An old-fashioned bait they might be, but for those in the know elderberries can be devastatingly good for roach and silver bream. They are free too, and you might even find these growing on the canal bank itself. Look out for the reddish-coloured branches and clusters of small, black fruit. They are perfectly ripe in the autumn, when I like to fish them with hemp. A juicy berry slipped onto a size 16-18 hook can be a lovely way to pick off the best roach in the swim.
A huge array of dry groundbaits exist for fishing. While not essential, a decent mix works on several levels.
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It clouds the water, both attracting fish and giving them the confidence to settle just where you want them. The critical factor is how much and what type you use, because you can easily overdo it.
Aromatic, continental-style groundbaits are ideal for general canal fishing, and lighter types are preferable to heavier fishmeal and ‘method mixes. These can be costly, but by mixing with cheaper brown crumb, a little goes a long way.
Continental groundbaits are perfect for canal fishing.
Take your dry ingredients and mix thoroughly in a round-bottomed container.
Take a separate container of water and add any additives and flavours to this.
Add the water a little at a time, mixing it thoroughly with the dry powder between the palms of your hands to produce an even consistency. Leave this to stand for a few minutes.
Once the mix has settled, add a little more water and keep mixing. Try to keep the groundbait light and even textured.