A window of roach opportunity (roach article, entry 389)

If you’re a UK resident (and I say that because people from all over the world read my Angling Journal) then you won’t need reminding how awful the weather has been in recent weeks. In fact I am writing this article on the day of publication and that’s the scene outside my office window here in south Staffordshire. I won’t be fishing today, not that the weather puts me off the actual angling, because I enjoy being at the water’s edge in the snow. Rather that the roads aren’t exactly too clever and I don’t fancy being stuck and not able to get home. These are the times when I wished that I had water within walking distance. Unfortunately though I don’t, not unless you include springs. I live just metres from the English watershed and water one side ends up in the Severn and the Bristol Channel while water just feet away heads in the opposite direction eventually finding the North Sea via the River Trent. But being so high above sea level means I have to travel before any of those springs become fishable. And there are no stillwaters either.

The springs on the west travel for some distance before they have a name of their own that can be found on a map. This is when they join Penn Brook and then they really come of age as they empty into the River Stour. And that’s where this week’s article sees me as I took advantage of a slight upturn in the weather to target roach. Sandwiched between periods of harsh weather, the mild (relatively speaking!) day was a window of roach opportunity, hence the title of the piece.

The river looked good, but then again that’s a daft thing really for me to say because I find all rivers attractive. Whether in flood or low and clear, wide and deep or tight and shallow, I am magnetically attracted to any form of flowing water. My wife often reminds me how even on my honeymoon (almost 24 years ago) I tried tickling trout from the brooks in the Lake District. I didn’t take my rods of course, but in the absence of manufactured tackle I used what God gave me. I must say though that I blanked miserably. Nothing’s changed there then.


The Stour was normal winter level and as I had selected a deeper section, had minimal flow. It had a nice tinge of colour to it, and although there are conditions when the Stour is preferable (fining down after a flood is brilliant) nevertheless I was very confident. And the water temperature was holding up quite well. The Stour consistently runs at a couple of degrees or more higher than the Severn in the winter, which is why it’s my river of choice when the going gets really tough. I fished a quiver tip with 2.5lb line through to a size 18 hook. All I needed was a small bomb and fishing white maggot on the hook I threw out a few loose offerings every cast. The reason I did that was because from the off I was getting bites. I say bites, because I didn’t hit them all. But I did connect with one or two decent fish. Decent for the Stour that is, and as I so often say, it’s not the actual weight of the fish that’s really important but rather the weight in relation to the venue.
I also lost a few good roach as well due to hook pulls. These things happen in angling but it doesn’t stop me from working out if I could have done something differently, maybe alter the rig, the hooklength – that sort of thing. In life generally I am a thinker and I often chew situations over when needed and that is reflected in my fishing too. And that’s a good thing because it means I’m always looking at ways to improve and eliminate stuff. Like hook pulls!

I really enjoyed my afternoon on the river, and by the time I packed away as darkness descended I had caught a few roach, some of them being good fish. Well let’s face it, any fish is an achievement in the conditions we are enduring at the moment. But due to circumstances, weather and otherwise, this proved to be the only roach session this week. But at least I managed to get out and catch and that’s what really counts.



As this week’s Angling Journal entry takes me right up to Christmas Day (I think I might put the next one on a day earlier though!) I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy and blessed Christmas.

And finally, if you’re on facebook or twitter then join me there, the links are at the base of this page. So many people get in touch with me every week regarding my Angling Journal and it’s always good to make contact. My twitter is actually connected to my facebook (I have a dual social networking presence!) and I tweet, when possible, from the water’s edge. (December 18 2010)





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