Lure fishing canals can be great fun, especially as we start to head into spring and the evenings start to slowly brighten again.
Unlike rivers, canals aren’t as susceptible to the early spring, making them a much better option if you’re looking for a quick bite post-work.
Sometimes I might only have an hour to scratch that lure itch, and if this is the case, I want to be able to hit the banks knowing that I have the right gear for the job to be able to land a fish or two.
Being confident in the lures that you use is absolutely vital, and can be a great advantage if your time fishing is limited. With that in mind, I tend to find myself using these three lures as the go-to baits from my tackle box.
Bridges are a great fish holding area and should never be ignored
The Fox Mini Craw has become a firm favourite of mine since I first started using it. I’m a big fan of creature baits for targeting tricky predators and this is no exception. The twin tail claw action is superb and can produce bites when nothing else will.
The Mini Craw is a versatile lure that can be fished in a variety of ways
I tend to find this works exceptionally well when fished on the drop shot. However I’ll sometimes utilise the dual weedless hook slots on the craw and fish it tight to boats on a light cheb weight and size 1 hook. The bites are often super ferocious, so be prepared!
Locks are another great place to try searching for hungry predators
Ultra UV Slick Shad/Slick Finesse Okay, okay – so technically these are two different type of lure, but they’re both brilliant and I’ll have days when it seems every predator in the canal wants to take a bite at them! I’ll fish the shads on 2-3g open jig heads (or weedless if there is a lot of bottom debris snags), targeting the far marginal shelf and any structure, such as locks or tight under bridges.
The Slick Shad and Slick Finesse should be in every lure angler’s tacklebox
During spring, when the canal slowly begins to warm up again and the fry become more active, I find that the Salmo Hornet can really come into its own.
This is a fantastic crank bait that can be used to work the entire water column, with short sharp turns of the reel handle producing a tight wobble action that can really separate the smaller fish from the bigger predators lurking below.
Crankbaits such as the Salmo Hornet can be a devastating lure for targeting bigger fish
I also find that removing the bottom treble makes it much easier to unhook and doesn’t impact on the action in any way (it also helps with any unwanted engagement with snags and similar underwater obstacles you have to contend with).
Another fin-perfect perch captured during an opportunistic evening canal session
Hopefully you can use one or all of these lures and methods in your own angling to catch a canal predator.