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Joe Chappell

Ramble on the River Roach

Last Thursday, my mate Jack and I did a quick afternoon session on the River Roach. We were on our bikes so had to pack light, a rod, reel, net, some bait and some end tackle was all we needed. The Roach is a small river, running from the River Crouch near Paglesham to the outskirts of Rayleigh and all the way into Southend and Priory Park, where it is known as Prittle Brook. Not much of the river is fishable for course species, only a couple of miles and access is difficult throughout most of the stretch. Most notably, the river is connected to Rochford Reservoir via an inflow and outflow. This means that there is a constant exchange of water, but also when the river floods the two bodies of water connect and the fish can move between the two. This has led to numerous carp being trapped in the river, including a rumoured 15lb carp!

We started by fishing a swim by the outflow from the lake into the river. I started with simple tactics, a size 8 hook freelined with a little bit of bread on the hook. A carp came up and snuffled the bait as I let it flow through the deeper part of the swim but it quickly spooked off. I let the bread drift through another 4 or 5 times with no results. I had caught a carp and a chub with this tactic before here so I decided to switch up a bit and opted to use a few casters and a couple of maggots on the hook instead. I pinched a small shot about 6 inches away from the hook and cast into the deeper part of the swim. After 20 or so seconds the rod tip started to tap and I had caught my first fish. A lovely perch.

Because the swim is so tight, only person can fish it, so after my perch I let Jack have a go. He opted for a small pole float, a size 16 hook, and two maggots (a bit more finesse than me). After a couple of trots down he had one, it was species number two, a lovely little chub. Meanwhile I was changing over to a float and size 12 hook. Although freelining had worked, the bite detection was poor and I thought a float would give better presentation.

I tried for another ten minutes but the spot had gone dead so we decided to move a bit upstream to a swim known as The Pipe. It’s probably the deepest stretch and holds the most fish, I’ve seen videos of big chub there and have seen numerous carp there myself too. It was also possible for both of us to fish at the same time. Jack caught a few roach and rudd, and I had a small chub, but I think we spooked the bigger fish.

We moved further upstream, where the river passes through woodland and fields. Jack caught another small chub, but I didn’t catch anything else. All the fish we caught that day were on maggots and casters. I’ll definitely be back to the river soon and next time I think I’ll need to be a bit stealthier. River fishing is something completely new to me so I still have so much to learn. But I’m making it my mission to catch a 2lb chub from the river this year.

Be sure to check out my Instagram @joec.carp and Jacks Instagram @jacks_angling_life and stay tuned to hear about my recent sessions at Rochford Res and North Benfleet Hall Fishery.

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