Carp Fishing on the Canal
Alexander Heimann (JH Baits Germany)
I was fishing on the canal in our industrial shipping ways from a very young age. I remember it as if it were yesterday…I was sitting together with my grandad on the seat box and was preparing for my first night as a young angler by the side of the water. In my thoughts I was already dreaming of a big eel. The sun was almost disappearing behind the silos and crane on the far bank. The turbulent shipping got less and less as I threw the biggest lob worm that I had in my bait box into the mystical yellow light reflecting off the sheet piles. The canal was embedded in fog which gave it a magical charm.
On this day it must have happened – the fascination of fishing the canal must have gripped me. I am happy to claim that the same buzz has not left me up until today – I haven’t lost it!
My Hotspots on the Canal
Due to my schedule of work I cannot prepare my spots over days, or weeks. Therefore, my main focus is on the location in which I fish and the bait I use. I look for disruption or interruptions in the water, and distinctive places which the fish will look for in the very structureless waterway. Places like the harbour, winding holes or wider areas of the canal which introduce slack water, the entrance of the lochs, or interruptions in the sheet piling. These places have often turned out to be or proven to be hotspots. I also make my fishing very much dependant on the time of year. At the beginning of the spawning season I exclusively fish places where the current is very calm and spots which ideally are on the edge of the weed and shallow areas of the bays. From approximately the middle of May I go back again to the deeper areas like the winding holes (an area where boats can turn around), or the harbour. Here I present my bait at the edge of the waterway. Due to the continuous shipping movements and the regular opening and closing of the lochs the natural food in the water is being pushed to the known places which the carp instinctively follow.
Reducing Tackle and Being Flexible
Time catches the fish. At least that is what you hear most of the time and I have to agree with this in most parts. To optimise my mostly short sessions I have reduced my tackle to the minimum. That enables me to have a quick set up / pack up and I can react flexibly in a lot of situations – moving onto fish. Some places are good to reach by car so long transporting times to the water are reduced. My short 9-foot rods mostly lay already prepared in my boot and shortly after arrival to the swim they can be used. This kind of urban method of fishing makes it possible to make my short sessions as productive as possible.
Attention at the Swim / Spot – My Choice of Bait
In a very short amount of time with the least amount of effort with the biggest effect – that is how I design my mix of bait. To get quick movement and attention at my spot I try to attract all species of fish, from a small whitefish to a large carp. The carp is obviously what I am hoping for. For this I find it very important to have a continuous baiting approach. In the area of the main channel where all the ships are, I rely on my particle mix and my ground bait. However, in areas where the water is very calm, I do not use ground bait at all. To get the carp to actively feed I like to use a highly visual sense as well as a strong release of signals of food in the water. For this the quality of the boilies used must fit and has to give the fisherman a good gut feeling.
The Success Shows
And then its time… after it feels like hours of disappointment you can hear the continuous tone from the direction of the bite alarm! Far and wide you can’t see a ship which could have been the cause for the beeping and the loch is also standing idle. One look at the rods and the assumption is correct – Fish!
Such moments are indescribable and make my adrenaline levels shoot through the roof each time this happens. This feeling again of doing everything right…for once. The right time, the right place and the right strategy. All those are the moments which keep in your memory and which you like to think of / remember. Moments like back then or in those days as a young fisherman with Grandad fishing for eels.