Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Friday 19 April 2024

Canal Roach - The Sisyphean Task ? Pt.3

I was back at Wild Garlic Way to see if I could pick up a roach from these moody turbid waters, and to also forage some more leaves for some pesto I'm going to make.

The mushroom and wild garlic cream sauce with some vermouth went down rather well I must admit so I needed to replenish the reserves whilst the leaves were still young and pungent. 

The wind was due to drop a little verses the last few days which is why I decided to head down for a couple of hours early doors, where hopefully after the overactive tiller twisters would be way off from having their fun. So fingers crossed that meant I could get some float fishing in without any tow on the water. 

Now in Greek mythology, Sisyphus or Sisyphos was the founder and king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth). He was a devious tyrant who killed visitors to show off his power. This violation of the sacred hospitality tradition greatly angered the gods. 

They punished him for trickery of others, including his cheating death twice. The gods forced him to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down every time it neared the top, repeating this action for eternity. Through the classical influence on modern culture, tasks that are both laborious and futile are therefore described as Sisyphean.

The Double Figure Canal Zander Quest was concluded after 6 years of towpath trudging but oddly especially with fellow Blogger and WBAS syndicate member George Burtons success for roach over 2lb on the local canals, I'm hoping this won't be as challenging but just as rewarding. There is one big problem and that is the amount of sessions that may lead to success, you see I was head down Zander, Zander and Zander previously however I'm not sure this new quest will be of the same vigour. 

These sessions will be little but not often, because I've other fish that I want to target as well, such as canal Tench, Carp and even Big Rudd, and when the rivers are back open again, that's where my allegiances are if I'm honest with myself. The closed season for me however is a blessing really, as it does force me in to doing some different which is good for the mind, body and soul I'd say. Talking of which after losing a carp here last time, I'd have a carp sleeper rod out with a yellow pop-up tipped with a tigernut. 

Now as anglers we are lucky up these parts though, we shouldn't forget that, other areas of the country don't have the canals that we have and have to fish commercial lakes dread the thought, learn to knit or join the local bridge club as their distraction from not being able to fish all things flowing. Where the heck are all the other anglers though ? the canals I fish it's rare to see another angler and those that I do see are the like-minded I often already know anyway. 
With the success on maggots on another stretch I was going to stick to the maggot approach but fish time to time with bread if bites were forthcoming, to hopefully home on in to a bigger fish ( a roach hopefully). 

Groundbait as before Supercrush Green from Sonubaits with a few micro pellets and a handful of hemp to try and get the fish grubbing around. Another change was to fish an antenna float and the trigger shot method. 

The insert waggler actually worked pretty well last time but the bite registration was a little cumbersome I fancied something with a little more finesse. (Yes alien to me I know ) 

Nothing new in this but I first read about it when Jeff Hatt off of Idlers Quest wrote and article about it....

...Back in 2013 apparently it certainly doesn't seem that long mind you because I've used the method in my canal fishing ever since (Have a look at George's YouTube vlog here too). Get the set-up right and it works very well indeed. Go and have a look at Jeff's article above, essentially the bulk BB are pinched on 12-18 inches from the hook depending on depth, but the trigger shot just an inch from the knot. 

'The (antenna) float is held on the line by a couple of float stops so depth variations can be quickly and accurately adjusted to. The object is to have the trigger shot anchor the buoyant bread at dead depth and bring the antennae down in the water till just the red tip shows above. 

Over-depth there's too much showing, under-depth there's too little or none at all. It is absolutely depth-critical, takes a lot of work to get perfectly balanced and is no method for the lazy. Then, as a fish picks up the bait the weight of the trigger shot is subtracted when the antennae lifts registering the bite in the most dramatic fashion'. (Jeff's words)

Sometimes you need to play about with the bulk shotting as well to get the trigger shot to work so sometimes those 5bb needed for this float could mean 4 initially. Thankfully the canals are pretty uniform which helps however if you find it's difficult to achieve then move all the bulk shot near the hook and then fish it overdepth by tightening down to the float so a small amount is showing, that works very well too. 

I didn't expect to be scraping a thin layer of frost off the car when I left the house at a cup of tea past 5.30am but wow what a lovely morning and it got better and better. I was expecting it to be a big fish day because when I got to the swim two big fish showed themselves quite early on.

One was definitely a bream because I saw it roll, a nice one too. Anyway I fed some hemp and corn next to some reeds and placed the carp rig over the top and then left that to do its own thing.

I started off on maggots and it took a while to get the first bite and it was a roach. I missed a clear bite or two before that which were really fast bites which I missed.

The bites started to come thick and fast when I started to feed maggots and that was the key.

Assume there were fish competing in the swim because a few of them grabbed with maggots as soon as the float hit the surface.

I wish I had my Zander sleeper rod with me because I bet the Zander were not far away with the amount of small roach in the swim, which I reckon there was because all of a sudden the bites stopped so much so I went for a move.

The next swim I was getting a few nibble quite quick but after half an hour without the sun to warm me up, I went back to the original swim where again the roach seemed to be on to the maggots.

I did try bread from time to time but not even a bobble, so maggots it was. When I did switch swims I placed the carp rig on the spot again and after half an hour a huge wake right next to the reeds where I assume the carp had been spooked on something.

It's barely even 2 foot deep there and it's surprising carp even venture there but it's exactly the spot where I managed to catch one from this stretch before

So a few roach caught, but nothing big showed at all. Once the first boat went through at 8.30am and it turned in to a river I decided to call it a day. What amazes me about this moody canal it is more hit than miss, but one day if you get one of the rare good one's it's bream all the way, and then only small fish, and then if you're lucky a decent roach. Looking back at the picture one of the fish might have even been a small dace, not 100% but there is chub in here as well so you never know. I should pay more attention next time shouldn't I 😀

Oh and the water temp has been given a hot, only 11.2 degrees this morning


  1. Morning mick your float rig is how I fish for cricians . I use a drennan antenna float (now discontinued big mistake Drennan) ... Instead of a group of bulk shot I use an Olivette as drennan do them in vey small sizes . I hold it in place with 2 small float stops . The advantage of using an Olivette over shot is that you can slide it up and down the line with ease . Also there is less risk of damage to the line ....and less risk of seeing the line part as that PB Roach / crucian rolls on the surface ... the tell tale shot is either a BB or AA ... Baz peck

    1. The olivette sounds a great idea Baz, might give that a go. Discontinued ? I did wonder why I was finding them difficult to find, I wonder why ?

  2. Yes mate .. the have brought out a new visi wag range but they don't offer the slender finesse of the antenna float . Shame as they were the perfect float in my opinion .

    1. Well there was 8 up for sale on Ebay and I made an offer and was accepted !! Obviously a mark-up but no tooooooooo bad.


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