Canal Roach and Tench Blank.

My early spring fishing on the local canals finished abruptly when a sudden heatwave sent almost every fish into spawning mode. It’s always time to leave them alone then.

Prior to that, I’d struggled in my morning sessions compared to last year, taking the odd good roach with a few decent bream thrown in for good measure. I’d have loved catches like these though when I used to fish the canal as a boy.

All of my catches were falling to float fished bread. But on one catch after catching a number of nice bream, my keepnet was full of sweetcorn skins! Someone had obviously been piling the ‘yellow peril’ in.

Frustrated by the lack of big roach, I switched to fishing in the evening to see if that made a difference. It was like flicking a switch as a number of quality specimens fell for my light line tactics. One redfin of a pound and a quarter gained my attention. It was pretty chunky, but not pigeon chested like many others. It had lovely coloration though. Interspersed with the textbook roach colouring was the odd patch of bronze, where lost scales had grown back, but in a different colour. It’s amazing how stunning our coarse fish are when we take a close look.

I placed a few roach for a photo before putting the rest back. I had 15 more like the ones in the photo. While not massive roach, fish around a pound are true specimens for a tiny urban canal, and I’ll never tire of catching them.

Following the heatwave that saw almost every roach in the canal getting all frisky, I turned my attention to a big tench, or hopefully more!

I’ve not had much luck in pursuit of tench in recent years. The Oxford gravel pits have never yielded a tench to me, despite watching them roll in my swim on many occasions. I tried in Norfolk, and caught a couple of nice fish on my first trip. With a couple of weeks booked off work I looked forward to more, but fractured ribs in a freak fall stopped me getting on the bank again.

This years effort started in dodgy fashion as I drove down to the gravel pits I’d decided on fishing, arriving at first light, but then I took another hour to find the gate to get into the place! Once in, I arrived at my chosen lake to see a few tench rolling in open water. With no other anglers in the area, I quickly put some gear in the swim and got my plumbing rod out. I found a nice clear gravel bar which the tench were rolling behind. I then got my spod rod out to put some bait in, hoping to gain their confidence before casting in. Then disaster happened!

I opened a can of hemp to mix with my other baits that I was going to spod out. As I pulled the ring pull, I felt a very sharp pain and instinctively clutched my hand tight to my body. A quick look down at all the blood confirmed my suspicions, I’d got a very bad cut. Even worse was the fact I’d carried a first aid kit with me all winter, but had left it in my float fishing bag!

I kept wrapping my thumb in wipes, trying to stop the flow of blood whilst trying to start fishing, but it was no use. I had to find a shop. Eventually I bought a load of plasters, germaline and antiseptic wipes. The cut was pretty bad but I wasn’t driving back home. I was here for another day and a half, so I put plenty of plasters on that pulled the cut together, then started fishing!

It was no surprise that the tench activity had stopped by now. Despite my optimism, I never saw another tench roll, nor did I get any bites. My tench fishing luck just has to turn one day!