DROP SHOT A WORM FOR A 3lb STRIPEY
This historic water responds well to a combination of lure and bait fishing
THE hectic pace of modern life leads many anglers to choose waters that are simple to fish and guaranteed to produce big weights every session.
But those who are willing to do a little bit of homework in their spare time can discover a whole new side to fisheries that tend to be shunned by the majority of the angling public.
A great example is the hugely underrated Fossdyke Navigation Canal on the outskirts of Lincoln. Weedy in some areas, with clear water and miles of bank to roam, there are very few stand-out features to attack.
It’s not a sight to inspire much confidence, but what lies beneath the surface will soon change your attitude towards this stretch of waterway.
Perch to over 4lb, double-figure pike and large shoals of silverfish are all present and more than willing to feed right through the winter.
Specimen Hunting UK member Phil Taylor isn’t one to follow the crowds, and much prefers the challenge posed by venues such as the Fossdyke.
“I’d heard of big fish from this place, and without gathering much background information I managed to land a 3lb-plus perch and several good sized back-ups on my first-ever session on this stretch of Midlands canal,” explained Phil.
“I instantly knew that if that was possible when I was just taking a bit of a punt, it was a water capable of a lot more.”
Tracing the origins of many waters can prove almost impossible, but the history books clearly show that the Fossdyke has been in existence for a very long time… almost 1,900 years, in fact!
Built by the Romans in around 120AD, its primary purpose at the time was to join the Rivers Trent and Witham to make moving goods easier by boat.
Since then, it has undergone several major reconstructions, but a huge build-up of silt made it unnavigable before it was cleared out again in 1744.
The fishing has played a more prominent part in the last few decades, and those in the know will argue that there has never been a better time to wet a line on the Fossdyke.
KEEP ON MOVING
There are several areas along the canal with form for producing quality predators, but Phil prefers two stretches that have been particularly kind to him in the past.
“The stretch in front of the Burton Waters marina is excellent, and you can often see the shoals of small silvers in the clear water. If they are there, you can guarantee that the perch and pike aren’t far away,” he said.
“Alternatively, the water between the Pyewipe Inn and the junction of the Fossdyke with the Catchwater Drain is worth a shot.
“The water is still fairly weedy but if you explore the venue you’ll find clear pegs where the fish will hold up.”
Roving is by far the most effective way to locate the shoals, and a handful of casts while drop shotting or lure fishing is usually enough to determine whether you are going to get a take.
The fish do drift around chasing the bait fish, so somewhere that fails to produce a single knock for many sessions on the bounce
could suddenly throw up a personal best next time.
BETTER PROSPECTS STILL
As the frosts take hold, weed will die back even more, creating more swims and improving the likelihood of a big fish.
Stacks of fish between 1lb and 2lb can be found, and it is very rare not to land at least a couple of specimens towards the high end of this bracket.
But the bigger 3lb-plus specimens are also present in good numbers. Phil concluded: “This is a water that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, and it’s common to have a whole stretch to yourself.
“If a personal-best perch is on the agenda you’ll give yourself a fine chance of bagging one by visiting the Fossdyke.”
PRICES: Angling rights are controlled by Lincoln DAA and day tickets are £5 on the bank. Season permits are priced at £25 for adults, valid for a year from the date of purchase
CONTACT: Call Trevor on 07530 475076
LOCATION: Burton Waters, Burton Lane End, Lincoln, LN1 2WN or Pyewipe Inn, Saxilby Rd, Lincoln LN1 2BG
Perch grow big on the Fossdyke.