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1. Setting up the rig

The first part of our fishing guide looks at how to set up your rig, fishing with a short pole or a whip from the towpath side of the canal.

Things to remember: your equipment

  • You fish on the near side (towpath side) of the canal with a whip (short pole) and on the far side of the canal with a long pole.
  • A ready-made rig contains a line, a float, weights and a hook. You attach this to your whip.
  • The float is there to tell you when the fish is biting. If you see the float go under the water, it means you have a bite.
  • The weights are there to make sure the float sits correctly in the water, with not too much of the tip showing.
  • The hook is there to hold the bait.

Choosing a place to fish

Areas to avoid:

  • Close to locks or in lock chambers
  • Water points
  • Swing bridges
  • Overhead powerlines
  • Directly next to a boat

Things to look out for:

  • Cover and habitat which are good fish holding areas
  • A flat peg

Setting up your station

Remember: Stay safe. It's safer to fish as part of a group, and children must always have the permission of a parent or guardian.

Before you go fishing you need a rod licence if you are 12 years of age or older. You also need permission from the fishery owner/angling club.


Find a place to fish

Enter a town or postcode into our fishery search tool to find good local fishing spots

Two women eat lunch next to the canal

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Last Edited: 24 December 2020

photo of a location on the canals
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