Posts Tagged ‘Roach fishing’

After such a long trip on Tuesday, I wanted to fish a bit closer to home.  So Geoff, Kevin and I decided to pay a visit to Longshaw Farm, near Herne.  We have fished it many, many times in the past.  It is reputed to hold some very big roach.  We can certainly vouch for it holding large shoals of roach, as we have caught quite literally hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of roach from here.  You tend to get quite a few around the 8oz – 1lb mark, with a few pound plus fish thrown in for good measure.

Today, the water had a rather unusual green tinge to it.  The water was also very cold.  We settled in to a few likely looking spots and started fishing.  After about an hour of struggling I decided to move to a slightly deeper spot.  I also changed from a 16 hook to 3lb hooklink to an 18 to 2lb.  This seemed to help.  I fished a single maggot and a small insert waggler.  I kept a trickle of bait going in but that didn’t seem to help.  So after that I would put in some hemp and maggots every few casts.

I started picking up fish almost immediately, albeit fairly small ones in the 2-3oz bracket.  By the end of the day I had managed about 70 roach with a few nettable ones to maybe 12oz.  I also had a couple of bream to about 3lb 8oz.  Meanwhile Kevin was having a similar sort of day.  His biggest roach was probably a pound with a few other reasonable fish.  Geoff on the other hand seemed to find the carp.  I think he ended up with 5 to about 7lbs and he had the biggest roach of the day at 1lb 5oz.  Sadly though there was a casualty of war, as during a fight with a carp of around 4lbs, the top section of his rod snapped clean off!  I’m sure when he talk to the manufacturer they will get it replaced asap.

All in all not a bad day.  Certainly not ones of Longshaw’s better ones though.  We normally get a lot more fish with a better average size.  No doubt we’ll be back at some point for another bash at those big roach.

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Well after a horrendous start to the week, I managed to get out fishing.  On Monday morning I discovered that my garage had been broken into and the vast majority of my fishing tackle had been stolen.  I was totally gutted.  It takes years to build up a collection like that and in just a few minutes some selfish waster has had the lot.  Luckily they missed a few bits and I had a couple of items locked in the car.  I also found some old rods and reels in a storage cupboard, so all was not lost.  I could still get out fishing.

So on Wednesday we headed to the Ivel.  The conditions looked pretty good.  The river was up slightly on our previous visit and there was just a slight tinge of colour.  I opted to float fish for most of the day and then swapped to the quiver later on.  I went for a slightly higher mainline than normal, in case of barbel.  So setting up with 4lb mainline and a 3lb hooklink, I opted to fish 2 maggots on a size 16 barbless.  I also used a 6 BB float.  This helped pull line off of the reel and through the rod rings better.  I wouldn’t normally have a problem of this sort, if using the Drennan, but alas that had been taken.

I tried numerous swims but the fish were not really responding well to these tactics.  Eventually, having waded out to fish a nice run off of a bend, I found a shoal of small roach.  Having kept the feed going in, the roach started feeding quite readily.  I ended up with 16 or 17 in a very short period of time.  I then swapped to the feeder in an effort to find some decent chub.

I moved into a good glide, of reasonable depth.  I set up a quiver rod with 6lb mainline straight through to a 4 hook with a large piece of crust.  This was anchored using 2 size 3xssg shots.  They held perfectly in the flow.  Over the remaining hour or so of the session I had a few taps on the bread but no real bites were forthcoming.  However a small muntjac deer appeared on the opposite bank and settled down to feed for a while, quite oblivious to me watching on.  It was a nice distraction to what had been a fairly poor session.  So eventaually we called it a day at about 5pm.  Geoff had just missed a really good bite but had at least caught a small chub.  Kevin had taken 2 small chub on the float plus numerous roach and gudgeon.

The day was a little disappointing, considering the conditions, but enjoyable nonetheless.

I would like to thank everyone who has offered help with fishing tackle, having heard my bad news of earlier in the week.  My friends and acquaintances in particular at The Association of Barbel Fishers and Barbel Fishing World, being particularly supportive.  Many thanks to you all.

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We left Bedfordshire having decided against a return to the Ivel for several reasons and headed instead for a small stream in Hertfordshire.  Firstly the weather forecast today was looking a bit grim, to say the least.  Secondly it was closer to home and lastly the weed wouldn’t be a problem here.

So we arrived early morning, hoping to beat the rain.  Geoff headed upstream and Kevin and I settled for exploring the downstream section.  The river looked a tad up on recent levels.  The rainfall in the south has been woefully little this year and the rivers are desperately low.  The water was clear and we could see the leaves beginning to build up on the bottom, which always makes for tricky fishing.

We checked out numerous swims but only spotted a handful that looked deep enough to produce.  I opted to float fish for a while in a reasonable, deepish run.  There was a little weed here but not enough to be a major hindrance.  All I could muster were small gudgeon, roach and minnows.  Pretty much an identical copy of yesterday on the Ivel.  So I had picked out an alternative, deeper looking swim to ledger a bait into.  I intended to use lob worms, bread crust and flake.  I was really looking to catch anything, be it chub, barbel or roach.  Just as I was about to move, an older chap moved into the swim in question with his tackle barrow. Bloody typical I thought.  I called him a few colourful names (under my breath of course!) but nothing too harsh you understand and moved on elsewhere. It seemed to be the way things were going for me over these two days.

I found a deep, pacey swim with some overhanging trees and a nice thick reed bed on the opposite bank.  I started off ledgering a big lob worm.  After a  bite-less hour I found myself dozing off.  So I held the rod and flicked the bait runner on.  Yes, you’ve guessed it….the rod tip whacked round, I struck and I hadn’t re-engaged the bait runner.  Result: missed bite!  I might add that was the only decent bite I had all day.  Despite attempts at several swims with an array of different baits, it was not to be my day.

Fortunately Kevin eventually found a swim that produced some decent action.  He ended up with 8-10 nice chub but sadly lost 3 barbel.  Geoff had struggled for most of the day but had managed a couple of barbel, a good chub and a few roach and bits.   By about 2.30pm Kevin and I had just about had enough and so called it a day.  Geoff’s fishing had just picked up, so he was a little disappointed to call it a day so early.  However, I didn’t want him catching too much and crowing all the way home!!

Next week I’m hoping to head off to the Hampshire Avon in search of grayling with Kevin.  Geoff’s having a week off getting his old boiler fixed and no, I don’t mean his missus!  So here’s hoping for a more fruitful days fishing.

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As the evenings draw mercilessly in and the frosts creep over the land, it’s time to hang up the barbel rods for a while and head to one of the countries great chalk streams, the Hampshire Avon.  It’s a river shrouded in history and endless tales of mythical giants are regaled in the local hostelries.

It is a magical river and one that I’m proud to say I fish on a regular basis.  I still feel I don’t fish it enough and I’m sure the day will eventually come, when I end up joining Christchurch Angling Club but only when I can do it justice and that time is not now.

Britford Dawn

Still, today Geoff and I headed down through the Wallops to Britford.  The river here lies in the shadows of Salisbury Cathedral, which gives it an almost hallowed feel and rightly so.  For those that know of the Avon in this region, they will be aware of the treasures that it contains.  Visit the river in the height of the summer, when the waters are gin clear and you’ll soon see why this river is so famous.  With a little patience, discretion and some Polaroids you’ll soon be spotting huge roach and dace.  The old river also contains a healthy stock of grayling up to specimen sizes and with the odd decent chub, a few barbel and plenty of trout thrown in for good measure, it makes this quite a mixing pot.

The Cathedral

As we arrived at the river, the late autumn mists hung in the fields.  The sky was clearing after a night of rain and there was still a dampness in the air.  Still, the sun was beginning to break through, so the day held some hope of decent weather.  We took a wander down to the river, expecting it to be up a little and with a touch of colour.  We were surprised to find the old river still gin clear and very low.  There was still thick, flowing ranunculus evident throughout the river system, which would make for some tricky float fishing conditions.

So on went the waders and I headed off in search of a few grayling and dace.  I found numerous deep runs in between the weed.  I had set-up my trusty Drennan float rod and coupled that with my Young’s pin.  The line was a little on the heavy side for this sort of fishing, but I had not brought another reel with lighter line on.  Ideally I would like to have used around a 2lb 6oz mainline.  So I had to make do.  I spent the morning wading along the river and fishing all the likely runs.  The fishing was tricky due to the density and abundance of weed but nevertheless I started catching from the word go.

Two red maggots seemed to do the trick, on a very light float set-up.  First up were a couple of nice grayling and shortly followed by some reasonable dace.  Nothing big mind you.  Grayling to about 10oz and dace to 5 or 6oz.  By now they were coming thick and fast.  Each new spot produced a few bites, before the inevitable presence of the minnows became known. Once they come every cast, I will move.

It is wonderful wading out into the river.  You find all the deep runs and gullies.  Even slight depressions are easily found and a mental note made for future reference.  It amazes me how close you can catch fish to where you are wading.  The fish rarely take any notice.  After a while and several moves, I had taken about half a dozen grayling, and couple of dozen dace to about 8oz, 2 enormous gudgeon and countless minnows.  I decided after lunch to fish for another hour and then have the last 2 or 3 hours on the main river, above the sluices.


Geoff was sticking it out for the roach but as they often do, they were not playing ball.  Surprise, surprise!  I wandered upstream and found a nice swim, with a reasonable depth and not too much weed.  The swim produced plenty of dace over the next hour or so, including the best of the day, a fish of about 9oz.  As the light was beginning to fade, I decided to head downstream and try for some roach.  Again wading out into a likely spot by some alders, the first trot through produced a bite.  This time something much bigger was banging away on the end.  I guessed it was either a British record roach or possibly a chub.  After a nice scrap the fish turned out to indeed be a very nice chub of 4lb+.  I always think if they look like a ‘5’ they are probably a ‘4’ and this is invariably the case.

As the sun started to sink below the horizon, I was getting a fish a cast.  Another grayling and lots of nice dace.  Still, eventually it was time to call it a day.  I guess I ended up with around 30-40 dace, 7 grayling and that nice chub.  Oh and fifty hundred minnows…..well that’s how it came out anyway.

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