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I’ve been enjoying my roach fishing as of late, and as my angling is motivated purely and simply by the pleasure factor, then it’s no surprise that I have done more sessions after the species than all the others put together in the last few months. This statistic is helped though by the fact that I’ve been basically fishing for roach late afternoon and then having a few hours into dark. Well I say a few hours, but at this time of the year you can fish till 10.00pm and still have a proper night-time outing. That will soon change of course, as even now in the depths of January, the days are starting to get longer. Just think, in a couple of months we’ll all be tench fishing. But until then I’ve got some roach to pursue.
The first session is the one that you can see in the accompanying video. I devote some time to showing the rig, filling the cage feeder and even clipping the hanger to the line when the rod has been cast. They may seem like simple things to the experienced angler but of course, as with anything in life, there will always be the novice, or even sometimes the person who has been fishing for a while, and is frightened to ask what he considers a basic question for fear of getting mocked. My attitude is that there is no such thing as a silly question and that’s why I always encourage beginners in particular to connect with me on my facebook page, so that I can help them as much as possible.
But back to the session. It went well and although I wasn’t inundated with 2lb roach I did catch a few fish (photo 1) with the best peaking at around the 1lb mark (photo 2). I don’t think it looks that big in the photo and certainly not in the video clip either. And that’s where we need to be careful when questioning the weights that people declare. For sure, some are quite clearly nowhere near the stated weight, but sometimes, while the camera doesn’t lie, it can give an image that isn’t always true. It works both ways, I’ve had pike that I could quite easily pass off as a 20 when they’ve only been mid-doubles. I don’t usually weigh fish that aren’t ‘special’ but as this roach felt quite heavy I decided to get the scales out.
You can see the groundbait mix in the video and I did say I would mention the ingredients. The mix is 2 parts brown crumb and 1 part corn nitro method mix and then at the water’s edge a dash of whisky link (photo 3) added to the lake water. The products are all SBS Baits. With live maggots added to the mix and a single one on the hook that was my bait approach. On my second session I added some ground wheat to the mix. It was also to a different venue (photo 4) that I headed. Having done some pike fishing on there previously I had noticed roach topping at dusk. So I decided to go back and fish specifically for them.
Although there is no night fishing I was still hopeful of something up to dark. However I really struggled and only just avoided a blank courtesy of the small roach (photo 5) that hardly fitted in the palm of my hand. But with 8/9 other rods on there that day, that to the best of my knowledge all blanked, it was actually a result. Put it this way, if it were a contest I’d have won the trophy and the money. As with life, our angling always has to be seen in the context of the big picture. Not that we’re in competition with other anglers but it does give perspective when we know what others are catching.
My next session was back to the original venue.What an horrendous day it was as well. Heavy rain turned the bank into a slippery mud bath, but as far as I am concerned it was just business as usual. Whatever the weather I just get on with it. The only time it may have an influence is when heavy snow falls and I can’t drive. And if I had a venue within walking distance then even that wouldn’t be a problem. In fact I love fishing in the snow! Actually I just love fishing. Period. I arrived at the lake about an hour before dark and soon had both cage feeders cast out and on the bank sticks.
I was on a five-hour session and after a slow start I started to get action a couple of hours in. However nothing developed into anything of substance, ie a fish, and after a short spell of red light alerts on the bite alarms it all went quiet again. But I was totally focused and as always was confident. And that belief was rewarded right at the end when the hanger on the right-hand rod rose and then fell. I knew a fish was on and as I lifted I felt the very welcome resistance of a roach. And that’s the fish (photo 6) which highlights just how fine the line is between ‘success’ and ‘failure’ in angling.
And that fine line was highlighted in my next session, but this time I was on the wrong side of the line. I did have a fish on though, but it came off as I was playing it in. Fishing at 40+ metres with a small hook plus the delicate nature of roach bites in that they’re often only lightly hooked means that losing fish is an occupational hazard. My tactics were different in that I fished with a single rod and an isotope on a 1oz glass insert (photo 7). I was still fishing with a cage feeder though and the bait was still the same. You can see small balls of bait (photo 8) ready to be catapulted out. The only thing I did was to squeeze live maggots into each ball before firing them out.
It was a cold night and very windy. I had a few slight taps but apart from the lost fish, no real bites. On my next session (I managed to get lots in) I fished from an hour before dark up to 7.30pm as I needed to get home, don my number 5 shirt and play football. But before I defended the goal net I was able to get one small roach (photo 9) that didn’t need the landing net. Not big but at least it saved me from a blank. And the final shot in the article shows the moon rising over the far bank (photo 10).
It was chilly once the sun set but the mild day itself had me watching a ladybird. Ladybird good but Harlequin bad. It is one of the invaders that have entered the country and like the grey squirrel, American mink and signal crayfish before it has decimated our native species. The harlequin ladybird eats the larva of our indigineous ladybirds as well as munching on those of butterfly and moths. It’s a tough old world out there. Not everything is cuddly and fluffy!
Finally, let me write a few words concerning the number of times I fish and in particular a message to any younger readers. I certainly get out a lot more than the average angler but that hasn’t always been so. I’m at an age now where I have a lot of stability in terms of everything around me dropping into place. It means I can fish more than ever before. But that’s not possible for everyone and in particular for younsters as school, exams and work must take priority as well as commitments when you’re part of a young family. And even beyond that there are still often things that must come before fishing.
It’s about being responsible and for me lots of things have dropped into place including having a wonderful wife who knows just how much my angling means to me. My approach to 2012 is summed up as per the following, which is a direct copy and paste from my facebook page: 2012: Mortgage paid. No desire to chase possessions. Content with my lot. Enjoying my charity work with no pressure from someone paying me a big salary. All in all a good work/pleasure balance. Which means one thing. Watch out fishes. Living the dream! (article published January 21 2012)