Canal Rudd – A Small Spark

It was by total chance that I found the shoal. In fact, I thought they were plump roach when I found them. But an unlikely gang of canal rudd is what has finally sparked a bit of interest in me going out fishing again.

It’s been an odd one, this summer. There’s nothing specific I can really point too that made me feel quite so indifferent about going fishing. Even when I had the odd chance to get out I simply couldn’t be bothered with the whole process.

And one evening, after some rain, I prepared the gear, psyched myself up and went out. I knew I’d catch barbel and I did. And while I was there, in the moment, I enjoyed the process and the fish and the session – but I didn’t even look at the pictures until weeks after. However, with the arrival of Autumn, the dipping temperatures and shorter days, my enthusiasm feels sharpened and refreshed.

A nice early Autumn barbel from the Wye
A nice early Autumn barbel from the Wye

One warm, early autumn afternoon we took the boys over to the canal to enjoy the sunshine, a picnic and mooch around the Gloucestershire edgelands.

The edgelands...
The edgelands…

My local canal is an interesting, neglected and slightly unusual place. I’ve never seen any fish of note here. The odd tiny roach and mini jack pike. It suffered a bad pollution a few years back and much of it is thick with weed and algae.

A couple of lads were trying for pike, without luck, and had resorted to catapulting maggots anywhere but the water. They assured me there were pike, roach and perch in the canal.
As the sun began to dip, we made our way back to the car. My youngest wanted to look at a boat tied up close to the bank.

We went over and that’s when I spotted a decent shoal of plump and deep bodied sliver fish. I can’t deny I thought they were roach. But there were a few decent ones in amongst the sprats. And one fish, sat deeper than the others really did look a fish worth catching – maybe not 2lbs but, perhaps, not far off…

As I sat watching Match of the Day later that night, while my eyes were watching some infernal 0-0 it was that shoal of fish that were on my mind. How big was the biggest I saw? Were bigger fish were lurking under the boats? Would a bread or maggot approach work? Were they roach or, perhaps, were they rudd?

The next morning I arrived at dawn with a float rod, reel, net and a few bits and bobs and a loaf.

Just after dawn on the canal.
Just after dawn on the canal.

I decided to fish a small waggler close in – one of my favourite methods. 3lbs line direct to a size 16 and a pinch of flake.
I baited with some mash and set-up, excitedly.

Bites soon came, but they were frustrating. The float was dancing around but trying to hit the wonky, wavy and frankly weird bites was proving tricky. I shallowed up a touch and soon enough I hooked into a deep bodied silver fish that thumped satisfyingly in the deep, green water.

The depth of it suggested rudd – but on closer inspection looked like a bream hybrid of some sort. I think it may be a silver bream x rudd hybrid? I’d love to hear what people think.

Sliver bream x rudd hybrid?
Sliver bream x rudd hybrid?

Having that fish extracted from the shoal spooked them a touch and the bites slowed. I tried a mere fleck of flake and the next bite was just a touch more positive. A sparkling rudd this time of 1lbs exactly was the result. I was enjoying this. All too soon the dog walkers arrived and the boats started chugging but not before I’d added a couple more rudd of a similar stamp.

A lovely canal rudd of one pound.
A lovely canal rudd of one pound.

I returned a week later, but on a much cooler, overcast morning. The bites were quick to arrive but even more frustrating this time. Just as I was thinking about trying something different – perhaps a pellet or corn – I hooked a beautiful roach. Then another before another decent rudd made an appearance.

The bites tailed right off. I had a few old maggots with me, so tried a couple. A feisty, darting fish was hooked on the drop – a rare canal trout! And I added two small canal dace as well as more small roach before the sunshine arrived and the canal reverted back to appearing lifeless…

A canal trout!
A canal trout!

So, while these fishes will never set the world alight, they have at least sparked some real interest in me.


Author: tescovalue79

Age: 37. Work: Marketing & communications. Like: fishing, art, ITFC, good music, bad pubs.

9 thoughts on “Canal Rudd – A Small Spark”

    1. Thanks Anincorrigible… The rudd really are special. A two pound fish is something I’d dearly love to catch. Now’s the time for a really big bass, eh? I’m sure you’ll get one soon mate… I miss seeing your photos of them on the pebbles!

  1. A canal Trout?!!!!!!, never heard of that before and that silver bream/Rudd hybrid is rare too, oh my what a session that was!. How strange. Good Angling mate

    1. Hi James. I know – a really odd little lot, but great fun. The key is that the canal is actually a river not too far from where I was fishing, so river species are also found in there. The beauty is you never quite know what could be in there! You’ve been having quite a season! Your big London canal carp is easily fish of the bloggers challenge so far for me…

      1. I do love the canals, I have found something challenging but equally enjoyable, can’t go wrong with them, I have a few targets in mind so it’s a case of fishing hard and enjoying it more. Keep at Ben and tight lines!.

  2. Hi Ben,

    Really interesting post. Never had a canal trout myself but was present when Dom had one of about 1.5lbs from a really grimy stretch of the Huddersfield Broad Canal. They are also present in the Bude Canal in Cornwall. I reckon I’ve caught well over a hundred rudd/silver bream hybrids and that they ain’t rare at all in the Taunton Canal that I fish. I’d be 99% sure that you’ve ID’d yours correctly. I don’t recall ever catching one as large as yours either, but this post might interest you as its the largest example of the ‘species’ that I am aware of:

    I thought rudd/bream at the time but convinced now that it is a silver bream/rudd hybrid.

    At the risk of bursting your bubble, it also looks like there may be roach in your rudd?

    Keep at it. Missed your blog, and I’ll be intrigued to see what you end up with.

    All the best


    1. Hi Russell.

      Thanks for the kind words. The little canal I’ve been fishing has really caught my imagination.

      The trout was a real eye opener! I thought it was a small chub at first. Do you know what, I’ve never caught a true silver bream, so the rudd/silver hybrid was quite something. I’m itching to get back and see what else is around. Amazing to hear you’ve had so many of rudd/silver hybrids and Dom’s is a clonker!

      There may well be a touch of roach in the rudd – I’m no expert in hybrids or rudd, but I may have some mouth shots which I’ll post.


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