Monday, 7 January 2013

The First Year's Roaching, a Summary

The Quarry in Stereovision. North Oxford Canal roach in excess of one pound

Wracking the old brain, emphasising the 'old', reasonable confidence confirms that the match angling urge had burned out by around 1996 when being unable to fish at least three times a week coincided with a relative inability to compete at any kind of level

The return with any kind of enthusiasm in 2012 had taken a long, long time to kindle being preceded, as it was, by a short-lived false start in 2010/11. Other than that, just the odd session tiddler-snatching on the Upper Thames had been undertaken when circumstances suitably conspired

So this past year has seen quite a rebirth when set against that background but even then the actual amount of time on the bank has been quite small with two hour sessions the norm seeking to lasso the odd fish before either the boats start moving on the canal or a twilight session on the Upper River Leam fizzles-out at the temptation of the Sunday roast

In the whole year only around 85 hours have been spent fishing in 38 trips whereas in the past this number of hours would have been consumed in just 5 weeks in Summer

This 00-gauge approach to the sport had to have a target & apart from a few largely unsuccessful trips to the Leam and a couple of stillwaters it has focussed on attempting to catch big roach from the North Oxford Canal

The method of fishing popped-up bread flake on the float while seeking lift bites was gleaned from Jeff Hatt's admirable blog "Idler's Quest" and has been pursued through this period subject to various amendments as circumstances, hunches and whims dictated

The results are not amazing but they are at the very least interesting...

Of the circa 80 hours bankside, about 65 of those were roach fishing on the canal and in that short space of time it was the intention to catch the bigger inhabitants of the waterway by using significant chunks of flake or crust. Nothing smaller than a 20p-sized piece was deployed all through and often a larger bait was used

In the period to 1994, at which time records either ceased to be kept or the bug had been squashed, 4 roach over a pound had been taken with a North Oxford 'PB' of 1-3-12 in 1993. These were all fish taken in matches when just a few minutes in each three or four hour competitive burst would have been spent in pursuit of 'bonus fish'

In 2012 however, when small fish have purposely been avoided by choice, 14 fish over a pound graced the landing net and many also committed to digital memory. The PB has been nudged gently up to 1-4-12 by a somewhat misshapen individual with others in more shapely proportions weighing 1-4-10 & 1-4-6 close behind. The average weight of those 14 fish over 1lb has been 1-2-4 and, by simple calculation, one has been caught, on average, about every 4 & 3/4 hours

Canal PB 1-4-12 : May 2012

The latter point has been something of a surprise. No specific target was set at the outset but the notion that so many would have been caught so often would have been dismissed without further thought early in the year. In that period the same peg has been knowingly revisited on only two occasions, from memory, as a wider search area was preferred to constantly seeking out the same shoal

As has been noted before in these posts, the odd larger specimen would have been welcome but in hindsight very little time had been expended and, in reality, more time, and better focussed time, would no doubt have increased the possibility but the number of roach under a pound has been remarkably low due to the size of bait employed so it is undoubtedly a neatly targetted method

The prospect of a specimen hunting obsession growing out of this little escapade was always possible but, though it has certainly been a pursuit of larger fish, it has not yet turned fully in that direction; while the pleasure has been there to be had from this relatively narrow search the need has been well and truly satisfied, not least because of the supplementation by other interests

Certainly the choice to fish rivers more regularly would have appealed but the fact that locally they have resembled oceans for much of the year has done very little toward making that possible

So overall 2012 has been a success. The urge has not waned this time with the label 'angler' now seemingly appropriate again and, for the time being, the method and location continue to suit until, that is, the rivers become fishable and then the offer of greater contrast will be even more attractive. That the year included incidental silver bream and zander PB's made it all the more rewarding although the range of species was very limited due to the watercourse and approach

Here's hoping for a significantly drier 2013 when some of the additional experiments planned for 2012 might then be possible. Obvious things which spring to mind, and which have not been pursued as yet, would be fishing into dark, caster and hemp so there's plenty of scope...and, of course, other species to go at occasionally too!

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