The water entering the channel has to pass through a huge gravel pit - used to take pressure off the river. Before reaching it, the effect of the floods upon the fishing has been much less than on the main river. Despite carrying up to four feet of extra water, I did not have to cancel a trip this winter because of high water. Although remaining fishable, and containing some truly enormous fish to boot, the Channel receives remarkably little fishing pressure. I guess it is the bleak banks, (normally) slow flow and uncomfortable swims that put many people off, but ignore these less attractive venues at your peril. What they lack in aesthetics, they more than make up in the quality of their specimen fishing.

Now chub tend to do well in almost any environment, but these bleak channels also have the knack of turning up other surprises. From double figure bream to huge roach, you never quite know what you are going to find. With little in the way of natural spawning habitat, I guess that most of the fish in these channels have moved into them from other areas. No spawning means low fish densities, and so no competition for food. The end result is that any fish that do find there way into these places have the potential to grow very large indeed.

Fishing is not allowed in many of these channels, for good reason. Built before current environmental concerns were taken into account, most are deep with treacherous banks rising steeply, often several metres above the water. If you are lucky, the odd set of access steps might be present. Generally though, great care must be taken. Even under low flow conditions, a lost footing can see you sliding into deep water with no easy way out. A safety rope around your waist with a firm fixing might look at bit over the top, but could just save your life. A lot of camping and pet shops sell strong dog leads attached to a large corkscrew shaped fixing that are ideal for this purpose.

In such a monotonous channel, any feature, however small, is likely to hold fish at some time. Don't just go by visible bankside features though, changes in depth are extremely important. A slight change in depth creates a bubble of slower moving water that fish will exploit during floods. Even when conditions are less harsh they will still often be found hanging around these features. Fish in all types of river often migrate long distances, and although I prefer the spots where the fish naturally feed, they can also be caught whilst travelling. Fish will tend to move up any slightly deeper depressions, so again, even a difference of just a few centimetres is worth investigating.

The biggest feature on these channels is the margins, and with deep water close, big fish can be caught right under your feet. In older channels it is common for there to be a slight marginal shelf where the bank has eroded away. A bait placed on the edge of this drop-off, or on top of it after dark will catch lots of fish if you are quiet. The margins also offer some slower flowing water when flows are high. Again, don't be afraid to fish VERY close in, no more than a foot or two from the bank is where the fish are going to be.

Like all venues, catching in these channels is all about finding the fish holding spots. Although subtle they are there if you look hard enough. There are all sorts of highly regulated rivers in our towns, flood relief channels, drains, even culverts where the river disappears below the surface. Just recently we have seen the Maidenhead flood relief channel finished on the outskirts of London. I reckon it won't be long before this huge body of water is producing a few monsters for those brave enough to fish it.

You can bet that all of these uninviting flashes of blue (or more likely brown!) will contain fish, and perhaps one or two surprises for those brave enough to have a go.