Simon Nickless, Old River Nene

With 40 years of canal fishing under my belt, I have many favourite canal pegs. So many in fact that I couldn’t make up my mind as to which one to choose.

Simon Nickless never happier Simon Nickless never happier

Anglers name:  Simon Nickless

Current club, team or sponsor:  Sensas Black Country

How old were you when you started fishing?: Four years old

Which was the first canal you ever fished? At which location?:     Staffrdshire and Worcestershire Canal at Gailey

Which is your favourite species of fish?: Roach

If you had to choose just one, which would be your favourite fishing bait?: Squatts, especially when fishing for roach.

What do you consider your greatest fisheries or angling achievement?: It a difficult question to answer as there have been many, especially on the team front such as the 1991 Division One national but individually winning the Kamasan Matchman of the Year in 1987/88 sticks in the memory

What is your remaining biggest single ambition in fisheries/angling?:  To keep competing at the top level and fingers crossed for an ongoing upturn in match attendances of canals

Who is your all time fisheries or angling hero and why?: Ivan Marks. He always had time to talk to youngsters and adults alike and wanted to help everyone catch more fish, a true angling legend.

On my arrival to my peg, everybody else had a boat on the far bank but not me. All I had was bare metal pilings on a peg 17m wide. Simon Nickless

So instead I have chosen a venue that is very similar to a canal, namely the Old River Nene at March. I have picked it because on my first trip I had the match of a lifetime.

New venue

The Old Nene at March, in the very heart of the Fens was an unknown venue to me and a 260 mile round trip from home to boot. As I hadn't been there before so I made a few phone calls about methods and baits to see what I could glean about the best tactics. These matches are run by Bob Fitzjohn, they are well run and well attended.

Unfavourable draw

The method I thought of using bread punch, hemp, pinkies and ground bait went out of the window when I drew a peg on the bypass, just outside March. This section had not been used in matches for two months because of its mediocre form. To put it mildly I was not feeling that hopeful on route to the peg.

Where the offside feature gone?

On my arrival to my peg, everybody else had a boat on the far bank but not me. All I had was bare metal pilings on a peg 17m wide. Just my luck I thought. I decided to fish pinkie and ground bait on the five metre line, chopped worm and caster at 8m and 16m feeding worms via a bait dropper and then loose feeding casters over the top.

Rudd galore

I started off on the five metre line and amazingly the float sailed away first put in. I proceeded to catch 70 odd small roach and rudd in the first hour. Switching to the worm line I caught eight large rudd in eight casts. These were proper rudd the likes of which I had never seen before, golden coloured fish of up a pound and a half in weight. I kept feeding this line and changing back periodically to the five metre line.

I finished up with five tench, five skimmers and lots of big rudd. The last rudd I landed weighing only an ounce or two shy of three pounds. It turned out to be a lovely days fishing and I had the top weight of 49lbs 15 ounces and a welcome match win with one of the best weights off the river for 20 years.

Simon Nickless's favourite peg courtesy Angling Trust Simon Nickless's favourite peg courtesy Angling Trust