Monday, 12 January 2015
Big Chub and Roach, Fresh Impetus (Part 1)
Laid-up, as I have been, with the lurgy since the New Year it was with genuine excitement that after some months (extending perhaps to a couple of years) I eventually tracked down, at the right price, a copy of 'Big Chub and Roach...Thoughts and Encounters' by John Etherington which thudded onto the door mat just two days ago
Not as thick or as large as I had expected but, I was sure, packed with useful information and, therein, enlightenment
Already in the first couple of pages he talks of the ceiling for chub being double the average size caught causing me to reach for my notebook and work mine out for the Leam. 31 chub, totalling 64-14-0, average 2-1-8. So my 4lb target complies with his thinking too, pretty neatly in fact. That said, I don't record chub under a pound and a half in my list but then I suspect he doesn't either, and they really are few and far between anyway when fishing big baits
My biggest at 3-13-0, while close to the possible ceiling of 4-3-0 is my only one over 3-8-0 so it implies I am not quite there yet but if you apply a +/- factor of, say, 10% this would give a range 6.5 ounces either side of that i.e. 3-12-8 to 4-9-8. So this is what he implies a Leam angler should be aiming at
From my perpetual 4lb Leam chub target you will we aware that these thoughts coincide, albeit mine is on a more woolly basis of simple observation, but to have it confirmed externally is of some comfort and gives me the resolve to carry on pursuing something larger. This is only my third season at it and as he also states that once you break through the barrier it will happen again and again, I hope to have something to look forward to yet. My biggest problem in that regard, as I have explained before, is that I do tend to want to go fishing when the conditions are against the likelihood of bites quite regularly, but maybe, on those occasions, I ought to take a more match-style approach and just fish for anything that swims or pursue dace which will feed in lighter conditions than most species
Speaking of conditions...later he discusses light levels at which big roach, in particular, are likely to feed. He states that Richard Walker determined a level of 6.5 footcandles as being the level below which this occurrs, and, using his camera (a 35mm SLR, I would assume) found that the same reading of 6.5 in the viewfinder coincided with roach feeding (although he didn't know whether the units of measurement were actually the same)
It is clear that big roach are very much affected by light levels when it comes to feeding. On my local canal I usually struggle to get bites from them once the sun comes up if there is no cloud and when there is cloud it needs to be fairly thick to provide any chance of fish from an hour or two after actual (i.e. Civil) sunrise. That is if the boats haven't turned the water to treacle by then anyway!
I have never measured light levels when fishing but it is beyond question that this general theory is true. There will always be exceptions of course but for serious angling is should be seen as a rule
This lead me to wonder how I might measure this in the modern age. Walker's books were obviously written decades ago and my current reading fodder was published in 1985 (although from the clothing, tackle and grainy black & white imagery one could easily be mistaken, quite frankly, for thinking they were from the 1960's!). So some research enlightened (sorry) me to the point at which I now understand that 1 footcandle = 10.8 lux and they are measures of illuminance. Below is a table which rather neatly also corresponds with the above theories (footcandles in the middle column, lux on the right):
Full Daylight 1,000 10,752
Overcast Day 100 1,075
Very Dark Day 10 107
Twilight 1 10.8
Deep Twilight 0.1 1.08
Full Moon. 0.01 0.108
Quarter Moon 0.001 0.0108
Starlight 0.0001 0.0011
6.5 footcandles therefore equates to 70.2 lux and, as can be seen, this level is lower than 'very dark day' at 107 lux and heading toward twilight so the cloud needs to be very heavy to result in this light level during the day but it gives us a clue as to the benefits of dawn and dusk, although moonlight can then come into play but probably in a different manner. Turbidity of the water is also a factor of course and accounts for those occasional days when roach will feed throughout daylight hours in certain flood conditions if combined with some cloud cover, however it is beyond my wit to combine the two and produce a method measuring that! (Perhaps a jar of flood water between a device and the sun? Moving on...)
I got to thinking about how I might measure this on the bank. Cricket umpires use light meters to determine whether it is safe for players to continue (we know it usually is, but they'll take 'em off anyway!) so that was an option and a quick delve into ebay confirmed that light meters these days start at around a tenner for a digital model, which is manageable. Although you have got to carry it with everything else of course and in my drive to travel light every appendage is to be analysed for necessity
So I started to ponder whether there might be an app. available. Of course Messrs Walker and Etherington will not have encountered such wonders in their time but, sure enough, even on android there they are...and they're free.
So I just downloaded 'Lux Meter Level' and it sits here next to me reading 8 and if I tilt it toward the window it reads 79. 79? Whoah!! Hang-on. Where are my rods?!
I'll finish this later...