Thursday, 2 July 2009

And not a drop to drink...

The local canal has been clarifying overnight to the point where proper fish spotting is possible, indeed yesterday morning proved to be the best I have ever seen it with roach visible everywhere. Most of the fish you see before the boats appear to spoil things are small, but here and there you see larger fish of around the half pound mark grouped together along the near bank. It was while watching a group of these fish
that I saw a far larger fish appear beneath them, one in a hurry, moving quickly and I thought, looking for a meal. At first it was indistinct but then it came closer and I gasped out loud as I recognised the fish as a roach, more than four times the size of any in the shoal I was watching and well over two pounds in weight, in fact the single largest specimen I have been able to witness clearly since I started fishing here. I watched it for a while, observing its behaviour. It seemed to be alone, not attached to a shoal that I could see and was cruising around at some speed looking for something, a trait that I associate with carp patrolling shallows. Eventually it moved away and was not seen again.


Further along the cut I spied other small groups of larger fish, not quite the size of the heavyweight I had just witnessed but approaching two pounds. Then I come across an extraordinary shoal of forty fish laying up in the shade of a near bank tree, all facing in the one direction and all around the pound to pound and a half mark! This was the first time I had ever seen such a classic roach shoal in the canal with all the fish of roughly the same year class. Then the first boat of the day appeared and after that, the visible shoals disappeared in the murk; you would never have known they were there in the first place.


I had an hour before work in which to fish so I took a rod and a net to the spot where the big roach was seen. I had a few knocks but nothing positive enough to strike. I went out again the same evening but only landed the one tiny perch.

It seems that the roach are just not catchable right now. Where I was casting was crammed with them but none were interested, and they are supposed to be the 'easy fish'. I think the canal is actually so full of food that they do not need to bother with baits, and that's a good thing and a bad thing because it may mean that these roach will continue to grow quickly and reach specimen weights but be very difficult as a quarry. I don't mind that at all. It's nice to know that there are shoals of quality fish just a stones throw from home, difficult or not.


I did catch one roach recently, but not to a bait that was fishing for them. I had an avon rod in the quiver set up for float fishing for carp and tench so chucked out a lobworm for big perch under the far bank trees without scaling down and left it to fish for itself while I concentrated upon the corn bait I was intending for roach in the boat track. The corn went untouched but the lob got a bite that resulted in a half pound roach (and later a dart zander of the same size) What was interesting was that the fish had engulfed a large worm on a size eight attached to 8lb line, so not exactly tackle shy!

Greedy Roach

To catch roach intentionally I think I'll have to wait till the weather turns. I've tried every part of the day from dawn to dusk and into the night and the result, even though fish are topping all around, is zero on the roach front. Actually all the fish have slowed down and it is proving hard to get bites from any species, and even the once ubiquitous perch that would gobble every live bait thrown in are becoming shyer and shyer.

...and Night

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