Roach feed on the bread punch despite the floods.

November 18, 2022 at 7:58 pm

Unable to fish all week, I nipped down to my local river Cut for a couple of hour’s fishing after lunch and was surprised to see the river over the banks. Fortunately the controlling Braybrooke club, had helped finance a disabled fishing platform a few years ago, which was still above water, just!

Time was tight, as sunset was just after 4 pm and darkness follows soon after, so appreciated having my 12ft Hardy float rod already made up in its holdall. Having no idea how it was going to fish, I only made up a small quantity of ground bait, liquidised bread, ground carp pellets and ground hemp, this damped down and squeezed into a couple of firm balls.

The area in front of me is usually only inches deep, but now my keepnet was being dragged to one side by the flow. The swim is on the inside of  a bend and the main flow was rushing along the opposite bank, so I dropped in two balls of feed upstream of my rod top. Having plumbed the depth at two feet, I set my 5 No 4 ali stemmed stick float six inches over depth and cast in with a 7 mm punch of bread on a size 14 barbless hook. Allowing the float to run down with line feeding off my ABU 501, the bait was lifting off the bottom as it trotted down, a finger on the spool stopped the float and the float went down. First cast a fish!

Not a big roach, but a good sign. A small roach a cast continued, the fish coming from a slack area at the end of the trot. Then I found a snag. A big willow branch had drifted into the slack and I had hooked it. I began dragging it upstream toward me. It went solid against the bottom and I lost the hook. With a new hook link looped into place, the roach were coming again, another ball of feed attracting some better fish.

The roach were further down the trot and it wasn’t long before another hook was lost. A few more roach and I was in the snag again, managing to bring it over toward my bank. I walked down with my landing net, determined to  pull it out, but this time it lodged on the bottom under a larger branch. At least it was now clearly visible, sticking out of the water. I pulled for a break, but the line was now wrapped around a willow branch and a loud crack signalled the main line broken. It was gone below the float with only a few shot left. It was easier to get out another float rig, than reshot the rig. This new one was 6 No 4, better suited to cope with the increasing flow.

I mixed up some more feed, as I wanted to bring the fish up away from the snag, firming up more balls to drop in ten feet upstream. This brought gudgeon into the swim.

The roach had also moved up, taking several right under my rod top, which made for a few frantic battles on the short line.

Dace also put in an appearance, I caught three on the trot, then no more. Their name derives from the Old French dart, which describes them perfectly, dashing in and out after the bait and rapid bites. Mine all gave unhittable dips of the float, but dragged it under, when I held the float back.

The dace were very plump and fought all the way to the net.

By 3:45 the light was going rapidly, despite a glorious sunset, this quality roach was only just in focus, with the colours washed out.

Minutes later, I held the float back and the rod bent into what I thought was a chub, which dashed off downstream. Wary of the snag lying in wait, I stopped the run, controlling the pressure with my finger on the rim of the reel, with the little Hardy rod bent double. The fish turned and came back upstream with just the odd shake of it’s head, sliding into the landing net, a perfect roach. Visibity was still good to the eye, but the camera did lie in this instance.

They say that good things come in threes and so it was with my last fish, those big roach were waiting for low light and the last one buried the float half way down the trot, fighting all over the river, getting in the main flow and requiring rapid backwinding of my 501. Fish know when they are lightly hooked and fight accordingly, the lightweight Hardy taking all the shocks to bring the roach to the net, the barbless hook barely holding onto the skin of it’s snout. No picture, but it’s in here somewhere.

It was good to see these quality roach.