Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Saturday 1 April 2023

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.52 (Roach Bream Hybrid PB)

The wife didn't seem that impressed with the recent capture of a specimen roach from the local canal. It was a PB after all but fell on deaf ears, and ok a 1lb 12 ounce fish ain't all that to some anglers, but especially in this neck of the woods it's not a bad fish at all. 

"Ben's has had bigger dumps 💩💩💩🚽🚽 than that !!!!" 

"Whatever !!, but yeah, good point well made 😛"

She clearly didn't see the significance of the capture but for me seeing a roach that big really did make my week, day, year ? I was back for some more you see, in the same area where I'd managed some small chub as well. Considering the bream usually get in on the act here it's been nice to see a different variety of fish. 

Now In most canals, the efforts of the Canal and Rivers Trust cover removers keep large areas of water comparatively free from reeds. Such areas will be easily accessible but hard-fished, and the fish will be more difficult to catch. Canal anglers who aspire to catch the better fish should learn not to always seek the easiest places but to think instead where the fish might be, taking into account the nature of the water and the conditions prevailing at the time.

Fish in canals especially roach, which at one time were the most prolific and most sought-after fish move about a great deal and will not always be found in the same place. This fact goes part of the way towards explaining why it is that a spot which produces good roach one day will not necessarily produce them the next. The roach might still be there, but not feeding. Alternatively, they may have been scared away or have moved off. Where they go is a puzzle to which the canal angler may seldom find a satisfactory answer unless he can see them.

It is possible, however, to go part way towards finding a solution. We can often determine where the fish will not be, in view of the conditions. Basking fish can usually be ignored. They are not likely to feed. But if the fish cannot be seen and the sun is on the water, they are most likely to be found in the deepest part of the canal or hidden in the reeds, where they can shelter from the sun. They will not usually be in the shallows or close to the tow-path, where the concentration of anglers and noise is at its peak.

The discerning angler will recognize this and fish his bait at the edge of the reeds in the deep water of the centre channel or, in the case of the clear-water canal, across under the far bank, where he expects the fish to be lying. And he will be right, more often than not, if he does this. A bait fished in the shallow water, close to the tow-path, is not likely to tempt many fish.

On the other hand, an overcast sky and a stiff inshore breeze may bring the fish close to the angler - even close in to the bank from which he is fishing, if there is a sufficient depth of water there. When the surface mirror is broken by the wind, the angler is not as conspicuous. The fish often move in to feed on the shelf, where the water begins to shallow off and there is a gently sloping bank upon which natural food can be found.

If the fish can be kept there, they can probably be caught. The intervening beds of reeds, where they exist, should not be regarded as a handicap. They provide cover for the angler. A long rod will enable him to reach out over them. He may catch more fish than he would if the water were completely reed less.

The angler has to think about the condition of the canal bottom, too, if he hopes to get the best results possible from his water. 

Is it composed of clay or gravel? Or is it composed of mud? Is there reed or no reed? 

These questions need to be answered before he can rig up his tackle efficiently. 

A mud bottom will make orthodox bottom fishing difficult a waste of time, even for it will probably obscure his bait from the fish; and if they have to dig for it, they will probably pass it by. So the thoughtful angler will first find out about the nature of the canal bottom. 

If it is muddy or thick with reeds, then he will not fish his bait hard on the bottom. Acting on the premise that a visible bait is ten times more likely to catch fish than one that is hidden, he will arrange his tackle so that the bait does not fall right on to the bottom but just skims it at maximum fall. Or he will use a bait which he knows will remain visible to the fish, a piece of crust or flake, perhaps.

Lots of think about isn't there !!!

Or do what I do and don't check the depth, chuck out the float and a large piece of bread flake and hope for the best. There could be method in ones madness though because a rather cobbled together set-up actually worked rather well for all manner of species on the canal.

I tend to fish it over depth and the float shape not only deals well with the turbulent water within a lock body and overflow but also when the canal surface is choppy. The swim I caught it from is on a bend and it is us subjected to the worse of the wind. It's certainly not sheltered lets put it that way. The lift method certainly works well but using this set-up of late, the float sails away with confidence and bites are largely unmissable.

With a rather heavy head after a visit from friends where the food was plentiful as was the wine I headed to the area where I caught the chub and roach from recently. After two hours with nothing to show for it, well a bob on the float and a bream that rolled I decided to head to another area I've done ok in the past.

Again bread mash as feed and a large piece of bread flake on the hook it didn't talk long to get the first bite. Ahhhhhhh Haaaaaaahh that's where the bream have been hiding !!!

What I didn't expect was after keeping the bream in the landing net so I could get a couple of pics, that the lackadaisical underarm flick of the float back in the swim had it tearing off at a rate of knots almost taking the rod with it !!!

At the first bend of the rod when I lifted in to the fish I knew it was a better fish, hey maybe even one of the bigger chub that reside here !!!

One hell of a battle on light tackle and what I didn't expect when I teased it in to the landing net that it was a roach bream hybrid.

The biggest I'd ever caught too going 4lb on the nose. A cracking fish no wonder it put up one hell of a scrap. I didn't expect that, well worth coming out in the mud fest. And that was that, no more fish and I fished another couple of swims too. Around 10.00am the tow path turned in to Piccadilly Circus and with 3 or 4 boats going through it was time for the off !!!

It's throwing up nice nice surprises of late this stretch, long may it continue !!!


  1. That's one hell of a hybrid, good work.

    1. Did come as a surprise I must admit, a lovely fish indeed !!


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