Sway Struggles

For those of you that like to look in on these pages to see what I’m catching, I’m sorry about the lack of updates. 2013 has been tough for me to say the least. Firstly, I lost my sister at the age of 39 to leukaemia following her brave 3 year battle. It was tough enough dealing with that, but then there’s all the hassle, when you’re next of kin, of dealing with estates, paperwork, sorting the funeral etc. With all those events, as well as doing my job and running my house, I just never had enough time for fishing.

On top of that lot both of my elderly cats have had various things wrong with them, so I’ve had to keep an eye on them, then my Grandmother fell ill and passed away a couple of weeks ago. She was 88 though, so that’s a good innings, and I’m sure most of us would take 88 right now! The funerals have gone, most things are sorted, so it was time to dust my tackle off and get back on the banks. Sway Lakes roach it would be.

Sway has bucked the trend this year. I had a nice letter telling me because of the financial situation, the annual price was to be lowered to £400. Also, if you wanted to pay by installments you could. How refreshing that a fishery looks after and listens to its regular anglers. I know of other lakes that are struggling, but they’ve put their prices UP, to cover the shortfall! Shame on them.

Anyway, for this trip I was joined by my regular angling partner Martin. He’d not had a 2lb+ roach for a few years and wanted to put that right. Unfortunately, the long winter seemed to have unsettled the fish, which didn’t know it was supposed to be spring. This time last year, the roach gave themselves away by rolling. This year the lake was almost lifeless. Hugh Miles joined us on the bank and he took the waters temperature. It was 50 degrees, up from 45 a week ago. With only that information to go on, I fished the wider part of the lake, hoping that the fish would like it because it received more sunlight, thus warming up quicker than the rest of the lake. Martin fished in the peg that I’d done well out of this time last year, hoping the roach would be there again.

Sway Lakes

I started on the waggler and caster combination. The wind was very strong and gusting, but thankfully it was coming from over my back. It made for tricky feeding and I just had to accept that my feed would be over a large area. I fished at full depth and soon received the odd bite. This resulted in a few 8oz rudd, which seemed to like living under the conifers opposite, a couple of decent perch, plus a roach of about 6oz. One of the rudd was a strange yellow colour so I took a pic. I’ve seen golden rudd before, but never a yellow one!

yellow rudd

In the afternoon I connected with my first decent roach. After a short fight, but one that almost ended in disaster in the near bank reeds, I landed a fish that looked around 2lbs. On the weigh scales it was tough to get an exact reading because the wind was so strong and gusting. Most of the time the needle seemed to be bang on 2lbs, so I settled for that. I placed the roach in a retention tube while I went to get Martin to take a few shots. He was on the phone and by the time he’d got back to me I was into another good roach. This one was slightly longer than the first, but very lean. It hadn’t started feeding up yet, so it was no surprise when the scales said 1lb 11oz.

2lb + 1.11

I took the first roach out for a quick brace shot and was surprised to see that it had started to turn slightly bronze, I’ve never seen this happen so quickly with a roach. After the shots, Martin told me he’d had a 1.12 roach, so we thought things were looking good, especially as we were here for another day.

The rest of the day produced very little in the way of action so we retreated to the car for the night, sleeping on a belly full of bacon butties, pot noodles and coffee, the bank side food of kings!

The next morning dawned cooler, but just as windy. I started on the waggler again, but this time suffered a lot of missed bites and bite offs. The dreaded eels had found my baited area! I landed a couple before some decent perch moved in. Normally by now most perch are spawned out and fight very hard. These fish were sluggish and some were very fat, still yet to spawn. I put one fish back, but regretted it later. I wondered what size it was after weighing a slightly smaller one at 2lb 9oz. Could I have put a 3 pound perch back, disappointed that it wasn’t a roach?


As morning wore on towards lunchtime, neither Martin or I had caught any decent roach, nor had we seen any roll, so we called it a day. I think the long hard winter followed by a quick rise in temperature had confused the fish somewhat. I’ll certainly be back, it’s just that this year I might wait until Autumn, when the big roach will hopefully be feeding hard, prior to winter.