Typical isn’t it? You go Carping and you don’t catch any. You go Roach fishing and you’re plagued by the scaley buggers.
I’d decided that as soon as the Christmas festivities were out of the way that I was going to start my Roach campaign. I’ve dabbled a bit with it the past couple of winter’s but it always takes me time to get my act together and not get distracted by other things. Now though, my focus is firmly fixed and with a bit of luck i’ll be going all out to catch them this winter, conditions permitting.
We’re not blessed with big Roach waters around here but I headed to one of my local pits that has done some pound plus Roach in the past. Not wanting to potentially overfeed the fish I put out three spombs of bait to start with and fished two rods over the baited area. Encouragingly there were Roach splashing on the surface at first light, although admittedly further out than where I was fishing. After an hour or so I had my first bite that was definitely Roachy. A couple more followed but they didn’t develop into anything though unfortunately. I tend to watch the line where it goes into the water rather than rely on the bobbins and bite alarms.
Just after lunch I had my first proper bite. The bobbin jammed up against the rod and I lifted into a Carp. Thankfully the swim was clear of any potential dangers so playing the fish wasn’t an issue on six pound line. Slowly I managed to coax it towards the net when the other rod let out a couple of bips before it started to slide off the rests towards the water. Shit, two Carp at once. Just what you need when Roach fishing and only have a pan net to land them both in. Not only that I had an audience of three Carp anglers on the other bank all now huddled together watching me.
I wedged the second rod between my legs thinking it would probably break me while I was playing the other fish. Surprisingly though the second fish behaved itself. It bent the tip a little as it mooched around but that was about it.
I got the first fish in the net which was a lovely looking Mirror that looked around mid-double figures and then proceeded to play the second fish into the net which was a pristine looking Common that looked slightly smaller. I was now in a pickle. Two Carp in one pan net and what felt like everyone on the lake looking at me. I went to see the guy next to me who, when I explained the situation looked at me like I was some sort of madman. Anyway, I borrowed his net so I could put a fish in each to make unhooking them and sorting all the tangled line out that bit easier. The Mirror went 16.7 and the Common went 14.8.
Kafuffle sorted I put on new hooklinks, spombed out three more loads of bait, cast out, poured a coffee and sat back to try and get my breath. Only I didn’t get chance to get my breath or take a sip of my coffee because one of the rods was away again. With a “for fuck’s sake” I picked the rod up to have another angry Carp on the end. At that time I was thinking “please, please don’t let the other rod go again” which, thankfully it didn’t. No issues with this one and with the Carp anglers on the other side cursing me under their breath I slipped the net under a stunning fully scaled Mirror that went 14.12.
That was to be the last bite until dark when I had a couple of liners and a more Roachy type bite that again didn’t develop into anything.
Buoyed by that trip I headed back there yesterday. Again I got there at first light to see more Roach splashing around. I was hoping that the Carp action was just a one off and that things would be a bit calmer and I could snare a Roach. I repeated my tactics from a couple of days before and despite more Roach showing and over my bait it was surprisingly quiet. Then just after mid-morning coffee and snack time I had my first bite. The line was lifting and dropping back where it goes into the water and as I leant forward in my chair ready to strike, the bobbin lifted and I struck into my first Roach from the water. It looked half decent too and weighing 1.2 I was more than happy to get off the mark with a fish over the pound mark.
After returning the fish I didn’t put any more bait out as I didn’t want to spook them. I was hoping that they were getting their heads down on the feed but that was the only bite that was forthcoming.
Lunchtime came and sandwiches eaten before one of the rods was away again only this time it was another Carp. Christ where are they all coming from. It’s not like it’s a particularly easy Carp water but there was something about my bait that they obviously liked. Another mid fourteen Common so nothing to write home about but again I had an audience on the other bank watching me.
After that fish I put out another three spombs of bait as I wasn’t sure of the Carp had mopped up all that was already out there. The afternoon remained quiet though with no more bites and no fish showing until just before dark another bite and another Carp. By this point I could have cried. Having Carp tearing through your swim isn’t really conducive to catching Roach so by now I was starting to get a little annoyed. In the meantime the Carp anglers were catching bugger all so I inside I was having a little chuckle to myself.
All the Carp i’d caught over the two days were absolute stunners though. Big apple sliced scales on the Mirror’s and fin and scale perfect Common’s. I would have been mega happy had I actually been fishing for them.
Darkness came and despite lots of Roach splashing around at dusk the action was sparse to say the least. I had one very positive bite just on dark when the bobbin jammed up against the rod butt. Something had picked the bait up and shifted the lead but it had made it’s escape. I fished on until just before 7pm before deciding to call it a day.
Overall a couple of days of mixed emotions. Great to catch a Roach of notable size and actually good to catch some Carp from an actual catching and not blanking point of view. Hopefully the cold spell that we are expecting soon will put the Carp off and let the Roach feed a bite more freely.
Happy New Year.