Sunday, 5 October 2014

Stainforth and Keadby Canal

There is definitely something magical about this Canal; for some reason it's the match I look forward to the most each year. I don't know whether it's because it takes me back to my younger days, or just that it's a total change from the fishing I do the rest of the year.


Every year the Police and Fire Service hold a number of inter-service matches on the canal, which are open to both serving and retired members of the Police, Fire Service, Prison Service and others.We always meet and do the draw at the Delves cafe in the town of Thorne near Doncaster which is a 5 minute drive away from the venue.  At the draw I pulled out peg 185, which I know is a fair walk from where we park the cars. It is not far from the Blue Water Marina mouth and there are normally a few boats moored up on the opposite bank, on arrival at my peg this is confirmed. The first thing I noticed was how clear the water was and how weedy the near shelf was. I had to position my box where there was a gap between the weed, so that when I caught a fish it would make it easier to land.

The Plan
I planned to go with a three pronged attack for today's match. My main line was to be at 13 meters which is just over half way across the canal, this is a comfortable distance to start at especially if the wind gets up. The canal is quite exposed so wind can affect it easily.  My second line was a line at 9 meters down the main track of the canal at an 11 o'clock angle. my third line was line just in front of the near shelf weed at approximately 5 meters.

Bait
I have a bit of a selection, for the main line I have some mixed pinkies as well as some red and white maggots, I also have some dark coloured ground bait, as the water is usually fairly clear a dark ground bait doesn't stand out and spook the fish.  For the 9 meter line I have some hemp seed and for the 5 meter line I have some hemp and casters.

Rigs
Main Line

  • Pole - Browning Z12 
  • Elastic - Doubled up 4
  • Main line - 0.12 (3.7 lb) Browning Hybrid Power
  • Hook length - 0.10 (2.25 lb) Browning Cenex
  • Hook -  Size 24 Preston PR 35
  • Float - Alan Scotthorne 1   0.5 gram
  • Shotting - Olivette Bulk plus 2 droppers


Hemp Line

  • Pole - Browning Z12
  • Elastic - Doubled up 4
  • Main line - 0.12 (3.7 lb) Browning Hybrid Power
  • Hook length - 0.10 (2.25 lb) Browning Cenex
  • Hook - size 16 Kamasan B520
  • Float - Dino Duke 0.2 gram
  • Shotting - Small bulk plus a single dropper


Caster Line

  • Pole - Browning Z12
  • Elastic - Yellow Browning Cenex
  • Main line - 0.12 (3.7 lb) Browning Hybrid Power
  • Hook length - 0.10 (2.25 lb) Browning Cenex
  • Hook - Size 24 Preston PR 35
  • Float - Alan Scotthorne 1 - 0.4gram
  • Shotting - Olivette bulk plus 2 droppers


The Session
I started the session by feeding a single ball of ground bait and a few pinkies by pole cup on the 13 meter line. I baited the hook with a single red maggot and
shipped the rig out and lowered it in slowly. The rig never even got time to settle and I was in, a small Skimmer been the result. The next 2 drops followed the same pattern but a Roach and a Perch were the result of these.

The next couple of drops remained bite-less, so I switched hook bait to 2 fluoro pinkies on the hook and the response was instant as I was now catching regularly. To complement this I started feeding small amounts of pinkies via a pole mounted pot to keep the feeding nice and tight. This seemed to work a treat as I started catching at quite a fast rate.

After around 2 hours the canal started to tow like a train, so I switched to a maggot hook bait as it is slightly heavier than pinkies. I let the rig tow through which again worked really well I as kept catching whilst other around me were struggling. I did find a couple of patches of weed whilst towing through, but after a couple of runs I sussed where they where and I managed to line them up with some far bank markers. This made things so much easier as just before the rig reached the markers I lifted the rig up a foot or so over which prevented me from snagging on the weed. This kept the rig running through nice and smooth.
After an hour the tow stopped so I topped up my original swim with a small ball of ground bait, but during the time I had been the rig through there was a certain point that I would get a bite at, so I kept fishing at this point until the bites slowed down.

With just over an hour to go I switched to the hemp line which I had been feeding via catapult for a good hour or so. I had a bite as soon as I dropped the rig in, which resulted in a chunky Roach. I spent the remainder of the match on this line and I kept catching right till the final whistle.
At the weigh in I managed 11 lb 6 oz which was enough to win the match. Happy days!