Andrew Pilgrim

Small River Roach Fishing

Regular readers of my blogs will recall that I have a soft spot for one particular Essex River, and in particular one little stretch a mile of so long, I fished this beautiful meandering river at least weekly often 2/3 times a week for many, many years, 10 years ago I moved to Colchester and the days (and nights) on the Chelmer became just happy memories. So I thought it may be nice to revisit.

In my opinion this stretch comes into its own in Autumn/Winter when the weed has eased and the river has some flow but I had the urge so I went on a short session 5-8pm to see how it was looking.

On arrival, as suspected, the weed was going to be a problem in many swims but there was some flow.

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Roach were going to be my target and I was armed with 6 slices,and a small tub of liquidised bread to try and feed off the smaller fish rather than attract the larger specimens. In reserve, as always, I had a small tub of worms. I had brought along my Acolyte 9ft tip rod which serves well as an all-rounder on a small river and began by fishing bread flake on the bottom. This resulted in a bite a cast from the smaller fish in the swim but none of them were worth striking at, just very quick taps and rattles. So I fed a small amount of liquidised bread which did the trick and I started getting fewer but better bites as all the small stuff came up in the water into the cloud of bread.

This resulted in a couple of reasonable sized Roach but nothing more.


 I decided to move swims about 50 yards downstream to where I knew there was a deeper run under the near bank.

Once I had safely ensconced myself amongst the stinging nettles I rigged up a small waggler float and set it so it was 6” or so off bottom. Immediately the float was twitching and bobbing about as the small stuff were intercepting my flake on the way down, so again I fed a small amount of liquidised, this time to one side of where I was trotting my float down which attracted the little ones away and left me clear to catch yet more nice hand sized roach.


With the light starting to fade I fancied my chances of a good Roach. My float then slid away sideward and I was in and after a short but spirited fight I landed a very nice Chub. Not the species I was fishing for but I was not disappointed in the least as they are without doubt my favourite freshwater fish in the UK.

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A few more Roach followed and then one was grabbed by a Pike of around 7lb on the way in, it hung on for 20 seconds or so then bit me off.

Next cast I hooked a small jack, On Bread!

Note the hook in the jaws.

Then it went really quiet, obviously the Pike activity had killed the swim. Bailey turned up about 7.15pm, it was nice to meet him in person and have a chat. Shortly before 8pm as it was getting dark I called it a day.

I intend to fish my old haunts on this bit of river a lot over the next few months, and have set myself a personal target of a 1lb+ Roach and a 4lb+ Chub before the end of the year, but I’m going to give it a few weeks to let the weed clear a bit before I start my quest.

In the meantime I fancy something different for next week.

Big Perch maybe?…. We shall see.

Tight Lines Y’all.

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