Thursday, 20 August 2015
There are time when you just need to do something different or tackle something new and fishing for specimen roach is something new to me.
For the last four days I'd been planning and musing what species to tackle and what venue to fish, and come Saturday lunchtime I'd decided on roach and an a large reservoir.
Now we all caught roach, mostly on the float or feeder as kids, but a large roach is a magical sight.
So after deciding the species and venue, I tackle up with suitable gear, in this case a pair of 12ft 1.1/4tc Avon rods, 4000 bait runners, 6lb mainline.
The reason I was using heavy mainline was due to the need for repeated casting of small loaded feeders at regular intervals. I also took along a 13ft waggler rod just in case I fancied a dabble on the float.
I arrived nice and early hoping to see roach topping all over the surface, but it had been a cold over night and nothing was moving. I drove about looking at different places around the water for a good hour before finally settling on an area that to be frank had not been kind to me over the years. This area have not produced for me, but I had an gut feel that for roach it may be different.
First job was to mix up some simple crumb with hemp, caster and a smattering of red maggot. This was catapulted out to a range of 30-40 yards. Knowing the water as I do, I knew there would be a consistent depth of around 10-12ft out in from of me after the initial drop off,
With the rods out, it was time for the breakfast and the first brew of the day whilst taking in the sights and sounds of the wildlife waking up. On the far bank a Munjac deer could be heard barking out its order to its rivals to stay away, a buzzard called out whilst starting its ascend on the early morning thermals and the chaffinches chatted in the blackthorn along the track.
With breakfast and brew finished and the feeders retrieved and reloaded, it was time to set up a third rod. As the water was pretty still I decided the waggler rod would be more fun than setting up a third rod on a buzzer. So the waggler rod was assembled and after plumbing the depth the first cast to the marginal shelf was made.
There is something calming about watching a float, so much so that when it dipped I missed the bite by a country mile. After putting on fresh bait and recasting it didn't take long for the float to dip, but this time I connected with something.
Not the biggest roach in the world, but the first of the roach campaign and a blank saver.
The roach was soon unhooked and returned to either grow into a specimen size or become a tasty snack for a predator.
The float gear was recast and whilst watching the float half dip once and a while, the Delkim let out a bleep and the bobbin started to dance on the line. Putting the float rod down on the rests, I hovered over the rod hopping the dancing bobbin would lift to the rod. Alas it didn't and after 10 minutes of nothing I reeled in to find the maggots smashed and just the skin left. Good sign that something was out there over the baited area.
The re baiting and recasting the rods on the alarms continued along with a number of bite size roach come on the waggler, and I was content that at least there was an abundance of small roach in the area. By mid morning, the bites on the float rod stopped and I decided to rest the area for a while, while concentrating on firing out a few more balls of ground bait.
As the last ball hit the water, the alarm on the caster baited rod sounded and the bobbin lifted straight to the top and stayed there. I struck and could feel something on the line. With 2.7lb hook links and a small hook, I couldn't give the fish to much stick, but after a short while the silver flacks of a nice roach came into view and the magical sight of a nice specimen was drawn over the net. Result!
A quick snap on the mat and after weighing it, the roach was slipped back into the coloured water. The rod was rebaited and cast back out, and I could reflect on the tactics that had lead to the downfall of this specimen. Whilst it isn't common in the specimen angling world to use a running rig for big roach, or come to think of it for most species, it still does have its place on shy biting fishing. A good friend of mine, who is also a good all round angler reminded me earlier in the day about the importance to try something different from the other and it had already paid dividends,
The running leger rig is the simplest of rigs to use and with the small light bobbins I use for most of my fishing, it is a effective method.
More roach of various sizes followed on both rods and it became difficult to keep both rods out for a time and I was frequently having to reel in micro roach on both rods. Then the inevitable happened and a pike snatched a roach off of one of the rods as I retrieved it. The pike instantly bite through light hook links resulting in me having to re tackle. This happened on both rods, so I decided to rest the area for an hour to see if the uninvited dinner guest would get bored or full and leave the area.
I set about getting the float gear out again, but the bites were patching and shy. I did manage to hook a couple including a half decent one, but I managed to loss it even thought I had it in the fold of the net.
After an hour, I decided to get the rods back out on the alarms and within a few minutes the alarms started to sound and the bobbins started to dance again. Some more small roach were landed and another specimen roach was also netted before the bait started to run dry.
By 4pm and with the last of the casters used I decided to pack up and head for home.