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Dominic Garnett: Greenway, Grand Western Canal

My favourite peg would have to be the stretch just a short walk from Greenway on the Grand Western Canal, better known to locals as the Tiverton Canal. I would pick this spot simply because it looks like the most perfect place in the world on a summer’s day.

Dominic Garnett, angler Dominic Garnett, angler
"Whether you catch a lot or a little, it’s the kind of place that just makes you feel glad to be alive."

Angler's name: Dominic Garnett

Current club, team or sponsor: Exeter AA, Tiverton & District AA, Turrall Flies

Age started fishing: three

Favourite fish species: pike and perch

Favourite fishing bait: worm

Greatest angling achievement: my books. The writing, photography and research for the likes of Canal Fishing: A Complete Guide and Flyfishing for Coarse Fish represent many years of highs, lows and hard work.

Angling ambition: just to keep writing and hopefully entertaining my fellow anglers.

Angling hero: my father. Not for being the best angler in the world, but for teaching me how to enjoy the sport and appreciate the natural world.

" At any moment, you might see a swimming grass snake, wild deer or one of the local kingfishers."

My favourite peg would have to be the stretch just a short walk from Greenway on the Grand Western Canal, better known to locals as the Tiverton Canal. I would pick this spot simply because it looks like the most perfect place in the world on a summer’s day.

You might catch any one of several species, but it is particularly renowned for tench. The pure tranquility and the sight of all the lilies, which were once cultivated and harvested here for the ornamental pond trade, give the place a timeless beauty. At any moment, you might see a swimming grass snake, wild deer or one of the local kingfishers.

Rising rudd, Dominic GarnettYou could pick just about any peg here and introduce some bait (usually corn, caster and stewed hemp) and catch roach from the off, with the tench moving in sooner or later. They are beautiful fish too, velvety and very deep, dark green due to the clear water. When it’s very hot and the tench switch off, I also like to wander with a fly rod because there are some immaculate looking rudd that rise eagerly- very exciting sport indeed!

Mixed memories

The place brings both good and more “mixed” memories for me personally. The best would be early mornings of bubbling tench and some great catches, often shared with my older brother. The worst would be the breach of 2012, when the banks broke near the access point. Ironically, the very spot where the disaster happened is also where I took perhaps my favourite canal photograph of all time, of a particularly golden dawn.

After the banks broke, many fish were rescued from the fields, but it was still a hefty blow. Since then, the canal seems to be recovering, I’m glad to say.

The locals will tell you that the tench are not as numerous as they once were (anglers are always such pessimists!) but they are still here. Perhaps the most underrated sport of all is for the roach though and I’ve had some very happy hours over the years, fishing with bread or hempseed on the pole or waggler. Whether you catch a lot or a little, it’s the kind of place that just makes you feel glad to be alive. In fact I can’t think of a prettier place to fish in all of Devon.

Day tickets and further information

The travelling angler can easily buy a Tiverton AA day ticket for just £5 at Culm Valley Angling, just off M5 Junction 28 (EX15 1BW/ 01884 839273). For the record, this is a really friendly, well-run shop that is ideal for picking up bait, essentials and local advice.

 

More of Dominic’s writing and photography can be found in his recent books Crooked Lines and Canal Fishing: A Practical Guide. Both can be found along with his regular blog at: www.dgfishing.co.uk