never be far away from a shoal of hungry fish, regardless of where you tackle up.

If you want a stretch that provides fairly good access and the chance of both small and large specimens, the Manley and Greenways areas are worthy of your attention.

There’s no need to get involved in a frantic Google search to find out who runs each zone either as one club controls the fishing rights to the whole venue. Tiverton DAC are charged with maintaining the venue’s natural charm and they have made sure it is all available to the masses, charging just £5 a session for access to its banks.

On days when the temperatures remain on the low side, the roach are the species to go in search of, using either a light pole rig or waggler set-up with bread punch over small beds of liquidised feed.

It may also be worth taking a spinning rod with you as wherever there are silverfish, predators are never far away.

The pike may only run up to low doubles but there are stacks of jacks that will charge at a lure in kamikaze fashion before shaking their heads violently as they try to remove the hooks. Quality perch are making a revival in places and a 2lb plus specimen could come your way in the right conditions.

But with the true essence of spring threatening to break through any day now, the bream and tench have started to slip out of their winter slumber and are in search of their first meal of the year.

Look for cover when searching for a big tench or two, fishing worm and caster close to these features. Be prepared to hang on tight when the float finally sinks as these fish will certainly test your tackle to the limit!

Although the bream are a little more elusive there is the opportunity to land a catch of a lifetime should you stumble upon them. Several huge shoals lurk up and down the canal and if you catch one there is every chance several others will make their way into the net.

With specimens over 5lb commonplace in these shoals, it won’t take many bites to catch 100lb of these rarely targeted lumps. Look for swims that are slightly wider, lacing them with plenty of fishmeal groundbait and particles to stand a chance of drawing their attentions.

Stunning scenery, cheap fishing and the chance to bag a new personal best, the Grand Western Canal is certainly worthy of your attention this week.

Prices: £5 a day or £30 a year (January to January) in advance from Eve Valley Angling

Contact: Exe Valley Angling, 01884 242275

Location: Chains Road, Sampford Peverell, Tiverton, EX16 7BL (Address for best access to Sampford Peverell stretch)

Rules: All fish to be returned, anglers must have a valid EA rod licence

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