Saturday, 29 September 2012

Avon Roach — Technical

With the thought of those roach I saw last time out in my head, and no doubt the 'barbel-with-my-name on-it' in Martin's, we set off for another crack. The river was different. That's the trouble with rivers though, isn't it?  Where we'd had clear water and easy fishing, now we'd coloured water and technical fishing and I just knew my roach weren't going to be as easy as I'd hoped.

I settled into the swim where I'd seem 'em, but where last week a roach feeder rig would have held no problem at all, now it was swept to the inside line and ended up in slack water, where, I had a few bites, but could tell they weren't from roach. Too twangy is what they were, and from little bitty chub or even gudgeon, so a move downstream was planned. Before I went though, I cast right across the flow into slack water against the far bank and let the feeder bounce down, and, in the moment before it started to move, was getting bites that did look very good for roach. Shame I wasn't on the far bank.

I set off for a bit of roving, leaving the bulk gear behind and taking along just a rod, net and bait. I haven't been a much of a rover lately, but should do it more, because it's lovely form of fishing. Lots of options presented themselves. The flow was rapid and the course twisting and varied, therefore all kinds of casts could be made to possible lies — upstream, downstream, across stream, far bank, near bank, under the rod top, you name it — anything could be attempted just by varying the angle of the rod in the rest from very low to extremely high. It was hard to find fish though, because with such interesting water they tend to be gathered up in certain places and today was about understanding where that might be.

I found a nice spot that did give up some of its secrets though, and where bites were strident. These proved to be from dace and small chub. I actually weighed one of the chub, just to remind myself what a really large dace would look like if I was ever lucky enough to catch one!

Martin toughed it out in the weir pool. It looked a little too rough for my light set up so didn't try for roach there, even though roach love them, so as darkness fell I moved into a really interesting swim on a bend that I later wished I'd found well before dusk because in my experience of almost everywhere I've fished on this river, roach tend to go off the feed at a certain point around that time, which is contrary to popular wisdom but true, with bites after dark, fewer and fewer.

I did get 'unmissable bites' and some pretty big roach did roll, though for some reason, I failed to hook a single one! Then again I was waiting ten minutes between them, when for any real chance of doing well with roach you really do need them every few minutes at most, because it's not unreasonable to expect to miss half or more even on a really good day, and on a hard one, when they're dead finicky, hit only one in every ten. However, I was both surprised and glad that none of those after dark bites resulted in chub. That's a very good sign in my book.

Martin wound up with a bream, I wound up with chublets and dace, which on the face of it sounds a bit of a failure, but I don't mind putting in the extra effort when there's the gut instinct that I'm in the right place and doing the right thing. I might be wrong, it may be another roach fishing dead end, but no other fish that I know of rolls at dusk in such a way. Actually, the fact that they aren't so easy, or so numerous, may be a very good thing indeed, but...

We'll see.


  1. Jeff, been reading your blog over the last few days, cracking read. I was wondering if you could answer a question for me. I've never fished the cov canal even tho I live in the city, as I don't drive I was wondering if there is any decent sport to be had nearer the basin? If there is is it free or would I have to join a club. Thanks in advance for any reply I may get.

  2. Hi Nick. The canal from the basin to Longford is roach heaven. I don't explore into the city as much as I should, because I walk invariably, and my absolute limit is two miles either way from home.

    Though I've heard that it is run by 'someone,' till they meet me on the bank and produce evidence of that, or stick up a sign, then it's all free fishing so far as I'm concerned. You certainly won't get asked for money on the bank, and shouldn't pay anyone who does ask for cash, without credentials!

    It is clear water down near the City though, so you'd have to fish with that in mind.