Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Canal Roach — Never Said They Were Easy...

Coventry Canal just round the corner from home and a short roach session snatched from a ridiculously busy work schedule that has pretty much robbed me of fishing opportunities the last few months. 

Whilst waiting for the mashed bread to settle in the track and the bites to commence I thought I'd take a butchers at a new book I'd stashed in the bag to while away the usual occasion of a twenty minute to three-quarters of an hour wait for the first.

I'd gotten through Des Taylor's opening foreword only as far as ' Make no mistake: nowadays canals aren't so tough as they once were...' before the float shot up the full length of its antennae and a feisty spring fish was on.

Maybe... and just maybe... Des was right?

I really, really was hoping for roach because the weather was just right for them. Good grief I can't remember my last roach from this swim it's been so long since the last. It was of course, one of the Cov's ubiquitous and very welcome skimmers. Never mind. They're always welcome on my hook and in my book because on the whole, and in the main, being rather greedier, more willing and less fickle  than roach they always accompany them about the groundbait, but usually precede them to the net.

Next cast, another bite. This was going to be one of those sessions, you know. The float dancing merrily and fish after fish coming home. And then a boat appeared...

"Oh, bollocks!"

Such a great start and let me tell you, a potentially great session in the offing, and it was all over in the first ten minutes.

I'll explain.

If you build a bread-based swim fishing big disks of the stuff on the hook and all goes well you may well catch a two-pound roach on my local Cov or Oxford canals given enough time, and George Burton has done just that just recently so you can believe me when I say it. However, no-one in the entire history of committed specimen roach fishing on either canal (that's George since 2012 and myself since January 2009!) ever successfully rescued a well-prepared and cooking bread swim from the outright and utter disaster of a boat going through.

So far as we know...

Yes, you can catch blades twenty minutes later in one's wake as proved to me beyond any doubt by Norm timing the introduction of fresh feed against his watch at Electric Wharf but in my long experience of this form of fishing on these particular venues, it never fully recovers where the big fish are concerned. Where they go to is a mystery but they don't come back in hours and the only answer seems to be to move along and start afresh in another peg or go home.

At that moment I thought I'd give up and go home, and that's what I intended to do, but before I did I thought I'd try a rescue mission. Ball in another couple of mashed slices. See what happened. Then go home when it didn't.

But it did. I caught another bream about half an hour later. However, then came through another boat!

The swim never recovered again and finally I decided that Des Taylor wasn't quite right. My canals are just as tough as they always were...

But then again, Des wasn't quite wrong either, was he?

He never said they were easy...

Next, a review of the book itself


  1. Work does get in the way, a pain the backside. The evenings are getting lighter though, I can grab a few more sessions during the week. You're not going to change your Idlers title are you ? :)

    I've only just started on the canals to the Roach may well be on the agenda for me too, especially as I've been given some info that might help me locate them,

    1. Grafter's Rest perhaps?

      Location is a good thing, Mick! Though in my experience the location of a known shoal can be within a hundred yards of its centre at any given time. It does have a centre though because they can't move far without encountering another shoal through which they will not and actually cannot pass. That roach shoals are extremely territorial on canals is what I've found. The art is in sitting right where they are on the day! That is not an easy thing to do...

  2. Great to have you back on the case Jeff. The roach furrow has been lone for too long

    ...and I have had the very occasional catch after a boat when they come early and slow in clear water with the resultant colour sparking some action but, conversely to normal events, the fish then 'die off' when the colour subsides again. Not normal circumstances I'll admit but something further to add to the pool

  3. Glad to see your back fishing Jeff.. Best of luck for 2014 mate...

  4. whats the fishing like @ Sutton stop?