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Darren Massey: Clayhanger

My favourite stretch of canal is the Daw End Branch Canal, at Clayhanger near Brownhills. My favourite pegs are on the Clayhanger wides.

Darren Massey, angler Darren Massey, angler

Angler's name: Darren Massey

Current club, team or sponsor: Captain of Shakespeare Superteam

Age started fishing: 14

Favourite fish species: tench and barbel

Favourite fishing bait: lobworm

Greatest angling achievement: I've had over a 1,000 placings in open matches, but my greatest achievements are with team fishing. The best was becoming Shakespeare Superteam’s Captain in 2011. Also being part of the Shakespeare team in winning two Division One National Team Golds 2009 & 2013, then being part of the Shakespeare team in winning the Angling Times Team Championships final in 2009

Angling ambition: to keep competing and winning

Angling hero: Bob Nudd as he was my hero when I was coming through the ranks.

"I have fished 34 different canals all over the country and have caught double weights off 22 of them, so that shows the great potential of the British canals."

I have been fishing canals for over 30 years, and have seen many great catches. I keep a record of all my matches, catches and venue PB’s. I have fished 34 different canals all over the country and have caught double weights off 22 of them, so that shows the great potential of the British canals. Using the right methods, great catches are possible for many anglers.

My favourite stretch of canal is the Daw End Branch Canal, at Clayhanger Nr Brownhills. My favourite pegs are on the Clayhanger wides. I park in Maybrook road and walk over the Clayhanger Bridge and then left along the towpath for about 200 yards.

Net of fish, Darren MasseyI like this stretch as there is a big variety of fish species present; tench, bream, roach, rudd, perch, carp, pike and chub are all found and you never know what the next bite will be. Also there are lots of my favourite species of fish there - the tench. Many are around the 4-6lb mark which give you a very good fight. Also the venue is set in a nice comfortable surrounding, lots of wildlife and it’s very peaceful. There is a wide towpath giving plenty of room to set your fishing gear out but also leaving plenty of room for passers-by.   

Lots of wildlife and very peaceful                       

The canal at Clayhangers is about 18 meters wide. I fish the pole at 13 meters fishing two lines, one to the left and one to the right. The depth is fairly deep for a typical canal at around 6 foot. As I am to catch bigger fish, strong commercial carp style tackle is a must. With this in mind, I set up just two rigs which are made up with identical 4x14 pole stick style floats but any float around that size will do.

The first made up with 0.14mm Shakespeare Mach XT straight through to a muscle-packing size 13 Kamasan X-Strong B711 hook. shotting pattern is 2 x No 11 droppers about 8” from the hook and then another 8” up from that, Then the rest of the shotting pattern being No 8’s up to the float one every 12”. The second rig was an identical rig but a little lighter used if bites are hard to come by, made up with 0.12mm Shakespeare Mach XT straight through to the same pattern hook size 15. To complete the no-fuss theme, the heavier rig is attached to a carp crunching style no. 18-22 Blue Middy hollow elastic, and the lighter one to a 12-16 Pink Middy hollow elastic,  

I will fish one line with chopped dendrobaena worms and casters. Typically I introduce about 30 worms to start with, chopped into fine bits, and fishing either half of dendrabena worm, lob tail or double caster on the hook. I would hope to catch the tench on this line. But it’s always good to have several different baits handy as you never know what they will prefer on the day.

On the second line, I would feed three big balls of groundbait with dead red maggot and casters added to the mix. I would hope to catch bream on this one. I would lose feed casters or maggots dozen or so every five minutes over both lines.

Surprisingly, no angling club currently lease these fishing rights and thus and it’s available for anyone to fish on the Canal & River Trust Waterway Wanderers annual permit.

The Local fishing tackle shop is Staffordshire Angling Supplies, 62 High St, Chasetown, Burntwood, Staffs, WS7 8XL,