May 05, 2021 3 min read

So far April has kept us guessing when it comes to its weather, we’ve had Autumnal mildness, some cold Winter snaps, warm Spring freshness and scorching summer sun! sometimes all of the above in just 24 hours!

From one day to the next I’m not sure whether I should be wearing a chunky, knitted, ‘carpy’ jumper tightly gripped windswept umbrella combo or to go down the basting myself in sun cream donning a pair of budgie smuggler with flip flops look!

So, when I saw a few days of crisp, freezing cold weather on the horizon, I thought I’d take full advantage. Hoping others would be far more sensible than me and stay at home, I decided to target some local still water roach and perch! Prepared for sub-zero temperatures I made the short journey to the lake, stopping briefly in the New Forest to admire the stunning sunrise!

On arrival I made sure I had a good look around, I had fished the venue a few years ago, but had never seen this lake before. I chose a swim that offered a good amount of water between two islands and some marginal features, this would allow me to build a swim to present my Heli-rig for the Roach, while float fishing close in, in hope of a fat stripey or two!

One thing became very apparent very quickly was the sub-zero temperatures forecast were not quite right! In fact, the beautiful sunrise had turned into the most glorious ‘summers’ day! With the sun now shining brightly and the temperature soaring, my confidence was ebbing away!

However, I was here to catch fish so I mixed a delicious bucket of ground bait sure to get the lake going. My weapons of choice were a cocktail of Hinders Crushed Hemp, C Food Boilie Crumb, Fresh Hemp, and some juicy flavoured maggots, all liberally lubricated with a generous amount of C food Glug 6 fist size balls were accurately added to the deepest part of the swim, with regular pouches of maggots ‘pulted’ over the top!

Betalin and Maggots a winning combination

I plumbed the margin and found a perfect spot in the shade of a bush near a feature and added more crushed hemp, hemp, some chopped worm and maggots to this and let it stew for a while. It didn’t take long for the Heli rig spot to get going, as fish grubbed about on the spot the oils from the glug and the hemp flattened the surface above the spot! My confidence was now growing!!

Two stunning Roach from Richie's fishing trip

The next few hours were nothing short of incredible, firstly because I gave all the anglers on the lake their own private strip tease, as I tore off all the layers of thermal clothing I had put on. But secondly and maybe more impressively the bites started to come! Violent drop backs followed by the bobbin crashing into the blank resulted in Roach after Roach, small ones to start with but they were gradually getting bigger! With a bite every 5 or so minutes I decided to lower my float in the margin spot.

As the float dipped for the second time, I lifted into solid resistance. It was clear from the start however that this was not the Perch I had expected, the erratic tempo of the fight indicated I was attached to a large roach! After a few heart in mouth moments, I slid the net under an incredible fish

Roach from a recent Fishing Trip

I carefully weighed her, and she pulled the needle round to 1lb 14 – what a result!! But this was just the start! As the sun burnt the back of my neck more and more Roach succumbed to the deadly ground bait cocktail and flavoured hook baits! As others really struggled on the lake I was literally bagging up! 

Richie with a massive Roach

In total I had too many roach to count, however 15 of them were over 1lb, 6 were over 1.5lb. I weighed 5 fish 1lb 8, 1lb 9, 1lb 12, 1lb 14 and 2lb 1. A real Red fin letter day!! So, what happened to the perch? I hear you ask!! Well, I landed 3, all under a pound but all in excellent condition! Not the fat stripeys I’d hoped for but, what better reason is there to go back!?

Tight lines