Sunday, 16 August 2015

Canal Roach on the Pole — Alternative Shipping Arrangements

About two months ago I was riding through Exhall Green when I spied a skip in the distance which happened to be outside one of my customer's houses. I never pass these yellow troves of treasure by without having a look at the contents. I simply cannot resist them. Usually I'm totting for non-ferrous scrap but this skip contained only carbon, which has no value unless it comes in saleable or useable form. Luckily it came in the form of a rod, two whips and a long pole. A knock on the door, a chat with Mrs Brown, and it's all mine for the taking.

The pole was quite a find because I doubt I'd ever have bought one. 11 metres in total length it would probably reach the brambles on many stretches round here but it seemed ten or nine would put me in the roach zone just up the far shelf. Yesterday I went out round the corner to put the thing to test.

Tactics would be bread fished without ground bait. So many boats are passing through at the moment I think it a waste of Warburtons. The thing is I never use ground bait when roach fishing on rivers and haven't done for some time but have never suffered a lack of bites should a shoal be located. I just think they love the stuff and don't need to be convinced. The other thing is. Roach in this canal cannot be brought into a swim they choose not to occupy. It's all or nothing, or rather all or skimmers should the swim choice be wrong.

For once my swim choice was not a matter of prior knowledge or gut instinct but one of having room enough to ship the pole back. I chose a peg with a nice area of grass behind it. I hadn't any clue if the water out front had roach in it too.

The first thing I discovered is that long poles attract audiences. I think people are intrigued by them. Think them amazing. Believe those who wield them worth watching. Two kids up from Lady Lane, an old lady from the Bungalow Estate, two lads from Grindle Road enjoying an afternoon toke, Martin from the village supermarket, and a procession of passing blokes with an eye for fishy goings on, came by, loitered about, and sat down to view the spectacle.

They were not to be disappointed...

There were plenty of roach and good ones too. But I was using the precise same end tackle I'd use with a rod. In fact I'd simply bitten off my usual canal roach float rig, tied a loop in it, and hung it from the elastic. There was method in this. If this extremely sensitive but tricky to fish rig of mine could be controlled better by pole than it could be by rod then I might just be convinced that pole was the way to go.

The facts were established in the first minutes. It was far easier to control, and better, control was very precise indeed. I could have it fish however I wanted and always have it fish where I wanted. To the square inch rather than the square yard as always before.

My greatest reservation, though, is the sheer length of the thing. Very few pegs round here have the space to swing a drowned cat let alone room enough behind to ship a pole backwards. All pegs are busy with towpath traffic and with an old pole I might encounter section breakage I cannot easily replace. And so if the advantages it lends are so great then I guess I'll have to develop alternative shipping arrangements.

Novel ones, perhaps...


  1. I've not gone to the 'darkside' yet Jeff, however during the friendly Shanghai AC matches I attend every 5 or 6 weeks or so you can see why people use them, for bait positioning nothing is better. I'd worry about it dumbing down the fight though ? whats the feedback like ? Maybe If I fish the canals for fish other than Zander I might well have one in my armory by now, certainly I think if I had a margin pole instead of a cumbersome float I'd do better in the matches.

    Some great looking Roach those anyway, bright silver with contrasting bright red fins, I noticed when I fished with you on the Cov canal how much clearer it was than the areas of the Grand Union and Stratford canals I fish, that's got to help I suppose as some of the silvers I've caught, perch particularly have had their colours washed out. Be interesting what other new swims you fish and what you pull out. I'm a creature of habit which doesn't really help my fish captures, maybe I need to rethink how and where I fish too.

  2. The city fish are just like Avon fish, Mick. But get out past Hawkesbury Junction into mucky waters and they are washed out by comparison. They even lose their red cornea.

    Bait positioning is hard to beat. Sit down, find depth, fix a sight marker in the reflections. plop the bait in it every time. Yesterday evening I was out trying a new float. Fed two bread lines at the same depths. One just up the far shelf straight across, one near shelf at 45 degrees right. Was pulling the bait up and swinging between the two at ten metres. That was great. Why not three though? They would be some way apart and you could just drop left, middle, then right with the same bait same depth and then back again till a bite crops up.

  3. What you need is a pole roller,I use one that screws into a bank stick.Then on hooking a fish or re-baiting etc swing the full pole round to the side and ship it along parallel to the bank onto your roller and remove the top 3 or 4 to net/swing the fish.Not as easy as shipping backwards but it does allow you to fish in busy or restricted swims.

    1. John, you anticipate my next post. I worked out parallel shipping last night and because of it discovered a number of new possibilities I'd never considered before. All very interesting...