FISHING THE ‘SHROPPIE’ aka the Shropshire Union Canal

Whether you match or pleasure fish the Shropshire Union Canal at Norbury Junction offers some tremendous sport for the towpath anglers.

Dean Williams with a small chub from the Shroppie Stoke City DAA have control of the fishing from Gnosall downstream to Grubb Street beyond Woodseaves. After setting yourself up with one of the Junction Inn’s famous large breakfasts what better than to unwind and get away from the rigours of work and town life by participating in a relaxing fishing session. Stoke City DAA control the fishing from the towpath bank, uninterrupted, except for power cables for more than three miles of canal here. Day permits are not issued but a yearly membership is available and will hardly break the bank! Season tickets are just £15 for adults, these can be purchased from Stoke City AA committee man Eric Gardner on (01782) 818380.

Mick Millgate with a nice winter catch The fishing on the “Shroppie” is held in very high regard, so much so that the hugely successful Angling Trust Division One National Championships, THE premier angling event, took place here in 2009. The pracise matches for this event attracted as many as 280 anglers and the ‘Junction’ catered for that amount with ease. Another top event that takes place at Norbury Junction is the Staffordshire Championships, one of the oldest matches in the whole of the angling calendar and amazingly still going in its third century having started life in the mid 1800s.

Steve Faux with a winter catch of roach There are also regular weekly Saturday matches – with the occasional exception, generally starting from some time in the summer, right through the winter until the middle of March; there certainly is plenty going on for the matchmen at Norbury! For the regular ‘Shroppie’ match angler it is the ideal day, breakfast before the draw at 8.45am followed by five hours fishing from 10.15am to 3.15pm then back to the Junction for the results and a beverage. If you want to try one of these contests just turn up at the Junction by 8.45am - a little earlier if you want a breakfast or better still give Fred Cheetham a ring on (01782) 321084 - he organises all the matches at Norbury.

Neil Turner (Wolverhampton) with a recent match winning 24 lbs of chub Various species tend to win the matches at Norbury but in reality it is famously known for the large head of roach that are present. Roach may not win every match but they do ensure that there are generally plenty of bites for all. Although roach do win some matches to bread punch, squatt, hemp or caster, chub can be caught to chopped worm and caster and they win at times. The same applies to bream, skimmers and very big perch, the latter have been caught at over 4 lbs. Also, just once in a while, someone will sit on a ‘nest’ of gudgeon and they have been known to win. In the main though, all these species mentioned can, and often are, caught from the same peg.

Fishing in the snow, Dave McCall Dave McCall (Shakespeare) is the current holder of the match record with over 58 lbs of chub. Weights of roach only have topped 20 lbs on more than one occasion and the same applies for skimmers, hybrids, bream and perch.

Dean again, with a nice net of roach The pleasure angler can always do his own thing or follow the several ‘leads’ left by the match angler. With more time and space and choice of where to fish pleasure catches can be spectacular at times. If you are prepared to start early, to miss the boat traffic, remarkable bags of roach are possible to caster; they run to a size the matchmen hardly ever see! One species that has not been mentioned are carp, there are a few here and they provide a good challenge and are very rewarding when you catch one.