Andrew Pilgrim

Sowing the Seeds

It seems lately that every time I write a blog something I mention in it prompts me to have a go the following week.

Last week in my ‘Back to the old School’ blog I spoke of how the smell of hemp or tares reminded me of fishing with my Grandad, and as we are in Autumn I thought it was the perfect time to get the seeds simmering.


Hemp and/or Tares are great baits for Roach at this time of year, cheap, easy to prepare and easy to use I can’t believe more people don’t use them. These days’ anglers are becoming obsessed with the latest shop bought pellets that they have seen recommended by some well-known Youtuber.

I’m going to leave my ranting on some of today’s fishing ‘Trends’ for another day, but suffice to say some things irritate me, some make me furious and others make me laugh in disbelief.

So……I boiled up some bait and headed off to my favourite Essex River…. yes you guessed, The Chelmer.

The swim I fancied is on a backwater at Sandford Mill where a small footbridge crosses.

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 On reaching my swim it didn’t look like it had been fished all season and the nettles requires some pruning. But the area is very pretty and ‘screams ‘ fish


Now the key to fishing the seed is this, constant feeding, a little and often. I like to start with 6-10 grains if hemp every 30 seconds or so only upping the quantity once the fish are well on the feed. I started fishing on the drop.

It didn’t take long before I had my first fish a pretty little hemp caught Roach,

Small Roach

 More fish followed on the hemp.

Roach Bait

A couple of casts later and a missed bite, and another and another, they mere really snatching at it today. Some days it can be a fish a chuck on hemp but not today. So to plan B. A larger hook, size 16, and a change of float pattern to fish just on the bottom, 2-4” or so and the bait was switched to Tares.

I kept feeding Hemp but also put in 4-6 grains of Tares.  The smaller fish intercept the hemp as it flutters down while the Tares sink much quicker and reach the bottom  where the larger fish will cautiously suck them up.. This then becomes a waiting game with fewer bites but a better stamp of fish often turn up.

My plan worked perfectly and I was soon getting a nice sized Roach every 5 minutes or so.

Nice Roach

Due to work commitments I only had a short session of 3 hours but still managed to catch getting on for 10lb of pristine Roach. This autumn why not try the backwaters of your local river, there’s some great sport to be had.

There we go a whole blog without mentioning Sheena or Acolytes ………………………Wait ………….. Damn!

One reply on “Sowing the Seeds”

i remember years ago fishing with my dad on the blackwater in kelvedon , he was fishing hemp and tares with his home made reed insert floats which was dotted down to 5/6mm on the tip , every cast resulted in a nice plump roach or an occasional dace , really quick bites i tried to do it but they were too quick for my inexperienced hands , i reckon he finished with half a keepnet full of lovely quality fish . would love to have a day like that now ! also remember my mate catching 2 big roach on breadflake a bit further up stream of the blackwater! both were over 2lb i havent fished a river for years but getting the urge to do so again . tight lines and happy hooking !!

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