Rich Hogg’s Canal Carping Q&A
When it comes to catching carp from canals, Richard Hogg is one of the country’s finest. We recently quizzed the canal carping master to find out how he tackles his local towpaths to help you put more fish on the bank during your own canal fishing adventure!
Question One: What’s the best way to locate the carp on my local stretch or do you just keep fishing different spots?
Rich says: The best way to locate carp on my local stretch is to walk likely looking sections on a morning or evening on sunny days with Polaroids on, they should give themselves away, if not then fishing different spot has often worked too.
Question Two: I’m getting pestered by bream on my local spots, what’s the best way of avoiding them?
Rich says: Fishing bigger baits will help avoid the bream but luckily for me, they’re not too much of a problem on my canal.
Question Three: Is pre-baiting worth trying for canal carp?
Rich says: Pre-baiting does work well but as canal carping gets more popular, I worry about baiting up for other anglers who’ll get the reward so my approach is usually to fish where I see them and perhaps put a bit of bait in the night before fishing.
Question Four: I seem to get a lot of smaller carp on the stretch I fish, how do I pick out the bigger fish or is it all down to location?
Rich says: If your rig is catching small carp then it will catch big ones too, so if you are only catching small fish, the chances are that there aren’t many big fish in your stretch. If this is the case, it’s worth trying another stretch.
Question Five: What kind of tactics do you adopt for canal carp. Should I feed heavy or go with single baits and PVA bags?
Rich says: I only fish very short sessions so I use minimal bait – perhaps half a dozen or so freebies just for that one bite and in some cases only use single hookbaits.
Question Six: I’ve found a stretch which contains carp but what spots should I target? Are there certain features I should look out for?
Rich says: Canals can be very featureless so anything like moored up boats, overhanging trees/bushes and reeds are all magnets for carp and good places to plan an attack.
Question Seven: The towpath is very narrow on my stretch of canal. How do you fish a night? Do you use a bivvy?
Rich says: Keeping gear to a minimum is a must for me. Even on the tightest of tow paths you can usually tuck a shelter in the hedge and run rods parallel to the water.
Question Eight: What are the best times to target canal carp during a 24 hour period?
Rich says: Each stretch can vary but I found first and last light to be the best times for a bite.
Question Nine: What’s the best time of year to fish for canal carp, is it worth trying in winter?
Rich says: The best time of year for canal carping is a matter of preference really, I personally like autumn and even winter you can still pick a few bites out.
Question Ten: What baits are best for targeting canal carp, do you use boilies or nuts?
Rich says: Bait wise, I prefer boilies, you can halve them, crumb them and trim down to keep the fish guessing.
Question Eleven: What kind of boilies do canal carp prefer? Is it nut, sweet or fishmeal-based baits?
Rich says: Canal carp are opportunists so if they find it they will eat it. But I have always found nut based baits to do more bites than any other.
Question Twelve: The stretch I fish see’s a lot of boat traffic, how do you combat this when it comes to keeping your lines from getting snagged on boat propellers?
Rich said: Fishing mornings and evenings usually eliminates the problem of boats but if a boat does come through I just wind in and give it a few minutes before casting out again after the water has settled. I do use back leads but that’s more for keeping my line out of the way of feeding fish.
Question Thirteen: Do you fish tight, semi slack or slack lines and do you use an alarm when canal carping?
Rich says: I always use alarms unless there are fish present on arrival that could be spooked easily. Nine times out of ten I will fish a tight-ish line using a back lead, but just pull a couple of inches of slack off the spool so it’s not ‘bow string tight.’ I’ll also occasionally fish a very slack line when I’m margin fishing.
Question Fourteen: What’s the best carp rig to use on the canal, especially in silty areas?
Rich says: The best rigs to use are simple ones with heavy leads. I use a slip D rigs with wafters for most of my fishing and a hinge rig when I need to pop a bait up.