A night of driving rain and wet till late morning but little wind and temperatures of 8 degrees. As promised Pingers and Ratters came up for the day and in nicely coloured water we fancied our chances. We were NOT on my prebaited stretch which we deemed just too difficult for a friends’ day and chose a private beat close to an A road, a bridge, a factory and some shops. Where there is constant activity to keep avian predators away, you find roach almost everywhere and so it was this damp Friday. 

Pingers missed four bites on flake fished under an overdepth float in a marginal slack. This is a great method but can be tricky when bites are tentative and even when they are not! Meanwhile, a couple of hundred yards downriver Ratters picked up a 1.04 fish on exactly the same method and after just one bite. Hmm.

Around noon, the river went dead. Time to explore and bingo, in a deep, churning slack we found a heap of roach between 8 and 1.03, all crackers, all falling to four maggots on a 12. These we fished under an Avon float which chugged round the swim, finding fish as it went. At 3.30pm, I left them both, still happily plundering the shoal and went upriver to keep my mash baiting routine underway. Despite the mild air, despite the lack of wind, despite the failing light, the surface was dead. This quest is not going to be an easy one. What I would give for the gift of a week’s fishing as it was half a century ago. But I fear Santa isn’t listening..