I'd had my eye on a certain estate lake for many years and after a mid-week recce between appointments the time had come. During the actual session, apart from learning about the venue in terms of its topography, etc. I spent a good few minutes in discussion with a passer-by who turned-out to be a former british barbel record holder and subsequently a pursuer of massive Thames chub. He had a bit of useful information on the venue and having spent the morning after roach which produced a 31-fish net of 5lbs with fish to 4ozs including some solid little rudd and a solitary perch I now feel better prepared for a return trip in pursuit of something a touch bigger
|A pair of tame, if non-descript, little estate lake ducks |
The female took many trips beneath the legs of my box!
|I had forgotten how beautiful rudd could be. The first of the new era|
Sunday the quest to break the North Oxford Canal p.b. resumed with a first return to the same peg since this adventure began. The attack would replicate the previous weekend's except that wandering the towpath the previous evening would stand-in for stalking a topping shoal. Not a single fish was seen on that walk but the changed face of the venue was quite disarming; ten or more years since my last visit and huge rush beds had been removed to leave wide sweeping bends in their wake and frankly the heavier colour after the incessant trend of daily rain did nothing to make it any more desirable, give it a decent pre-christmas cold spell however and that would all change too as the colour drops out and the bready tinge reestablishes itself.
The lack of active roach did nothing to crush the confidence in taking at least one proper fish early the following morning as this was the area I had taken two individual pounders with a 3lb bream a few weeks prior and is historically an area which holds big roach year round. Bread flake over fine white crumb and a coarser freeze dried liquidised bread at the bottom of the far slope was adopted with caster fed 5m to one side.
The Old Duffer was on fire with about ten bites, a couple of pull-outs and a big roach plus some decent perch so show for his maggot attack 3/4 across. His roach went 1-3-0. For my part the attack at the cost of avoiding smaller fish was again high risk but knowing the fish were present it was also no risk at all - one bite, one fish. Quite a strange looking, pre-photoshopped fish in fact like the head and middle of a really decent roach maybe weighing around 1-8-0 attached to the tail of a 12ozer! No doubt in my mind that this was a roach though, despite this. Maybe one which had been touched by the electro-fishing plate years before? When suspended from the electronic scales I was expecting around 1-1-0 but when the ounces went to 20.8 I had to snap myself into conversion mode rather quickly, concluding that this half fish, half fish, fish was in fact the bruiser to break my N Oxford Canal p.b. at 1-4-12. In hindsight the front end was quite chunky compared to its somewhat lacking rear but I suppose we all rather hope that the p.b. will be that perfectly formed Liz Hurley of a fish...never mind you can't have everything!
|1-4-12 North Oxford canal P.B.|
|A decent roach is drawn to The Old Duffer's net|
|A chunky 1-2-4 roach in the hand|
Roll on next weekend, and warmer dry evenings when the after dark option will present itself