Luckily Bob, Chris and I lived close to its’ banks and were members of the Longford Fishery below Salisbury, so we knew where and how to catch big roach, or so we thought, but after a week all we had to show for our efforts were too small.
As all roach anglers know, roach have a habit of rolling on the surface at dawn and dusk and in spite of a week of failure I was still on the bridge at Longford Castle before dawn, looking for signs on this hallowed stretch of water.
Just as the light increased slightly I thought I saw a slight furl in the main flow upstream and suspected a big roach so without waiting for a second invite, I grabbed a rod and cast into the spot with a large lump of breadflake. The line had hardly settled before it tapped, then pulled tight and several solid thumps told me we had at last found the big roach shoal. That fish weighed 2lb6ozs and on the next cast I landed one of a bit over 2lbs10ozs, then two more two’s.
I had slipped these fish back while starting to think about not calling Bob and Chris and carrying on compiling my greatest ever catch of big roach but duty prevailed, the lads were summoned and Bob went on to make a historic catch of ten two pounders, the best an ounce short of the even more magical three pounds.
It was a perfect overcast day and the roach simply wouldn’t stop biting, even when Chris and I punted out over the shoal to get shots of Bob casting towards us. Chris held the boat in position in the shallow swim by sticking an oar in the gravel and when I asked Bob to cast closer to the camera he couldn’t because he had hooked yet another big roach from right under the boat.