This his­toric wa­ter re­sponds well to a com­bi­na­tion of lure and bait fish­ing

Angling Times (UK) - - WHERE TO FISH -

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.


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.


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.

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