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Mark Thomas: Ladyshore

My favourite canal peg is near Bridge 16 on the Ladyshore stretch of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal.

Angler's name: Mark Thomas

Current club, team or sponsor: Little Britain Anglers

Age started fishing: five

Favourite fish species: tench

Favourite fishing bait: red maggot/worm

Greatest angling achievement: becoming a level 2 coach so I can pass on my knowledge to the next generation

Angling ambition: to get a junior section at my club up and running

Angling hero: my Dad, he taught me to fish and in doing so has given me a lifetime of experiences and memories that is hard to beat.

"As a fishery it’s something of an unknown quantity. You just never know what is going to turn up."

The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal has not been used for navigation in a long time and many parts are in a state of disrepair. Indeed some stretches are dry due to a wall breach in 1936. The Ladyshore section is named after the area where it is located in and was saved with the building of a dam wall some time during the 1950’s. This is why I like this spot so much. It is somewhat unloved and been been left to fend for its self for decades. This gives it a charm all of its own. As a fishery it’s something of an unknown quantity. You just never know what is going to turn up. Due to the lack of boat traffic, it is very shallow and weedy, so there is a lot to contend with as an angler.

Every bait known to man

The basin is approximately 1/2 mile from the car park at bridge 16 so it’s not far to carry your gear. It’s very weedy so you have to find an opening you can cast to.  I like to fish the lift method with my favourite handmade floats by Mike Cootes. I have tried every bait known to man and not a lot work. I reckon that the fish are used to feeding on all the natural food in the water. I have found that red maggot and worm cocktail is the key to catching the resident tench and this will also throw up the odd cheeky perch.

The Tinca stick float is a classic. I love the way I can spot it right down.  It’s so sensitive that with the least movement around the bait, the float shows you that your quarry is interested in your offering.

Fishing rights

The fishing rights on the canal are now being looked after by Little Britain Anglers (annual permits are £20). They are working hard to clear the canal of weed and rubbish with the help of the Canal & River Trust. They have undertaken many work parties in the last year to improve the canal and surrounding areas.

The area is very popular with walkers and cyclists so there is always someone to talk to. Most passers-by are very interested to chat about the canal and the changes that they have seen over the years. The nearest Tackle shop is Elton Tackle in Radcliffe and you can always rely on Phil or Shaun to welcome you and make you a brew.

I am looking forward to getting back there soon for my next fishing session