Saturday, 17 October 2015

Autumn Chub and Large Roach.

 This season feels like it has raced by so far, we are already in mid-October which is crazy to think but in that time I have managed some cracking fish and today was no different but I will get to that later. The session was planned to trot for Chub in the morning from dawn and then switch over to Dace and Roach from around midday onwards, that was the plan anyway.

 When I arrived at the river it was clearly very low and virtually no colour to it, I knew things would be pretty tough so I set about getting prepared and deciding whether trotting was a good idea or to find a likely looking hold-up and draw them slightly up to my hook-bait, needless to say in my "ants in the pants" nature I opted to angle the float through likely areas, first cast and the float buried itself confidently, a decent Chub of around 3 1/2lb dived for whatever it could but ultimately failed as I mugged it with the net and I was on the way. It wasn't long after that that I had a strange couple of bites on consecutive trots and certainly weren't Chub, so I bulked down the shot and held back the float to slow it down as it approached the spot where the last two bites came from, the float gently pulled down and held there, I waited a couple of seconds then struck into what turned out to be an Eel and a pretty decent one at that, what was even better was that it was lip-hooked and well behaved too, so much so it even posed for a photo or fifteen (squirmy sod), jokes aside I've never caught such a well mannered wriggley.

2.12 Eel, best of the season, biggest off a river in years.
 Quick starts are usually though a bad omen and today proved why I don't particularly like catching or hooking up, I like to get a swim going before tapping into the stocks as they tend to be easier to put off if plundered quickly, if the swim is built up I tend to find that they (any species) will tolerate a little more disturbance, as I said my theory was proved right as the swim died off and forced to move.

 A little over 3 hours and had finally got a swim going and managed to get them feeding confidently as I took five Chub out in the space of 20-25 minutes with the best going 4.14, not monsters but good scrappers in the very snaggy inside edge, upon arrival at the swim where I was catching I spotted a sizeable fish that I put at around 6lb maybe a little more but failed to show itself again after I began to catch, a shame but I know they do exist and this was evidence of that.

Good bag of Chub for the condition's.
Best at 4.14, not quite five but a decent fish all the same.
The best two.
 Bites dried up again and called it time on the Skelly front and time for some more trotting but in less likely swims that Chub will lurk around, a decent depression in between two runs of weed was the target, the river was so clear you could see everything but the fish, it looked my best option for quite some distance and I felt that if I stuck to the task that it may come good, my first run through and a seriously huge Brown Trout cleared the water by something like 2 foot and when it hit the surface of the water it sounded like a depth charge this fish was easily 7-8lb, a proper monster.

Another big Dace, the largest decided to escape the keepnet!.
 Once that had happened I thought that would be it, but the bites came from the off and small Chub kept on coming with the occasional Dace thrown in the mix, then after maybe an hour of trotting a big Dace hit the single caster as it tore through my swim, easily over 10oz and was pretty long with some space to fill out come the cooler months, then that was followed by another and another, each over 8oz comfortably and the largest weighing just a tiny bit under 12oz this season I can't seem to go wrong with the Dace then it happened, the float sailed away albeit fairly tentatively at first and then an explosion of power was unleashed as the rod slammed over and whatever had taken the caster/maggot sandwich stormed off to avoid capture, it was very good whatever it was, strong and kept diving for the weed runs, usually what Roach do but I couldn't see it properly then through the polariod's I swore I could make out a red dorsal fin, slightly easing the rod upwards to put a bit more tension on the fish came up in the water and no doubt it was a Roach and bloody good one too, the next few minutes went by so slowly, easing up the flow towards the net wasn't easy either but I managed it in the end, time to get the heart rate down. Another large Roach in not such favourable condition's, just goes to show they feed when not many expect them to.

A spectacular specimen of 2lb 5oz. Very happy.
Truly magical.
 I tried the swim again to see if any more were about in the swim but I struggled for bites full stop and after half an hour I called it a day, photographed my prize and released her back to the river to battle another day, I swear I never thought I would have got to the milestone of 25 Roach over the 2lb bracket but I have and I believe that there are still some surprises to come in what I hope is a bountiful angling career and with everyone one of these special creatures captured the elation and appreciation feels stronger than ever, perfect.


  1. Cracking fish all-round there James!

    Our 'roach' of those colours are rudd up here...and considerably smaller usually!

    1. These Roach seem to take on a lovely golden tinge yet no Rudd are present from what I can gather, I think it's a combination of their staple diet and the fact that the river runs clear practically all year and I mean gin-clear. But it was a great day out for certain.

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    3. It is a roach. The dorsal and pelvic fins are aligned vertically. But what a colourful one!

      We get silver rudd in our heavily coloured midlands canals. I mean proper roachy silver scales without any trace of gold at all. It's only the fin colour that makes you stop and have a closer look.

    4. I was having this convo last night with Simon Daley about the Roach and he says the Dorset Stour Roach are similar in their colouring but the Itchen Roach are proper silver, it must be a combination of diet, water clarity and genetics. But your right they are beautiful Roach and have no doubt it's a thoroughbred

    5. I made a short video on the Sowe a few years ago. You may have seen it? I comment that the roach are rudd coloured, and they really were burnished with a golden tinge. You can't see it in the video. Everything looks dingy, grey and horrible because of the location and the weather. Bu they really were rudd like.

      Yet just a few hundred yards downstream they were bright silver...

      It has to be diet.

    6. I think I did see it but vaguely remember it, the Thames Roach do have a tinge to them but not golden like that, the colour is very Rudd like but as you said everything about it was true Roach, have you visited the Sowe this season?

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed reading James, well done on the corking roach!
    Tom A

    1. Cheers Tom, I hope I bump into more that size this season, it may just happen. Tight lines mate.