BASINGSTOKE CANAL ANGLING ASSOCIATION

The Basingstoke Canal Angling Association (BCAA) was borne out of the amalgamation of 2 associations from Hampshire and Surrey in 1991 and is an association of angling clubs in Hampshire & Surrey that take an interest in fishing the Basingstoke Canal.  The BCAA has held and administered the fishing licence for the entire canal since then.

Membership to the BCAA is available to Individuals as well as club members with Angling Permits being available from designated outlets including the Canal Centre and are also available through our Bailiffs on the bank who also sell Day and Monthly Tickets to occasional anglers trying the canal out for the first time.  Unlike most UK canals which are fishable all year round, the Basingstoke Canal still retains an annual close season in the spring so that fishing the canal is only allowable for 9 months of the year from 16th June through to 14th March.

In the early days the BCAA spent a lot of time and resource on stocking the canal though this has been curtailed for many years by the SSSI status of the canal and a reluctance from English Nature to allow us to re-stock.  Unfortunately, this has seen a decline in the overall standard of fishing along the canal, though many great catches can still be had if you take time to look for the fish.  In the ‘good days’ the canal was a respected and renowned match venue hosting 5 National Championships between 1997 and 2011 which saw up to 900 visiting anglers take part in the championships.  Unfortunately. match fishing on the canal is almost non-existent nowadays due to the decline in consistent fishing with now just a couple of local leagues using the canal during the winter months.

Recently, the canal has become more renowned for its specimen carp up to 40lb that live in there, with ‘bivvyed up’ anglers often frequenting Claycart, Eelmore & Great Bottom Flashes.  These carp are the last remnants of the very original stockings back in the 1980’s.

Most species of UK coarse fish can be found in the canal; Bream, Carp, Gudgeon, Perch, Pike, Roach, Rudd.  There are also reports of rogue catfish being caught in various sections which have been introduced illegally if true.

The Covid situation has proved to be a double-edged sword for the BCAA.  Extra leisure time for everyone saw a big increase in day ticket and permit sales as relapsed anglers got back out on the bank and new anglers taking up the sport for the first time.  The downside for the fishing was that an equal amount of people descended on the canal on paddle boards and canoes and in the summer at good access points like Colt Hill the canal became unfishable due to the sheer numbers on the water.  Great for the canal but unfortunately not for fishing.

The BCAA’s tenure running the fishing on the canal is now in jeopardy with the current fishing licence having ended and the Canal Authority is yet to begin negotiations for renewing the licence in June with talk of the licence being put out for tender, so watch this space.

Further information on membership prices, ticket outlets and other good stuff can be found on their website www.bcaafish.uk