Quality Autumn roach reward the bread punch to beat the rain.

October 18, 2021 at 7:35 pm

At 7 am the alarm beeped and I awoke in darkness. Autumn has arrived. I went downstairs to the kitchen and made tea for my wife and I, opening the curtains on my return, before snuggling back down for a few minutes, warmed by the hot tea. The sky turned briefly to red, “Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning,” quoted my wife. The BBC forecast had said that a wave of heavy rain would sweep across our town between 1 pm and 3 pm to prove the old adage correct, and with this being the only day available to fish this week, I needed an early start to beat the rain.

My chosen venue is close to home, a couple of miles upstream of the weir that had given me a double figure net of chub and roach the week before. The little river has been up and down with floods and suffered two bouts of pollution, oil and blue dye in consecutive weeks and I hoped that all was well on my arrival.

There was a strong smell of oil as I approached the bank, but no evidence of problems as I tackled up with my 14 foot Browning float rod, in fact rudd, or chub were investigating falling leaves on the surface downstream. The river was clear, with a healthy tinge of green and I was optimistic as I mixed up my feed, a handful of liquidised bread, with a dusting of ground carp pellets with ground hemp. Once the weather turns to Autumn, I prefer to feed light, putting just one medium sized ball over to the berm along the far side. Swinging the float over to the cloud of feed, the float bobbed and sank, the rod bending into a small roach.

Not bad for a start. A new 6 mm punch of bread slid onto the size 14 barbless hook and I was fishing again in the same spot. Bob, bob, sink, a much bigger bend in the rod and the landing net was out for the first time.

Back in the same spot, close to the berm, the float sank away and I had a fight on my hands as a small chub charged about the swim, it’s white mouth soon on the surface in submisson.

Another small ball over, saw an immediate response as the float buried out of sight. On the strike, the rod bent round as the unseen fish made off downstream in a straight line. The fish turned, a dull flash deep in the river had me convinced, that I’d hooked into a small carp as it hugged the far bank. Another turn and it was a very nice roach, its red fins visible in the clear water, when I brought it toward the landing net.

A couple more chub made off with the bread, one after the other, the second one the better fish.

At this point, the river sped up and the bites got fussy. I have been here before, a couple of missed bites and a very small roach followed.

The river turned a murky brown and the bites reduced to mere touches. The roach got smaller, then the bites stopped. This input of brown water is a regular occurrence. It puts the fish off the feed and passes through after an hour. I changed to a 5 mm punch on a size 16 hook. My bulked shot was strung out to allow a more natural drop of the bait. I ate my sandwiches and had some tea, constantly casting and trotting. The float bobbed but no more. I added a No 6 shot under the float to dot the tip down. Now the float dipped and held in the surface. A small roach.

Lean period over, small roach were queuing up, bites still hard to hit, at least there were bites again. A small rudd took on the drop.

I was avoiding feeding balls, as I was afraid of feeding them off. Instead I sprayed the mix with a catapult. The roach were getting bigger.

A couple of gudgeon, then the float held under with a much better roach, that fought all over the river.

Spraying the feed seemed to be working, the bites getting bolder. The river was back to normal, clearing quickly. I still missed bites and most fish were small, but every now and then I was playing a rod bender.

The sky had darkened and then drizzle was hissing on the surface. It was ten minutes past one, when the skies opened and the rain lashed down. I covered up my bait and fished on. The fish were still biting and I had plenty of layers on. I pulled my hood over my cap, determined to sit it out.

At first I had been protected by the trees above me, but soon heavy drops were getting through and decided that I had to pack up now, or end up soaked through. One last cast and the float held down long enough to make contact, a quality roach a fitting end to the session.

I was tempted to stay after this roach, as they were still over there, coming out to mop up the falling crumbs of bread from the catapult. Noting this for another time, I cleared the decks ready to leave.

The rain had come earlier than expected, cutting my session short. I had learned a few more lessons for another day and still put over forty fish in my net, including some of the best roach yet from this beleaguered little river.