No More Excuses

Bob Roberts enjoys a great day out legering in search of roach on a local stream.

There actually does come a point when you run out of excuses for not going fishing. Too cold, too much snow, snow melt in the rivers, stillwaters iced over, dodgy roads and so on are fine at first but once you get in a rut the lethargy takes a bit of shaking off, doesn’t it? How easy is it to stay at home and play on the computer? Well I for one can only take so much, so it was on with the thermals and off to find some moving water.

Strangely it felt rather warm in the van as I headed up the A1. The outside air temperature read 3.5 degrees Centigrade yet I found myself turning down the heater. We acclimatise quickly, don’t we? Hopefully, so do the fish.

I pulled up at the river - well, stream really. I could see no point in tackling the main rivers as they were carrying something upwards of a metre of melting snow. Instead I’d picked this small tributary as somewhere that might throw up a few roach. Size is irrelevant. getting a bit is the true measure of success in these conditions. The rest is just mathematics.

Even this place was carrying a good 18 inches of extra water and it didn’t look great. I’d hoped to fish bread and sort out a few better fish but one look at the colour told me it was a maggot day. Fortunately I’d brought some.

Trotting a float is one of fishing’s greatest pleasures but even though I could achieve near perfect presentation it was obvious a static bait was required. When it’s this cold fish don’t go chasing food. Legering was the obvious way to fish but I really didn’t want to do that, so I pushed the float up a couple of feet and laid on in the edge. Five minutes later I had my first roach. Then another.

They might not be specimens but they were in pristine nick and more I couldn’t have asked for. After a while I decided to head off to a different stretch where I felt I might do better. I was kidding myself. I caught, but no better than at the first place, but the key is I caught. I was out there living the dream. It’s why we call it fishing and not catching. I could have been sat at home waiting for better conditions…