Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Monday 23 July 2018

The Tiny River Alne – Dough and Distributary

The roach is the eternal quest of the coarse-fish angler, the species that fills his net on warm, summer evenings, and these are average small roach and this is average roach fishing. There are big roach, of course, the thought of which fires an angler with the ambition that takes him far afield on bleak November or January days to search for the winter fish.

Every coarse-fish angler has caught roach, and it is a strange angler indeed who does not want to catch bigger roach, but these are the elusive ones, the golden grail of the specialist.

Roach live and thrive in all manner of waters, from small clay ponds to crystalline chalk-streams, bringing greatness to vast meres, popularity to muddy rivers and even urban watery grimes. It is the basic fish of coarse angling, the mainstay of the pastime one would say, and distributed in such vast numbers throughout the waterways that, dare I say it, it is the common fish.

Roach do not know the environmental limitations of such species as carp and barbel, and you cannot describe the type of water that suits them best. 

Your giant roach may come from an accepted big-roach water, be it a shallow stream or vast reservoir. It may just as well, although improbably, come from a tiny, neglected pond on the verge of farmland. Of one thing only may you be certain, that the method which works well on one water will need considerable adaptation before it succeeds on another.

The great thing is that there is no cut-and-dried roach fishing. You do not settle to wait, as you would for carp, fairly assured within certain limitation of the type of tackle and the probable outcome. You can take roach fishing at the level you want it, the relatively easy fishing of most waters that result in several small fish, or the discerning approach to a particular water with big fish in mind.

I fancied the latter, you see the bit of the Alne I’m fishing I’m sure holds some big fish from within its small waters. With plenty to explore and with the odd snippet of information I found of its inhabitants I’m sure they are worth trying for. Success is often based on the strength of your application and enthusiasm. There is always, of course, a fair measure of luck, but the big roach trail is not an easy one.

Success is a matter of personal interpretation, but in my book, it is a matter of talking whatever you have available and using it to its utmost potential. In an unpredictable pastime like angling, the most improbable waters can have tremendous potential and does no need a veteran anglers to exploit them.

So this session it was out with the bread, a roach favourite if there ever was one. If I hadn’t had turned 80 lobs worms to mush a few weeks ago, they would have been used instead, but bread is the next best thing. 

I had some deeper swims to explore you see, so the plan was to use my standard link ledger set-up with a piece of bread on the hook, and then a little liquidised bread as feed.

Roach were the target, but I was also looking forward to what else might turn up in these waters new. Maggot would have been the easy option, but the problem is, there seems to be a ridiculous amount of minnows here, which, ok, is nice to get a few bites, but they can become frustrating after a while. I managed some nice big fat dace from the small tiny brook I fish , and I’m sure there are some good’uns to be had here as well, and like the roach, they like bread as well, particularly the bigger fish, and it’s the bigger fish I’m after.

Sam was with me for this session and cus he moans a little about walking to far we drive to the bottom of the stretch. Now I'd not really explored much of this area but with the river so low and clear as it is it was a good time to do it. I'm sure some winter time when the stingers and such like are dead that is the time to fish it. Not only would the levels be up one would hope, but lots of the potential swims are not really accessible.

Sam had his float and a load of maggots and we fished maybe 4 swims. The first one was ridiculously deep close in but after half an hour without a bite on bread but loads of minnows on Sam's rod we moved to the next. It was clear the fishing would be tough but eventually after wading through the minnows he had his first chublet. To be honest we should have stuck to that swim but he had a couple of small trout and some gudgeon as well. There was some nice flow underneath a overhang and that's where the fish were hiding, but feeding some maggots they ventured out from their sanctuary.

The biggest of the morning !!!!
The bread rod apart from being attacked by the minnows only really received one proper bite which I subsequently missed. So a pretty naff session for me, a little better for Sam who caught a 'proper' minnow and insisted we weighed it. Not all lost though, one swim in-particular looked very roachy indeed so once we've had some rain (pretty please) I'll be back to see if my hunch can be put in to practice.

Back for lunchtime, and feet up with a class of Pimms to cool down, it was very humid indeed !!!


  1. I noticed you’ve had a few brownies out of the local tribs Mick . Obviously the water quality is very good .... well the water that hasn’t evaporated .. yet 😐

    1. Bit desperate I must admit, very low indeed, but yeah seem to be thriving from what I can see, I pick them up in most trips out now at the Alne and the little brook I'm fishing and they seem in very good nick indeed as are most of the fish to be fair.


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