Thus it was in the Spring of 2019 when your blogger was the lucky winner of a day of fishing for roach with Dr Redfin himself, Dr Mark Everard. The prize was for two anglers to spend a full day with Mark fishing on either a very private stretch of the Bristol Avon, or on the Hampshire Avon. Mark advised that we should fish late in the season for best results, although there is always the risk of inclement weather and high, coloured water in wintertime. He being the foremost 'Expert' in all matters to do with the Roach, Rutilus rutilus, we took his advice and took the risk.
|This really is the COMPLETE Book of the Roach|
Monday morning and Wiltshire was frosted and fogged. After our hearty breakfasts we followed Mark to a private estate and its secret length of the Bristol Avon. A minor snag with Mark's car was attended to and, then loaded up with coarse fishing gear, we had a steady walk down to the river. Mark took us down to the bottom of the beat, where we set up and started fishing. The flow was brisk and the river much deeper than the little streams and rivers in Derbyshire where we fish the dry fly.
|Looking upstream from the swim, the bread crumb balls went in the edge just here.|
"How are you doing?"
"Not sure. Am I doing this right?" asked as I held the float back a little to accommodate a slight rise in the river bed.
"Looks okay... Looks like you have a fish!"
The float had moved to the side and an old instinct had kicked in as your blogger set the hook.
"Yes you've got one... and it's a roach. Would you like me to net it?"
"Oh thank you, yes please. Net's here on the left."
Mark took the long handled net and sank the meshes. The lucky angler drew the roach over the net and Mark did the rest.
"We must have a photo! Wet your hands on the net." (Sounded just like me with guests on my bit of fishing...)
The roach was passed over and held for a snap.
"Do you want angler and roach, or just roach?"
|RR's First Bristol Avon Roach (photograph thanks to Dr Mark Everard)|
Some of the swims needed a level of skill beyond that of your blogger to cast into. Mark could deliver his float anywhere with a flick of the wrist and his perfect execution of the F W K Wallis cast. My attempts led to tangles and frustration. That cast is a skill I will have to work on.
|Mark and John concentrating into the gloom|
|Venus (top left) Looks Down on the Bristol Avon|