Read the story of how the Canal & River Trust came to be
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If you're thinking of getting in touch then please take a moment to look through these pages as we probably have the answer on our website
Planning & design
All you need to know about planning and design on our canals and rivers
Find a winter mooring
Find a cosy section of canal to hunker down in this winter
10 reasons to take up canoeing
It's a great way to get fit and explore our waterways at the same time
Share the Space
Take a look at our common sense guide to sharing the towpath
Find a place to fish
From reservoirs to club-managed canals and river stretches - find your nearest place to fish
Get your free guide
Download your free guide today and start exploring the waterway nature near you
Download your free guides
You've nine free days out guides to choose from - where will you go first?
Find a walk near you
Are you ready to ramble? Find a waterside stroll or a satisfying hike along our beautiful canals and rivers
Take a look at our upcoming events here.
Find your favourite waterway
With over 95 canals, rivers, reservoirs, docks and navigations, find out more about your favourite waterway
Something for everyone
Help us make a difference and have fun along the way. Find your perfect volunteer role today
Join our team
Could you join your local Towpath Taskforce team and help us to keep our canals looking lovely?
Desmond Family Canoe Trail
If you're aged 16-25 and would like to get involved with this exciting project, please get in touch
Could you be a volunteer lock keeper?
Find out what's involved with this popular volunteering opportunity
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
Worms, in their various forms, have been used since man first started fishing with rod (pole) and line. They are traditional bait - and a favourite of both the angler and the fish. Fish naturally encounter worms as they get washed from the land into canals, rivers and stillwaters.
Get it right and chopped worm fishing can be a deadly method on our waterways.
Dame Juliana Berners writing in the first half of the 15th century listed worm as a bait to catch the following species; salmon, trout, grayling, barbel, carp, chub, bream, tench, perch, roach, dace, bleak, ruffe, gudgeon, flounder and eel.
Izaak Walton wrote of worms back in 1653 ‘for you are to know that dead worm is but a dead bait, and like to catch nothing, compared to a lively, quick stirring worm’.
In the 20th century, the great north-west canal angler Benny Ashurst wrote that worms were not a popular bait with match anglers having gone out of fashion. Despite not rating the bait that highly, Benny won 19 sweepstakes on the trot during the war years using the tail of a redworm with black magic leaf mould as groundbait. He chopped up the redworms found in compost heaps into small sections about an inch long, which healed nicely after a few days. He would also loose-feed small lengths of redworm. Doubtless this method would still produce results today.
Did you know there are more than 25 species of worms found in the UK? Identify the different species of worm with this useful guide.
Worms are more than just a fishing bait. None other than Charles Darwin wrote ‘there are few animals that have played such an important part in the history of the world’. The four species of worm most often used as bait by anglers are redworms, brandlings, dendrobaena’s and lobworms. The 2014 canal pairs champion, Simon Mottram, is a fan of the lobworm as a bait on the canal network, having first found out about the method from anglers in the Wigan area.
During the summer months Motty will mysteriously leave home during the dark hours. His destination a local cricket ground. Armed with a head torch he will perform a strange ritual whereby he crawls for an hour or two on his hands and knees to gather many dozens of lobworms in a session. A good grip is needed in what is something of a tug of war contest between Motty and the lobworms
Motty can’t claim to be the first to discover what great places cricket pitches are for lobworms. In the Victorian era, Trent Bridge cricket ground was the venue of choice for numerous worm gatherers who sold their harvest at 3 shillings (15p) per thousand.
Throughout fishing history, anglers have scoured their worms to provide the shiny healthy-looking finish - hopefully making them irresistible to a hungry fish. Motty uses a very large storage tub with plenty of space to keep his worms in. He found that the worms would die if kept in too confined a space. The worms are kept in moss and strips of shredded tabloid newspaper are added. The worms like to eat the newspaper. Motty keeps the container in the fridge and after a few days you end up with a nice shiny polish to the skin. If you were wondering why Motty will go to these lengths rather than buy worms form a shop, then the answer is simple. He believes it gives him an edge over less dedicated competitors as shop bought worms are not as high quality compared to those collected and cleaned yourself.
Places to fish
We wish we could share places to find worms - instead here's places to fish...
Last date edited: 18 January 2018