Monday, 19 September 2011

River Roach - Ol' Rubberneck goes Redfinning...

Like all good stories this one begins and ends with a curry...

Before setting off for a day out at Stratford with me getting in some serious roach fishing in the Lucy's Mill weirpools and Judy and Molly setting off for a six mile walk downstream through the Seven Meadows and beyond, Judy had prepared a highly aromatic chicken jalfrezi and put it on the side to improve for later. As you would...

The weir pools were trickling through with the sun bright overhead and the water alarmingly clear for roach. I didn't give myself much of a chance and when I spied a couple fishing in my wanted peg off the side of the upper weir below the lock I had to opt for second best and pitch by the side of the second larger weir, a spot where Lee Fletcher had had the maddening roach bites and a hybrid (the only one I've ever seen from the Avon) and eventually a real roach last time we both went roaching here but I had not yet tried for myself.

I tackled up with Steve Philip's loaned rod (a piece of kit that I developed a soft spot for through the day so he'll have one hell of a time getting it back...! ) a twelve foot, one-pound TC wand by Fox called the 'Specialist'.  The end tackle was my usual three foot hook length of three pound line tied to a size twelve Super Specialist hung off a 12 inch paternostered cage feeder. Bait was bread. Standard.

A big bait for big fish

First cast I got a roach bite. It was roach bite because no other fish bites quite like it. The tip taps and shudders and then it stops - this happens again and again till the bread is robbed and the bites cease or the tip finally bends slowly and decisively down and you strike into a thud or mistime the strike too late and the tip springs back with a twang, the bait gone. After half an hour or so of these infuriating bites but without the pull of a proper take I eventually got one firm enough for a strike, the tip slowly inching forward and then pulling down hard and was into a roach. It was a roach because no other fish fights quite like it ....

It was a good start but not quite of the stamp I'd experienced at the first weirpool last winter where I'd had eight or nine fish in each session on consecutive weekends averaging a pound with the best at one six, a fish that was captured on both occasions. This was more like 12 ounces or less but encouraging all the same as it was in the right bracket.

Stratford birdlife....

I was aiming to smash Danny's record of one pound eight set with a fish caught on pellets intended for barbel just recently. A far as I know his is the biggest verified roach capture from the whole of the Wark's Avon. Of course bigger fish have been heard of and almost certainly caught by pleasure anglers but you can't trust to those sorts of accounts nowadays.

Record fish need records kept and shared according to strict rules. Nothing else will suffice - apocryphal stories, whilst often more than merely the smoke leading to a fire are never more than the logs that we toss on occasionally to keep the fire burning and can't be the fire itself so long as they remain without solid evidence to back them up and so as far I am concerned, Danny is the roach record holder for the river as we have from him a clear picture without any of that big-hands-small-head stuff going on and a solid account in writing.

I also wanted to break his record because that record has changed hands between us a few times over the past few years, once with Danny's one-four from the town waters beating my previous pounder and then my one-six beating that only for his pound a half specimen trumping that in turn. We are making our way to the magic two in increments of ounces and I'm sure that that big fish is out there somewhere for one of us to hook. It's just a matter of time...

Anyways. These bites continued all afternoon but never coming as frequently as I would have hoped. Often the rod top would be motionless for ten minutes and a strikeless recast needed on more occasions than usual. Obviously the roach were timid in these less than ideal conditions. Also to compound matters the stamp of the four roach I managed over three hours got progressively lower and lower against my initially optimistic predictions for the day and bottomed out with a four ounce tiddler around 3 O'clock.

My eyes hurt...!

I thought about a move to first choice peg when the couple finally vacated the swim but for some reason, not least of which was the fact that a raft of weed had gathered in the sluggish eddy up there making fishing difficult, I stayed on to tough things out as I thought that I sensed a big roach swimming about somewhere out there in my second choice, the peg I had tried to wean over to my way of thinking all afternoon.

My neck hurts...!

It all went quiet for an hour or more and then the bites returned. This time the fish were in the right bracket and approaching the pound  but I only had the two of them and then Judy returned with the dog and in an instant my proper roach concentration evaporated.


 I still got the bites alright but I find that roach require my utter attention, not part of it . The spell was broken, the bites were all fluffed and the big fish I'd seen with my minds eye got away till another day without ever getting hooked in the first place.
Call it what you like but I do know when a big fish is around as I get a sense of certainty and fall perfectly into tune. You know what I mean, it doesn't need explaining...

We called it a day and went water ourselves in the Dirty Duck (or the Black Swan to be precise) with a couple of deserved pints before making the short journey home...

On the way back we stopped off to get starters and rice for the long awaited curry from the Standard Sweet on the Foleshill Road, the best pakora and samosa in Bolly Britain and I was bolly ravenous after all that super-concentrated tip work.

We got indoors and guess what...?

The kids had come home earlier than they should have and munched through the lot leaving not even a morsel for us.

(I would say another word here very much like bolly but I used it up last post)

Bloody kids, they eat like tench on steroids.

As Beyonce would've said ...

Should've put a ring on it...!


  1. Good work Jeff - shame about the curry.
    The old Fox Specialist is a beaut. I miss it. I'll be round to wrestle it out of your hands soon...

  2. Hope you're not blaming the trouble for your lack of a two pounder!
    I'm fairly sure you missed the big bite whilst craning your neck at the local wildlife.
    Did the brats had warm arses for scoffing your tea?

  3. ha ha, Your gonna get yourself arrested with that camera.

    I found the roach were biting better in your second choice in my last two visits. Only small for me too though.

  4. It's a nice roach rod Steve, it has a Seeswood 'two' in it for you, I'm sure.

    My rod was bouncing every time I looked back Dave...

    And Lee, Judy will stove my head in long before the feds arrive if I keep on taking furtive shots of young ladies over my shoulder!