Friday, 21 August 2009

Hankering after roach again.

Kev came around on the day after I had arrived back from my working stint in London and we went off to the canal to fish for roach. I was only half there the whole time, seriously knackered, suffering from culture lag.
I had a small bream second chuck but it was a false start, the fishing was very slow from thereon in. Kev had a perch and a roach that fell to a worm. I had a few perch to worm also but it was tardy unexciting fishing, we struggled for bites the whole time. I was so tired I even fell asleep on my stool...

Kev on the cut

Kev gave me the maggots and the remaining lobworms, and as I had only the one bait box with me, I put the worms in with the maggots intending to remove them to the wormery as soon as I got home.

Of course I forgot to...

Next day I felt right as rain, and woke with the overpowering urge to go fish the Avon below the Saxon Mill, at a peg that had produced a few roach to trotted baits last season. I Intended a mid afternoon start but Judy suffered a puncture on a shopping trip and was stranded. By the time this was all sorted out, all I had left was time for a short evening session of just a couple of hours.

The swim here had, as I said, produced a few small roach, or rather the swim below the swim I had fished had produced them. I was long trotting right down the straight deep channel here and whenever the float had reached a certain spot some thirty yards downstream the float had ducked and bobbed. Above this point, nothing. This evening I decided to pitch right above the spot and see what transpired.

The maggots had destroyed the worms in the bait box and had become enormous on them, twice the size they had been before their free lunch, and they absolutely stank of worm. Worth a try, I thought, even though handling them was a foul task. They worked brilliantly, and I was into fish from the first cast. A roach to start, then a small chub and a dace too. For an hour I trotted bunches of these maggots through the swim and had a steady succession of small fish of the same three species. On the hour the count was seven roach, seven dace, and three chub, but that total was small compared to the sheer quantity of bites I'd missed. The size of the fish was low too and no amount of maggots on the hook produced any improvement, even though I suspected that bigger fish were there, ten was as good as one, and all combinations brought the same results.

One of seven dace...

One of fourteen roach

A change to bread flake brought a radical improvement, though the bites were even more difficult to hit, probably because I'd not upped the hook size from the fourteen I had for maggots. What had improved markedly was the stamp of fish and selectivity, for all the fish after this bait change were roach and of increasing size, the chub and dace not showing after.

The biggest fish of the evening...

I had a further seven roach, the largest were the last fish of all, a brace caught in poor light of about half a pound or so each. The average weight had increased steadily over the last hour, as the steady trickle of mashed bead ground bait had washed downstream, brought the bigger fish into the swim and on the feed. My only regret is that I had not been able to start much earlier in the day, but I'll be back in that peg as soon as I can, after what I reckon could be some very promising roach fishing.

Dusk on the Middle Avon

© Jeff Hatt 2009 All Rights Reserved


  1. Hey Jeff,

    Thanks for the photos of the canal trip. I have posted about the Wye trip on my blog -
    you should be able to follow it now I've put on some gadets in the sidebar.



  2. No problem Kev. I've linked to your blog in my sidebar so that I can keep an eye out for updates