Hybrids

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Ron Clay

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Have you all looked at the classic boob on page 3 of Angling Times today. There in all it's glory is a roach bream hybrid (I think). being portrayed as a 3 lb plus roach.
Why is it an hybrid?
1. The dorsal fin is very ponted and breamy.
2. The anal fin is too long and has too many rays,
3. The lips are level
4. The eye is a breamy colour.
5. At the front of the anal fin you can see the point and edge of the abdominal keel which is a dead give away.
Look at the photo of the record on the next page and compare.
It don't look right does it?
 

GrahamM

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The long anal fin is the obvious pointer to its true ID. How have they missed that?

A true roach has 9 to 11 branched rays. The one in the picture has at least 15.
 
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Paul Williams

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I presume you are talking about the linch hill fish? these are the same fish that was in AM last week (Alan Wilson) some of the pictures appear to be "more" roach and some of them are conveniatly being hidden, but you are right about this weeks AT, but this must now put a question mark on all the fish being caught in the water, have you fellas got last weeks AM, can you comment? i am a syndicate member so i am very interested.
 

GrahamM

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Yes, the Linch Hill fish. Can't help with the fish in AM though, I haven't seen a copy. Sorry.
 
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Ron Clay

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I will try to get a copy of AM.
The truth is rapidly dawning that a true 2 pound roach is indeed a very rare capture. Even that big fish on the front of AT looks a bit suspect. I can't see the anal fin in detail yet the tail fin looks a bit breamified. The upper and lower lobes are almost straight. On a true roach they are slightly convex. Compare the tail fin of Ray Clark's fish on page 2 and I'll think you will see what I'm getting at.
 
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Paul Williams

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I have such mixed feelings about this, in one way if the Linch hill specimens are hybrids i won't be to sad because waters like this can seem so unreal and distort the true picture, if however 2lb+ roach are becoming scarcer and my own sources also point that way, then it is a sad time for me.
 
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Andy Davis

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On a vaguely related topic, Can anyone recommend a good fish recognition book ?
 
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Ron Clay

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Many years ago during the "Golden Era" of the fifities and sixties, the Angling Times used to publish an excellent dairy every year. In it were diagrams and details of how to recognise all the species of cyprinids including dace and chub. During the fifities I possessed a marvellous little book called The Observers Book of British Freshwater fishes. Has anyone got copies of these publications?
I do not know of any book available today that gives the recognition points of roach, rudd and hybrids. **** Walker did a great deal of research on hybrids many years ago and published his findings in several magazines.
 

GrahamM

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Ron and Andy, I've got that Observers book. It was written by A. Laurence Wells, but it doesn't give a publication date.

I also have 'Key to the Fishes of Northern Europe' by Alwyne Wheeler. This is by far the best book for fish ID.

It identifies more than 350 species and was published in 1978 by Frederick Warne. The hardback edition is ISBN 0 7232 2097 2 and the softback ISBN 0 7232 2064 6

Alwyne Wheeler is the recognised authority on Fish ID and in his book he says that roach have 9 to 11 branched rays in the anal fin. The fish on page 3 of this week's Angling Times clearly has 14 or more.

As Paul Williams said, this throws doubt on many of the roach captures from Linch Hill in the last few years.

For those who need reassurance that they're catching true roach the matter needs investigating. For the rest, well, they're nice fish anyway!

It'll be interesting to see if Angling Times recognises the mistake - I have told them!
 

GrahamM

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I would also like to add that I'm a great believer in Walker's theory that 'first glance' is usually correct. And my first glance at that Linch Hill fish was enough to make me want to run a check on it.
 
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Birds Nest

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When I think about it does it really matter ? I mean they are still big fis, and none the easier to catch...
 
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Ron Clay

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Yes it does matter, very much so. Otherwise the whole business of specimen fish, records, and the integrity of anglers over the years goes for a Burton. Nice fish yes, but not a true roach
 
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Birds Nest

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I understand what youare saying, but I think its somewhat pointless bickering over a fish that isn't pressing the record anyway.

I wonder if one of the weeklies will put together a booklet "how to tell you fish apart..." Having said that AM had a piece on Telling a Dace and a Chub apart....

s
 
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Ron Clay

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I don't think we are bickering at all. Just trying to establish the truth. It is , after all, a crying shame that the editorial staff of our leading angling weekly cannot identify a true roach. They could in the 50s. But then AT was staffed by experienced anglers. Need I name them?
 
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Birds Nest

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If you like. But I understand what you are saying. As a side though I was just thinking about the branched rays in the anal fin point, could roach not grow extra ? After all you get people with 6 toes, dont you ? Anyway I'm gonna drop it now, I don't want to appear to be winding people up..
 

GrahamM

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Now you wouldn't want to wind anybody up would you Mr Nest?

Anyway, when our foremost fish expert Alwyne Wheeler came to the conclusion that true roach have 9 to 11 rays in the anal fin he did say that it was 9 to 11 unless they grew a few extra ones, and if they grew a lot of extra ones they changed into bream.

Not.
 
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Ron Clay

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What is important to understand is that according to all the stuff I've read in the past, fin ray counts, scale counts fin shapes etc are only a general guide. The only true way of establishing the identity of rudd or roach is by examination of the pharyngeal teeth and that means the fish must be killed.
 

GrahamM

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That's true Ron, but when the fin ray count is different from the norm by several rays I think that's enough to say the fish is not true to the species.

Pharyngeal teeth checks are only really necessary when the scale and fin ray counts are in the 'overlap' zone, ie, when one species has a count of, say, 9 to 11, and a closely related species has a count of, say, 11 to 13.
 
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Paul Williams

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Birds nest, they are nice fish no doubt about that, but if they are hybridished with bream then there size is easily explained, it is important that if they are hybrids that this is taken into account, my personal best roach is a river fish, it didn't weigh 3lbs! a true 3lb roach is a monumental fish and deserves to remain that way. Oh and i do speak as someone with something to lose! a potential 3lb roach!!
 
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