Wednesday, 25 February 2009

On becoming a roach...

My roach campaign has proved to be so unpredictable, that I have decided to fight fire with fire. I am going to have to become just as unpredictable as the roach themselves, every bit as enigmatic, flighty and fickle. I have decided, by way of methodical madness, that the only way with roach, is to become one.

So, I am now specimen 'bream' fishing. I suspect this inversion of logic works because when I was fishing the middle Avon for chub - I caught carp, the upper Severn for barbel - I caught chub, the upper Avon and Blythe for chub - I caught a few but they were hard work, the Avon and Blythe for roach - I caught lots of chub, and the harder I fished those rivers for roach, the more chub I caught. I have become an apparent 'expert' chub angler; they bolt out of their chubby bolt holes to greet me like so many tail wagging pet dogs, when I come to the bank. I'm now able to catch chub anywhere they swim, but only when I fish not expressly for them, but for roach. I want roach - I must fish - but not for them.

By dint of this very methodology, the roach will, by ineluctable destiny, fall to me...

Dick Walker, the greatest coarse angler who ever lived, once said that ~

"The majority of roach I have caught weighing upwards of two pounds were taken quite accidentally while I was fishing for other fish. Either they had taken monstrous lobworms meant for a specimen tench or perch, or else they had succeeded in absorbing a walnut sized ball of paste intended for carp"

Here, in this brilliantly crafted, seemingly off-the-cuff statement, Walker lies not only to us and to himself, but most importantly, to the fish. He drafts the statement in full, removes the 'not' from before 'quite accidentally', 'meant' and 'intended', and viola! the perfect subterfuge! Here is a man who has achieved the very pinnacle of the arcane angling crafts. He is utterly convincing, he has managed to hoodwink the whole of nature! He was after roach the whole time, of course he was, just as he was after 'roach' (even though nothing but carp and gudgeon swim in Redmire Pool) when he caught Clarrisa.

Of course Chris Yates eventually worked out this devious ploy for himself, went and fished the very same pond for gudgeon and beat Walkers record by a considerable margin!

Nice place, shame about rat race just a few yards to the left

So, to pit my plan against the 'bream' I moved right along the canal and chose a swim that from the front looked as peaceful and bucolic as any place in Merry England, all cow pasture and farmhouses, red brick arched bridges, cheerful boaters chugging toward Oxford, and an unusually broad stretch of canal that looked all the world like a slice of the middle Thames. Very 'breamy'. Very lovely.

Well, lovely from where I was fishing, but other sensual experiences besides those feeding the eye, come into play in equations of beauty and the roar of the M6 just two hundred yards over my shoulder did the beauty in. But it was still ever so 'breamy'.

I put out two leger rods and one float, The float I put right in the near bank by the concrete and steel bridge footings I was sitting comfortably upon, for perch, as I've heard, like manmade structures. One of the leger rods was trialing a small cage feeder stuffed with a new attractant that I hoped the 'bream' would like - bread and hemp oil paste. I'd made up a batch earlier in the day and had run a tank test, actually a kitchen bowl test, with the feeder stuffed past capacity so that the paste squeezed through the mesh. I found that the paste broke down over the course of an hour or so into a pile of fine crumb around the feeder, and that the high oil content actually caused an upward stream of tiny oil saturated particles to float slowly to the top of the water, and this process started as soon as it hit the water and continued unabated for the hour it took for the whole feeder full to break down. And what's more, when the feeder was moved, even half an inch, the commotion caused a thick cloud of miniscule particles to billow upwards like an underwater cumulo nimbus cloud. What kind of 'bream' could resist such a thing?

It turned out that no kind of bream could, for the very second bite, to my brand new method with a small worm on the hook, caught a small bronze bream still wearing its bright silver juvenile plumage, of 1 pound and four ounces!

A pretty silver skimmer

So much for ineluctable destiny...

And the very first bite, to the float rod (after perch) was missed, so that probably was a roach !

Then later, because of the bream, and because the roach were certainly listening, I proclaimed out loud that 'bream are what I'm after"

I got a zander...

The very tiniest zander!

One hundred and eighty !!!

My mistake was always to think bream in inverted commas. The roach knew full well I was botching 'The Walker Subterfuge', and being the crafty creatures they are, made themselves as absent as ever.

Tomorrow I am BREAM fishing, in the same fashion as Dick Walkers TENCH and CARP fishing

But without the shouting, of course.

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