Filling the Gap

It’s that awkward time of year again where I try to fill in the gap between the end of the river season and the time to fish for the ‘summer’ species such as tench, rudd and bream. I’ve already decided where I’ll fish for these species, but I’m not going to flog away on those tough fisheries until the weather warms up a bit. In the meantime, I’m fishing some diverse places that hold big roach, amongst the other fish.

The first port of call was to a midlands day ticket lake that holds one or two roach over 3lbs, a number over 2lbs, plus stacks around a pound or more. My mate Martin and I both had a couple of trips in very cool but bright weather. Martin had visited the place a few times before over the years, landing many good roach up to just under 2lbs. This time the fishing proved a lot tougher.

The cold wind put sizeable waves on to the lake which made bite detection hard and accurate feeding almost impossible. We toughed it out though and eventually caught some nice fish.

On the first morning I thought I’d catch a shed full as my first couple of roach were well over the pound mark. Soon after the wind sprung up and I struggled for most of the day. All of the roach were in great condition though.

Every know and then I thought I’d caught a real specimen roach, only for those silver and orange flanks to have the backside of a bream attached!

At dusk, as the wind dropped, I landed loads of roach around the pound mark.

One of the main reasons for this was that I could finally fire casters around my float, instead of over half of the lake! ¬†Almost 30 big roach graced my net, but not the hoped for ‘2’ I know they were in the swim though, as I lost a real lump under my rod tip. I wasn’t too disheartened because it was hooked in the pelvic fin! It was a strange fight, like I was bringing in a big lump of wood or something. Then, as I pulled as hard as I dare, this great big roach surfaced, saw the net, and bolted. The size 20 hook pinged out straight away, but at least I knew they were out there.

The next day saw the wind blow just as strong, so I fished right under the rod tip on hemp. It took a while to get the fish feeding confidently, but when I did, some nice redfins graced my net.

I was catching in bursts, as if a couple of big roach charging around the swim would disturb the shoal, but a steady trickle of hemp would soon get them back again.

Again, I didn’t land the hoped for ‘2’, but I can’t turn my nose up at a handful of roach an ounce either side of 1lbs 8oz. They were lovely plump fish that scrapped hard.

I enjoyed myself so much, I’ll be back in the autumn, hopefully to catch one of the big old girls. For now though, I’m fishing for specimen roach much closer to home, from a tiny overlooked venue. At least until the tench wake up that is!