The Apple of my eye
North West regional Where To Fish columnist Ian Chapman clocks up thousands of miles every year visiting fisheries countrywide with top-notch anglers. This week the professional photographer visits Appleton Reservoir, near Warrington, Lancashire.
AUTUMNAL angling is typically associated with roach, and the redfin sport available at Warrington AAcontrolled Appleton Reservoir is often outstanding at this time of year.
This is a pleasant location, with easy access and a padlocked car park. It used to be a put-and-take fly fishery, but as the interest in that side of our sport dwindled, the club decided to introduce some carp, and together with the existing stocks of roach and perch, they have thrived.
These days, it appears that anglers who fish Appleton have two choices: they either go for carp or they fish for the roach and perch.
Two anglers who adore this venue for its redfin action are club members Steve Daley and Danny Bellfield.
On an overcast day with a warm wind, I caught up with the pair as they stood in the water, bagging a fish a chuck.
Before I wax lyrical about the roach sport, let me say that Appleton is probably more popular with carp anglers, and there are plenty of quality carp to be caught. Within minutes of my arrival, I spotted several ‘head and tailing’.
Actually, it would have been a perfect day to go for carp, but the lads had roach on their agenda. The carp have been out to over 20 lb, so it’s certainly something to bear in mind, if that's your passion.
Standing in water
It’s unusual to see two anglers standing well out in the water these days. It reminded me of great days spent in Ireland, where wading out into deeper water is often necessary.
The swim that Steve and Danny had chosen to fish enables you to stand in the water, as there is a long sandbar reaching out, making it quite shallow. If you didn’t wade out in this particular spot, you would have to cast an awful long way to find the fish.
By wading, the lads had a much easier cast into around 4-5 ft of water, where there were clearly lots of roach shoaled up, judging by the regular action.
When you wade out, a minimum of kit is sensible, with a bait apron or a bait-waiter table used to make life easier. Some hooks, shots, disgorgers, a rod rest, a landing net and spare bait is all that you need to prevent you from wading backwards and forwards.
Appleton Reservoir was once a fly fishery, but has now switched its focus to coarse fishing, with roach being one of the species that provide quality sport.