In recent times, a particular favourite of mine has been the junction of the Staffs & Worcs and Dudley Canals at Stewponey, Kinver at bridge 33, where in spring and autumn, when boat traffic is quieter, good catches of silver fish can be had and pike or perch can be targeted on dead bait or lure tactics.
Angler's name: Kevin Pearson
Current club, team or sponsor: Angling Trust and Birmingham Anglers’ Association
Age started fishing: eight
Favourite fish species: barbel
Favourite fishing bait: luncheon meat
Greatest angling achievement: Representing England Police in international boat fly-fishing on two occasions.
Angling ambition: I always wanted to be a bailiff after retiring from the police and I became head bailiff for the BAA as a volunteer. I then became Regional Enforcement Manager for the Midlands Angling Trust, so those ambitions have been achieved. I would now like to be a part of a more consistent and unified approach by anglers and the authorities in protecting our waterways against poaching and pollution.
Angling hero: I don’t go in for the heroes thing much, but I have always enjoyed watching or listening to Bob Nudd. I think he epitomises the best in British angling with his skilful and professional approach to the sport and clearly enjoys catching fish, whatever size they are!
"My love of the small-scale challenges of the local canals still lives on. It is like ‘fishing in miniature’ with everything reduced in size, except the challenge."
Ever since I was a boy, when I used to fish the Black Country canals around Dudley and Stourbridge, I have been fascinated by canal ‘pounds’; Those mysterious pools that are found at the junctions of canal arms and seem to promise so much to the angler. I remember the one that we fished at the Nine Locks at Brierley Hill in search of giant roach - in other words, anything over two ounces! Or the elusive monster pike that local folklore led us to believe lived there. In reality we had to be content with small perch, gudgeon, stone loach, daddy ruffe and sticklebacks for most of the time, but we were happy!
Over the years my angling interests have spread to the rivers for barbel and pike, lakes for carp and tench and big reservoirs, fly-fishing for trout in boat competitions, but my love of the small-scale challenges of the local canals still lives on. It's probably because for me it is like ‘fishing in miniature’ with everything reduced in size, except the challenge. Here, precision and stealth are the key if you want success.
On this section of canal it’s my own club, the Birmingham Anglers’ Association, who control the fishing rights. In order to fish legally, you need be hold full membership or purchase a day permit in advance (day permits are not available on the bank).
Literally next to this section runs the River Stour (again the fishing is controlled by the BAA) so you can switch if you fancy a change - but only during the open season of course. You can usually have the place to yourself, except at weekends when you might have a roving lure angler visit for a short while before moving on and although it does attract walkers, cyclist and boat traffic making three point turns it still remains a peaceful and pleasant place to fish.
You can park in the layby on the Bridgnorth Road just past the traffic lights and it’s only five minutes by car from where I live, so great for a short pike session.
I would normally favour a roving approach for predator fishing. There are such a number of different options here and different ways you can fish this stretch that it has even become a favourite of a friend who comes down from Yorkshire to fish the rivers for barbel.
If the rivers are in flood, he'll say: "Let's go down to that bit of canal again and do some piking."
I do think that many of our canals are both underestimated and under fished these days. Sadly, they probably get overlooked in favour of the more prolific but much less challenging commercials. Canal fishing is relatively inexpensive too and I would recommend to any youngsters taking up the sport to get out to their local ‘cut’ and learn their angling skills properly before expecting to catch a 20lb carp. You never know though, you might just catch one of those as well in your favourite canal peg!