Spring fishing I find can be difficult. Cold nights and only mild days, or constant rain and water temperatures still quite low. One fish that will often satisfy my desire to angle is the humble Roach. I decided to spend an afternoon at Decoy lake, know to have some obliging spring fish.
The weather is fine and sunny. A cool but gentle breeze blows in from the south east. The lake water has a good colour although feels quite cool, but the fish don’t feel particularly cold as I found out later.
I settle in peg 1. A noisy location right in the south east corner close to the road. With trees behind me I’m and out of the wind, but not just for my own comfort. Most of the lake is moving caused by the cool breeze pushing the water surface. All except my corner, here all is calm, but for the near constant priming. A clear sign indeed that some Roach are here.
Red maggots seem to be all the rage here in Sussex at the moment, so I am compelled to use white. I have a pint which should see me through, especially after a chat on all things club and piscatorial with two fellow committee members, leaving me just four hours of usable light.
I slowly tackle up and plumb the depth. I never bring my rods already set up as is the trend. I like the operation of tackling up, of testing the depth and generally getting a feel for the day. I arrived at the lake somewhere between two and half past, but I didn’t cast a line until twelve minutes past four. Time wasted? not for me.
The Roach are there right away, I’m catching fish right from the off. Not hundreds, but one every few minutes, at least for a while. Then things change, the Roach suddenly stop. Now I have to work to keep catching, I will think about why they have stopped and what I need to do.
Those capricious Roach
It could be that a Carp has moved into the swim and bullied the Roach away. Or it could be that I have overfed the fish and they have drifted off. I stop feeding the swim and let it rest for a while. When I start fishing again the fish are still not interested. But now I’m fairly sure I’m not overfeeding, so instead I start feeding again, but more heavily.
With the increase in feed I have attracted the Roach once more, but I only catch a few. I’ve been fishing with my bait just touching bottom, so I try altering my rig to lay-on by a few inches. Right away I get a bite, but the fish is hooked a little deep. This suggests the tell tale shot is a little too far from the hook.
The fish try every trick in the book. At one point they back further away, I can only just reach them with my 3BB insert waggler. Just as I think about changing to a heavier float, the fish move closer again. For the rest of the day I have to keep altering the rig to keep these capricious fish coming. Laying on, dead depth and above the bottom, casting a little further, then a little closer, reading the signs and following the fish.
By sunset I have twenty three Roach in the net. A modest amount with the best fish weighing just 8oz. I know the lake has Roach of over a pound, so I will keep trying, at least until the closed season is over.