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Archive for March, 2016


Yes it was back to the Itchen, although this time lower downstream in search of the big roach that inhabit this delightful chalkstream.  As is typical of late, heavy rain the day before had coloured the river and it looked like it had pushed the levels up a bit.  Overall though the river looked pretty good.  The forecast was for a dry day with no rain, so quite what this wet stuff was falling from the sky is beyond me!  Luckily the rain didn’t last too long.

Geoff and I were particularly after the roach, however beggars can’t be choosers and so anything would be nice and in all honesty a roach would be a bonus.  We opted to start at the lower extremity of the fishery and work our way up, dropping into the occasional swim for a trot through with a float.  A chat here and there with a few local old boys pointed us in the right direction and we kept moving to see what was about.

At the top end I found a very nice, smooth glide.  It looked about right for roach; it was around 4ft deep, smooth water and a distinct crease between the faster flow down the centre and the slower water on the inside.  I’d set up with my 15ft float rod, centrepin and 3lb line.  I opted for size 16 hook-to-nylon and double red maggot.  The float was a 3g bolo, which is about 5AA or 10bb.  If I’m fishing for roach I will bulk the big shot around the float and fish a few much smaller shot shirt button style down the line.  Normally I’d use a few No 6’s and 8’s.  If I was purely after the roach I may use a smaller float but it does need to be able to cope with the deep water and heavy flow.

I’d managed to tempt a number of grayling and salmon par before eventually connecting with something much bigger. Initially it was difficult to know whether I’d hooked a fish or the bottom and then that tell tale ‘thump, thump’ indicated a chub.  After a dogged fight Geoff finally landed the chevin and it looked a decent fish.  After the initial “it looks huge” comments had elapsed we weighed the fish at 4lb 8oz.  It was a lovely fish and would take some beating.  Nothing else emerged and so another move was in order.

4lb 8oz

4lb 8oz

A few trots through the new swim and the float buried.  After a spirited fight it turned out to be a sea trout of about 3lbs.  It put up a great scrap in the flow and a few passers by had stopped to watch the action.  A round of applause followed once the fish was safely landed, unhooked and returned to fight another day.  After that this swim went a bit quiet and so I moved downstream to a pedestrian bridge.

A roar of Merlin engines filled the air and announced the arrival of a Spitfire hurtling upwards overhead.  The Spitfire was first flown from Southampton Airport and with a anniversary coming up soon I believe, I guess this was a practice run.  I do love the sound of those Rolls Royce engines and the sight of that majestic plane maneuvering through the skies.

After the excitement of the Spitfire I managed a couple of nice dace to just shy of 10oz, a few grayling and the ever present salmon par.  Geoff and I then targeted a really nice far bank glide.  It was tricky casting that had to be inch perfect to trot the correct line but the masters that we are, we managed to get the odd one right!  Geoff had the only fish though but it was a lovely roach of 1lb 4oz and any roach over a pound tends to be the highlight of the day.  It had been fun with a good mixed bag of fish and with the season drawing to a close in a week or so, would probably be our last visit to this particular stretch until next winter.

1lb 4oz

1lb 4oz

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