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Darracott Reservoir, Torrington - August 2008

On 14th August we finally had an evening when it didn't rain, in what must be the wettest "summer" for years. I hadn't been fishing for about three weeks and was getting uptight, especially as Sandy had me doing a huge list of DIY jobs and this new website was progressing.

I decided to have a couple of hours at our local reservoir which is close to where we live. I keep a Kennet Perfection cane rod set up at home with a Young's centre pin so that I can walk up and fish at a moment's notice, and this was such a night.

The reservoir is only a couple of acres in size at the top of a hill and I had it all to myself. I fished the shallows, about three feet deep, with sweetcorn under a 2BB float just off my rod top adjacent to a bush that grew out into the water, and immediately I caught a little roach. You will realise after reading entries going forward that I fish with whatever is in the cupboard, and I tend to use larger hooks than most working on the philosophy that if it can't get a size 10 or a 12 in it's mouth, then I don't want to catch it. I also believe fish this small size are better left alone as they don't like being handled.

After half an hour I had one roach and a couple of rudd, all about the 4oz size, but had been loose feeding steadily with corn. I tried a switch toa small piece of Spam with no success, then tried a larger piece nearly 10mm in size and immediately had a bream of about one pound. I then hooked a carp, a fight which lasted several minutes on my four pound line. I was just bringing it to the net when the hook pulled out. The carp seem to average about 11lb this year and this one was a touch above that. I wasn't too troubled because carp are everywhere and have become a nuisance.

I thought that the commotion would spoil the sport, but it had the opposite effect with a stream of bream all around the two to three pound mark coming to the net. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly a one pound ten ounce roach. My best for years and I didn't know they grew so big locally. After that the bream got smaller before the small rudd of about six ounces appeared which signalled the time to pack up.

It was just what I needed, a nice evening enjoying the peace of the waterside and a good bag of fish. My equilibrium was restored.

As a footnote, we have all noticed the demise of roach inj varying degrees throughout the land and a friend of mine, Trevor Harrop has started the Roach Club of which I am a member. It is for people who appreciate the roach and he, together with his colleague and mentor Budgie Price are doing a sterling job in trying to restore the roach in the middle reaches of the Hampshire Avon to its former glory, ably assisted by his friend Budgie. They have developed a system of making spawning boards from old keep nets, which are shredded and fixed to a plank to resemble the weed that roach spawn within. They takes the eggs, hatch them in six feet square tanks, raise them for one year before transferring them into larger water courses before transferring them back into the Hampshire Avon as potentially mature breeding fish. If you can help in supporting this work financially, or by sending your old nets (don't send the ironmongery, it adds to the cost of postage and isn't needed) please contact Trevor on I know he would appreciate it.

Keith Armishaw
August, 2008

Photograph courtesy of Lee Armishaw.