Back on the roach trail (Entry 25)

As I am writing this I’m in fear that come the new year the UK might become lost under water. The rainfall we have been having is unbelievable, and although the only problem its causing me is making the decision of where to go fishing a lot harder, for others its having a devastating effect with many people losing their homes and possessions. So with all of this in mind I counted my blessings and was grateful for this weeks session after roach. Still raining however I could only access a few pegs as the water level had rose over the bank. In fact its happened on a fair few club waters, and many of them have been closed off until the water level drops.


The venue I had chosen is only small in surface area, maybe enough room for eight or nine anglers. It is very deep though, 8-10 feet being average so there’s a lot of water. The bottom is not uniform and undulates a lot so careful plumbing up is required to enable you to get the best from your peg. It’s also a moody water but contains a good head of roach and bream to the pound mark, some very big perch indeed over 3lb, as well as some summer species like tench, crucians and wild carp, which although small really fight hard. I was here for the roach though, it was Christmas eve and I had managed to get away from the preparation for a few hours fishing punch and liquidised bread to see if I could tempt any of its resident roach. In all truth I wasn’t bothered by the size of the fish, the conditions were dire, and although a thaw is a good time for roach, in deep water I believe a temperature change takes a little longer to take effect. Great when the water is cooling, but not so the other way round.

Heavy rain and a pole float

The swim I had chosen was around eight foot deep at around 5 metres from the bank. I was happy enough with this and didnt see the point in going any further. If I had have been sitting it out for the bigger roach I would definitely have fished further from the bank and would have changed methods, but for today the pole would be my only weapon of choice. I fed a walnut sized ball of liquidised bread and fine tuned my rig so that just 5-8mm of tip was showing. I started fishing with a 4mm punch of bread roughly an inch off the bottom. I will change the depth a lot when fishing punch bread in order to find the ‘sweet spot’ that the fish are feeding at.

Have a good selection of different sized bread punchesI also think its vitally important to vary the size of the punch so its a really good idea to invest in a good set that will not only allow you to do this, but last you years if looked after. Todays session however was proving to be a tough one. After two hours and a lot of different options tried, it was time to plumb up a swim a bit further out as the fish were not in my first swim. I fed a little less bread this time, but still the fish showed no signs of feeding. Not a touch. I didn’t see a fish top or move anywhere on the pit. Still it beat the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparation.

This little 2oz roach saved me from a blankAt last! A move back my my initial swim on a 7mm punch I got my first and only bite of the session. A scale and fin perfect roach was my reward for sticking it out. It was a welcome fish although I must have caught thousands over the years it It's not just the rivers that are bursting their banksprevented a certain blank. Not that I am bothered about blanking by the way. Each fish-less session is only helping you work the water out. So what did I take away from this session? Well, I would most certainly try a natural bait approach next time, maggots or casters, maybe even chopped worm. Maybe a less static bait would tempt the pits residents more readily. I may have simply not been in the right area. Even on small venues the fish will shoal up very tightly when the conditions are very cold. Only a week ago this venue was covered in ice a half inch tick. I only know that I am already looking forward to my next session on here. Although realistically I probably wont be back here until the late winter early spring when I will see if I can tempt one of its big perch, before I turn my attention to a cheshire mere in the hope of landing a truly huge tench. Anyway, that’s a long way off and there’s plenty more fishing to be done between now and then.

Until next time,



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