Rubbish tip roach, after a change of plan.

March 7, 2013 at 5:55 pm

At a working party on my trout fishing water last Saturday, clearing debris from the recent floods, the river looked in perfect condition and I made a promise to myself to come back before the end of the coarse season, to fish for the chub living beneath the road bridge.

The sun was hinting at the spring to come, when I climbed down the bank a few days later, armed with a mashed up white loaf and a few slices for flake. A 4BB bodied wire stem stick float, size 12 barbless hook and 5lb line would be needed to cope with the flow under the bridge, well up on when I’d seen the three and four pound fish sipping in flies under trees on the other side at the end of summer. I’d fed half of the crumb before my first bite, the float dragging under just as it went beneath the arch. My mind said snag, but also knew that there was no snag there, as I’d made that trot twenty times already, the rod tip diving towards the river with the weight of a good chub as it kited off down stream, with me backwinding as little as I dared. I saw it’s golden flank flash in the sunlight, as it topped the other  side of the bridge, then it was gone. Bother! The hook was OK and balled in more crumb, watching it split into particles as it was carried away. A couple more casts, the float dipped and a nice dace was fighting back, but no opposition on this tackle and I swung in the 6 oz fish.

Then another chub on, smaller than the first, which stopped after a short run and began power surges towards the far bank, swimming upstream parallel to it, until it’s head came out and it drifted down towards me. Net out, it dived beneath it and made off upstream under my bank into the welcoming tangle of flood debris trapped by a small tree. I couldn’t believe I’d fallen for that sucker punch as the whole lot went solid, the chub was still there and I could feel it pulling back. I tried letting the line go slack, but the two pounder was long gone, when I finally gave up on it and pulled for a break, the 3 lb hook line cracking off and leaving my float wrapped in a tangle of line and shot. Travelling light, the float had been on a winder and I only had spare hook links. My tackle was in the van, parked in a layby a hundred yards up the road, it was still only 2 pm and I could get back, make up a new rig and be fishing in half an hour. By the time I reached the van, I’d changed my mind and decided to head back to town to fish my little urban river at a point where an outflow from the town’s water treatment works, floods over a weir to double it’s size, before it heads off into private, unfishable property.

Last year I’d had roach to a pound and chub to three from this fast flowing section and been told of double figure carp, but not had one, so was pleased to see the  swim next to the weir was empty, as I squeezed the van into the gateway next to it. I’d not fished this swim all year and I could not believe the amount of rubbish left behind by other “anglers”, beer cans by the dozen, empty hook packets, plastic cups and containers, plus the inevitable empty sweetcorn tins. Yuk.

I removed a rod rest made from a broken branch, before setting up with a small 4 No 4 wire stem to size 14, this also being on a winder, my eyes not being what they were, it’s easy to just go loop to loop, once again to the 5 lb line. The river is only about 30 inches deep and the main river flows into the froth of the weir stream and usually catch at the crease. I punched a 7 mm pellet from the thick slice and fed the coarse crumb into the slower river in front of me, the float diving under first cast from a 2 oz rudd and wondered how many times this little fish had been caught, as most of it’s scales were missing. More scruffy rudd took, before the first of many good roach dashed off into the foam.


The best roach, a deep fish of  12 oz, was covered with raised black spots, some form of lice that I’ve not seen before.  A lone 12 oz chub gave variety, it’s long runs in contrast to the thumping fight of the roach.

Another angler had begun fishing downstream, round the corner on the opposite bank, feeding maggots under a stick float and was soon catching roach, then a pound plus chub. As I was packing my gear, he gave a shout and I could see that he was into a very large fish, that snagged him, then ran upstream into the weir until it tired and dropped back down to his net. This common carp weighed in at 8 lb 8 oz and he had changed bait to a lump of cheese, held back on the stick, the first carp he’d had from the river and the first I’d seen.

I’d hoped for a few more chub, but couldn’t complain about my change of venue, this probably being my last outing of the current season, finishing off with a net of quality roach, even if the surroundings gave a lot to be desired. My last task of the day was to fill a couple of those discarded bin bags with other people’s rubbish.