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Posts Tagged ‘Roach’

Following my discovery of the magical little pool on the local stream trickling around our village, I decided to have a re-visit with a few long reach garden tools in an attempt to slightly improve the fishing potential. Nothing too disturbing as I always prefer to leave nature to itself as a rule, just a small tidy up of existing hazards and snags to improve the flow, and the removal of several sections of Himalayan Balsam that have appeared following the wet winter. I also cut a narrow route through a high nettle copse to a second small swim tight to the old railway bridge.

For those of you who as yet unaware of the spread of Himalayan Balsam then I strongly suggest that you read up about and learn to recognise it and how to remove it (obviously seek permission of the land owner as some people unfortunately treat it as an attractive and welcome plant, even to the extent of spreading the seed themselves!!!). This plant could ultimately lead to severe river bank destruction if not eradicated and I understand it is on the EA’s hit list along with signal crayfish). A good starting point is to read this article.

And so a couple of before and after pics.

Towards the Bridge - Before

Towards the Bridge – Before

A general removal of debris, Balsam and the reduction in size of a large overhanging branch.

Towards the Bridge - After

Towards the Bridge – After

No weed, rush or sweet grass was touched as this is providing good cover for the smaller fish present, plus a good ambush site for the resident Perch. And still plenty of bankside vegetation overhanging a slightly undercut bank, again also providing good cover. In fact I swear I saw a small Jack Pike come charging out of this cover following my float splashdown. Hmmm! Makes sense to see the Jacks here as about a mile or so downstream this water joins with the Moors River which is known for it’s Pike.

Pool exit - Before

Pool exit – Before

Almost entirely an exercise in the removal of old debris (lots of it), though a small amount of pruning was made to the overhanging trees.

Pool Exit - After

Pool Exit – After

Vastly improved pool. At this, the widest point in this small pool the width is estimated to be about 25-30ft with a max depth of around 4ft towards the far bank. Depth of water below the weed and sweet grass is about 2½ft. The far bank has been left as is. There are a large number of underwater roots with numerous hollows and undercuts providing additional shelter for fish.

I have fished this pool on three additional occasions since carrying out this work and myself and No.2 Son have consistently caught Dace, Perch, Roach and Wild Brown Trout. Even the wife caught a trout, unfortunately (the screams of joy and fulfilment  deafened all within 50yds, mammal, fish, insect and human).

Shortly after publishing my original post on this stream (Small Stream Discoveries) I was contacted by village fishing buddy Steve asking where this pool was. Well, local lad as he is I gave him directions and then met him there the same evening. Steve was keen to give it a go, especially for the wild trout, and we returned on the Wednesday with a half pint of maggots and plenty of hope. A few Dace and Perch caught, and I am pleased to say that Steve got his wish.

Steve's First Wild Trout

Steve’s First Wild Trout

Wild Brown Trout

Wild Brown Trout

They may not be big, but they put up a helluva scrap.

I have no doubt the story of this stream will be continued.

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A few posts ago I talked about the small stream that flows alongside and the length of our village (Testing Our Little Stream). Visually devoid of any finned life, I had spotted and managed to catch a fish!!! Small Perch (no surprise there), but a fish nonetheless.

To continue the topic, I recently spotted a photograph that had been posted on one of the many fishing Facebook groups I frequent. This pic was of a small stream that was being explored and fished by one of the members. The similarities in the picture to a particular pool on my own local stream were uncanny, so I decided to re-visit that spot and check it out. The opportunity arose while I was visiting my good friend John yesterday, who lives only a couple of hundred yards away from the stream.

The pool location is where an old railway line passes over the stream. Beneath the small overgrown bridge is a narrow weir dropping into a pool of around 3-4 feet in depth. This pool is no more than 25 ft at the widest point and continues for about 20 yards below the bridge prior to the stream reverting back to the normal 6-8ft width and 4-12in depth.

Small Stream Bridge Pool

Small Stream Bridge Pool

I stood and watched the water for about 10 minutes and spotted the one fish cruising around close by, close enough to identify as a small Chub. I also noticed a couple of small rises just to the edge of the main flow near the far bank. So once again fish were present in what many took as a lifeless stream. Well that was good enough for me then. Back home, a quick grab of some gear and back to John’s to set up.

Downstream Section of Pool

Downstream Section of Pool

A small 8ft LRF rod was used due to the restricted space, set up with what was available off my bench, small reel loaded with 4lb fluorocarbon, small loaded waggler with three strung out no.6 shot to a size 16 hook. I could have done with a slightly longer rod but my next suitable choice was 13ft. A bit too much for this location! John rummaged around in his compost bin and found three small worms for me; a slice of white bread; small bag of 3mm Halibut pellets for a bit of feed and a few hookable pellets just in case.

All set up so back to the pool (I would love to know what people were thinking when they saw me walking the road from John’s to the stream, rod made up and over my arm; tackle bag slung over my shoulder. Not a usual sight around here).

A few pellets thrown into the small current to try and grab some attention, a small chunk of worm on the hook and second trot through and the first fish comes in. No surprise in another very obliging little Perch.

Small Stream Perch

Small Stream Perch

This was followed by two Dace, one Roach and another larger Perch – all on worm scraps.

Dace

Dace

Roach

Roach

No sign of the larger Chub I had spotted earlier, but I did notice a couple of larger fish further towards the small weir. Unable to make them out with the dappled sunlight on the water, I persisted in trying to tempt them. Worm drew no response, as did pellet. So a pinch of bread flake was trotted through. Bingo!

Bread Loving Small Stream Trout

Bread Loving Small Stream Trout

So there I was with a few small fish caught on worm, and what do I catch on bread? A small wild Brown Trout. Go figure!

So there we go! 45 minutes fishing in a scruffy little stream considered by most as no more than a ditch used for storm drain purposes, and supposedly lifeless. The exploration of this stream will continue. And I’ll be back for those Chub.

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The previous week has been a right old mix of fortunes with the fishing proving yet again that nothing can be taken for granted in this game.

Beginning on the Friday with a group of us guys and gals lining the groynes at Sandbanks with our LRF (and MRF) gear hoping to do battle with the Mackerel and Scad shoals. These shoals have been around pretty consistently for the past two weeks. But not tonight. Total haul for the four of us was one small Pollack to me. So no fish for supper that night, and I had to make do with a box of cholesterol and chips.

Monday afternoon and evening saw myself, Dad and Number Two son head down to a club water we have not fished before. We knew prior to going that this small lake was very popular as a ‘bagging’ venue, but was also home to Carp in the twenties plus a good head of Roach, Rudd, Bream, etc. Well as it turned out they weren’t kidding. It was pretty damn hard to get the bait in the water long enough to allow for the better fish to home in on them. We probably had 25-30 fish each up to around 5lb and could have caught many more with a slight change of tactics.

Typical Small Carp from Cranborne. Loads of fun on the light gear.

Typical Small Carp from Cranborne. Loads of fun on the light gear.

But being the greedy people that we are, we persisted with baits and methods aimed at attracting the larger specimens. An enjoyable session and one of those places to go to if you just want a bit of fun (or a confidence boost). I was very impressed with the size and quality of Roach here.

Tuesday afternoon and evening – I took friend John along to Crooked Willows lake for his first coarse fishing session in 30 years or more. We blanked. And this on a lake that I very rarely blank on. Loads of good fish taking surface baits, as long as they didn’t have a hook hidden in them. C’est la vie, but it at least gave me a chance to get John back in the fold and show him a few rigs and things.

Thursday PM was the planned river session with Dad, still searching for those elusive big Chub and Barbel along some of our favourite Dorset Stour stretches at Throop Fishery. Low, fine and clear water and a bright sky was not good, though we could see plenty of fish moving around amongst the streamers and along the gravel glides. A few very quick bites which were probably small Chub or Dace, and one missed barbel bite (how did I miss that one!!!) was all we had for our efforts and we blanked for the second time in a row at this location. We need some rain to improve the height, flow and colour of the water here.

Friday PM and I took John back to Crooked Willow for a session. We were met down there by Dad and Number Two son again. Another frustrating session with many good Carp cruising around on the surface, scooping up the free offerings, but ignoring any hooked baits. John managed a couple of Bream, Number Two had the one Bream and a few missed runs in the margins, Dad snuck out a 5lb Carp with a floater tight to a lily, and I had the one Common Carp as a saver with a chunk of luncheon meat fished six inches from the bank virtually at my feet. Put up a very commendable scrap swinging back and forth between the various lily patches and refused for quite a while to be netted. Eventually bagged and out came a beautifully conditioned fish of 9lb 12oz (I’ll add the pic later).

9lb 12oz Common from Crooked Willows

9lb 12oz Common from Crooked Willows (plus a shocked looking me)

The only downside to this last session was owner Richard informing me (rubbing it in really) of a large Perch being caught during the week. I have been after the large stripeys in here for a while now and still haven’t managed to connect with one. Guess where I’ll be soon.

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Many, many years ago I set myself a few targets to achieve on the riverbank. The targets were to catch:

  1. 3lb Roach
  2. 7lb Chub
  3. Double figure Barbel
  4. 20lb Pike

Made more in hope than realism at the time (the seventies), it just goes to show how our rivers have improved, and that these same targets are no longer pipe dreams. In fact a lot of you may say that at least three of them are easily realistic (the Roach is still a helluva target). Until Thursday of last week I had achieved two of those targets.

Target one. Sometime during the late eighties I fished a short wandering session on the Dorset Stour near Longham, equipped only with a pouch of inch bread cubes, an 11ft split cane Hardy Avon (I loved that rod), a pack of hooks, some split shot and a landing net. That little session found a shoal of big Roach tight to the far bank beneath a small tree overhang. First fish caught and one of my targets was landed, an immaculate fish of fractionally over 3lb. This was followed by a further fish of 3lb 1oz and remains to this day one of my most memorable angling moments.

Target two was finally reached a few years ago, again on the Dorset Stour, this time at Muscliffe. Falling once again to a large bread bait, I tempted a beautifully conditioned Chub of 7lb 1oz. This fish was beaten by a 7lb 4oz fish just a couple of years ago from the same stretch of river (blog report here).

Target four remains to be beaten, though to be fair I have seldom fished for Pike throughout the years and have only recently targeted them seriously; and that being mainly due to my increasing use of lures. This is a target I hope to finally bank this coming Autumn / Winter.

And so we come to target three.

At the time that these targets were made in my mind, a double figure Barbel was a dream for many anglers. With the increase in Barbel numbers, and the better management of our rivers, this dream is now reachable to most if time and effort is put in. I say most but; I have been seeking a double for forty years, good old Dad has not had a double in sixty-four years of angling. Rather strange when you think we live near to a couple of the most famous Barbel waters in the country. In Dad’s case, he lived overlooking the famous Throop Fishery for nineteen years, and spent many, many hours chasing his favourite fish. A multitude of Barbel caught over the years, especially by Dad, but the double eluded us with Dad peaking at 9lb 12oz. Close but no cigar.

So this is where the apology in the title comes from. Sixty-Four years of angling, many of those catching Barbel, and he still waits. And then we have one afternoon / evening session last week and I catch two doubles in an hour. Ooops!

Truthfully, Dad couldn’t be happier that I’ve got my target. And the state of Barbel fishing on the Stour at the moment suggests he’ll finally have his double soon.

As to the fish, both fell to hair rigged luncheon meat on a plain leger fished on a rising slope downstream of a large hole. First fish was exactly 12lb and fought slowly for a Barbel, but from the hook set refused to budge from the river bed. A very powerful fish that just chugged away on the bottom like a traction engine. And bloody well felt like one as well. I only have the one reasonable (but slightly out of focus) pic I’m afraid cos mister brains here left the focus on macro and hadn’t noticed until too late.

12lb Barbel, Throop, Dorset Stour. Yay!

12lb Barbel, Throop, Dorset Stour. Yay!

Second fish came slightly closer to the near bank after I had spotted it searching around along the slope. Weighing in at 11lb 4oz, this fish was a scrapper and shot away downstream to be followed by a very spirited series of fast powerful runs. I think Dad will always remember my comment after he had shouted over to as I lifted the fish out of the water.

‘What’s that one like then’, he says, gruffly.

‘Umm……er…….I don’t think you’re gonna bloody like me Dad. It’s another double’ I squeaks.

At least I managed to get a slightly better pic of this one. Just excuse the inane grinning gnome holding the fish.

11lb 4oz Barbel, Throop

11lb 4oz Barbel, Throop

So there we go. Finally another target packed away, with just the Pike to go. And I am pretty positive that sometime very soon I will be putting up that report of Dad finally getting his double. In fact we’re having another go this very afternoon. Roll out the luncheon meat.

 

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My self and Dad had a four hour session this evening abut 50 yards upstream of the School bridge on beat 2 of Throop on the Dorset Stour. Plan of attack was to roll legers around the streamer weed in search of Barbel and Chub. Not to be.

We had a LOT of rain during the previous 12 hours and the river had risen by several inches and loosened up a lot of silkweed which kindly swept downstream just above the river bed. I must admit it gave us some quite spectacular bites at times but not what we wanted. Dad did manage to winkle out one eel on luncheon meat, but other than that all that was caught was 4 Roach and a small Chub, all to me after switching to a small chubber float baited up with sweetcorn and trotted down a good near bank line into a deep pool.

I did manage to spend a while on recce and noted a few likely looking Barbel swims for our next session. Weed permitting that is.

Back to sea fishing tomorrow with my first proper beach session for 4-5 weeks. Let’s hope things have improved a bit.

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Popped down to the Dorset Stour at Muscliffe again yesterday with Phil. A slight change to our plans as we were aiming for a beach session at Southbourne that evening, but due to the forecast for later in the day decided against it.

The river had fined down a bit more from the last session but still had a good flow pushing through. I arrived about 30 minutes prior to Phil with the intention of walking the bank to locate a couple of likely looking swims that would enable our normal legering for Chub plus a chance of some trotting for Dace, Roach and Perch. Found a couple of areas and then met up with Phil and transfered the gear to the bank.

I split my time between trotting with bread or maggots and legering with luncheon meat and bread flake. Nothing for me today on the leger and only a few small Dace and Roach and bait snaffling Minnows. As usual though a very pleasant afternoon.

Phil only had the one Chub which came in from a leger midstream and drifted down to the point of an overhanging tree. But a very good fish it was, especially as Phil is still, by his own admission, a novice at the coarse river scene. Unfortunately neither of us remembered to bring our scales with us today (and I also forgot my landing net!), but we estimated the Chub to be around the 5lb mark. As the largest coarse fish Phil has landed to date by far, he spent the next hour walking around with a permanent smile on his face. More to come of these beauties mate.

Phil's Chub of 5lb (Estimated), Dorset Stour

Phil's Chub of 5lb (Estimated), Dorset Stour

I’m still looking forward to the day when Phil strikes into his first good Barbel though. I shall just sit back and watch.

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Yet another short four hour session with Phil on the Dorset Stour at Muscliffe today. Fished from 11:00 until 15:00 in damp and mist conditions and with a half hour of rain mid-session. Despite the weather the spirits weren’t damped though.

The river had dropped by a further 18 inches since last Thursday but was still racing through mid-stream with the odd bit of sunken debris passing.

Dorset Stour, Muscliffe - Still high and fast

Dorset Stour, Muscliffe - Still high and fast

I decided to fish a slack on the opposite bank from my peg (see pic below) and positioned my quiver nice and high to avoid the mid-stream flow. A little bit of bottom debris could be felt but otherwise not bad. Certainly no tackle losses anyway.

Far Bank Slack on the Dorset Stour

Far Bank Slack on the Dorset Stour

A little bit of pulting out of sweetcorn to see if I could attract some interest followed by half an hour fishing a small slack on the near bank to allow the feed to settle and work and then a running leger with an 18in hooklink and size 8 wide gape (my standard rig for Chub) was sent out with luncheon meat tipped with a single grain of sweetcorn. A couple of tentative plucks for the first 3-4 casts and then a good bounce and slack line bite resulted in my one and only Chub of the session, but a good fish at 5lb 8½oz was soon in the net.

5lb 8.5oz Chub from Muscliffe

5lb 8.5oz Chub from Muscliffe

The rain came down soon after and things went very quiet for a while. I switched to lobworm to try and attract something different (Phil had already landed a nice Perch of about half a pound). A few small plucks resulted in the only other fish of the day, a small Roach.

It got a bit chilly towards the end of the session but still another relaxing trip in lovely surroundings. The more I look around this stretch following all the reed and weed cutting, the more I am looking forward to the spring and summer here.

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A Short Lobbing

Yesterday morning saw me turning over a section of a customer’s vegetable plot ready for feeding and grading. And there, all around my feet were a good number of lobworms. No surprise really, but it got me thinking. I haven’t used lobs in a long time, which is a bit like saying I go Bass fishing but hardly ever use Sand Eels. Daft really.

So yesterday afternoon saw me chuck a rod and reel in the back of the car and drive down to the Stour Valley Nature Reserve at Northbourne for a quick 2½ hour session. Armed with a basic leger setup with size 8 wide gape hooks, a stool, net and a box of lobs, I was aiming for basically anything that came along, but specifically Perch and Chub.

On arrival, and following Sunday’s wet weather, the river was a good 2 ft up with a strong debris filled flow out to mid water. No problem here as there is plenty of overhangs in the water producing some very enticing pools. I split my fishing time between three likely looking swims and though I only managed three small Roach, I had a very pleasant short session.

On reeling in my last cast prior to going home, I had a good sized Pike chase and grab a large lob and promptly bite the hook link off. No way I was going to play and land that fella, but a bit of excitement nonetheless.

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