Beat The Boats!

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Canal ace Scott Geens shows how to beat the boats on a busy canal!

Many anglers lose their head when a couple of boats come through their swim on canals. Some canals are busier than others; parts of the Grand Union Canal in summer can often look like the waterway equivalent of the M6 at 5pm on a Friday! But there are a few ways that you can use this to your advantage...

During the holiday period, the number of boats will increase with holiday makers and day hire on boats. Unfortunately, these novice boaters are normally the type that can ruin your track swim, who have little idea of how to slow down, or what direction they are going in and often lead to a large amount of muffled cussing!

Scott Geen's; 'Don't fish too shallow, the fish wont build up confidence when feeding'.

Even if it means coming slightly further off the far bank, away from the bushes, or into a different hole that you hadn’t thought about before.

2 - 2 ½ feet is ideal when looking to attract a range of species. Anything that swims in a canal will be confident feeding in that depth, especially important when you can expect a wide range of species.

Spend a bit of time looking for changes in depth. You might be surprised at how it can change in a short distance. While plumbing up it’s also worth trying to find snags that may be hidden from view.

On a lot of canals, especially those with high boat traffic and coloured water, you may not be able to see how far out the brambles come. It’s only when you place your rig in without a plummet attached, that you find a hidden bramble that can cause no end of problems!

Only when I’m happy that I can strike without putting my rig 3ft up in a tree and I can land a fish without it hanging my hook into a snag will I move onto bait.

You don't have to feed too much at the start!
I’ve opted for a worm for the first put-in. If there’s a chub or two about you have a good chance to catch them straight away. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be today and my first bite didn’t come for just over half an hour. I met a fast dip on the Tyson dibber with a firm strike before throwing the pole back as fast as possible. When you don’t know what you’ll hook next, this is the only way to ensure anything you hook gets put into the net.
Make sure you are aware of where you have to ship back to. If there are lots of people walking up and down the bank be aware of anyone passing before you knock someone over! After a short fight under the top kit a small perch of around 6oz hits the net.