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Rochdale Canal / Jam Works

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
At 7.55am the canal was normal, at 8.05 when the hot water started to be pumped into the canal, the centre of the canal was a mass of fish of all kinds, perch, roach, occasionally a large carp, goldies could be seen and heard taking floating bread and other discarded bait in the weeds just a matter of feet out. All of a sudden a swirl would signal the arrival of a pike and they could be seen with fish across their jaws which they would then turn head first and depending on size scales would cascade from the stricken fish. Anglers vied for a central position opposite the outfall pipe. Around 6pm one school holiday night an angler called Dennis Mona who was using live bait bigger than anything I had ever caught, hooked a monster which tailed walked and jumped several times. it seemed an age until assisted by another senior angler he netted it. It was HERCULES a legend in the canal and had several hooks and lengths of line hanging from its back where people had tried to foul hook it, it was enormous and I was asked to run up to a phone box and phone The Oldham Chronicle which I did and a photographer arrived later. The fish weighed 15lbs 4ozs and Dennis killed it which was quite sad but that fight the fish put up was spectacular with workers hanging out of the mill windows at the side of the canal applauding when it was landed, I think the other angler who netted it was Mr Bill Walker.
The canal became my second home and I knew all of the likely places by the end of the holidays, a couple of years later I saw an equally large pike right under Middleton Road bridge which stayed motionless except for gill movements and slowly dropped into the shadows. A couple of weeks later an angler was trying to convince listeners that a huge pike had followed in a hooked fish and snapped him and later had attacked his keep net, in a swim next to Middy Bridge, I believed him, the canal kept me out of trouble and was the basis of learning how to be an angler, watching the older people, asking what they were doing and why and eventually being confident enough to fish anywhere and catch.
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