Sunday, 30 December 2012

A Predatory Storm

Where to start?

Well, the continual rain had to be braved after ducking-out of two consecutive early morning trips to roachland and fortune favoured the decision as the drizzle held off long enough to enable camp to be made

The general area of the venue was one visited earlier in the year when two skimmers were taken while after roach on rod and line Conditions now seemed more than perfect however. The unseasonal air temperature was 10degC and the water felt less cold than of late (speculation wouldn't be necessary in future as I returned home to find the present of a water thermometer on my pillow!), there was a variable ripple on the water with 20mph winds blowing overhead above a bank, the water clarity was good with visibility to about 6" down, ideal for bread and the combination was suggesting a good roaching day ahead

Furthermore there was the option to fish as long as 'necessary' with only Parps to take Warhammering late in the day

The general location had been known to produce very good roach catches in the distant past but it had changed a little, less overhanging branches and shallower on the far side which formed the outside of a widening bend

Two areas were fed with bread, one halfway up the slow far shelf and one close to the bottom of the steeper near shelf to the left. I had also, for the first time ever, bought, BOUGHT!, some lobworms to fish for chub during the holiday, so, with the rivers more regularly in the fields than within their banks, the opportunity to use some of those before they expired seemed, well, opportune, and they went in to the right on the same close line just on the off-chance and with the hope of snaring one larger than those to date

The wind proved something of a greater challenge than first anticipated and fishing the far line proved somewhat tricky but, after much fiddling with rigs, depths, etc., a bite was forthcoming after trying both bread lines and returning to the far line. The fish came off the hook on the return but didn't feel huge

After an hour the bread lines were rested having been re-fed and an inch and a half tail of lob lowered into the worm-laced area to the right, viewable under the dripping hem of the now soaked brolly. This met with a couple of immediate bobs and pulls before the float slid away and a perch of around 10-12ozs came to the net

Perch came thick and fast over the next half hour topped by a pound and halfer, just 8 drams short of the PB coincidentally taken just 10 pegs or so to the left on Boxing Day just over 35 years ago, as a junior in a senior match; I seem to recall a reel was purchased with the proceeds!

Cracking perfectly formed canal perch at 1lb 8ozs

The worm line was regularly rested and re-fed while bread was tried again and again however no further bites were attracted with that method and soon the reason was to become apparent

Next put-in on lobworm produced a fish which felt quite different, a more 'kitey' fight than the 'digging' of the previous perch shoal. It took a touch longer to tame and, once tiring on the pole with no.6 elastic, it popped up to reveal itself as a zander. Immediately obvious as another PB having taken my first of a pound and a half only a few weeks ago. This one went 1-15-0

This was followed by another perch and then a smaller zander of 11ozs before a fish was lost of noticeably more significant proportions

By this time the weather had deteriorated quite dramatically as the brolly tried to turn itself inside-out while that great sprinkler system in the sky let loose. Bites had subsided and another dabble with bread was tried but then abandoned for good as, upon returning to the worm line, another zander of 2-11-0, and another PB, fell to a huge chunk of lobworm dragged past its nose

PB canal (or anywhere) zander at 2lbs 11ozs
A couple of lost fish and another zander of just over 2lbs was taken before the swim tailed-off and the longest canal session of 2012, at five hours, came to a close. By then the weather had subsided from quite foul to mildly objectionable - but this did serve to keep the boats away with just three gentling chugging past

The best catch I could recall from the previous life was around 10lbs of roach from pretty much this very peg but this was to outstrip that quite comfortably as the eight perch (not quite a full team but enough for five-a-side and three subs) totalled 7-0-5...

So not the tidiest of pictures but the conditions were swamp-like at this stage 

...and the four zander (they would keep control as the officials) dragged the scales down to 6-5-10

Toothy monsters looking bizarrely dead due to their natural gaping posture but very much alive

For this to include two zander canal PB's on the pole and a perch within a gnats whisker of the ancient canal best in the same session was quite some Christmas present and more than made up for the lack of roach. It also gave credit to the worm option and in future this is something to keep up the thermal sleeve although it wouldn't want to interfere with the roach quest but may well be deployed on longer sessions and come into play if, at the hour and a half mark, no roach had been tempted

Interestingly, being a newcomer to catching zander, only one of them was properly hooked so the need to keep pressure on them is clearly paramount. These did fight quite well in an aggressive breamy kind of manner...but then they were on the pole!


  1. Must have missed this post somehow! Great catch for lobworms in winter George. I find the perch round my way don't bother at all when its really cold so lobworms then do catch really big roach. Here's a fact though. I never once had a roach of any size on a broken worm, only on outrageous sized whole ones on a size ten hook.

    My best canal roach was taken on a worm six inches long contracted but more like ten fully extended. I found you must let have them have time otherwise the hook pricked three quarters along in the saddle will not be in the mouth. Plenty of time means they almost cannot avoid being hooked because the tail is down the throat by then and they cannot eject it. I ledgered a standard river roach rig with a 12 inch paternoster and a three foot tail in the end. Almost every bite resulted in a fish and the average size was really high. Long wait between bites though. 3 -4 hours on average.

    Oh, and my first zander was on a lobby. Went back next day, fished roach pieces and started catching loads of them. Something like twenty runs in that first session but only three fish banked. They are very hard to hook properly, I agree.

  2. Slight snag there, 3-4 hours is longer than most of my sessions! Maybe a cardboard cut-out on the bank for 3 hours and then fishing for one hour is the answer