Donut brain strikes again! (roach article and video, entry 308)



Donut brain strikes again!

I have enjoyed this close season more than any other. Usually, even before the month of April is out, I am counting the days down, like some tormented prisoner ticking dates off on the calendar next to his bed. And that’s how I have often felt, somehow restricted and not really free. And although I have been fishing on canals, lakes and gravel pits it hasn’t been the same as when the river option is available. But I have been so immersed in my angling this time round, it only hit me this week that this would be my final seven days before the rivers opened their doors to business as usual.

Where to go was not the choice, as the Staffs/Worcs Canal it was. When I voted a couple of weeks ago we had a ballot paper that was the biggest I have ever seen. And with multiple candidates from 12 different parties, there were lots of options. But my mind had been made up some time before and just like my trip to the canal I knew where I was going to put my X. And as that exact spot was free, I put my gear down on a wet and damp patch alongside the canal. It had been raining earlier and after a short respite it continued right till the time I packed away. 

Apart from when it rains the canal looks good at this time of the year. When I started fishing this stretch a few months ago, although it had far bank vegetation, it was nothing compared to what it is now. There was the odd bush and tree that hung over the water but now it has grown considerably and looks very inviting. And that’s where I have been taking my perch. But on this occasion, as with my other roach sessions, I fished the near shelf and out as far as the beginning of the boat channel.

I have been legering, which is much easier due to the constant water movement on the canal. Even though I have been using a tiny 1/8th of an ounce lead and a 0.5 ounce tip, there have been no problems. A float is hard work and I like to leave the bait static. If I want to go trotting I will fish a river! Regarding the tip I always opt for glass over carbon when roach fishing (and of course when conditions allow) as my personal conviction is that this gives me greater sensitivity.


I had been fishing for about half an hour when a gentle enough bite saw me strike into something that was obviously not a roach. And a few minutes later this was confirmed, as I netted my third carp from that peg in a few weeks. I thought to myself that I really do need to do a few all-nighters there with the carp gear, and if I can somehow fit that in over the next few months I will do so. Even though I fish a lot more than the average angler, I still find that there is more that I don’t do than I actually do! I often wonder how anglers who only fish once a month manage, but then again, that’s probably enough for them as not everyone is as passionate as I am about my fishing!

Once the carp was returned, the heavens opened again and the remaining fish were all roach. Nice ones but not really the biggies that I was after. I packed away about 11.00pm and a day later was back in the same peg. What a difference a day makes, as this time it was a pleasant enough evening, and above all a dry one. I was again fishing sweetcorn on the hook and loose feeding grains on a regular basis. I caught more roach and this time a couple of chub as well. You can see photographs of the chub on this week’s video, as I limit myself to three article shots and unfortunately the chub came 4th in terms of priority!


I was having a good end to the week, as come Friday evening I loaded my car once more and set off for the canal. I parked, got my gear out and was about to set off along the towpath when I realised that I had forgotten my landing net. What a donut! Although some anglers may have fished anyway regardless, I put my stuff back in the car and drove home. And if you’re my friend on facebook you will have read my status! Fishing 2.5lb line and with a drop down to the water, any decent fish would not make it to the bank. And I would sooner be frustrated at leaving a net behind than having lost a big fish.

But I always put things in perspective, and in the big picture of life, having a wasted trip to the local canal is hardly a crisis is it? As soon as I drove away I put it behind me and started, as I always do on journeys home, to think about my next session. And then it hit me. The next time I cast a line will be on a river. Whey hey, I can’t wait. See you next week! As for what I will be fishing for and where, that will depend on conditions. Rivers aren’t as straightforward as canals so need a lot more observation and thought.

(click icon above for this week’s video)


(Originally published June 2009)

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