Another nice brace of brook roach...
It looks like the possibility of any further cold weather is fast disappearing, the buds are bursting, the birds are singing the whole day long, the sun is climbing the sky and we are just a month away from British Summertime
and the onset of the evening fishing season. I am trying to find a decent rudd water within spitting distance of home, somewhere that holds fish of two pounds and above, but I've had no luck whatsoever - it seems that reliable information concerning specimen rudd is hard to come by anywhere, let alone here.
I did take a look at the fairly local Kingsbury Water Park and even took the dog for a walk there on a Sunday last month, but the place is way too popular with families on the weekends and worse still entertains the verminous jet ski fraternity who's idea of 'sport' is to run up and down along their chosen length of holiday beach showing off their frankly infantile moves, maneuvers that consist mostly of them chasing their own tails like so many rabid dogs, and all of the time making the most ghastly droning racket because they cannot steer these infernal machines without constant thrust and all this ALWAYS within spitting distance of an audience of innocent others, people who on occasion are killed outright by runaway craft, but who have gone to the beach in good faith to catch a few rays, swim and frolic, and if they can, get some hard earned peace, quiet and tranquility, all of which is anathema to the testosterone supercharged nincompoop and all round bad egg that is the jet skier.
Sod cormorants, they do not know what pests they are so let's not waste our energy with them but instead petition for licenses to cull these 'pests who know themselves to be' instead or have blanket bylaws passed and enforced that would consign their activities to the middle of shipping lanes.
I digress, but I have had a lot of otherwise spectacularly beautiful days of bass fishing wrecked by these chumps. It's also too near a motorway that is, unfortunately, in the direction of the prevailing wind and the whole compound of potential horrors makes it all, just not my cup of tea, thanks. Lots of water, but not attractive water.
Bridge over the Tame at Kingsbury
I also took the time to look at the stretch of the Tame that runs along the edge of the pit complex while I was about it, and I have to say that I have not seen such an unattractive stretch of water for some time. It looks a little like the upper Wye with its fast water babbling over gravel shallows but the resemblance ends abruptly as you gaze upward upon bank-side bushes festooned with flood deposits of household rubbish. Quite why such a quantity of such detritus should be at this particular place I cannot fathom. I know the young Tame passes through urban Birmingham and under Spaghetti Junction where a liberal spattering of assorted waste would be appropriate to the backdrop and no hindrance to fishing, but out in the countryside it is just out of kilter and completely off putting. I won't be fishing there.
A specimen roach approaching two pounds floating dead in the canal. Looks to have been hit by a propellor
I have returned to the small stream roach a couple of times, once during the recent snow 'events' and again last night, but for some reason or other I cannot bring myself to fish the canal right now, even though the roach fishing should be at its best for the chance at a really big fish and soon the small fish will go one the feed and wipe the chance clean away till next winter.
During the snow I thought I'd get out to the stream one morning and capitalise upon a short window of opportunity between an overnight frost and the predicted rising temperatures of the day, I knew that it would all be gone by the same evening and by then the river systems would be filled with snow broth that would kill the sport for some time. I arrived early enough but the snow was already melting away and filling the stream. I couldn't find any fish biting in any of the usual places so I wandered around trying new spots till I finally got a small pluck in a deep straight after a sharp bend.
Looking almost like a real river, filling with flood water that will be over the banks within the next few hours
I sat it out here for a couple of hours trying to induce a positive take but when it came I missed it ! After that it became almost impossible to fish on as the water was rising very quickly to the tops of the banks and colouring up to a most unattractive and oily road wash grey. However, it was interesting to see the stream so full of water and doing an impression of a river twice its actual size and I couldn't blame the fish for not wanting to feed, I mean I wouldn't want to eat my lunch by the chemical bogs up the local breakers yard...!
Filthy snow broth cascades over the rocks
Yesterday was a different story. The water was quite low and fining down toward clarity but with enough of the attractive green murkiness that I have come to associate with good river roach fishing. I knew that I would not draw a blank, however, my optimism was tested by the fact that the fish had moved and had to be located first. The first peg I tried was the banker swim, the place that always produces a fish or two; sure enough bites came from the off and I hooked and landed a small roach of just four ounces, easily the smallest caught here as yet. Then the swim died off and I moved about trying to find the main shoal.
Twitchy bites, hard to hit..
I eventually found them between two overhanging far bank bushes. Here the bites came thick, fast and furious but I could not hook them for the life of me. A bite would look as though it would develop and then stop abruptly indicating the premature loss of the bait from the hook. I had little faith in it; this was not my usual and trusty Warburtons, a soft and very doughy bread that makes for durable long lasting hook baits, but some indeterminate supermarket own brand bread that I'd found knocking around the kitchen and pressed into service...
The truth about bread choice for river fishing is that it's one of life's truly monogamous relationships. Other brands may turn your head with their slinky low cut wrappers and permatanned crusts but once you get past the initial giddy rush of infatuation you'll find them all a bit, errr, flaky...
Love only the one you trust, is my advice.
I resorted to doubling the bread over upon itself and compressing it hard between my thumb and forefinger and then hooking it once through. This seemed to do the trick and I managed to hook a bite.
The fish felt truly gigantic on the fairy wand rod, plunging and twisting, then gliding rapidly across the stream, even managing to take a little line off the centrepin on a powerful surge toward the far bank ( I have never had to concede line to a roach, it's almost inconceivable isn't it?) and then I thought I might have had a monster of a fish on the hook, but when it finally surfaced it was no such thing, just one of the average residents of about a pound in weight...!
In the net I was dismayed to see an angry looking but nicely healing puncture wound upon the upper flank of the fish that was repeated in mirror image but less severity on its opposite flank - the certain evidence of a bird attack from above, probably from a heron, but with the single puncture wound, possibly from the hooked bill of a cormorant.
A brace by nightfall
I decided to stay into the night to see if the bites would continue after dark (they didn't) and to bag another fish if I could. I didn't have to wait long with another hard fighting fish in the net soon after, coming up in the usual spanking condition, to make it a brace of pounders and a tiddler for the session.
Not bad...not bad at all.