Bread punch chub and roach beat the cold

January 21, 2016 at 10:11 am

The rains have gone, but a chill wind from the north was threatening snow, when I arrived at the local river this week and despite bright sunshine, it was definitely thermals weather. Evidence of the recent storms was everywhere, finding yet another banker swim a tangled mess of twisted tree trunks and broken branches. Another rotten tree had fallen along the bank at a bend in the river, this time creating casting room and just leaving space for my tackle box. This would do fine.

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Even at 1pm, the sun was just above the houses behind me, warming the back of my neck as it passed through the trees. Protected in the narrow combe, the harsh wind from the north was reduced to a steady upstream breeze, ideal for my chosen method, the stick float. There was a good pace to the river and as I tackled up the colour changed from slightly cloudy to a bright orange, the builders of the new housing estate upstream were washing off their sandy roadways again.

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By the time that I was ready to fish, the colour had washed through and a couple of balls of liquidised bread lobbed close to the far bank, were followed by my first cast of the afternoon. Running through at half depth, the 3 No 4 stick float was slowed by the line pulling off my closed face reel and when the float lifted, I guessed that a small roach, or rudd was sucking at the 5 mm pellet of bread. Wrong. A halfhearted strike was met by  solid resistance, followed by a boil as the fish darted toward the far bank, bending my lightweight Hardy to the butt. A flash of silver outlined a decent chub, before it ran off upstream, charging this way and that in the shallow river, turning onto it’s side eventually to slide into the net.

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The size 16 barbless hook dropped out in the net, this pound plus chub, still full of fight, opening up the score. Another ball of bread was again followed by the float, which this time ran the length of the trot with just the odd dip, but stopping it’s motion with my finger over the reel provoked a firm pull down of the tip and I struck into my first roach, which bounced it’s way back to the net.

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With a start like this, the cold was soon forgotten, but now the roach were getting smaller and I decided to increase the depth by 18 inches to trip bottom, to fish over the sunken bread crumbs. Letting it run at half speed, then checking the float at the first sign of a bite, usually resulted in a slow drag under and another better roach pounding away.

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The orange water began to wash through again and the bites stopped, so I put in two more balls and increased the depth again by another 6 inches, holding back firmly. The float bobbed, then sank. This time a gudgeon had taken the bait. Then more came swinging in, until the river cleared again and the roach came back, small ones at first, then a few clonkers.

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The roach seemed to like the slight tinge of silt, while the gudgeon preferred the sandy colouration, either that, or the roach didn’t like the sand and stopped feeding, allowing the gudgeon to get at the bread. Whatever the case, the roach lined up on the bread coating the bottom, the float going down every time it reached the hot spot, one small chub  getting in on the act, before the dreaded sand came through again. It was 4 pm, gudgeon were taking again, the sun had gone and I was getting cold, despite the thermal underwear, so decided to pack up, despite there still being good light. Putting my rod away, I felt a twinge of regret seeing the river clear, knowing that the roach would soon be back.

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I better result than I expected on such a bone chilling day, quality roach, boosted by the chub for a weight of over 6 lb.