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Squatt Fishing on canals (Stillwaters)

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Related species:  Bream

Description: Another tactic when fishing canals is to call upon the services of the small squatt, a veritable favourite amongst anglers. These tiny maggots, usually measuring less than a centimetre are certainly no wimps when fishing roach in canals. Squatt fishing is tricky in terms of figuring out the optimum depth in which to fish. Being so small, the squat will sift to the bottom extremely slowly. This would imply that if there is a current present, a sizable distance of drift is likely to result.

Find a spot on the canal that offers easy access for feeding. The deepest area of the swim will generally be found in the middle channel of the canal where most of the traffic will transit. The optimum spot to target then is between this channel and the far bank. Given the transit if boats, fish are generally inclined to move back-up against the bank, you may take advantage of this by concentrating your feeding to where this occurs. Once the fish have become accustomed to feeding in this spot, they will be unlikely to reposition back into the central channel.

Rigs: As squatts areso light, it’s best to set a light rig accordingly. It is matter ultimately based on your own preference whether to consider diamond shaped, or stretched rugby-ball shape, or the more conventional elongated teardrop the one to go for. The given conditions present while fishing should help inform in your deliberations. An important consideration must be however, that the float needs to function a soon as possible once it hits the water. This being due to the necessity of insuring that the bait falls as slowly as possible. Seeeing bites is made a lot easier if employing a wire-stem float, the advantage being the float cocks straight away once in the water. Try to avoid using a heavy float, as this will prevent the fish from rejecting the bait. The rig should be weighted using a spread-out chain of shot; styls and split shot are the obvious methods available. Styls will present the possibility of slowing the rig further, thus enabling an extra bit of control if the fish aren’t feeling skittish. In the absence of styls, use a lighter shot instead to achieve the same affect. Be aware that a heavier rig may be required if the water is moving a lot owing to the passage of boats or the opening of locks. As some roach can weigh up to and over 1lb vary the hook length accordingly. Choosing a 6 inch hook-length will allow some flexibility should a change be required. Again, depending on the confidence and size of the roach .06 through to .08 size hookslenghts should suffice.

Again it’s best to be mindful of fishing in the deepest area of the swim, this is primarily due to the fact that any strong current will surely affect the drift of the light rig and therefore potentially be off-putting to the fish feeding in the swim. A good guesstimate when squatt fishing is to fish in water no deeper than two and a half feet, however should embankments and shelves prove steep, then fish away regardless in the shallow. The fish will need to be encouraged by the use of a ground-bait but will feed in a foot of water quite contentedly.

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