Dave with his roach...

How strange. After some of the best, gruelling months on the Wye I have known, with some extraordinary barbel for that river, I am back in Norfolk, simply awash with pleasure over fish that struggle to make a pound. So what is it about the pearl-scaled roach that has reduced grown-ups to quivering kids again for centuries? The easy answer is that perfection is not dependent on size, and that a miniature masterpiece is as fine as a larger one. 

And perhaps that’s all there is to it, but it’s a sort of sentiment that is rife in angling. Take the present worship for brown trout that are WILD. A stocked fish might be two, five, even ten times the size of a brook brownie, but is generally held in far lower regard. Are we as a generation looking for authenticity, perhaps? Are we looking to catch fish that we aspired to as children, and only now can access?

…and mine next to a Piscario ‘pin!

Is it about method? Is trotting a 2 BB stick float as an autumnal dusk comes in, so deeply satisfying in its delicacy? Is placing a smut of a dry fly on a knee-deep, crystal stream, the height of fly fishing skill ? 

Perhaps it is all about melding with the natural world rather than trying to dominate it? The small river roach, the tiny rivulet trout are caught by anglers becoming as one with the water, more heron than human. Perhaps, both these small species prove to us that, despite the endless planetary problems so widely trumpeted, nature can still triumph and make her miracles?

Or perhaps I have got it all wrong, and we just like a bend in our rod, whatever the culprit? Answers on a postcard please!!