Once it thaws it’s time for roach (Entry 24)

Having not been out for the last two weeks due to things getting in the way, it was good to be back out on the bank. Even so, with my local rivers rising full of cold rain and the majority of still waters still covered or part covered with ice, my options of where to spend a few hours were limited.

My initial idea was to fish a stretch of canal I’m convinced contains some fairly big roach. But not knowing the venue too well I decided instead to head back to a place a fished a few weeks ago for its roach. I was pretty sure the venue would not be fully iced over. Its a windy venue and gets the sun all day, however weak. I was sure it would be fishable. As I arrived, I tentatively peered over the hedge, eager to see if my hunch was right. Thankfully, it was, just a  small quarter of ice remained. I unloaded the car and headed for the swim pictured.

The SwimThe island was roughly 13 metres away so I decided to fish on two lines. Obviously the island is a great feature to fish to but I also wanted to fish a shorter line just incase the already brisk wind picked up and made it hard to hold the pole. Both swims offered the same depth so only one rig was needed. A slim bodied, glass tipped pole float set up in a similar way to my last visit. If you didn’t read it you can here. I fed both lines with a little Sensas roach groundbait with a pinch of caster and chopped worm. The colour had dropped out of the water dramatically since my last visit so I started with a single caster on the longer line, thinking that the fish would have backed off because of this. Here lay my first error of the day but I will go into that a little later.

Gratefully recieved - the first fish of the sessionI caught my first fish after about 20 minutes. A small 1oz roach, or should that be a small 1oz, silver icicle? The fish were absolutely freezing. I was surprised they were feeding at all but they were. I started to string together a few fish, getting a bite on every cast. Some resulted in small 1oz roach others a strike into thin air. I deduced that this was because of small fish and was the reason I was missing bites was because they were simply running with the caster half in their mouths and not fully taking it. Nipped casters supported this theory further.

This was the better stamp of roach from the near lineAfter about 15 of these small fish I decided to have a look on the shorter line. First put in produced a chunkier roach around the 3-4oz mark. As did the second cast, and for the next hour I caught a better stamp of fish from the closer line at about six metres. Although the fish were not big, in the cold, blustery conditions I was as happy as could be. I really enjoyed the few hours I spent fishing for these shy biting, but obliging fish. I had perhaps 30-40 fish in three hours and in any ones book that is good winter sport.

So the error I made reference to earlier? Well thinking the fish had backed off, or had moved away from the bank due to the water clarity  I decided to fish at 13 metres. Good theory. But when that 13 metres happened to put my rig within a foot of the bank of the island it turns out to be not such a good idea. Sometimes when you’re on the bank you cant see the wood for the trees. Oh, and has anybody seen a roach with orange markings before? Let me know if you have.

A strangely coloured roachLeave a comment or follow this blog if you have enjoyed the article.

Until next time,



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