Wednesday, 18 March 2009

End of the drought?

Sleeping we imagine what awake we wish,
Dogs dream of bones, fishermen of fish

Fawkes' Idylliums of Theocritus, 1767

The blanks had got to me. I was getting to think that the canal really was crap after all, and that my optimistic forecasts for an increase in the frequency of bites that the warming weather would surely bring, was unfounded
. However, I am the most irritatingly obstinate species of angler, even to myself - the one who cannot give up a project once started, regardless of a poor showing early on. The big roach, I had decided, at a time that now seems like year dot, were there and I would catch them if only I could figure out how. They'd shown themselves in the middle of the most severe weather the country had suffered, or enjoyed as the case may be, for decades, and then as the weather warmed, promptly evaporated.

Yesterday proved that they'd come back, or (optimistic theory time) had acclimatised to the new conditions, and when those conditions had stabilised over the right period of time, had started to feed again. For I caught a roach. And a good sized roach at that, of no less than one of Ye Olde English pounds, and a bakers dozen ounces!

That'll be 1lb-13oz then...sorry!

After such a drought of fish, it came as a blessed relief. The bite, I thought it to be a zander in all honesty, took a full minute to develop. Very strange. When I examined the rig, I saw that the hooklength (two foot of 3lb line) had looped around itself on the cast and caused a knot around the lead - a bolt rig in effect, but not design. It kind of worked, in a funny kind of way.

The fish was extraordinarily compact and plump. A short fish but with a deep belly and high arched back. It was also in very healthy, but visually parlous condition, with scales missing in large areas on both flanks, as is the way with many roach for some reason. I don't believe this to be handling or keep net damage as no-one but me seems to fish the place, summer or winter. Perhaps they, like their cyprinid cousins carp, have boisterous and athletic sexual appetites?

Unfortunately it was the only fish of the day. I did get another bite at last knockings, but it didn't develop properly, and then I had to go.

On the way home I pondered the average size of these canal roach - an impressive one pound, seven and a half ounces - and pondered the time it had taken to catch just the four of them...

Too many to ready reckon...

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