More big roach would undoubtedly be caught on canals if anglers altered their clocks. The tendency for the biggest to show up into evening, just as the light is dipping, is uncanny – it’s as if the giants suddenly drop their guard.
The art of catching in the cold is to keep the shoal interested without resorting to overkill. The skill is to follow the response of the fish, adding a little more bait when the bites are regular, or backing off when things dry up. It’s also worth rotating different areas in the same swim; and
Winter roach fishing on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
Bread Punch Fishing On Canals Photo Gallery
Taking a good catch of roach on any canal remains a delicate, skilful process. No single gimmick or trick will render you a master – the magic is in putting together of a series of skills. Cute presentation and accurate feeding are constant requisites, as is the prompt, steady guiding away of a hooked fish to avoid spooking its shoal-mates. If carp or pike fishing are a matter of pounds and feet, roach angling is about ounces and inches. The devil is very much in the detail, and anyone able consistently to catch a fine stamp of these pretty fish from canals can consider themselves an accomplished angler.
For sheer numbers, fishing the whip takes some beating.
Russ Hilton took this fine bag on the Grand Union Canal, using a pole cup to lay down a bed of groundbait and fishing maggots and casters over the top.