Read the story of how the Canal & River Trust came to be
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We have vacancies across all of our waterways and in the offices, museums and attractions that support them. We're one of the UK's biggest charities and we take pride in everything we do
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.
There is some debate about the fly which produces gozzers. Some say that they are the larva of the common European bluebottle fly, others are convinced the flies that lay the eggs are black in colour.
It’s said that the gozzer fly does not do well in indoor farmed environments and prefers an open-air environment in which to lay their eggs on items such as pigs or sheep’s heart, chicken or pigeon roadkill. The key thing is that gozzers are noticeably softer and whiter than maggots that are farmed commercially and shy biting fish will hang on to them for an instant longer so the bites are slightly better. Sugar was sometimes added a few hours before they were taken of the feed. Once off the feed, the gozzers are cleaned in bran which needs to be changed periodically.
Thousands of match anglers including greats such as Ivan Marks, Freddie Foster, Billy Lane, Benny Ashurst not forgetting John Essex who won the 1971 Great Ouse Championship would swear by gozzers as the ultimate bream hook bait.
The sour bran special has reputation for being a maggot of Lancashire and the north west. In his 1968 book of match fishing, Benny Ashurst is a fan of gozzers and sour bran specials. Many anglers who have tried to breed this bait have not been successful for it is said that a certain quantity of urine is needed in the sour milk and bran mixture recipe to attract the secretive fly. By all accounts it’s impossible to breed them outside of the warmer months so they are very much a summer bait.
Maggots in various guises have been used for hundreds of years as bait to catch fish. Many different types are mentioned in the first English language fishing book ‘Treatise of fishing with an angle,’ believed to have been written by Dame Juliana Berners. Both gozzers and sour bran specials were in common use by 1920 as they are mentioned in R E Fletcher’s 'Baits and Ground Baits for Match Fishing'.
Like large maggots and pinkies, gozzers and sour bran specials will quickly pupate, typically in around a week or so. To slow this process down, keep them in the fridge with plenty of air in the tin.
They will lose their softness after a few days at low temperatures as the skins toughen up. Make sure you get the permission of the fridge owner and take care to keep the lid on the receptacle, for stories of escaped bait are the stuff of nightmares.
Last date edited: 30 November 2017