Sunday 22 January 2017

Winter Roach: The Search for a Two-Pounder.

My angling partner for the morning.
 Finally with this prolonged cold spell I have only just fancied targeting Roach, yes I can target them all year but this time of the year the redfins are holding good weight and slowly increasing as spawning time approaches in a couple of months. Having struggled to get above 0c for the last five days and consistent frosts for as many days would have allowed the inhabitants of our rivers to slowly come out on the feed, the conditions look favourable too for a couple of trips during the week too after work, it's cold I know but these are the best condition's to target Roach.

 Having woken up this morning with the beginnings of a stiff cold I reluctantly crawled out of bed after a terrible night's sleep, my only motivation to get out of bed today was the Roach, the distant possibility of a two-pound Roach is far too much of a lure to ignore, I've had an eye on a couple of spots that I thought could produce and last season I visited this exact swim where I lost a big fish that was comfortably a two-pounder, a few trips were made back to that very swim, but I didn't encounter anything close to the fish I lost and moved on, maybe today I could get another chance.

A Mayfly in the middle of a cold winter's day, is this normal?

 When I arrived at the run I had in mind I fed it with crumb for around 20 minutes before trotting through and on the first attempt the float slipped away and a hard fighting Roach twisted and turned in the current, for the maiden fish to go 1.04 was a good sign that I was sat on a decent shoal weight wise, for the next two hours the sport was very good, as I fished my way through the shoal lulls in the catching would sometimes be as long as 5-10 minutes, to get back amongst the action I'd have to make the smallest of adjustments to depth or shotting patterns, then the bites and fish came again, if I hadn't received a slip of the float in four or five casts I'd deepen or shallow up and at times I would catch Roach at a foot under the surface in 4ft of water.

Lovely conditioned fish though.

 At times I was hitting really strong Roach, the current made them feel deceptively heavy with most of the fish feeling way larger than they turned out although I was netting some good fish between 1.03 and 1.09, the fish just seemed to keep coming until around 1pm when the bites dried up, I don't put that down to the shoal running thin on the ground but the Roach were wising up to the threat.

Best of a good bunch.

 It had been a great outing and a total bag of 28lb 14oz, my best Roach haul for quite a few years, the average weight was bought down by a couple of young fish that are coming through but numerous individual Roach weighed over a pound.

 When I lifted the keepnet out of the river I was very happy with my morning's sport and couldn't have fished better I feel, in fairness I couldn't have fished much longer as my feet even in the neoprene waders and thermal clothing were frozen, I will be back sometime soon to see if I can tempt an very special fish.

Couple of the better fish, my favourite species.


  1. Replies
    1. Cheers Oaksey, it's been good Roach fishing of late, can only hope it continues.

  2. Cracking catch again James. Can only dream of fishing like that in this part of the world!

    1. Thanks mate, I'm certainly trying, was out the other day again and caught some more good Roach and a couple of larger fish hanging at the back of the shoal has given me a sense of strong optimism, I'll be out again soon.

  3. Agree with George, get it while you can. Gone are my days of bags of roach. What is nice to see is the young fish, it's a sign that you have future finding bigger fish. Those marks on the fish however show a decent pike around too James. Maybe a nice fish big from spawn. Might be worth a sleeper rod in the margins?


    1. A rare fish indeed on the rivers but I will say this, over the last five years or so I have seen a healthy population of specimen Roach of three different rivers and that has given me a greater sense of belief that the days are not gone but once again returning, whether they'll be as good as the late 80's early 90's who knows but one thing I do know is that my "holy grail" isn't an impossible target, merely a tough one.


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