Sunday, 20 May 2012

Manchester ship canal bream

A lot of my free time lately has been taken up involved with various Salford friendly anglers events, always a joy to help and with fishing drinkwater park so I have been itching for a new challenge. One water that has always been on my radar is the Manchester ship canal. Now I have had a few half hearted attempts to fish the canal before but never gave it the time i felt it deserved. well I decided it was high time to have a proper crack at this rather daunting sheet of water. Mike and I began to formulate a plan recently which involved a visit to the canal to suss out likely looking spots. We settled upon an area Mike has fished in the past and introduced some bait ready for our first visit. Prior to our first fishing trip a number of trips down to pre bait took place with the hope we might attract some of the huge shoals of bream into the the area. The plan seemed to be working as we saw bream rolling in the area on each visit. Exciting stuff! The first fishing session was gong to be Friday evening from around 4 through till dusk. Upon arriving at the swim we were greeted with numbers of large bream rolling in the area so confidence was high that the hard work prior to the fishing would pay off. The swim was tricky to fish due to a strong flow and deep water and a feeder carrying up to 3 oz of lead was required just to hold bottom. Ths is one big water to fish with some interesting passers by including booze cruise style boats such as the one below
Bait was corn or dead maggots on the hook and into the feeder went groundbait and a particle and pellet mixture. Tackle was very sturdy 10lb mainline and hooklink as BIG fish of all species are known to inhabit the canal. It proved to be an incredibly frustrating evening as there were dozens of decent bream rolling throughout the evening over our bait and in the area yet bites were not forthcoming. I was beginning to think I had my tactics totally wrong when the tip went around and I latched into a decent bream of around 4/5 pounds which made me very happy. A number of liners followed and an hour or two later I took a second slightly smaller fish. Job done home time at about ten yet we left with the feeling we hadnt got our tactics right so alarm clocks set for 4am the next day for another crack. To cut a long story short the morning visit from around 5-8 am the next day was a disaster not a single bite and very little fish activity but being determined/mad we decided to return that same evening for another go. We arrived back at around 5pm and this time I used a slightly different rig. Well it worked instantly and first cast I slipped the net under this 7lb 8oz ship canal cracker!
I now thought I had it sussed but yet again experienced huge numbers of bream rolling over the bait only to be rewarded with liners and bites that were just impossible to hit. Well we packed up at about 8 and i was very happy with such a nice fish out of such a challenging water yet i feel there is unfinished business down the ship canal!


  1. Nice work Paul, competition is hotting up for next fish of the month!

  2. Cracking canal bream there! In fact I wonder if you might be able to help. I'm writing a book on canal fishing at the moment and am looking for info on locations, as well as local history, trivia and pictures. I'd happily credit you with anything that I use- would love to hear from you! My email is

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