Last week I went to the Kennet and Avon Canal near Marlborough, one of the venues to be used for the semi final of the Angling Trust winter league, this is the venue Dorking have chosen for their semi.
This piece of the K & A has to be the best of the whole canal and a stretch I fish on a regular basis, my best practice session I had 25lb roach last September, it is the same piece of canal that has been used twice in the drennan knockout cup, it really is something special and everybody who is fishing the semi will have a real good time.
I used the session as an early practice for the semi, even though 10 weeks down time after a lot of practice matches it was going to be a lot tougher, and the weather would be a lot warmer.
I kept things simple by feeding bread punch at 5m and a lobworm line to a tree opposite, as is normal with punch on this canal I caught straight away, small roach 20 to the lb, thats small for this area of the canal, but enjoyable. After about an hour I picked up my lobworm rig and pushed it across towards the bush, first drop in the float buried and I am playing the first perch of the day, about 1.5lb. During the next 2 hours I caught about 20 perch all on lobs, 6 of the fish were over 2lb and the best was 3lb 4oz and another 2 at 2lb 14oz, it really was a great day, I finished with about 30lb in total, nearly all perch along with a few pound of bread caught roach. How I would love a peg like that on the day of the match.
Recently the lock gates have been locked shut due to lack of water to refill them, this stretch is very near the highest point of the K & A, and with the recent lack of rain it has been closed to boats. You might think that was a good thing from the fishing point of view but the water had taken on a strange tea colour and it hadnt been fishing as well as it should have done, this trip however was the first since the locks have been reopened and the tea colour had gone leaving a nice winter canal colour and the perch really liked it.
This stretch of the canal can be fished on a Marlborough AA day ticket, which is available from the post office in Great Bedwyn, £6 for the day.
There are also a lot of skimmers on this venue, but they havent been showing recently, roach and perch will be the fish to fish for in the semi.