Monday, 29 February 2016

23lb River Roach Net...Just had to Go Back!!

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  Well after a long wet winter trying our best to make the best of the dire conditions low and behold the end of the pike and river season is knocking at the front door.  With only a matter of weeks left till the end of the season then its a case of making the most of the conditions you are given.

In this update i cover where i am at the moment with regards blogging and what is in the back log coming up and also a little bit on the rather predictable topic at this time of year, should we get rid of the Closed Season?  The fishing sees us back on the river chasing roach and a session that failed to let me down.

Little Update..

So from a blogging point of view i have two roach sessions saved up including the one you are about to read and also we are just at the start of  February so not too far behind on that one and as always when blogging it is never a bad thing to have a back log of trips where you have caught fish, so look out for them updates coming soon.

I have also been very fortunate in being asked to review a few products over the coming weeks and they are all really exciting products to be looking at and reviewing.  The one i am currently doing is a fantastic bait spray from Stinky Stuff, so far one trip out with the bait enhancer and its looking to be a great little product, check them out here:

Licences still are a hot topic for me at the moment as i still need to decide if i want to stay with the clubs i am in or if i want a new challenge.  Barbel are a species that i have never really targeted, more down to the rivers i fish not holding them in numbers than anything, but it would be good to have the option to sit and wait it out for a big fish on the river.  I guess in time i will make my decision on that one.

The blog still continues to be popular with plenty of traffic coming to the site and good reviews being received in email and social media, this is despite me having time to fish and produce a blog.  Many would say just get the blog out no matter what but my aims with this blog where to set it aside from all others out there by putting the extra effort in to talk about all manner of things as well as the actual fishing session and if it means taking longer to produce the blog but maintaining that quality then going forward that is what i will do.

Abolish the closed season?? 

You can tell the end of the season is nigh when this topic starts generating heated discussions on social media and it is funny how some people who have businesses that are designed around river fishing sales are really pushing the EA to remove this "outdated" and "From the Ark" rule.  It does always seem to generate a mixed and as i said sometimes heated discussion.  I agree the reasoning behind the closing of the season is complete nonsense on that some river and lake species will spawn before the close or still be spawning long after the rivers have reopened in June.  Common sense all points at the rivers following the canals and lakes and removing the closed season completely.

Where do i stand on it? Well as much as i really love the river fishing i also love the break from it and the freedom to then go and do other angling like fish for silvers on the local canal or go and spend a morning behind bite alarms for tench.  That is all well and good but above all that i just love the night before June 16th, your gear all set in the hall and that special feeling where you can not sleep through excitement.  Sometimes this is the start of a new adventure on a new river or waterway and a complete step into the unknown and others it can be a walk to a old peg as you trace the steps you made a few months earlier.  The feeling of the damp air as you approach the river at first light on that first session.  The banks you left all brown and lifeless in winter are now abundant in a sea of every shade of green imaginable, its magic, its everything i love about fishing.  For me, this is why i hope they keep the closed season.  The opening day of the season has already been booked off work ;-) .

23lb River Roach Net On The Stick....

So with the nice net of roach the previous week still keeping the blood flowing through my veins at a higher rate than normal i found myself again packing the car for another go at these bars of perfect silver.  Normally a week in work takes a lifetime to pass and the weekend to arrive.  This week was different work passed in a the blink of an eye and before i even felt like i had packed in the previous week i found myself back.  My feet fitting perfectly into the frozen boot steps i had left the previous week.

The banks where carrying a slippery sheet of white frost and the level had dropped a few feet.  I half expected to see another angler on the bank as it was only through us fishing a river in flood we fell on these fish, i felt sure the drop and the fact no rain was due would see more anglers on the popular river.

To show how truly mad this winter has been we are currently experiencing the first frosts of the year, i know we have had the odd frost along the way but this passed two weeks has been the first sustainable period of over night hard frosts, a sight we normally see around November in this country!  Most species don't really get to hung up with the frosts, chub, dace and grayling, the three that come to mind.  Roach can be an all together different animal and sometimes frosts can really hit these hard and put them off so i did  not really know what to expect.

The stick float and my 13ft korum precision float rod would be my main form of attack in the session.  Stick float fishing is such a simple set up and really consists of a few cheap components,  hook length, weights, hooks and a float.  The real skill with stick float fishing comes from time on the bank and learning to fish a stick, it is not something that can be taught as such.  You learn it and get to a standard of fishing the stick through repetition.

A freezing cold morning without a breath of wind it was dream conditions for fishing the stick.  The float weighted down to the bristle i was then able to add another number 10 weight to bring the float down so it was a mere pin prick on the water.  I did think about starting off by hurling in a few hand fulls of maggot to get the fish in the swim but decided as it was so cold to ease myself into the peg, i didn't want to ruin the fishing before i started.  With rivers you never ever know whats in the swim of how they will feed.  Some sessions you get through pints of maggot for 20lb others you feed 5 maggots every other trot and still catch 20lb.  Feeding is all on the day and how the fish are feeding.

Drip feeding the swim i trotted through for a good half hour to and hour before right at the end of the trot i struck into a small roach.  I prayed this was not a straggler from the main shoal!  The next trot down i held the float back onto he same spot and upon releasing the line to float went again  with another roach coming.  Slowly but surely from nothing the bites where coming each trot down and as time went on they came further up the swim till i had the fish where i wanted them, right under my feet ad the end of the keep net.

For a while it really was a case of getting through the small roach as a ratio of one decent roach to ten smaller ones was being played out.  When the float is going under each cast right under your feet and at some points three roach a minute are going into the net you know you are on your way to a decent net, even if no better fish showed the sheer number of smaller ones would make a net.

Around midday i went for a walk and spoke to my uncle who was also going well on his peg for roach and a nice coffee and a chat later i returned to my peg.  The rest seemed to have allowed a better stamp of roach to move in as i put together a number of better stamp roach.  Of course this shoal was not going to be missed by predators and it was no surprise that the odd lull in action saw a nice perch being caught.

As the session wore in it did become noticeable that there was a shoal of better quality fish that would move in and you would pick up a few of them on the bounce before the smaller roach moved back in.  This continued until later on in the afternoon where the better roach took up residence.  None of the big pound plus roach showed on this session but i was not complaining, on a cold winters day it was a bite a chuck and fantastic fishing.  As i always say winter is the best time of year for sure, the fish are hungry and tightly shoaled.  

As the session drew to a close i had a feeling i had a good number of fish in the net but with no big fish like last week i had no idea on weight.  Lifting the keep net i was shocked as i struggled to lift it onto the bank.   There i knew i had some fish and knew the net was at least over 15lb so you can imagine my shock when the scales settled over 23lb!! I was over the moon!

Another nice day on the bank and it did leave us with an challenge, how just to get those better roach? A nice problem to have but with only a few weeks of the season left and a product review looming for chub finding time would be the one.

Till next time

tight lines



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. That stinky stuff looks like good...stuff :P. checked their website out, might consider it, I'm a Berkeley guy myself but like to try new products.

  3. hi Ben,

    Its a product i have used for about 3-4 weeks now and i have used it in a few ways. For chub on meat it was a hit for sure and then i sprayed it into my ground bait on a upcoming session for roach and caught. From a review point of view its very hard to write as there is no way of proving your thoughts on if it made a difference, if you get me.

    All i can say on it so far is, it is by far the strongest smelling additive i have ever smelt, it is so strong smelling its untrue. There is a full review of it being sent to pondip by myself shortly so look out for the link in a upciming blog update.