A Day On The Ribble

Derek Roach

After blanking three times on our weather beaten river I was getting desperate to catch a fish
I was thinking of going on the Irwell Sunday afternoon, then I remembered I’d not Christened my new Acolyte rod and the last three visits on the Irwell I’d blanked so a change of plan saw me heading north up to the Ribble for a couple of hours. Plan was to go up to the farm above Church deeps as it had been producing some lovely Roach of late, and go give bread a good go as it can at times sort out the better fish.
Walking up passed Church deep everyone had their nets in and I saw the odd good Dace coming out but I stuck to my plan and pushed on further up. Settling in opposite the Willow I feed some crumb and ground bait mix and introduced some bread flake to hopefully get them in the mood. Thankfully it was a dry afternoon albeit a tad windy as I’d not got my Brolly. I opted to fished a 8 No 4 aly stemmed stick with a 16 hook so I could start on the Bread flake with an option of fishing a bunch of maggots. I’d stopped and chat with the chap below who had been steadily catching Dace all afternoon, but being after the Big Roach I stuck to plan A and started out on the bread. Last year Craig had had some cracking Roach 3 or 4 of which were over the 2 lb mark, and I’d not even seen a 2 pounder let alone caught one.
Starting off at 4 ft I feed another ball of ground bait and started exploring the swim, each time the small piece of bread breaking off and feeding the swim. Bread fishing is all about confidence and a lot of anglers are too concerned about their bait coming off, but in effect that’s what you want, the bait to come off after every trott or it is on to hard. Today the wind was all over the place and manly blowing in my face which is not the best conditions for presenting a stick float, a good trick to compensate for this is to put a back shot around 18 inch above your float which could be anything up to a BB depending on your size of float and the conditions. Today I just used a No6 which helped to keep the float on course giving a far better presentation and ultimately more chance of tempting a fish.
I’d been fishing for around 20 minutes when Stuart who was fishing below me popped his head over for a chat and see how I was getting on, although I didn’t know Stuart he was a good friend of Ribble Pete so we had something in common apart from the fishing.
Up to now I’d not even had a bite, then right on cue as I my float reached the end of the run it dipped under and I struck in to a decent fish, it was nice to see a health bend in my spanking new rod, but what had taken my bait? As I played the fish up river the anticipation started growing was it a Chub or a large Roach (-:
When at last the fish broke the surface my face much have said it all as a lovely silver Roach revealed its self , what a great start and exactly what I’d come for. Stuart did the honours and kindly took the trophy shot, before I slipped it in to the keep-net to be weighed later. It’s always nice when you catch a fish when someone is watching, and with a good fish under my belt all the effort had been worth it and it didn’t take long before another ½ Roach was in the net. At this stage I was thinking I might be on for a red letter day but after fishing for another hour on bread I didn’t see another fish, just a few knocks which were probably Dace.
Time for a change for the last hour, step to hook length down to 0.11 and a 18 hook to see if I could tempt a few Dace or bring the Roach on with steady feeding of maggots but alas as the light started fading I’d only managed a small Chub and three nice Dace.
I had intended to fish till the death but with the rain making a appearance I called it a do and headed back. Although I’d not had many fish I was well chuffed with a couple of decent Roach the biggest being 1.10 lb caught on bread with my new rod making it all the sweeter.
Lets hope there will be many more to follow, the Ribble is certainly the place to go if you are in search of decent Roach.
Photo Courtesy of Stuart, strangely the picture doesn’t do the fish justice, I will have to get some lessons off Craig the master Roach man (-:

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