Stainforth and Keadby Canal

Venue Introduction

The Stainforth and Keadby Canal around Thorne and Stainforth has to be one of the fairest and most consistent canals in our region offering fabulous small roach, perch and skimmer sport in the summer on squatts while the bloodworm takes over in the winter months, as well as excellent bream and chub fishing throughout the year in the right areas. Today we are going to the Stainforth controlled stretch at Kirk Bramwith and heading for peg 49 in the famous Willows stretch to try and catch some bream and chub.

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It is a renowned big fish area all year round holding chub to over 4lb plenty of big skimmers and slabs and loads of roach and perch. In fact I think the fishing is as good as on many commercials and at only three quid a day it is a real bargain. I’ve done a bit of research and found out a match was won in the area last week with thirty odd pounds and with the weather warming up we should be in for some good sport.

Pole position

The peg I’m on has a forest of trees hanging several metres across the canal on the far bank which clearly is where the big fish are going to be and by far the best way to get up close to them is with the long pole. It allows much more accurate presentation than either the waggler or the feeder and, because you can simply lay light rigs into the right spot on a short line you don’t get any of the disturbance to the swim caused by wagglers or feeders splashing down. Today I’m using the brand new Triana Proto-Ice 17.5 metre pole that was a massive hit at the recent NEC show. It is exactly 14.5 metres to the trailing branches so I won’t need the full length today but I have fished it at 17.5 and it is brilliant. I’m setting up three top threes, two with number 6 elastic and the third with number 10 just in case the bream and chub are really having it. I’ll set up a cupping kit as well for feeding.

Floats and Rigs

On a good peg like this you’ve got to target those big fish so I won’t be setting up any bit fishing rigs and I won’t be fishing more than a foot away from those trees. On the rest of the canal you’d be looking to fish the near shelf and middle as well, so have to set up more rigs but not here.

One rig is set up with a 0.3g float and a string of No.11 shot down the line to present a slow sinking, natural presentation just in case the fish come up in the water to the loosefeed. The second will be a 0.5g float with a bulk 2ft from the hook and 5 No.11 shot spread below, this is the rig I expect to catch most on as I expect the fish to feeding on or near the bottom and this gets it down quickly as well as giving a very natural presentation in the last couple of feet. The third rig is my bagging rig with the same shotting pattern as rig two but a bigger float, 0.75g, a bigger bulk and the stronger elastic. If I’m using this rig I’m catching well.

Hooks and Line

Even though I’m targeting bigger fish I believe that to build match winning weights you also need to be able to catch some roach and skimmers as well so on my main rigs I don’t overdo it with tow-rope and big hooks. I’m using 0.12 main line to a size 20 hook tied to a 0.10 bottom on both my lighter rigs which I feel balances very well with the No.6 elastic and allows me to land most fish here while still remaining forgiving enough not to bounce hooks out of skimmers and roach. On my bagging rig I’m using 0.14 direct to a size 18 hook which coupled with the No.10 elastic gives me the power to bully big fish out of the snags and land them quickly if they’re really having it. The choice of hooks is a very personal matter I’ve found with top matchmen all seeming to use their own favourite patterns. The important thing about hook choice though is to only use patterns you are confident in, especially when targeting big fish. For my heavy rig I’m using a Kamasan B611 while on my two lighter rigs I’m using Triana Takara AT700 which is a finer wire hook to give better presentation with small baits while still retaining enough strength for most bream and chub fishing.

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Chopped worms and casters are among the best big fish canal baitsFeeding

As with all forms of fishing feeding is the key to consistent success so I believe serious thought should be put into the peg and conditions before putting anything it. I had a chat with another angler on the way to the peg who fished the area last week and struggled so it might be a mistake to be gung ho and just fill it in. Instead I’m going to feed two lines a few metres apart quite lightly to start with on the basis that if the fish are feeding I can easily put some more in but if they’re not I don’t fancy jumping in to get it all out again. I’m also going to feed both lines with a different type of feed using groundbait with a bit of everything on my right hand line and just chopped worms and caster on my left hand line. The idea being that the groundbait line will attract all fish from roach through to big bream while the chopped worm line will offer the chub and big perch, not great groundbait lovers, somewhere to feed away from the groundbait. Two lines will also offer me the chance to rest swims as the day progresses to let the fish build up their confidence again after I’ve plundered a few from one.

Time for action

Finally I’ve got everything ready and I’ve fed both lines, I plumbed up earlier and have set all the rigs a couple of inches over depth. It’s time to put a bait on and see what’s out there. I’m starting over the groundbait line with double maggot on the bulk down light rig. I was hoping it would go straight away but after 15 minutes I’ve had no positive bites. Shane nets a pole caught canal skimmerTime to try the other line with half a worm on the hook and finally I’m into a fish, sadly only a tommy ruffe but at least it’s a start. After a gudgeon and a perch on the next two puts in I decide to re-feed with another pot of chopped worms and a handful of casters and at last I get my first big fish, a chub of close to 3lb. It looks like they’re coming straight to the feed because I got that bite within seconds of re-feeding. I’ll start feeding a pot of bait every fish now and I’ll top up the ground bait line with another ball and start to loosefeed casters over it to keep it ticking over until I want to try it. It is important not to ignore the line you are not fishing you will almost certainly need it later in the session.

Bagging time

I lost a chub straight after the next pot of feed on the light rig and decide it’s time to step up to the bagging rig and am rewarded straight away with an even bigger chub and amazingly the following cast a massive roach that looked at least 2lb but sadly fell two ounces short when we weighed it later. After a quiet 15 minutes I decide it’s time to rest that line and have a go on the groundbait line. With the lighter bulk down rig a few small fish and a skimmer of close to a pound in the next 15 minutes show it’s a good move and the rest has certainly done the choppy line good as I get two good skimmers on the first two put ins after the rest.

By chopping and changing between the lines and rigs and feeding to the fish I manage to keep the bites coming for the whole of the three hour session to finish with twenty odd pounds. I had 2 chub, 7 big skimmers, an eel, 2 good roach, some perch, gudgeon and that opening ruffe to prove the potential of the canal and I reckon that if I could have stayed a full five hours I would have caught close to 50lb. Who needs commercials? For me this is much better fishing at half the price and it amazes me more people aren’t here. Get out and give it a try, you might be very pleasantly surprised.Shane with his net of bream and chub

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6 Comments

  1. Ian

    Feb 17, 2008

    It just goes to show the potential of this kind of venue, often overlooked, on our doorstep.

  2. wobbly bob

    Feb 18, 2008

    I didn’t realise pellets were used for smaller fish deliberately

  3. campo

    Mar 10, 2008

    Great feature lots of good info. Wot pellets wobbly Bob? ive missed summot i think.

  4. michael john gladwin

    Jan 19, 2009

    As secretary of our local pub’s fishing club im wanting to book a match on this canal problem is which stretch to fish and a contact number

  5. Scott

    Oct 01, 2010

    Hi, just read the article on kirk bramwith. I’m fishing the road side pegs 1-20 on a match and was just wondering if you could give me some tips and advice if could help it would b gratefully appreciated

  6. Neiltasker2011

    Dec 02, 2011

    ive been alot this year on there and never left with out having a net of over 10 pound yet and the chubb are showing know think they should do open matchs on here