Friday, 28 March 2014

The Big Roach Session

Canals with natural banks, I love 'em, but not so good for big fish on the North Oxford as they are shallow across
Having been introduced to an area known to be inhabited from time to time by giant canal roach by Lure of Angling host Danny Everitt some months ago it was time to give it another go, or two

First time round, with Danny hauling out zander at a pound and half a throw, the cut was very clear but this time it seemed touch more coloured, not perfect for the bread flake method but certainly better, and on arrival the sight of roach topping to the left of the access point was comforting, albeit they weren't near where I had intended to fish

Sadly the bread line was plagued with crayfish that constantly dragged the bait around and pulled on the line. After not very much experience it is quite easy to tell the cray-bites from the fish. This time however I had a roachified back-up plan and had been introducing casters to my right, quite heavily in fact for a canal but given that these fish seem to start at well in excess of a pound it didn't seem wrong

In my canal angling past perch were seen largely as makeweights but were very rarely fished for specifically and the only times I could recall taking a net on casters could be counted on the fingers of one finger. This however was not only a quality roach venue but also a cracker for perch and, in fact, the venue of my own canal PB. So I shouldn't really have been surprised when I had couple of good predators of the spiked and striped variety by presenting three shells on a fine wire 14 and a super delicate dibber rig with just 5no12 shot down the line in the deeper water

On weighing they were deceptively light as I was convinced they would trouble the PB but they were nevertheless good canal fish at 1-12-8 and 1-11-13. These were backed up by another fighter at 1-0-8 plus five fish of around the 3-6oz bracket comprising also roach and a hybrid

Wednesday, with rain forecast later, I thought I'd try it again and intended to approach the bread method a little more gently on the feed. It seemed to work, eventually, with a scarred bream of 1-14-6 producing a very rutiloid lift bite but, being too ploddy in the fight, he was sussed, if not landed, soon after he was hooked.

But, bread-wise, that was that, so it was back to the casters but closer-in this time. Again heavily fed but with two or three red maggots capped with a caster on the hook this time, and more peas in the perca pod ensued. 10 fish for around 10lbs were banked in three hours but capped by four fish for pretty well exactly 7lbs

That evening I fancied another go between the cold storms in a dreaded easterly breeze, and hard it most certainly was with one 6oz hybrid on double red maggot and an equally sized by fungus-laden bream on bread before darkness sent me scuttling back past the emergency 24 hour potter's boat, thank god for him

This latter visit was a strangely enjoyable session to a never-before fished 1/4 mile stretch against all the odds of weather, fading light, no previous knowledge and, as the session wore on and the breeze subsided to nothing, a lack of topping fish and yet that challenge of 'extracting fish from a puddle' was somehow more enjoyable than the perch brothers had been earlier in the day

Lights in the distance now prominent in the fading light. Fishing against the piled bank in the hope of greater depth
Bird of the day? Well there were two; a very characterful mallard duck in the a.m., the job of which it seemed was to announce the arrival of food to other waterbirds and to inspect anglers' floats for signs of being animate; in the p.m. a drake mallard which spent it's time as darkness descended zigzagging down the canal, bank to bank, presumably surveying it's newly set-up territory for imposters

So, not having tracked-down canal roach in any numbers since the end of the river season there is work to do yet but with all this cold rain and hail I think we'll be sticking to canals this coming weekend too


  1. Nice perch, tight lines for the weekend.


    1. Thank you for your interest Darren, I'll be visiting your blog after dinner for sure

      Good luck to you too! It looks like a warm one in these parts at least

  2. Some nice Perch there George, I'm planning to try some local canals too. I haven't really given them much attention.

    1. Plenty of perch to be had in the Grand Union Mick but beware that the stretch from Stockton Bottom Lock all the way to bridge 51 at Hatton flight is now controlled by a canal lure anglers society an offshoot of the lure anglers society with tight membership rules

      This was something of a shock to me being unable to recall the last time I'd been asked for a licence anywhere

      Initially I was tempted to join so I emailed them via their website and still have had no reply and since then I have realised that you need to join the lure anglers before you can join the canal group unless you live within 5 miles of the canal which makes it a bit steep but you can research it here if you like:

    2. I did stumble upon that website George, I'm not within 5 miles either. More like twelve.

      You can get a day ticket for £5 so a bit pricey mind. I might give the Lapworth / Knowle area a go.