JB & Phil with roach

I really have tried to find fish of this ilk during this fiendishly wet winter but my efforts have been so ill rewarded. This time last year I was catching roach of between 1.04 and 1.12 even with some ease. I had high hopes for this back end but they have been largely dashed.

I might just have found a 100 yard stretch of river-not the Wensum- where my heart’s desire might just still be roaming. I don’t know but early signs are good. I had a fish of 1.06 last night and feel sure I rolled one bigger. The stretch is well known to me from the 80s when many big fish came the way of me and my mates of that period.

I’ll tell you this. It is magic to be back in the groove, one again longing for the evening and another crack at redfin destiny. I love the swim. I love my memories. I am agog with anticipation that the roaching clock might just be rolled back 30 years. I count myself so bloody fortunate to have been a Norfolk river angler most of my life, at a time when these rivers were making roach history.

I’m also amazed that roach, from rivers, are once again the talk of the angling fraternity. So many anglers I talk to rate a river two the great angling achievement of the day. To be honest, I began this particular quest with fixed spool reel and tip rod but as ever, bites were tough to hit. Last night, laying on with 14 foot rod, pin and an Ian Lewis balsa Avon did the business without sweat or swearing!

So, as I write, I am still 10 ounces off the mark, a chasm I am aware. But I am on it now. The bit is between my teeth. Time will tell.