Stillwater roach and bream (Entry 26)

Firstly let me wish everyone a happy and healthy new year. I hope everyone enjoyed the festive season and has some good fishing to look forward to over the coming months.

My first session of the new year was on a club stillwater and I decided once again to target roach. I am really enjoying fishing for them at the moment and initially this week I was going to head for a canal and sit it out for some big 2lb specimens. But with time not on my side and lots of things to fit into a few days off work, I decided to head to the stillwater and fish only for a few hours. My optimism was high however, with milder temperatures holding and a dark, gloomy and wet day forecast I felt sure I could get amongst some roach of a respectable stamp. Well the weather man certainly got the wet part right. Setting up in the rain is not the most pleasant thing to do but I try not to let it dampen my spirits. It beats being sat in work any day of the week.


I fished two swims today one to my left at about ten metres and the other to my right at about 11.5 metres. I was planning on fishing the waggler for this visit but upon setting it up I had a problem with the reel seat of my rod so I once again had to resort to the pole. I must remember to fix that problem before my next session. Anyway, back to this session. I opened up both swims with a little sensas roach groundbait and about 30 casters. I fished a light 0.2gr float with a sensitive glass tip and because of the clarity of the water I used a fine 0.09mm hooklength to a fine wired 18’s hook.

A promising start

I was joined almost straight away by the obligatory winter robin who seemed happy with the casters at my side and took five or six before fluttering to the safety of a nearby tree. I think they might be the most tame of birds if offered a little incentive. I was also joined by the above roach after ten minutes of fishing. Weighing about 8oz it was a good start. Upon catching this fish it was out with the catapult and I started feeding three or four casters every other put in. I started to get regular bites not long after doing this. I was missing quite a few of course and this is something which happens with roach and silver fish. But once you work out how to feed them, you will start to hit more bites than you are missing. Its a case of trial and error and, of course experience helps, but I stuck with it and after an hour I was catching more regularly.

Skimmers will more often than not show up at some point

Unfortunately the fish I was catching were skimmer bream. Lovely fish to catch especially in the winter but it was roach I was after. I decided to have a look on my closer line to see if any roach had settled over the casters I had been feeding whilst fishing the longer line.

A bristling, pristine roach

They certainly had and were a good stamp of fish averaging 8-10oz with the odd fish around 14oz just shy of the magical pound. They were in very good condition though and were fighting extremely well. On light tackle you can really appreciate their fighting ability. It wasn’t all plain sailing though, the fish were biting very shy and it was in all honesty quite hard to string them together one after another. I was maybe hitting one out of every five bites. Eventually I found out how to feed the swim and in the last hour put together another 10 roach all between 10-14oz.

About the biggest fish today at around 14oz

Some of the bigger roach were quite thick set so dont let the pictures fool you. All in all I had maybe a nice round 20 decent roach with around eight skimmers mixed in. I had a great start to the new year and caught all the fish in just under four hours.

I hope that the temperatures hold for a few more days and I might have a session after carp for the next update. If you enjoy reading my blog please follow it or leave a comment or two. You can also be alerted of blog updates via twitter @NorthwestFish.

Until next time,



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