Sunday, 7 April 2013

Silver Anniversary

It was almost exactly a year since the big canal roach adventure started with a trip to today's venue but this time the approach would be with rod and line rather than the pole in order to compare the methods on a deeper narrow stretch where the target fish always seem to be present

The morning, which commenced with a great view of a roadside muntjac, produced the now customary frost of course but, as daytime temperatures have been a somewhat balmy 7-8degC of late, no ice had formed and the crispness of the bankside vegetation would soon be burnt-off for certain

As the rod was set-up some aural entertainment was to be had as a variety of 'kronks' emanated from the north and I turned to see a pair of ravens tussling with a third bird, presumed intruding into their airspace, and all with notably different voices. It really is now reaching a stage, similar to the buzzard spread a decade ago, when one expects to hear ravens rather than not in Warwickshire these days

On casting-in a tried and trusted float rig just past middle, a good half hours' peak fishing time bewilderment ensued as the appropriate presentation was struggled with until the realisation dawned that, for some unaccountable reason, the bread was somehow more bouyant than normal and was floating in mid-water preventing the proper settling of the rig resulting in more than the expected normal quantity of shot on the bottom to anchor the flake down

A skylark heralded this stunted spring, to date subdued by unending easterly winds, by climbing to his quite literally out-of-sight peak in a series of fluttering, twittering stages while a chaffinch set-up his song perch in a small hawthorn to my right on the water's edge where, first, a drake mallard, then a cock blackbird and the, always fascinating, moorhen foraged in consecutive sittings immediately below in rough grass. Meanwhile the line did it's best to freeze into the tip ring and the overloaded reel spool shed line like a slinky, constantly...but we got there

Thirty minutes or so after resolving the bread bouyancy issue a somewhat half-hearted lift bite met with no resistance on the strike but, just a couple of casts later, a more meaningful indication proved fruitful when a hard-fighting roach was hooked and netted. As usual when the fish first surfaced various words of amazement at a certain PB crept-out into the chill yet still air. The stocky fish was immediately weighed at 1-3-13 but was expected to go at least 1-6-0, nevertheless the fourth biggest canal roach in the growing list

Precisely an hour later, after the first of four surprisingly carefully guided narrowboats, another lift-bite which became a sailaway betrayed the presence of bronze bream dna and lead to the capture of a hybrid of just over a pound

Two hours in, and with two hours to go, boat traffic permitting, a handful of chopped lobs was introduced 15m to the right and a light link-leger cast to the spot as a sleeper option followed swiftly by a visit from two particularly friendly german shepherds sniffing for food; fortunately, unlike the regular jack russels on this cut, they didn't consider bread to fit the bill

One more missed bite preceded a twitch on the tip which I also missed as excitement got the better of me but next cast, with a tail of a lob, the tip pulled steadily round and a good battle with a roach of just under fifteen ounces christened the new wand at the second attempt

A Silver Anniversary without doubt
A year ago the peg produced two roach of exactly a pound and a three pound bream in the first half-hour...yes the same first half-hour spent in a puzzled state on this trip!

Another pair of ravens graced the trip home which was lit-up initially by a violet peeking-out of the undergrowth by the path, offering further evidence that maybe spring was actually here, as I pondered the challenge undertaken. Clearly the pole is the best option on frosty mornings such as this when elastic would better resist the temptation to completely freeze-up than the delicate tip-eye of a purpose-made canal float rod. Decision made!

Spring at last?

Species list:

Magpie, raven, blackbird, fieldfare, chaffinch, greenfinch, robin, canada goose, greylag goose, mallard, moorhen, woodpigeon, violet, roach, RxB hybrid



  1. That was handy. This crossword clue had been bugging me for a few hours. What a slice of luck.

    "Leader of military junta shot head of charging animal (7)"


  2. Not being a crossword fiend you'd have to explain where the 'm' and the 'c' come from (leader of M-ilitary, head of C-harging perhaps?), although I have got the anagram of junta in there.
    Glad to be of service nevertheless!

  3. Exactly right. You've got it. The word 'shot' after a word is nearly always the giveaway that there is an anagram. But there are dozens of other words that can be used. I dabble in the odd cryptic crossword. Some I find impossible. Others are easier. Every 'setter' has their own style and clues. Mind you, I never finish them!

    Once you know the tricks and signs they become a lot easier.