With mild weather, rising water temperatures and the demise of hoof and mouth, anglers can expect some good sort on many waters in the north of England.

The river Ribble, probably one of the top ten rivers in the country for game and coarse fishing, is certainly a top venue to head for. Ribchester downstream to and including the tidal section is all good fishable water, chub and barbel are the top two species. Don't just sit in one spot if you're not catching, move around, sometimes you have to fish half a dozen spots before you get a sign that you have fish in your chosen spot. Baits are numerous, some use trout pellets, others boilies and meat, probably the majority of anglers use gentles or casters. For me it's bread as my first choice bait which I sometimes flavour. If bread isn't working then it's lobworms, cheese or meat paste. A lot of anglers use hempseed as an added attraction which often works. Swimfeeder rig with gentles or casters is probably the most favoured method.

When chub fishing I use 6lb Masterline Illusion line direct to barbless hooks sizes 2's 4's 6's. If I expect there is a chance of hooking a barbel then I use 10lb breaking strain line - I have not really noticed any difference in my chub catches by using the heavier line.

Preston Centre NAA card are available from several Lancashire tackle shops, they are very good value for money, without doubt the best value card has to be the Prince Albert AS club card with it's miles and miles of top class game and coarse fishing in Wales, the north of England and the Midlands. You won't get a better value card anywhere the country. They have some excellent game and coarse fisheries on the Ribble where you have an excellent chance of a 6lb chub or double figure barbel.

It's been reported that anglers fishing the river Lune in the area of the M6 motorway bridge are catching some excellent bream, including double figure fish. On the river Wyre chub roach perch bream and pike are being caught. Try lobworms for perch, bread or gentles for roach. Chub and bream seek the deeper water - groundbait sparingly. Most of the successful anglers are using small feeders with liquidised bread, hempseed or gentles. If you want to catch a few pike why not try the Lancaster canal? It's a venue well worth a visit, fishing sink and draw with sprats should work - a good bait is sardine but they are a rather fragile bait. Spinning or plug fishing works as does fly fishing if the water is fairly clear - fly fishing for pike can be a lot of fun!

On the Leeds and Liverpool canal, if the weather is mild you can expect carp, tench, pike, roach, bream and perch - which grow big on the L & L canal. Try a small amount of air injected into the lobworms to lift the tail of the worm off the bottom. On the L & L you have the chance of double figure pike and perch to 4lbs. Again, when the water is clear fly fishing for pike can be good fun, especially in the Skipton area. An excellent club card to get hold of if you plan to fish the canal system is a Keighley card; cost twenty pounds, this card will give you access to hundred of miles of canal fishing on many canals in Wales, the north and the midlands. For further details call 01535-663695

On the Aire and Calder canal some excellent catches of roach are being taken the best area it seems is near the M62 Motorway. If you like to fish a centre pin reel and float tackle, trotting the stream, then this venue could be for you. For up to date reports check the facts out in the Anglers Mail under North and Wales by Ian Chapman. The river Aire is worth a visit around the Silsden Keighley area for chub roach perch and pike. I fished the golf course stretch last week with bread baits. Although I didn't catch, I did have six good pulls on flake but for some unknown reason I missed them all. I should have had at least four fish. Day and season permits are available from K L Tackle in Keighley or Gee Tee tackle in Silsden - both shops usually have some parking space.


Mr Martin James