Once the mercury dips below 5c consistently over two or three consecutive days the thought of Roach immediately come into play, the prospect of a days trotting after my favourite species is always an exciting one. I'm not entirely sure what could be better than running a float down a treelined section of river with the possibility of the "next" dip on the float resulting in a battle with a large bar of silver.
***Below are a couple of specimen Roach caught around 8-10 years back when this particular river threw up numerous 2lb specimens with some regularity, not anymore regretfully.***
|A wonderful 2lb+ Roach taken on bread.
|Another specimen Roach over two pounds.
On Tuesday I headed out in search of another one of those special moments that I have enjoyed so many times over the last 15-20 years. There was a slight caveat to the proceedings and that was I wasn't just Roach fishing, that would come slightly later in the day as I would wait for the cloud cover to come in and fish for the Roach in the murk of an arriving storm, before that I took the chance to dust down my MKIV split cane and pin for a Barbel, but not just any Barbel, a double figure Barbel!
This particular river has given up one of its treasures albeit below my target size (7lb 8oz) so I decided on a roving approach with a massive lump of meat in the margins, the river had dropped around 2ft over the previous 24/48hrs so it meant the areas the Barbel would hold up in would be reduced thus, in theory make it "easier" to locate them, that key word "easier" does make me chuckle a little as this river like so many in the south are far from easy! a low stock of predominately big fish, with averages of around 9lbs seems to be the perceived size, with a sprinkle of low doubles and in the past has done them to around 12/13lbs which considering the size of the river is rather impressive.
One major issue here is snags, the river is littered with them, some small and easy to get free of, others are so robust and heavy that I end up pulling from breaks or bending out the hooks. It is a trade off, lose some gear with the slight chance of winkling out a real gem, it will happen...the question is when. Luckily for me its a river I can get on pretty easily and all I have to do is put my Barbel brain into gear and keep searching.
|Poised for that moment to strike!
I spent six hours moving around, with a big piece of garlic meat I gave each swim 30-40 mins, plenty of time for that smell and oils to permeate the flow and attract an unwitting Barbel, unfortunately for me that typically successful tactic didn't reap any rewards this time but it may do on my next visit, who knows!
So with that aforementioned cloud cover rolling in I decided to bang the Barbel fishing on the head and broke out the trotting gear, my swim selection was a densely covered trot of around 30 yards, with a steady depth of 3.5ft, which at the end of the run tailed off to 2.5ft approx, within a few trots the Roach began to show up and not long after one fell to my trotted flake after prepping the run with a small amount of mashed bread.