|Ivan ledgering on the Coventry Canal last summer|
First to fall were skimmer bream but as the day progressed it wasn't them that would take centre stage because he then hooked what he first thought to be a really good roach.
The fish was in pristine condition and with its bright silver flanks may look like a redfin at first glance but the vermillion tinged fins and upturned mouth give the game away. This wasn't a roach — this is a rudd!
Rudd are very rare creatures in the canals around Coventry and even rarer as catches in wintertime — I've caught just four in four years but always in warm summer weather but nowhere near the size of this one. Ivan hadn't any scales and didn't weigh the specimen but measured against the spool of the reel which is a known size it looks to be a good 12 inches in length and very deep and plump too so it must be getting on for two-pounds, I'd have said.
Just half an hour later Ivan had another big silver-coloured fish but this time there was no doubt about it— this really was a roach. Ragged in the fin but a specimen anyone would love to catch, measured against the spool I make it 13.5-14 inches from snout to the fork in the tail fin and in my book that's almost certainly a two-pounder.
Two tremendous fish like this in the same session is a rare occurrence anywhere and on canals you'd think it impossible but I don't believe that's true anymore. Nowadays they're so far removed from the blade-bashing venues they historically were that the match circuit all but ignores them and that's a shame because they were always seen as the ideal training ground for potential world champions, but, the specimen fraternity is taking notice of the big fish they offer and that's all to the good of the sport.
I think the weather has turned against any chance of a canal rudd now, but even if they freeze over then find a clear spot or break the ice and canals do produce good winter roach fishing — they seem to love it! Bread and big lobworms are the baits to use and though you might have to wait a while, when a bite comes fishing the canals round my way it is usually from a pound plus fish and once in a while, as Ivan has proved, from fish anyone would be proud of.