November 12, 2019

Test Roach... or not.

Up at 5:30 and a 130 mile drive on a cold morning just for a spot of fishing. Pure madness. Or is it? This was my annual hunt for the river Test roach and a hope of fish that warm the soul whilst freezing the heart with envy from other anglers. This was a big day for both me and my lad Neil.

Dave Steuart was his usual chatty self but we dragged ourselves away as politely as we could. Earlier in the week his appraisal of the river and our chances were good but, on this day, it had risen considerably and the temperature had plummeted. It was just 2 degrees when we started with a piercing wind.

It was those conditions that put the kibosh on our chances. Dave had arranged for a sluice to be opened but the corresponding board (??) had not been altered so the river sped up to a swirling mass and the level dropped a fair bit too.

Undeterred and unaware of what lay ahead I started on a crease that ran under a leaning tree which almost touched the water. My first line was hopeless so I trotted the far side along the tree line and soon had a small chub and a trout. I then got into a rhythm of feeding and trotting and caught four more chub to over 4lb along with a grayling. I then noticed the rise and extra push of the river as it all went quiet.


I went roaming and found more trout and the odd grayling but the roach were nowhere to be seen. Neil was on a small controllable spot in the sluice and had steady grayling and big trout action on his Lucky Strike rod.

We ended the day on a tributary that came in on the far bank. This was beyond my Wallis cast rang but Dave let us borrow a lead rod that we held high to keep the line off the torrent. I caught a roach! Okay, it was about 3oz but you can't win them all.

We ended the day with Neil taking a trout of 3-4 lbs from the roach swim whilst I had a similar fish  from under our feet on his cane rod. It was a knit one purl two but we landed them both and laughing, decided it was time to head home.