Tuesday, 28 December 2010

River Roach - Small Stream Adventures - Disciples of Rutilus - Part 1

You may have noticed that we've had a record breaking month? Yep, it's official - December 2010 was not only the dryest month for nets, but also the slackest month for lines since records began...

The period since mid November has certainly been the coldest experienced in the half century I've lived and with the months of January and February, the traditionally cold part of the English winter, still to come it may well turn out to be the coldest Winter since the days of Dickens. It all makes for lovely pictures of frozen canal, lakes and rivers, haw frost laden trees, romantic mist filled valleys and the like, but for seasonal fishy pics it has been a national disaster.

With this dearth of fishing news uppermost in mind, Danny and I set out early on Christmas Eve morning for a crack at some roach he'd lately come across about a mile and a half downstream from my normal haunts. It turned out that I'd fished the spot before, had had a single roach on that occasion but had not returned in the meantime as I'd my work more than cut out with my local fish.

The stream was on its bones. All the available water in the river's catchment temporarily locked up in the frozen ground and snow. It was also too clear for comfort, the river bed visible in all but the deepest places, and these holes and gullies where all the roach would be stacked up, were few and far between.

Danny fished his new found hotspot while I went back to the innocuous looking peg where I'd had that roach. Here the water was two feet deep (one of the deepest swims!) with the bright white bait bread bait only just disappearing from view as it fluttered to the bottom, however, I knew that there'd be fish around and sure enough I got bites straight away but only little tap taps on the quiver tip that after an hour or more I'd had enough of believing that they were caused by either very small fish, minnows perhaps, or from most disinterested roach.

Danny kneels at the altar of roach...

Danny had fared no better and at half time our total was just one lost chublet to Danny's rod and zip to mine. We met up, deciding to head upstream into unexplored territory where I soon found what I was really after - a nice dark (2ft plus...) run of water ambling along beneath some over-hanging branches. This is precisely the sort of swim that I have learned to be the favourite holt of the stream's roach - looking like no kind of swim at all, really - the sort of place that most anglers would digregard in search of a pool on a corner with a rubbish raft to fish to, but to my eye these are the swims that simply scream "Roach!"

The rod tip was rattling as soon as the bait hit bottom and these were certainly roach bites. Sure enough the first fish came along within fifteen minutes, which is good going in broad daylight, but it was probably the smallest roach I'd ever caught from this watercourse at just two ounces. A little later I had a better fish but still only a six ouncer...

We ended the session at half eleven without having had much success, it has to said. We were both looking for the target fish of a pound or so that would prove the existence of a shoal worth pursuing along this hitherto untried stretch, but didn't find it. Nevertheless, I have an inkling that there will be larger fish than those caught today living down there in the gloom at the bottom of the run beneath the branches and that a late evening session when there's a little more water running through should trip one or two of them up.

We'll see...

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jeff, a great read with some cracking Roach thrown in for good measure, quality stuff. Congrats on making the Angling times this week too! Happy new year!