Somehow, I didn't collapse with over exertion, and made it to the chosen swims with my small mountain of rods, reels and bags of bait and tackle. Jeff headed off to fish his banker swim and left me to explore a similar looking area. He told me where he had landed a solitary roach from previously and left me to find the shoal.
I set up two rods initially, but quickly realised one rod would be the only way to detect bites with any chance of hitting them. I soon began systematically searching areas of the water in front of me to find any signs of fish.
Soon into the session, no more than say an hour, Jeff popped over to see how I was getting on, he seemed surprised that I'd had no bites to his 3 fish ! I felt the same but for the opposite reasons. After Jeff went back to build up his tally leaving me with more tips on locating the fish, I was left gripped by a desperate need to catch something and save myself from a blank and certain embarrassment.
Still struggling a while later, having only spotted a solitary tremble on the tip once, I headed down to see what Jeff was doing right that I wasn't. Jeff had landed about five or six fish by now and showed me the stamp I could expect in his keep net. They were all pushing a pound or just over and I was quietly astonished at such a collection of prime Avon roach. As I stood there, he was getting proper taps on the rod tip that were more akin to the chub taps and pulls I am well used to hitting. He confirmed the need to sit on your hands a bit and wait till you get that good pull on the tip that is an unmistakable take.
Now re-invigorated, I rushed back to see if I could get a similar reaction going in my swim. Within minutes of trying I'd found the "dining table sized hotpspot" and the bites started coming, the only problem now was that unmissable though they were, I somehow managed to miss every one !!
I did eventually hook and land a fish and punched both hands in the air to signal to Jeff, but then as I checked the net, joy quickly turned to slight despair as I realised that my roach had a distinct look of the Abramis brama about it ! You bounder - I said, or something similar, trust me to land a bloody hybrid. Nice little fish though it was, it was not going to get me any points on the score board.
I soldiered on, missing more and more bites, until I decided enough was enough so moved further upstream in an attempt to get a better angle on the line at the point where the fish were biting. This was because of the strong flow coming from across the river towards me on the near bank at quite a pace. I was fishing against this crease upstream in the slacker water and therefore any bites would effectively become drop backs. I don't claim to fully understand the mechanics of it, but I think this was causing me to strike against a slack line even though the tip was being pulled forwards in the usual way, by fish that can be notoriously finicky to hit at the best of times. Once I'd moved 20 yards upstream, I recast to the spot and waited for the pull down on the tip. When it came soon after, I hit it and connected instantly with a nice little roach of about 5oz.
|Spot the difference|
Great I thought, I've got it sussed now, the angle on the fish is in my favour. Unfortunately that was to be the last of the bites. I tried back at my original position to make sure I was hitting the right area but the feeding spell had finished. The light levels had now started to fall and I guess the roach were retreating to safety to avoid the marauding predators that would be emerging from the cover of shadows to savage any stragglers left out and exposed. I headed over to photograph Jeff's fish for him and to witness the total haul of nine prime fish including an equal Points challenge Roach best of 1lb 6oz. Those fish were pretty damn breathtaking to behold (to me anyway).
As the roach had now definitely gone to bed, I set up a zander and a barbel rod to try to maximise the session. Jeff did the same except for barbel only and was soon into a fish, but I'll leave that story for him to tell. Me, I couldn't really get into it as I was just mesmorised by those roach I'd seen. I'll be back for another crack at them before the close season that's for sure.