FREE LINE 03 - Page 64

Return to the
Grand Union
By Dan Cleary
ell it has been
over five years
since I last
wet a line on
the Grand
Union Canal.
It has also been several years since I
last penned a piece about my canal
fishing for Big Carp. My hunger to
return to the canal had been spurred
by us moving house in the autumn of
2005, which put us within eyesight of
the canal. Also the fire in my belly
started burning again when my longtime friend Mogs caught a cracking
36lb mirror.
By the time we had the house all
sorted it was already winter, and it
wasn’t until February that I started
No Fins 26.00
walking along the canal looking for
likely spots, with the water still too
clear to fish. It was good for finding
some spots though, and I did find a
couple of nice looking ones. The first
spot was on the towpath side; a nice
clean silty area with a bit of a depression running along one side of the
area, lined with rocks, stones etc. The
other side was dotted with odd
clumps of pads and small reed beds.
My second spot was on the far margin, on a corner of a reed bed about
10ft long. I hadn’t fished this area
before, although I had fished this
stretch maybe a half a dozen times in
the past when I was a teenager,
which was a long time ago, so it’s a
bit of a blur now, but I do remember
catching an upper double and losing
a fish from this area back then.
I decided to start baiting up with
just a handful of boilies on each spot
two or three times a week. I kept this
up for six weeks before giving the
area a go. It was already dark by the
time I got to the canal for my first
overnighter. It was mid-March and I
had a spare day ahead of me, before
work was shipping me to Italy for a
week, so I didn’t have to rush off to
work in the morning. I got all set up,
with the rods positioned on the two
spots mentioned above. I then sat
back, opened a tinny, and was just
enjoying being back on the canal,
probably a mile or two from any other
carper. Well it was a bit of an anti-climax as the water was still crystal
clear, and a pair of swans turned up
about midnight and cleared both
spots in minutes. I wound in both
rods as no matter what I tried they
just carried on trying to find every last
boilie, so I just let them clear the area
and move on. Once they were gone, I
got the rods back out and a handful of
baits around each. A few hours later
the swans were back, so feeling
rather defeated I wound in and just
went back to sleep. At that point I
realised that probably none of my bait
had made it past the swans over the
last six weeks.
I decided to leave the canal for a
couple of weeks and wait for the
canal to colour and warm up. When I
did decide to start baiting up again in
mid-April, I added particles of hemp,
tiger nuts and pigeon conditioner to
the boilies, so hopefully something
would get through to the fish. Spring
was in the air; the days were starting
to get longer again, and it was time to
get my rods back out, so towards the
end of April I did just that. I fished the
same as before, but also baited up
with 1lb of particles over each rod.
Well, the swingers were twitching
before I’d even clipped the lines up. I


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