A Reasonable Thames Roach Session

Silverfisher

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So after Friday’s cracking roach session on the sandford old channel I was back out on the bank again today as it was another lovely day weather wise being warm with spells of sun and cloud and light upstream southerly with a bit of westerly. I’d liked to have gone to sandford again but it’s hard to get a good swim there on the weekend so decided on medley instead. It was naff there on an early season session a few weeks ago but it usually fishes by July so whilst I didn’t expect to do as well as at sandford on Friday I was optimistic especially when my favourite swim from last year that produced double figure bags every time turned out to be free. In the end I didn’t do as well as I thought I would (partly my fault) but still had a pretty decent result so was another nice session

I set up stick and waggler rods and started fishing at 8.30 and up until 10 in blazing sun it was pretty slow going. By that time though a bit of cloud rolled in which improved things not to a great extent but to pretty steady sport. By 2 it had slowed down again so I went on the feeder from 2.30 until packing up at 3.30 which just saw me either bitted or bitten off by the pike which had been a nuisance all day as they tend to be at medley. All in I reckon I had about 30 roach, pushing 10 skimmers, pushing 10 chublet, 2 dace and at least 20 bleak. The roach would have brought at about 7lb with the other stuff probably dragging it up to just about a 10lb bag so nowhere near as good as the probably 18lb at sandford on Friday or what you can usually do at medley but still a fairly decent result in my book. Whilst the fish were clearly not as up for it as they were at sandford on Friday I definitely should have had a better bag as I stayed on the waggler longer than I should have. I did catch on it but the presentation wasn’t really right and sport instantly improved when I went onto a light stick rig so not doing that earlier almost certainly cost an extra couple pounds of roach. But you live and you learn!

Most successful set up today was again the 14ft drennan acolyte ultra float rod paired with a 2500 shimano sahara RD loaded with 3lb maxima. This was initially to a 4bb drennan stick then to a 4x4 drennan stick to a size 18 to 2lb drennan silverfish hook to nylon. Second most successful was the 13ft drennan acolyte ultra float rod again paired with a 2500 shimano sahara RD loaded with 3lb maxima this time to a 1.5g drennan loaded crystal insert waggler again to a size 18 to 2lb drennan silverfish hook to nylon. Both were set up a little off bottom in a little under 5ft of water. Best hook bait by miles was hemp with the black fjuka that was very successful at sandford only picking up a few fish. I suspect that may have been down to medley being slower and clearer than sandford which along with them not feeding as hard maybe gave them a better look at it today so to establish it wasn’t hemp. Also had a few fish on caster and a few on maggot. All were fished over frenzied hemp groundbait and loose feed of hemp. Not much point going through the feeder set up as it didn’t achieve much!

My grandad was with me again and targeted the bream on the feeder that he used to catch a lot of at medley but have evaded since the start of last season and did so again today. In the end he only had about a dozen bleak and about a dozen admittedly bigger roach than mine but lost at least a dozen more to pike. He did eventually half way through the session seek revenge on the pike and got 3 out on a silver spoon but unfortunately did so a good couple hours too late to save the session. They only ranged from about 4lb to 7lb but looked good fun on a 7-12g lure rod!

All in all whilst it certainly wasn’t a cracking session like it was at sandford on Friday and not even as good as it should have been due to my tactical error it was still almost certainly another double figure bag so a pretty decent result and therefore another enjoyable day. Next session should be back on the sandford old channel back end of the week as I’m planning to take a day off again so I can get a good swim again. Looks like the temperatures, overheads and river conditions should stay fairly similar so hoping for another cracking session there although apparently the nice upstream southerly’s of the last few days might switch to a downstream northly which will make it trickier. But we’ll wait and see!

Pic of the swim, a couple of roughly stamp roach and grandad (looking like a bit of a goon in his visor cap and massive sunglasses!) with one of his pike.
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SeanB

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It's funny but whenever I see mention of the Thames I always picture it either flowing through London or somewhere like Richmond, never as a nice open "big skies" river.
I'm rather jealous lol
 

Silverfisher

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It's funny but whenever I see mention of the Thames I always picture it either flowing through London or somewhere like Richmond, never as a nice open "big skies" river.
I'm rather jealous lol
I can imagine quite a few have that impression, it’s certainly a very different river up here really is stunning in places, I always forgot it’s the still thames when I’m down around the tidal reaches!
 

Silverfisher

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A good write up mate and a nice bag of red fins as usual 👍
Thanks mate and yes whilst nothing like as good as Friday it was not bad at all. I should have had maybe half a dozen to a dozen more of them from what I had in front of me but I had enough to still be good fun 👍🏻

Was quite entertaining watching grandad take revenge on the pike as well, should have chucked a lure myself as well tbh!
 

Silver fan 82

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Thanks mate and yes whilst nothing like as good as Friday it was not bad at all. I should have had maybe half a dozen to a dozen more of them from what I had in front of me but I had enough to still be good fun 👍🏻

Was quite entertaining watching grandad take revenge on the pike as well, should have chucked a lure myself as well tbh!
Nice looking stretch too mate.
But you realise what you maybe did wrong in the session which I personally think is a good thing if that makes sense?
 

Silverfisher

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Nice looking stretch too mate.
But you realise what you maybe did wrong in the session which I personally think is a good thing if that makes sense?
Yes is another nice stretch, basically in a big flood plain so very different to the tree lined stretch I was on Friday.

And yeah was pretty clear where I got it wrong. Waggler works well on the Thames when it's really slow as it's easy to control then but even when it's got a bit of pace on like it has at the moment it can still work when they are up in the water as you get bites before you lose control and therefore not mess up presentation. But when they drop down a bit it's much easier to control and present a bait on the stick. On Friday I timed switching back and forth between stick and waggler pretty well as given that is a quicker stretch anyway let alone with the extra water on by summer standards that it has at the moment I could clearly only fish the waggler when they properly came up as was no control if I let the float run. So whenever they dropped at all I knew to go straight back onto the stick. But today's stretch is slower so I thought I could get get away with the waggler more as usually you can but with all the rain we've had even it was a touch quicker than it usually is this time of year. So when they wouldn't really come up I should have gone straight to stick but I stupidly tried to pushed my luck which isn't wise with trotting as presentation is key!
 
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alsur

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Ah yes it is still quite nice around Richmond/twickenham neck of the woods when the tides in
Tide very rare goes fully out between Richmond and Teddington as there is a half lock at Richmond, the Dace and Roach fishing was fantastic in 80s probably still is but parking is extremely difficult, caught a trout in a match there once.
 

Ausho

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Loved your report and and set up. Had to replace all my gear after a bungee strap broke on my roof rack on the M5 Ouch!!! Replaced my float rods with 13ft and 14 ft Acolytes just love them, and paired them with Abu close faced reels. Need to do more hemp fishing this summer. If I can do a bag with those stamp roach I would be over the moon.
How much hemp do you loose feed? I ask because sitting behind my old fishing partner Pete the fish RIP (still haven't forgive him for passing) while taking a break and a sarnie. I watched him cast his stick float out on the Warwickshire Avon at Bidford RB. Followed up with a pouch full of hemp. No sooner did the hemp hit the water I could see fish flashing about a foot below the surface taking his hemp. His stick float trotted 6ft deep sailed along untouched. He retrieved, recast followed by another pouch full again roach flashing just under the surface. I said to him Pete your're doing it all wrong Mate laughing at him. I made him come sit where I was, put my polars on and just repeat his pouch full. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. I think obviously he was feeding too much but also not fishing on the drop. What do you think?
Was also interested in you using Fjukas. I have bought them in various colours but not seriously given them a go do you recommend the black as hemp substitutes?
 

Silverfisher

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Loved your report and and set up. Had to replace all my gear after a bungee strap broke on my roof rack on the M5 Ouch!!! Replaced my float rods with 13ft and 14 ft Acolytes just love them, and paired them with Abu close faced reels. Need to do more hemp fishing this summer. If I can do a bag with those stamp roach I would be over the moon.
How much hemp do you loose feed? I ask because sitting behind my old fishing partner Pete the fish RIP (still haven't forgive him for passing) while taking a break and a sarnie. I watched him cast his stick float out on the Warwickshire Avon at Bidford RB. Followed up with a pouch full of hemp. No sooner did the hemp hit the water I could see fish flashing about a foot below the surface taking his hemp. His stick float trotted 6ft deep sailed along untouched. He retrieved, recast followed by another pouch full again roach flashing just under the surface. I said to him Pete your're doing it all wrong Mate laughing at him. I made him come sit where I was, put my polars on and just repeat his pouch full. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. I think obviously he was feeding too much but also not fishing on the drop. What do you think?
Was also interested in you using Fjukas. I have bought them in various colours but not seriously given them a go do you recommend the black as hemp substitutes?
Thanks mate glad you enjoyed it. If you liked that one I had a much better day on another stretch on Friday, report for that below


And yes superb rods aren’t they just perfect for silvers. Very quick crisp actions yet still very forgiving. Wouldn’t be without them now.

And yes definitely do more hemp fishing it’s brilliant definitely sorts out the better stamp and plenty of them when they’re really up for it. I used to do quite it a lot then didn’t do it for a few years then started doing it again last year and since starting to do it again I’ve been doing it more than anything else as it’s just great! It should work on the avon just as well as the Thames as there’s certainly quite a few roach around Stratford. Loose feed varies quite a bit. Probably fed about 1.25 pints in 6 hours on Friday then about 1 pint in about the same time on Sunday. But on other days I’ll feed a good 2 pints in that time. You sort of just get lead by the fish sometimes you need a lot to keep them interested others not so much and it can vary a bit depending on the depth, pace and colour of the water. I always take at least 2 pints but generally use between 1.25 and 1.75 pints if fishing for 6-7 hours depending on what the fish want/the river needs wherever I am on the given day.

I’ve only used the black fjuka’s with hemp 3 times so far but so far so good. The ones I’ve got don’t work whole as they are too big so sink too quick but broken in half and moulded to hemp shape they seem to work well. They didn’t work all that well on Sunday but they were brilliant on Friday and also on the Stillwater session below from a couple weeks ago.

 
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