Canal Carping – By Lee Colford

Over the last few years, it seems that there has been a rise in popularity of carp anglers turning there attention to the country’s canal systems.  For me, my local canal was, and still is, the main carping venue in my area. Naturally after working my way up the angling ladder from perch to Rudd to roach and bream, finally I was bitten by the carp bug and thankfully my local canal held the carp I so desired to catch.

What follows is a few tips I’ve picked up from fishing my local canal and a few of the others in my surrounding areas.


With miles and miles making up any one canal, the first thing I have to stress is the ability to be mobile. Work done in preparation can help to save wasted sessions on beats devoid of carp. Get the bike out, some Polaroids and bait and take a few days just searching. A lot of the time the obvious features will be my first port of call. Overhangs, reeds, bridges and moorings can all hold carp. Take your time and find out the ones carp prefer to use. As a note, never discount the margins, despite them not looking “Carpy” there an obvious patrol route on all venues and canals are no different, but be careful as there may be a trolley or some other random snag lying down there.


Once you’ve located your target areas the next thing is thinking about how to outwit them. Some canals can have a high stock of carp and generally don’t require to much in the way of thinking. Keeping it simple and fishing for a bite at a time and staying mobile is going to be the best plan for these highly nomadic carp. I would generally shy away from smaller particle type baits during the warmer months. This is due to the nuisance species that will make it difficult to keep a rod in the water for any amount of time. Nuts on the other hand can be deadly, tigers and peanuts being my favourite, as always make sure there prepared properly. Then the obvious one is boilies, Carp love them and they will slow down the bream to an extent. Especially in larger sizes or fished as snowman or double Hookbaits.
On the lower stocked canals pre baiting can be a massive help in getting the carp localised enough to get a bite or two. Baiting every other day for a week with 50-100 baits is all that is required, no need to go over the top.


Moving on to rigs, if you have read my previous piece you would have seen I like to keep it simple. As long as your hook is sharp and it’s well presented it’s good to go. If you haven’t read my piece on rigs then take a look. One more point here before I move on, I like to use leadcore on the canal for the simple fact of abrasion resistance. You never quite know what could be down there waiting to cut you off and rest assured the carp will know, and will try to use it to there advantage! Much in the same way they would use tree roots or weed beds on a lake.


Also during the warmer months the surface fishing can come into it’s own and due to the narrow nature of our canals free lining is generally all that is required. A great way to catch them in my opinion.


So there you have it, I think I’ve covered enough to get you started but if your still doubtful about taking the plunge and fishing your local “cut” then I think your really missing out!

There a lot, lot quieter In terms of angler pressure, allowing you to do your own thing and the carp are all characters in there own right and you just never know, there may be an uncaught chunk dodging the rusting trolleys, bikes and traffic cones in your local canal.
Give it a shot and let me know how you get on.



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