Fishing for carp in canals

Fishing for carp in canals

Canals are navigable waterways used mainly by barges or pleasure boats travelling through France.
They are rather straight and consist of locks, harbours and wider spaces for barges to load/unload.
The banks are often monotonous and built either in concrete, metal sheet piling or wood which, if not maintained, become wild banks.

concrete canal bank

wooden canal bank

canal bank

The first thing you have to find is the choice of position, and the fish have their areas and they only move away from them for exceptional reasons.
Classic spots such as bridges, locks, submerged trees, dead arms are still very popular areas for fishermen.
Fish like to stagnate in these areas, which are often safe places as well as being full of natural food. These easy meals for lady carp such as anodonts, dredges and corbicles find a perfect biotope for their development.
The locks and the first hundred metres of shoreline upstream are to be prospected, as well as downstream where there are always fish hanging around.
The locks are often easy to access, they will allow you to start fishing well (don't forget to respect the fishing distances practicable in the locks).
For the rest of the canal, anything that breaks the monotony, such as a harbour, a bend or a broad, are posts to be prospected.
A row of reeds in the middle of several hundred metres of concrete banks or sheet piling, bushes overhanging the bank, the presence of aquatic plants, water lilies, a damaged bank with some scree, the entrance to a widening area, harbours, etc... can be areas which are regularly visited by carp.

Food-rich wild canal bank

Good carp station with grass beds near the lock

Grain loading area for barges

Once your spots have been defined, bait them simultaneously for a few days (or even longer!) with your bait, in order to condition the fish.
Don't hesitate to put some everywhere, even if you cover spots several hundred meters apart.
On the one hand, carps travel a lot in channel so you will optimize your chances to coax them with your baits, and knowing that they stop only on the spots they know and where they usually find their food, baiting different spots increases inevitably your chances to find the good ones.
It's often rare to chain several departures on the same spot in a short time, the channel being not very wide and not very deep, a fight often makes the carps flee a little bit further.
It is there that it will be judicious to move and as long as it is on a spot which is also regularly started by you.

On the baiting side, in the first configuration, the best is to distribute a few handfuls of boilies cut in half on the fly on the chosen spot during the 2/3 days preceding the fishing trip.
On the day of fishing, it will be enough to present an assembly accompanied by some boilies to perfect the trap. To reduce somewhat the cost of the baiting and to make it even more attractive, it is possible to mix these pieces of boilies with fragments of Frolic, a bit of hemp seed, pellets, all coated with marine extract and sprinkled with a few grams of liver powder.
If the other species are not too invasive, the bait can be more varied and consist of a mat of small particles such as hemp seed, bird seed, a few pellets and a few particles identical to those used in eschery.
In any case, it is not useful to load too much, nor to carry out too long habituation priming, one or two days being more than enough to retain the fish.

If the bottoms are of a hard consistency, a classic, self-ironing assembly, whether placed near the opposite bank or in the middle of the canal, is very suitable.
On the other hand, if the bottom is muddy (this is often the case on small canals) fishing should be done as close as possible to the edge, on a carpet of hemp and preferably with a floating or lightened bait.
Attention, even if one fishes very close to the edge, it is essential to fish heavy, a lead of 100 grams at least is essential to be able to ensure a perfect inertia of the assembly and to be able to prick the carp correctly.
With this system, it is not necessary to shoe, but the gesture must be ample and above all intervene very quickly, in the first few seconds after the button is pressed.
The trace will always be very short, from 10 to 15 cm, so that at the slightest movement, the carp is immediately stung.
On canals, departures are often discreet and large forward leaks are very rare. The carp generally leaves on the side and follows the bank.
With a discretion of rigour, the fisherman will have to remain as close as possible to his rods to be able to react as quickly as possible to prevent the carp from taking refuge in immersed obstacles.

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Articles updated on: 24/09/2021

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