FL02 PDF (212pp) - Page 79



Urban Legends…
clue what to do, but luckily the old
guy from up the towpath saw what
was going on and came down to help.
He had a Y shaped rod rest, and he
proceeded to follow the line from the
rod into the margins of the canal and
managed to hook the bail arm of the
reel and fish out the reel for me!
I was so happy! He smiled, and like
some sort of magician, out of his
pocket, he pulled out two pieces of
bicycle inner tube and proceeded to
slide them up the rod butt. He then
attached my reel, sliding the inner
tube over the reel, securing it firmly to
the rods. He winked at me and said,
“’Ere you are, lad, you won’t lose your
reel anymore.” And with that he
handed me my rod and reel and made
his way back to his blue plastic
Shakespeare seat box.
I continued to fish… well, more like
fly fish, as I spent more time reeling in
and casting out than fishing. I must
have looked more like a lure fisherman than a coarse fisherman… well,
boy! The next thing I remember will
live with me forever and was the cata l y s t to the fi re tha t s ti l l burns
strongly inside me to this day! “I’m in,
Bob!” I heard, and as I looked up the
towpath, there was the helpful old
guy stood up, rod in hand with it bent
double. My mum and I watched in
awe as an amazing battle commenced. The unseen monster, on the
other end of his line, tore off up and
down the centre channel of the canal.
If I close my eyes, I can still hear his
screaming drag from his tortured old
reel! The old guy held on for dear life,
his rod creaking as it engaged in battle. Soon a big black back broke the
surface oil of the canal, and he quickly
scooped his net around it.
I ran up the bank to see what he
had caught, with mom calling after
me, but I had to see it! He laid the
monster on the grass next to the towpath and parted the mesh. He held
her up for me, and her scales lit up
beautifully in the afternoon sunshine.
He smiled… “There you go, son.
That’s what lives in here – a bloody
big carp!” At that he returned her to
her watery home, and little did he
know that he had just started something within me that would live with
me forever, and some 27 years later,
that passion still burns away as
brightly as it ever has.
Ever since that day I have been fascinated with carp and carp fishing,
but I have always had a soft spot for a
bit of canal carping. I have walked
many, many miles trying to catch
these marauding urban legends, and
every so often I get lucky and land an
urban monster. Let me talk you
through some of the more memorable
moments from the “cut” and try to
help you, the reader, catch your own
urban legend!
Doing Your
Homework
My first bit of advice I can give to
anyone is to buy the angling weeklies, scour the Internet and walk the
canals talking to the match guys.
Look out for any information on carp
catches or more so of big fish being
lost. This will give you the heads up of
stretches that contain carp. It is also
worth sharing information with people, as they are more likely to disclose
information to you if you help them
with their current target.
A few years back I helped a young
lad with fishing a large undisclosed
gravel pit and disclosed a few secrets
to him that helped him go on and
catch his PB. In return he told me of a
stretch of canal that contained fish in
excess of 30lb and even sent me the
photos to prove it! This information
alone led me to catch my PB canal
carp of 35lb 6oz! Now for the important bit… When you find a stretch
that contains these monsters, you will
need to do everything in your power
to keep it to yourself. This includes
where you have your trophy shot
taken! It’s amazing how many wouldbe detectives are out there, and they
will blow up your images and look for
any clue that will give the location of
your capture away. I learned the hard
way, and the location of my big common was soon discovered, as the next
time I turned up, the banks were lined
with Brotels and matching rods! It
looked like a scene from Linear Fisheries, and when I spoke to the guys,
they had noticed graffiti on the bridge
and a blue covered fence. They knew
roughly the area I was fishing, so had
walked the towpath until they found
the spot that matched the picture.
Good angling, but I was gutted. Lesson learnt, I soon took the picture
down off my Facebook page, but the
horse had already bolted. Luckily I
knew of several stretches that contained rather large carp, and I would
Warm water entering the canal
creating a winter oasis.
never make that same mistake again.
When fishing the canal I have made
several observations that are worth
noting and will aid you in your quest.
Elusive Nomads
Firstly, location… Canal carp are
notoriously nomadic and can roam
miles and miles of canal. However
from my experience the fish will be in
different places along the canal at different times of year. In winter look
towards the marinas and areas of a
high population of boats. Not any
boats, but preferably boats that are
lived on. These provide warmth, cover
and regular food from the people that
live on the boats.
Winter – A great tip in winter is to
walk the canal when the weather is
really cold, and I mean really cold. The
canal should be frozen solid. Walk its
banks and look for areas that are not
frozen, as this will give an indication
of warmer water, and the carp will
congregate in these areas in the winter. In fact by doing this I have found
a stretch of canal that has a water
treatment plant next to it that pumps
in warm water through the winter.
The result is a section of the canal
that can be fished in any conditions
FREE LINE 79

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