Saturday 21 November 2015

Chalkstream Specimen Roach.

A teaser for what's to come.
 For Roach this season has been good already and I have high hopes for the rest of Autumn and Winter as plenty of trotting will be done during the colder months, looking at the forecast over the last few days this morning didn't look appetizing at all so I caught up on some much needed sleep and a few errands which needed sorting out, as mid-day came and went I decided to grab the trotting gear and some waders with the view of spending around four hours on the bank.

 I arrived at the river with maybe three hours in total, so I got straight to running maggots and casters through whilst I got my gear sorted, the wind wasn't really affecting me as it turned out I was slightly protected which was lucky and the river was a bit coloured up so I fancied some fish trotting and with my recent form for big Roach I wasn't discounting the fact that I "may" end up catching at least one. The sport to start off with was very slow and it took nearly twenty trots to get a bite and maybe another ten to hook up, first off was a stunning silvery Dace of 6oz or so which was sporting a very podgy frame, this is good news as they are clearly munching in earnest for the cold months ahead.

A lovely brace of Autumn Chub.
One of my typical trots.
 Talking about the cold, I had only been fishing for maybe 20 minutes by that point and my hands were at the point of falling off!, it was a challenge to keep them warm to a point I could operate the pin, but a few more fish started to fall to my single caster trap and a quick succession of Dace and Chub got the hands warming up, although I avoided putting them in the water as I didn't fancy ice-block mits, the Chub were starting to come in at a good size and managed two of 4lb plus which was accompanied by a dozen or so Dace to 11oz roughly although I didn't weigh them. The bites started to tail off as dark was falling but I knew that if I was to come into contact with a leviathan Roach now was the time, a couple of Dace came to the net around 8oz and then out it happened, it had to, the river looked perfect, up half a foot or so with a lovely tinge to it and cold night before usually gets them feeding.

A right fat....stonking Dace at 11oz.
A stunning 2oz 1dr Gonk for good measure.
And some big minnows too....
 The bite was just like any other but the fight was hard, today I changed from a 3lb bottom to a 5lb bottom as I had a couple of line breaks with Chub snagging me up, this made no difference to the Roach as it was clear she wasn't in a mood to come in, the fight was dogged with the tell-tale "jagged scrap" whilst it stripped line from the pin, when she broke the surface I shat myself mentally and almost physically, it was big and I could see my puny size 18 hook in the top lip with the maggot dangling on the line by the knot, seriously I've never got a net ready so fast before, Mr Bolt would have been impressed by that speed!, but I knew this fish was very big, three-pounds??, I did for a while think so as she dived back down towards the bottom, I just had to keep the tension, a few more nervous moments passed by, then the head slipped into the net quickly followed by the rest.

Absolutely stunning, my largest for quite a few years. 

What a "clonker" as Wilson would say.
 I said to myself "It's bloody big but is it that big?", what it lacked was depth I believe to do 3lb, the length and width were perfect to reach or surpass that "Holy Grail" landmark, she went on the scales to dispel any doubts about the weight. 2lb 10oz of pure and utter jubilation, immense, amazing.....I could go on but alas I shall leave it there, the rest of the session was spent trying to coax more Roach into the net but it seems that I found the only feeding redfin or the only one to be foolish enough to be caught, I believe it was the latter but I digress. I'll just look at the photo's with the largest of grin's. It's been a great day. Off to settle an old score in Warwickshire tomorrow, it's Zander, Pike and Perch time.


  1. Absolutely stunning James, I know you put the hard work in for the fish you catch, so well deserved, bet you're well chuffed. I'm fishing a chalk stream for the first time in a couple of weeks, cannot wait.

    1. Cheers Mick, plenty of hours have gone in but time is sparse at the moment so to be catching these stunning creatures with such limited time is absolutely brilliant, I can only thank my lucky stars the work has paid off. I'm looking forward to our trip to the Itchen can't wait.

  2. James,

    As Mick says, stunning. Very well done, envious!

    1. Thanks Monty!, so bloody chuffed is barely scratching the surface I can assure you.

  3. Colossal. But some ounces shy, James. I guess that's what you must endure, if you can call such a fish 'an endurance'! But that's what you get when there's a 'three' with your name on it, somewhere out there, that you must work to find...

    Get that and it's a 'four' thereafter!

    1. Colossal it certainly was, I could only dream of what "3" would feel like holder, six ounces between my Roach and a 3lb fish, as I said recently "six ounces" isn't a lot but when talking of that weight in these proportions is massive, I'm just going to let it happen, I don't want it to become a crusade and let it happen, I don't want to fall into that trap in becoming obsessed with catching my "Holy Grail", it will happen, just going to let it. A "four" on the other hand, well, it's just something I will dream about as I will never get the chance to catch one.

  4. James, I hadn't seen this until today so apologise for not congratulating you in the flesh on Sunday.

    A true dream fish! After all, the three pound fish is only a target set by us using arbitrary irrelevant measures. The fact is it's a massive roach and when it's unexpected even better. The weight really doesn't matter in the real caught it, you experienced it.

    Well done mate!

    Anyway...back to that Wendy house...

    1. They certainly are George, special fish, any Roach over "two" is a special fish and I hope this rich vein of form doesn't abate anytime soon! But as you say it's not all about weight, holding that fish with palms comfortably filled and plenty to spare was a great sight, but not as great as watching her swim off strong.


What A Start!

   Since the river season ended I've taken a 3 week hiatus from fishing, work as usual the excuse! Storm Kathleen however was predicted ...