Seeking a 3 lb roach at Throop
Vastly experienced Andy Little, a much-respected specimen fishing pioneer, returns to the Andy shares recent and past experiences to help you improve and land PBs.
Mcontinuing search for a 3 lb river roach found me on the banks of the famous Dorset Stour Throop Fishery just before Christmas.
Simon Ebborn, the fishery manager, was telling me about some huge roach that he had spotted just below the School Bridge, located on Beat 2.
Unfortunately, my first crack at them was when the river was dropping and clearing after rainfall, and a nasty south-easterly, upstream wind made the official air temperature of 5 degrees Celsius feel more like minus 5!
The Stour, the Throop Fishery in particular, has experienced a huge increase in the numbers of roach being caught, and amongst them are some very good fish. The roach catches, together with reliable chub bags, make it the ideal winter fishery.
Not having fished Throop for many years, I went well prepared with a variety of baits, adopting a little-and-often feeding approach, just to see which bait worked best.
Simon said that hemp and tares were definitely the way to go in summer, but bread, maggots and casters are preferable in winter.
A shoal of roach can often be found below an overhanging willow tree, just downstream of the bridge. The river here is nice and steady, with about 3 ft of water a rod length out, which is ideal for running a stick float through.
I started by introducing a few grains of hemp with bread punch on the hook. After about six trots I had my first bite, which turned out to be a 3 lb chub, but for a few seconds I thought I had cracked it with a 3 lb roach.
The wind was so cold, I had to stop fishing after ten minutes,
The iconic School Bridge swim, where some big roach have been seen recently. putting my hands in my pockets to warm them up. It was also one of those days when I could get the float to run through the swim properly only every half a dozen trots or so, as the wind was gusting, making the float skid across the river, ruining the presentation.
I could have used a much heavier Avon or balsa float to combat the wind, but I wanted to fish as delicately as possible, as I’ve been told that the roach here can be quite finicky.
I persevered with the hemp and bread punch for about an hour or so, catching another chub and a sea trout, but I then felt that it was time for a change of bait, so I fed a few red maggots every 30 seconds or so whilst I was warming my hands up again.
Maggots transformed the swim, as I started to get a bite every time I ran the Andy took a selection of bait (maggots, casters, hemp, tares and bread punch) to find out which ones the roach were prepared to take.