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A Day on the Royalty, and with the Avon Roach Project - 03/10/15

October has come around again, and this time Sandy and I were able to attend the Avon Roach Project fund raising weekend.


For the few of you who haven’t read about this project, it is run by Trevor Harrop and Budgie Price with the aim being to restore roach to the middle reaches of the Hampshire Avon, a once renowned roach river but they had become rare due to predation and poor habitat management. You can read much more about the project on line, but we try and support them as much as we are able as we believe it is such a fantastic cause. Without the habitat improvement and the repopulation of roach, the river would be in terminal decline, not only affecting anglers, but kingfishers, herons and the whole cycle of life on the river.


Anyway, the weekend follows a consistent format. We pay for the weekend, which includes fishing, and an evening meal at the Tyrell’s Ford Hotel followed by an auction to raise the funds the project needs.


This year the project had been granted access to the Royalty and a couple of other stretches of the Avon for those attending. I had read about the Royalty many times but had never seen it, let alone fished it so that was my venues of choice.


I turned up to be greeted by other “Roach Clubbers”. I was the exception wanting to trot rather than fish for barbel. I met one of the famous local characters, Fred Whitlock who suggested I fished above the railway bridge. After a stroll up there, it became clear that most of the swims were taken. I also met the bailiff who suggested I simply trot on the far side of the bridge near the museum.



He then opened up the museum established by Tony Timms so that I could have a look around. What a great room stuffed full of memorabilia relating to the river, its fish, and river keepers down the years. This is a labour of love and well worth a visit, but sadly, it has had to be locked of late as some idiot has taken a couple of reels.








The photographs above show the walls around the museum and the final one is Fred Whitlock and Tony Timms with the Museum in the background.  If you have any information about the river please contact them as they would love to gather as much material as possible. They are currently trying to find any information regarding the 48lb salmon reputedly caught on the Dorset Stour – possibly in the 1940’s – but this is proving very difficult at present and one starts to question the authenticity so your help would be greatly appreciated.


After having indulged myself looking at all the “historical treasures” (as against financial ones) I went back to fish with a 5BB stick float, a size 12 hook with 2 maggots on a 2lb leader. I was quickly into dace, bleak and minnow with the odd roach – these may well have been from the Avon Roach Project stocking, and how wonderful to see the silver and bright red fins – fabulous.