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Thread: What am I doing wrong?

  1. #1
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    Default What am I doing wrong?

    Hi All

    I'm new to the forum but I have been reading threads in here for a while, but this is my first post.

    So... I've got all the basics; pretty happy with my rod, reel, floats, hooks, weights and other stuff but I can't seem to catch a fish! Which is a slight problem!

    I have been Canal (the grand union if that makes a difference) float fishing for (at a rough guess) about 25 hours now over about three weeks, but still no fish. I've plummeted the depths, used a pre-loaded float, tried a size 12, 15 and a 18 hook and tried sweetcorn, bread, prawns, worms (dug up from garden), Apple, cheese, blackberries (getting desperate and they were near the canal!)... but nothing.

    What am I doing wrong? Any help would be appreciated. I've joined a fishing club and plan to chat to them about where they fish the Canal, but I would have thought I'd have had something by now.

    Thanks for reading, any help would be appreciated!

    Darren

    Hi All

    I've been reading the forum for a while now, but it's my first post.

    So all in all I think I have done about 25 hours worth of fishing over the last few weeks... I'm float fishing on the canal but so far; no fish!

    I've been plumming the depths, adding a float (usually preloaded), weights, hook (varied from size 12, 15 to 18) and I've tried sweetcorn, bread, earthworms, prawns, apple, blackberries as bait... but still no fish. I've tried everything I can think of, but no fish, and only two suspected nibbles... but they might not have even been nibbles.

    What am I doing wrong?

    Any help would be appreciated!

    Thanks, Darren.
    Last edited by Olly1; 15-10-2017 at 19:38.

  2. #2
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    Grand Union a very long canal! Roughly where are you so someone can give you some pointers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olly1 View Post
    Grand Union a very long canal! Roughly where are you so someone can give you some pointers?
    Sorry for the double post! And sorry, should've said; I live in Warwick, so have fished the Warwickshire sections of it for the past couple of weeks.

    Thanks.

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    You seem to have tried lots of things Darren, although Im not sure why youd try apple, but theres no mention of the most obvious bait, maggots. Have all of your efforts been on the same pound of the canal? Maybe that stretch has a problem. Have you seen other anglers, are they catching?
    Neil

    Walton on Thames PAC - www.waltonpac.org.uk
    Thames Anglers Conservancy - www.rivertac.org

    Angling Trust No 43330

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_D View Post
    You seem to have tried lots of things Darren, although I’m not sure why you’d try apple, but there’s no mention of the most obvious bait, maggots. Have all of your efforts been on the same pound of the canal? Maybe that stretch has a problem. Have you seen other anglers, are they catching?
    Hi Neil
    Thanks for your reply. I haven't tried maggots yet, only because the bait shop near me closes before 5 in the week and early on sat ans is closed on Sunday so I haven't managed to buy any! Do you think that would see my chances increase?

    Also, one thing that occurred to me last night, I've been using a preloaded 3gram waggler... is that too heavy and could be putting the fish off when they feel the resistance?

    EDIT: also, I’ve moved along the canal quite a bit, and I’ve only fished the same place a few times... but all relatively close together I suppose, in a couple of different pounds. Seen a few other anglers who have said they have caught bream, and the others were lure fishing for pike but hadn’t caught anything.

    I did see a dead fish (it was silver but hard to see what it was as it was a bit bashed up) so I assume there is fish in there.
    Last edited by alreadyexists; 16-10-2017 at 14:58.

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    Buy some crumb groundbait, get a friend or family member to get some maggots (at this time of year they will keep well in a garage etc).

    I would get a Stillwater blue type float, it has a very fine top section, so a number 6 shot can give say an inch of difference, so you can plumb the depth and then have the no.6 shot just up from this and a few inches of line on the bottom. If you are ever then in shallower water the no. 6 will be on the bottom and your float would be a 'light house' ie you can tell as it's sticking up too high. The bites (even if finicky) when they come should be more noticeable.

    Try some parts of the canal with a feature (however small) some reeds, over hanging tree bridge etc and fish in close of the far bank, the canals tend to have drop off shelves in close.

    Pop some groundbait with maggots mixed in (not too stodgy not too dry) and bait a little, near, far and the middle. What time are you fishing? If it's close try and walk it at dusk and look for small fish topping etc. Best of luck stick at it :-)

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    Maggots allow you to constantly bait just a few each cast and encourage general feeding but also competitive feeding.

    Travel light and move if you haven't had or seen anything for at most an hour, you can always come back to the spot and try again.

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    Thanks for the advice guys. So I’ll get some maggots, and perhaps use slightly lighter tackle to increase the chances of spotting a nibble.

    I’ll plum the depths on the far bank... just at the far shelf? And then try and fish there. If I fish dead centre, at the deepest part will that get results too?

    Not having ever actually caught a fish (how embarrassing!) how do I know when to strike, and how do I do it? Sorry to sound like an idiot!

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    I'm no expert on canals, but yes try the near and far shelves but also the middle (not helping much!)

    A little bait in each area, loose fed maggot will help. With a thinner topped float you will see more visually little bites, obviously strike if the float goes under but you can strike when it's on the way down, or it can even lift (the fish comes up in the water and lifts the lowest split shot). You can practice striking when you reel in after not getting a bite for a while (firm flick upwards, not enough to launch he float out of the water and flying past your head!)

    When you first get to a spot, flick some maggots in the spots 'before' you setup the rod, chair etc. Then cast out close, middle or far and try for 5/10 mins (don't leave it in the same place too long basically) or so a cast, recast and explore all the baited spots, whilst always having one eye out for signs of fish left and right or you. re tackle size 18 and 2lb bottom should see you get bites.

    Also if you plumb the middle and shelves then to switch between the two easier, when plumbed accurately hold your hook to the butt of the rod and note where the tip of the float is on the rod, then you can switch back to this depth without replumbing all the time (note don't fix the float with a shot either side, but with some tubing up the float base, then you can slide this and change the depth in seconds very easily) have the bulk of the shot so it's just below the float when its set for the shallower shelf, and some smaller shot at equal intervals (say 6") down to the hook. Then to fish deeper just push the float up to your spot on the rod and you are ready to try the middle again.

    Saying this the top of the shelf might not get results, but more the base of the deeper water, ie the depth might be very similar to the middle, but your float only a few feet from the near or far bank.

    You can set up floats with shot beforehand at home in plastic bottle to get the float sitting right.

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    Thanks so much for the tips, I’ll have a go this weekend and report back!

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    Hi

    I fish a lot of canals "up north" and the one thing the fish don't like is a drifting bait, I would suspect if there's a lot pf boat traffic the water will be running like a slow river. Have you tried fishing a pole, if you don't have a pole you could fish a pole float at your rod tip and a light ledger rig to fish the far bank again a great way of targeting better fish with a still bottom bait

    The boat lane (middle of the canal) can be good as the weather gets colder as it's usually a bit deeper and when the water gets clear the fish tend to move into it, until the boats start moving and disturb the area.

    Small baits such as bread punch and pinkie maggots are usually the way to go at this time of the year and into winter aiming to catch roach and skimmers with the odd bonus bigger fish like perch, don't stop trying small pieces of worm known as chopped worm, feed lightly and work your way into the peg. The usual rule is you can;t take loose feed out so if you overfeed the peg it will probably die and the fish will get fed and then you can't catch a fish that's not feeding anymore

    As the weather cools look for boats / bridges and overhanging trees in other words areas that offer the fish shelter / protection from predators such as cormorants

    Tight lines

    KevT

    Hi Danny

    I fish the canals up north and one thing the fish up here hate is a moving bait. The use of a pole or ledger rod is my usual approach. I fish the pole short and a small bomb (1/8th ounce) and small hooks 20s or 22s on light lines. My usual approach is either bread punch / pinkies and chopped worm. At this time of the year as it cools down the fish move into the middle boat lane or under moored boats and canal basins that offer protection from predators such as cormorants. If you dont have a pole fishing with a pole float at the end of your rod to keep control of the bait will work well too.

    Liquidised bread and punch is the way forward now until the end of the spring, chopped worm always offers the chance of a bonus big roach or perch

    Tight lines

    KevT
    Last edited by Olly1; 22-10-2017 at 18:24.

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    Hi All, I just wanted to report back and say I fished yesterday and today with maggots and I caught a fish! A little roach, about 1.5lb at a guess. I am well chuffed! I also had a few more bites, one of which snapped my line and it got away, the other I was about to met (it looked like a relatively bit carp, but coloured like a gold fish almost, could it be a koi?) but as I was about to net it the hook slipped out and it got away too.

    The roach was caught in the near bank and the carp was hooked in the central track. I’m really pleased. Thanks for all the advice, I can’t wait to get some more maggots and get back out there. The 3-4 hours spent this weekend have been more productive than the previous 20 odd!!

    As I get better I imagine less will get away, and I’ll manage to land a few more. Maggots are definitely the way to go though! Thanks all.

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    Glad we helped!

    Obviously carry on doing the same as it's successful. If you get a few bites from larger fish you can at some point try a larger line, hook and bait (like sweetcorn tipped with a maggot of luncheon meat etc). As you had a hook pull and a snapped line, then I would advise the following keeping all your tackle the same. When you turn up next time (or perhaps even at home) hook your hook to something and step back and bend your rod into it and then set the clutch on your reel so it gives line when there is a healthy bend in the rod. If you hook small fish the line won't need to give, but if you hook a larger fish and it runs strongly the clutch setting will help you if you don't react faster enough to give the fish line. Also try and keep the angle from the rod tip to the fish at 90 degrees ie rod high or wide and not pointed at the fish at all, this should help you land more fish/reduce hook pulls.

    The good thing is you've stuck at it and from here there is still so much to learn but it'll be more fun as your get to grips with the basics and some things become second nature, well done.

  14. #14
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    Lost fish are part of the game don't beat yourself up about it the best anglers lose fish sometimes just keep going good luck

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    Thanks both, that's good advice.

    I lost the fish through line snap on a 2.5lb line so it was pretty light, so I've put 8lb monofillament on now which should hopefully be enough to deal with anything in the canal, even a surprise or two. Is there a disadvantage to a larger line? Would it put off the smaller fish?

    I was a bit disappointed about the fish getting away when the hook slipped as it looked a beauty of a carp, but as I said sort of silver and orange colour... so it might have been a koi someone has illegally put in the canal (I have heard that happens?). I will loosen my clutch and let the line slip out easier and hopefully that will help.

    As I get more confident I might go up to a size 12 hook, or maybe bigger, and try sweetcorn with a maggot. I have absolutely loved catching fish, I know it sounds silly but compared to sitting on a canal tow path for 25 hours without a nibble, watching the float dip and reacting is a hell of a thrill! I think I'm addicted! Thanks again for the advice.

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    8lb is pretty heavy and will put all fish off

    Setting the drag as suggested would make a huge difference

    Rarely do I fish with b anything over 4lb Main line usually 3lb, on a canal I would use what you have used 2.5lb with a 1.5lb hooklink

    Small hooks just need gentle playing of fish and you can get heavier gauge hooks in small sizes if the hook is straightening

    I think your are better listing the odd bigger fish but catching more tiddlers than waiting for one fish a session

    I know catching was what caught my attention and keeps me fishing. Still love seeing the float dip

    Reading this reminds me of my learning curve when I started only without the helpful people on here

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    Ah, right ok. So 8lb is too heavy, but a fish snapped my 2.5lb line...? Was that because of my clutch not giving enough line?

    What line weight would people recommend? Sorry to ask. I heard you should fish light on canals but got put off when my line snapped. Would 6lb still be too heavy, and could stop the fish biting?

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    Quote Originally Posted by alreadyexists View Post
    Ah, right ok. So 8lb is too heavy, but a fish snapped my 2.5lb line...? Was that because of my clutch not giving enough line?

    What line weight would people recommend? Sorry to ask. I heard you should fish light on canals but got put off when my line snapped. Would 6lb still be too heavy, and could stop the fish biting?
    I tend to use 6lb line, with size 18's on 3lb hooklengths (leeds liverpool canal)

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    Personally I happily use 3lb gardener hydro Flo line with .11 or .13 powerflo for the trench at marsh farm best fish over 7lb landed

    Soft rod and clutch set correctly don't lose many

    6lb line for me is reserved for when carp are likely
    Bear in mind 3lb line probably breaks nearer 5lb and 6lb nearer nine

    In prefer more bites and losing a few

    I've fish Broadwater a runs carp water most fish mid double. 8lb main 6lb bottom soft rods, lose very few

    On the float there i fish 6lb main and .17 bottom not lost one yet

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    Just an update on this guys. So, I fished about a rods length in earlier today, under a bridge on the canal, on what I think was the bottom of the near shelf, baited with maggots and cast a few in every minute or too. I plumbed up first obviously.

    ... and I caught 7 (!) perch, various sizes but a couple were fairly big. I’m really pleased, thanks again for all the advice guys. My best haul ever.

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