Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The Ring around the Bullseye

Why it needed the second set of scales I've no idea. As always they both proved each other to be faithful. There should never have been a doubt.

It is essential to be certain in those breathtaking, almost heart-stopping, moments in life. No times to be taking risks, or being rushed, or in any way glib these.

There had been no sign of life being present until that tell-tale stick of cane stood up as sudden as an adjacent thunder clap...and stayed there. That is always a sign of confidence, and confident it was.

Confident, powerful and unrelenting.

Conditions were perfect for the situation. Overcast, a drift in the air but the water flat calm, mild and with water visibility around ten inches. The 'peeu, peeu' of a flock of winter-visiting siskins fleetingly filled the air above the trees and the Grand Union was in fine fettle for whittling out the odd roach.

Odd it was.

Odd in being alone. Odd in its fighting spirit. Odd in the singularity of the bite.

Above all though odd in its size.

Roach of, what this regular colder weather campaign targets as the true quarry, upwards of one pound four ounces, trying to determine the ceiling, are so difficult to track down. Each stretch requires searching until areas are identified and that can be revisited irregularly through to March. At least three weeks between trips and the pressure doesn't tell on them.

To find fish over that size is another matter and in the experience of these tales of F,F&F it has become clear that:
A/. The fish are often loners (at that size);
B/. The fish are always first to be caught of a morning;
C/. They always feed before the sun breaks over any shade, and,
D/. They're fighters!

So this one was no different, ticking all those boxes and more

Once in the net the enormity of the accomplishment is consuming. Shaking hands, beating heart (naturally!), shortness of breath and, frankly, a mild sense of panic. The question of whether to continue or simply flee to the humble abode, knowing, just knowing.

No other fish can cause such symptoms in this particular angler. The past year or two have produced fish of other species that should have, but somehow it just isn't there.

So how does one make them appear their true size in photographs?

Like this?
Or like this?
The latter I suspect.

And what did he weigh one might ask? One pound, fifteen ounces, five drams. 

A truly magnificent fish from any water and Grand Union p.b. to boot, this very morning. 

What is it about big roach?


  1. Clonker! Well done George.

    1. 'Sure was Sean, thanks.
      Can't contemplate going again at the mo knowing whatever happens will be an anticlimax!

  2. So supersize Roach, some super size Zander hanging around ?

    1. If they're 30lbers Mick!

      But seriously, they are on the list for when it gets a bit colder and the roach thing has started to wane. They must be there mustn't they.

  3. What is it about big roach? Easy one: big roach have always been rare and difficult, especially north of anywhere best avoided. They have been unaffected by the boilie and pellet invasions, unlike most other species. A double figure ( TWO pounds) roach will always command respect from any angler. The bigger roach are not so much loners in your canal, just rare. If ever they swim with others, and I suspect they usually do, those will be smaller.

  4. I should have added that ANY pound plus roach is a worthwhile fish.

    1. I'm sure you're right JZ...and I agree that any roach over a pound is noteworthy. Even if measurements of weight were differently implemented it would so happen that roach of a pound or more would naturally be impressive at that size.