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Pre-Match Report for junior points match #3 - Canal Lake, Whitemoor.

Match fee: £10 Draw: 09:00 Start: 10:00 Finish: 15:00

As good as Chester's Lake is, the Canal Lake at Whitemoor is commonly seen as the 'more grown up' venue. Most of the open matches are held on the Canal and it throws up the biggest weights in senior events. Not only that but it's good to fish on different venues to expand skills and experience.

The Canal is as its name suggests, long, straight, and narrow. Just like a canal (who would have thought?).

From memory, depths are usually around the four to five foot mark, with good depth in the margins and a strange creamy green colour to the water. There is a good number of decent Carp in the Canal which will be your target species. There are other species like Roach and Skimmers (Bream), but they do not tend to get the big numbers in matches.

Important note: You will NOT need keep nets for this event, but you WILL need to bring your own Landing net/nets.

The most important part of fishing on the Canal Lake is where you choose to fish. Use of your plummet is critical because the bottom of the lake is very 'choppy' and uneven. Areas of flatter and more even lake bed will mean that the fish will find your bait far more easily than a bait fished on lumpy ground. Take your time, plumb carefully, fish in the right areas...

Where to fish: Like a real Canal, you need to plumb up two lines. One short (Top kit plus two sections of pole), the other longer at 11 to 13 metres. These will be the two main areas in which to fish. Carefully feel your way round with your plummet and try to find a flatter area on the bottom. You don't want your bait disappearing down cracks and hollows. Do this for both long and short lines. Depending on how much space there is next to you, most pegs will have a decent margin that you can catch the bigger fish later in the match. Try to find that magic 2ft (60cm) of depth and make a mental note of its position. Make use of any features like trees, bushes, reeds and. if you're lucky, a empty platform next to you. These areas will all hold fish. On the far bank, the vegetation is mostly reeds and grasses. Fish will live under these but can be tricky to reach with a pole especially if it's windy or you don't have a long enough pole! Method feeder will be your friend here, particularly if you have a clear muddy patch to fish to.

Bait: Spring is a transitional time of year. So, you need to be prepared for fish to go on the feed or still be shy of the bait. I recommend that you bring the following bait.

1 pint of live maggots, preferably red.

2mm 'Micro' pellets for both pole and feeder. The usual 4mm, 6mm Hard pellets.

4mm and 6mm Expander pellets (See previous report for how to prepare these) At least 1x tin Luncheon Meat. (Not Spam!) 2 tins would be better just in case. If you do not have meat cutters, bring the tin/tins and we/I will cut them up for you. Some dark or green method mix ground bait.

Back up baits (optional): Dead Maggots. Small tin Sweetcorn Bag of Paste mix (Bait Tek Super G or Dynamite Swim Stim). Bandum's and other feeder baits.

Tackle: Pole:

Preferably 10/12 elastics for the main lines, and 14 for the Margins. Floats should be around the 0.3g to 0.4g mark (4x12 to 4x14) for your two main lines. Minimum of 0.17mm line (6lb) For the margins I'd go for a 0.4g fibreglass stemmed float with a thicker tip. 0.19mm line (7lb) Waggler: 1.0g inserted float will be fine. Waggler will not be as effective as the pole. It might be an idea to use a pole rig on the waggler rod if you do not have a pole? Either that or ask to borrow one of our coaching poles.

Feeder: I would start with a small 24 to 30g Method feeder and switch to a large combi/banjo feeder once the fish have started feeding positively. The Combi/banjo feeder will introduce less feed to hungry fish creating competition for the food making them less wary of a baited hook.

Fishing: Start on your short line feeding a small ball of micros with a pinch of both meat cubes and 4mm expanders. Start with 6mm meat on the hook. After each fish, pop a SMALL ball or 'clump' of pellets in. (Ask if you don't know what a clump of pellets is. It's easier to show you than write it here!) I wouldn't feed the longer line until I'd worked out how the short line was fishing. I want to focus the fish to the short line because I can catch quicker there. If you have caught a few fish from the short line or it isn't working that well. Feed the longer line the same as you did for the short at the start. If your short line hasn't worked, the longer line might. If you have caught a few fish short and it is slowing down, then going long will 'rest' your short line and you can switch between the two to keep fish going into your net.

If neither of these two has worked for you (after 2 hours), then you might want to try the feeder. Make sure you clip up before the match and fish as tight to the far bank as you dare. You might think you are fishing close to the bank, but there are undercuts that fish love to hide in. Muddy 'bald spots' on the far side will help to prevent snagging on the grasses.

I would go for a 50/50 mix of pellets to ground bait to start with and move it to more pellets or more ground bait depending on how I felt the fish wanted the mix to be as the match progressed.

At about midday or 1pm, start sprinkling some meat cubes (6mm) into your chosen margin swim. As you fish your other lines, keep your eye out for signs of fish. Swirls, boils, or clouded water. When these show, get on it! Fish can quite big later in the margin, and will boost your total weight considerably. Do not ignore the margins!

All of the above is a bit of a guess, but I don't think it will be far off. It's been a while since I fished on the Canal and meat seems to have taken over from Paste, or it's just too early for Paste yet. Accurate plumbing, feeding and casting is key on the Canal. Get this right and you won't be far off... Good luck! Juniors Sec...

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