A day’s fishing on the Kennet and Avon canal near Claverton

This was a very different day out to my regular trips to the commercial fishery where I usually fish. No pellets, no heavy lines and big hooks, this was float fishing with size 16 hooks and maggots as bait.

I’d decided on a trip to the canal because it is somewhere I’d fished in the past and it was also a kind of nostalgia thing. Canals and smallish rivers are where I learnt to fish when I was young, so this was a kind of homage to the past.

It certainly made a change from carp fishing and it was a chance to work on my float fishing techniques and improve my ability to hit fast bites.

I caught a fair few fish, somewhere between 20 and 30, a mixture of small skimmer bream, perch, dace, roach and rudd, with one decent roach of maybe a pound in weight. Nothing to set the world alight but pleasant enough fishing, nothing really worth a photo though. The boats are a nuisance though, but if you fish on a canal, you expect narrowboats, so ho-hum. A real annoyance for me was that the bank was pretty overgrown, with dense undergrowth between the towpath and the water, making much of the stretch I’d chosen impossible to fish without a lot of clearance work. I ended up fishing near a bridge, where the bank was at least clear.

To tell the truth though, I missed the excitement of striking into a fish that puts a bend into the rod and gives you a good struggle.

There are decent fish in the Kennet and Avon canal, some nice roach and bream and also chub, tench and carp, but these fish are wary and don’t come to the net that frequently. Inevitably, you will get lots of small roach and dace.

I suspect that my nostalgia trip has taught me that I’ve moved onto other things.

Still, I’ve got June 16th ahead of me now, well, June 18th actually, as I have taken it off work in the hope that the river will be less busy than on opening day and I am heading off to Lacock in search of those elusive chub and barbel.

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