Tracking and tracing, the starting point
It has to be said that the canals all look a bit the same from the outside. Very often, they are formed of huge monotonous straight lines with an occasional bend or widening. In detail, many parameters vary from one canal to another and often even from one reach to another. As for the canal closest to my home, and to set the scene, it is not very welcoming and very regular. The river traffic on this reach is important, making the water very turbid. This has a major impact on the location of fish.
I spent a lot of time trying to observe the carp without ever seeing a scale. Worse still, after more than 6 years of recurrent fishing on this reach, I was lucky enough to observe one and only one carp jump. The fishes of this canal are clearly not used to appear and I could confirm this information with several other fishermen of the reach who also observed that the fishes and in particular the carps appeared very little, and that, that it is in summer, in spring/autumn or in winter.
With this very welcoming setting in place, I will explain my thinking and the strategy I have put in place.
Over the years and the sectors I have fished, I have retained 4 prolific zones on the same reach that I now fish exclusively. These hot spots are obvious and break the monotony of the canal.
Not being able to locate the fish easily, for the reasons mentioned earlier, I alternate between these 4 posts to analyse the circuit and the frequency of fish passage. When luck is with me, I manage to trap one or two fish on a zone, move for the next session, on the next station distant of 1 or 2 kilometres and find the fish. When luck is with me .... Over the years and the sectors I have fished, I have retained 4 prolific zones on the same reach that I now fish exclusively. These hot spots are obvious and break the monotony of the canal.
Here is how I proceed in fishing action in order to be 200% sure to be efficient with interesting presentations. I only use blowback rigs, which I trust for their simplicity, mechanics and discretion. In 90% of the cases I use 20mm snowman with a 15mm pop-up to balance the whole and give an interesting contrast on the bottom.
There is one crucial point that I never deviate from. I always boilie my dense boilies. For the last 3 years, the canal I fish has been invaded by gobies. These small voracious fish are undesirable to the power of 10 and nibble at a lightning speed on the boilies. Add to this the crayfish and white fish, it is impossible to fish properly without protecting your bait.
When it comes to bait, I have 100% confidence in SEEZONE® Monster Crab boilies. The big advantage of the seasonal variation of SEEZONE® boilies is that I can keep a single bait that performs well all year round. Therefore, I never mix different flavours during my canal sessions. I fish exclusively with the same boilie, which allows me to accustom the fish to a single scent. My boilies, in addition to being covered, have been boosted for several weeks with Monster Crab Booster. I like to have a slightly "overdosed" bait on my hook on these quick one-nighters.
I now place my rods in the bait boat at the canal. This may sound surprising, but I do it for two reasons. Firstly, I combine my rig with a particle bait (sweetcorn and ground boilies mixed with a few drops of booster) and a few handfuls of tiger nuts to keep the gobies busy. The bait boat allows me to be more precise and to offer a compact and quickly cleaned plate. The second reason is related to discretion and ease when it comes to placing a rig against the opposite sheet pile.
I then widen my baiting with a few whole boilies spread around the rig to enlarge the attraction zone.
By doing this, I take my mind off any doubts about the presentation or the baiting. I do occasionally chain breams together but unfortunately that is the risk when using particles.
I hope this experience sharing will make you want to go fishing the canals in your areas. I am firmly convinced that each canal can offer treasures to those who are willing to devote time to it. Of course my approach is personal and corresponds to the conditions I encounter. However, adaptation and localization will always be the key words for success in canals.