Fishing on the Shropshire Union Canal

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John Harding talks about fishing his favourite stretch of canal, the Shropshire Union Canal at Craughton.

John Harding, angling on the Shropshire Union Canal John Harding, angling on the Shropshire Union Canal

"This length has good parking for your car and literally as soon as you are on the towpath you have numerous features to fish towards."

John Harding

To those of you who have a Waterway Wanderers permit my name may be familiar to you, as I am the chap that issues the permits, John Harding. [Update 2020: John is no longer managing these permits, but you can find all the information you need on our Waterway Wanderers scheme page.]

Living in the area I do I am very lucky to have three brilliant canals very close by: the Trent & Mersey, the Llangollen Canal and my local and favourite canal the Shropshire Union. All three of these canals have their own characteristics when it comes to fishing but you can apply the basic methods to them all and enjoy some fantastic fishing in the process.

Enjoy fantastic fishing

For the purpose of this article I decided to nip down to one of my favourite sections of the “Shroppie” for a couple of hours. The length that I chose was at Craughton, by bridge number 135, Craughton is a little bit further along the canal from the section behind Chester Zoo (in the direction of Ellesmere Port).  This length has good parking for your car and literally as soon as you are on the towpath you have numerous features to fish towards, weed beds, bushes etc.

For this short session though I decided to do something a bit different for a bit of fun. One of my other great interests is collecting old vintage fishing tackle, rods, reels, floats and so on.  So instead of using a modern carbon pole, I took a split cane rod of 12ft 6”. I can date the rod, as on the bottom of the handle is a band with an inscription stating that it was presented to an angling club official on the 29th of September 1948. Assuming the rod was made during the previous twelve months it makes it 68 years old. The reel was a relative youngster of about 40 years of age and I used a small porcupine quill float.

Fish caught on the Shropshire Union CanalI fished it just off the end of my rod with a few inches of line on the bottom and I baited the size 18 hook with a single big red maggot as bait. The result was a few small roach, a perch of about half a pound and a small eel, not bad for just a couple of hours and great fun into the bargain.

If you are not familiar with the Waterway Wanderers permit, have a look. The permit gives you access to many miles of great fishing. And don’t worry if you have not got the latest state of the art carbon rod or pole, you can still catch fish with your Dad’s old gear, or even your Grandad’s, I did!

Last date edited: 20 July 2020