Tuesday, 21 May 2019

An Ancient Towpath Gem.

 My last three visits to the canal have proven to be extremely tough affairs, testing conditions, lack of carpy activity and lastly the inevitable increase in boat traffic. All of the previous often casts seeds of doubt in the mind as to why its something I continually inflict on myself, the simple fact that these canal carp are in my humble opinion "thee" hardest of targets; reservoirs, lakes, ponds etc have nothing on these carp in terms of ability to simply vanish is why I keep going back.

 Once found the outcome is never a case of when, but if. Confidence is something I thrive on and it drives me on to my various seasonal targets, taming towpath giants is a different ball game and with countless miles already under the belt a single carp has made it to the net, albeit an absolute stunner!

 By the end of this particular jaunt I'd have completed 60.4 miles! In just what is my fifth outing on the straight and narrows. For me the thrill of the chase is very exciting, putting a fish on the bank makes the hard work all the more worth while and keeps that fire burning strong as that elusive canal thirty pounder swims somewhere with my name on it.

 Now to Thursday' trip. I woke up for work as usual and it was a lovely warm sunny start, as I got through my schedule I only had one thing on my mind with the current high pressure system overhead, this gave way for perfect stalking conditions and I knew this would be a good chance to find a fish, somewhere. I finished with my last client around 1430 and hopped in the motor to my base where I'd walk from until my time was up.

 If my last three trips were anything to go by then I'd be walking for miles without as much as a show. Bream are everywhere, unfortunately for me there aren't as many carp, so you could imagine what I was thinking when I came across a pair of carp ( one mirror and one common ) just under the surface half way across the canal in the track, I thought the jackpot had been hit, these were a sight for sore eyes. As I know all too well is the fact location is just part of the jigsaw. Filled with excitement I got myself ready and a big lump of flake was moulded on to the hook waiting for the right moment to cast.

 Bird life however did its best to scupper the opportunity as a pair of Canadian geese with goslings went mental and persistently reached below the water to peck at the carp to ward them off, not what I needed at all, thankfully after a minute or so I was able to usher the geese away. By this time the carp had moved from sight and found myself back to square one. A major blow delivered and felt quite annoyed by what had happened although I could have done nothing about it. I spent the next fifteen minutes scanning the surface to find any nugget of movement but the wind had crept up and put a chop on the top which was very hard to see through. Then, a ghostly apparition appeared roughly 50 yards to my right and the surface of the water was being broken ever so slightly.

 As I got closer the wind eased off and it didn't take long to see the shape of the smaller of the two carp. Any chances of success were firmly placed on when and where I put that bread flake. Having watched the carp for a minute or two I had enough to go on to get it right, as the carp veered into the middle of the canal I under-arm flicked my moistened flake and it gently dropped through the water column to roughly a foot when the mirror turned slightly and inhaled my flake! it was game on and what a fight it was. my 2.75TC  rod bent over and 12lb line peeled off the spool at an alarming rate, knowing very little by way of snags are present gave me a sense of security and didn't pressure the fish too much, by doing this it allowed me to plan ahead, all I had to rely on was a good hook hold.

 A few decent runs finally came to an end and that hook hold of mine was just fine, corner of the mouth and fell out when the tension eased. Perfect!. And What A Carp too!

 This is one of the very best carp I have ever caught! Simply put but very profound - Carp fishing at its pinnacle.

An ancient 19lb 9oz canal Linear.
 The tactic coupled with the effort required to catch such fish is high I rate this type carp fishing more so than any other, but that of course is my opinion and I am sure many will disagree!

 After weighing him and getting a few pics to savour the moment I watched him waddle off back to the anonymity that these carp enjoy. I was over the moon and a second carp in five trips. Not spectacular reading in terms of effort but the two carp I have caught are nothing short of perfection.

 From that point on I sought after the companion to my mirror, knowing she was bigger I wanted to locate her and just half an hour later I did, scanning the entire of the canal surface that I could she was under my feet and hoovering up bugs out of the canal wall weed. Just goes to show that you should always look "everywhere" when searching.

 After she left the area I slipped a piece of flake down where she was feeding as I didn't want to alert the fish to my motives for being there, so having waited a couple of minutes I was now ready for action. Ten minutes later a black shape appeared from under a canal boat to my left and it was the common I saw earlier, confident she suspected nothing untoward I readied myself for the take, clutch set, made sure the net was close by!. The only part of that plan that didn't work was that the carp was too happy munching on the bugs in the weed, my bread was totally ignored as if she didn't know it was there. I stuck it out for another hour in and around the vicinity but there was no more shows and i decided to call it a day and head for home.

 I'll remember that for quite sometime.


  1. Absolutely stunning, makes those miles and dealing with those nutters that seem to frequent the canal worth while... Having lost 2 canal carp in two trips and ‘given up’ I think it might be time to head back myself!

    1. Worth every single minute, that carp is certainly older than I am! Quite incredible and still buzzing having caught him! As I said to you previously I think that is the same carp I screwed up a couple of years back. It felt real good!

  2. Awesome carp, simply perfect. I reckon the sheer effort and method makes it a capture that few can compete with and is one to be very proud of. I hope you meet the common again soon.

    1. Thoroughly enjoyed it and I know that I won’t catch many carp this way, playing the long game isn’t easy and I know that every time I go out on the towpath, but to catch something that special just compounds my reasoning for continuing to target the canals. I will be back out soon enough in search of another.

  3. Some serious work put in for a beautiful looking carp.
    Keep up the good work matey.......


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