My accidental canal season 2005, I had intended to fish a local lake and the river Thames.
So the year before I was seriously ill with the deadly pancreatic cancer, how was I to know I would still be here to write this in 2016.
I had walked the banks of the Oxford canal many times but it always looked pretty dirty and barren, never saw a fish, but I did notice a few anglers going down to this stretch late evening so I grabbed the dog and went to investigate, they were floating crust and had had a few fish showing interest. The next morning which i think was in April we went back at 5 am with a pocket full of dog biscuits, the only time that our dog” lucky” would walk to heel! 10 biccies for the carp and 2 for the dog! we kept this up for about a week and noticed a few carp in one place where the canal took a slight bend and where the wind pushed into the far bank, the only trouble was the tow path was very narrow here, this time I took the telescopic rod and with the intention of finding a few fish, the first time down there with a rod and they were gone!
I continued to drop in a few chum mixers and sure enough a few days later I found them again in the same place this time the rod was there and I dropped a nice piece of bread flake into the inside shelf and sat back watching the line, it flickered and then screamed off down the canal towards an old burnt out boat, it gave a spirited scrap and when it went in the net looked to be about an 8lb mirror in really good condition, I was hooked.
I found out which club ticket I needed and joined up in the May, and continued to bait a few spots and fished them for short sessions early morning and late evening, it was first light till the first boat going through in the mornings and from around 8 pm till dark when the boat traffic stopped in the evenings. I just took 2 rods and a bucket of vitalin which i had prepared in the kitchen by adding boiling water and either float fished or freelined, I went on to catch 21 carp by September nothing big but some doubles and the biggest was 16lb 10oz I did see a big ghostie a few times but it never hit the net. Bait was either bread luncheon meat or worm.
Then in September after our family holiday to Cornwall I decided to bait a spot with a wide part of the tow path where I could set up to do a night with a brolly system and a bedchair. It was near the end of September by the time I actually managed to get there for the night ,I had also been giving them a few 10 mm white chocolate boilies in the prebait.
I had invited my brother to join me for the night, so we set up with me on the spot and he was about 20 metres downstream, we put a bit of bait in and waited for the boats to moor up, so in i cast both rods on buzzers and fixed leads with 10 mm white choc boilies on both rods, the first run came about 20 minutes from the off and through the night I had 11 runs and landed 9 fish to about 14lb. They were obviously just in my swim as my brother only had 1 run and landed a nice common of about 11 lb. For me a real red letter session!!
Unfortunately I have not been back due to bad health but it will be a year I will treasure for the rest of my life 30 carp in one season from the dirty old canal which had never appealed to me before.
This stretch very rarely saw any anglers and many of the fish had perfect mouths with full curtain, so get on the prebait and give it a go.
Big thanks to Geoff for writing this article
Not from the Canal this one as Geoff was travelling so light he didn’t take his camera