Silver Success (Eventually!)

After my last trip to the Hampshire Avon I couldn’t wait to get back. This time though the day turned into a disaster. A quick call to Stu, the river keeper, gave me all the info I needed, but I went against his advice and chose a swim where I’ve never fished before. Apparently, a few good roach had been caught from a large slack in this swim and because it was hardly fished, I thought it warranted a try. After 90 minutes spent legering a piece of bread for no signs of anything, and the main river looking perfect for trotting, I tried to head back to the swim I should have started in, but as you can guess, it was taken by another angler. Instead, I settled into a likely looking glide that I’d not fished before.

After 30 minutes or so of trotting maggots I was catching a few plump dace, plus the ever annoying minnows. There was no sign of any big roach though. Stu stopped for a chat while he was on his rounds and it turned out I’d been fishing the wrong slack in my first peg! If that wasn’t enough a tricky wind then sprung up making it difficult to control my float. I also knew that it would have been fine if I’d chosen the original swim, as it was sheltered. When the angler in the said swim caught a big roach, it did little to lift the gloom from my head, but the final straw was about to be broken.

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I stopped trotting to have a bite to eat. Whilst I was doing this I legered a piece of flake in my swim, hoping a big redfin  would be also be tempted for a bite to eat. Instead I managed to kick my 3 pints of maggots into the mud and grass! I quickly salvaged what I could, but I didn’t have enough left for a proper days trotting and feeding. I made a quick decision. I threw all my tackle in the car and headed for Sway lakes. I wondered how it had been fishing in the cold weather so I thought I’d find out for myself. I guessed the fish would be lethargic in the cold so I should have enough bait left for a bit of waggler fishing. To try and encourage any roach to my maggots I applied a few drops of geranium oil, a roach attractor supreme!

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I arrived in the Sway car park with a couple of hours to spare before darkness would set in and I had the whole place to myself. I had a walk around and never saw signs of anything fishy whatsoever. I elected to fish an area that would be sheltered out of the strong winds that were forecast. I just hoped the fish would be there too. Just as the light was fading and I was thinking of calling it a day I was in. You never know whether it’s a good perch or roach when fishing on maggots, but I would soon see as the lack of carp activity had made the water very clear. In the gloom I could see a bar of silver twisting and wallowing under the surface. I just gently teased it to the net where it slid in without any problems at all. As it was too dark to be able to fish on, I left the fish safely in the landing net while I quickly tidied away my gear for the night. All I left out of my bag was the scales and camera. On lifting the fish out of the water I was sure it was  going to make the 2lb mark, but you can never be quite sure. After carefully zeroing the scales my prize was slipped into a plastic carrier bag and gently eased into the air. Satisfyingly, the needle crept to the 2lb 2oz mark and the days troubles were forgotten. After a couple of quick photos I retreated to my car for a coffee and pot noodle. I’d give the lake another go in the morning.

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The stormy weather that had been forecast had arrived by first light. There were waves rolling down the length of the lake making float fishing very tough so I elected to fish a feeder instead. I was surprised when my first cast saw my tip start bouncing about with the culprit being a 12oz perch. More perch followed with most being around the 1.8 to 2lbs mark, though I didn’t weigh any of them. I did catch the odd smaller one of around 12oz.

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I did manage another roach of around a pound, and judging by the tail on it, it could end up being another of the lakes giants. With big black clouds starting to roll in I decided I’d seen enough for my fact finding trip, I didn’t fancy a soaking too. I think I’ll wait until winter loosens it’s grip before heading back down for the big roach. They’ll be in peak condition as the river season finishes.

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