New Year roach shine on the Blackwater

January 3, 2020 at 7:54 pm

After the sunshine of Monday’s session on the local river Cut, heavy black clouds were scudding across the sky as I approached the river Blackwater on Thursday, close to the town that bares its name. My wife’s desire for a mooch around the Lexicon Shopping Centre near our home, gave me a free pass for an afternoon fishing, even though it seemed that it could be a damp one.

With light drizzle in the air, I walked upstream to a swim that I had fished in summer, the grey outlook in contrast to the lush green I remembered. The river was low and clear, but pushing hard, this being the tail of a wide bend, where a channel no more than two feet deep passes close to the my bank. Getting ready to fish, I put in my keep net and saw it swept off to the side in the current, deciding that a heavy 6 No 4 ali stick would give better control, despite the shallow depth.

With only bread punch as usual, I readied the liquidised bread, squeezing up a firm ball, throwing it ten feet upstream close in, watching it break up as it swirled in the flow drifting down stream. About to cast in, another angler arrived at my side, returning back to his car after a blank session further upstream. After the usual pleasantries and the refusal of some maggots, due to the fact that I only had bread as bait, I cast in to test the flow and hooked a roach in the first five feet of travel, letting the fish run out to the middle before bringing it back to the net.

Amazed at the instant success, my visitor peered over the bank into the shallows in front of me, surprised that there were roach, where he could see the bottom. My experience of earlier in the week, on the equally clear and shallow Cut, when passers by had scared away my fish doing just that, were fresh in my mind. He was a very pleasant fellow and continued to chat, watching the float, as I worked it further down the swim, holding back bringing another positive bite, followed by a roach in the net.

The fish were sitting ten yards downstream in the main flow, dipping the float as it drifted down, knocking off the 6 mm bread pellet each time, but stopping the travel after the first sign of a bite brought a fish on, but off again, losing two big dace on as many casts. With overhanging branches, the fish had to be reeled back flat to the river, until close enough to net.I fed another ball to keep up interest and ran through again, this time lifting into a small chub under my rod top, that dived away, letting it run, trying to avoid another lost fish from the size 16 barbless hook.

My new friend had stepped away from the bank to answer his phone and the fish had moved back up to the feed, but now he was back again and the bites dropped away. This was not easy fishing, the weir upstream was now at full flow and I added six inches to the depth and bulked the shot closer to the hook, taking more roach ten yards down.

Damping down the bread feed, I squeezed up pigeon egg sized balls, plopping them in upstream of me every few casts, the balls breaking up and coating the bottom close to me, dropping the float out in front, trotting through with a tight line, some of the bites bending the rod tip as the fish took.

After about an hour my visitor left, hopefully having learned something about fishing the punch and leaving me to catch some more fish. Although well before sunset, it was now growing darker, the low clouds depositing an uncomfortable, downstream wind driven misty drizzle. Not pleasant, with the need to keep the punch bread covered to stop it being softened too much.

I now had the fish where I wanted them, this chub hooking itself. I lost another big dace as it churned on the surface, but compensated with another decent roach next cast.

The fish kept coming, this chub the last to stay in focus on my camera, the Flash whiting out the images. Gudgeon, small dace and roach taking their turn over the feed. The pace of the river had picked again, washing out debris, coating my line and I was beginning to spend more time unpicking these washing lines, than fishing and called it a day before 3 pm, not wanting to pack up in the dark.

The Punch had done me well again, although a size 14 may have hung onto some of the big dace long enough to net them, but I was not complaining, it had been a short spontaneous session, that kept delivering fish to the net.