Friday 20 October 2017

GREAT ROACHING - The Wimborne and District Angling Club

there is superb roach fishing in the clubs River Stour fisheries
I’m lucky that The Wimborne and District Angling Club is my local club and has been since we moved here to live some thirty six years ago. The club has many wonderful waters and over the years they have provided me with some memorable days, especially on the River Stour which runs through the town.

Chris Yates enjoying the perch fishing - some of them are BIG
I fish here quite often with my pal Chris Yates and you might be aware that Chris and I are giving a talk to club members, mainly about our BBC series ‘A Passion for Angling’ but about anything you wish to ask Chris, so please come armed with plenty of questions for the great man. 

Chris + 24lb common carp from Redmire

As Bob says in Passion, “He’s a legend in his lunchtime but unfortunately he’s beginning to believe it”! It’ll be an informal question and answer evening but with clips of some of our favourite bits of the series.

the Passion Crew - Bob James, Chris Yates and yours truly with giant Hampshire Avon roach
The talk is at 7.30pm on November 23rd at the Royal British Legion in Corfe Mullen – BH21 3HQ. It’s free but you have to be a member of the club, so if you want to hear from ‘the record carp catching legend’ you’ll have to join. You might not want to join the club just for Chris’s talk but there are dozens of ‘better’ reasons, an impressive folio of waters to choose from …

the 'Roach Bay' on the Stour at Wimborne
I love river fishing more than any other, especially trotting for roach and back in the days before cormorants, I would think nothing of popping down to the River Stour at dawn for a couple of hours fishing before work and catching double figures of splendid redfins.

superb roach of over two pounds were often caught and they're coming back
When conditions were spot on, fining down after a flood with colour just right I would catch lots of roach of over a pound in a session, with several two’s thrown in for good measure. My best day produced over forty pounds of roach with several two’s included and I prey for the day when these days will return … and they might, because there are lots of small roach up to ten ounces or so now, with the occasional pound pluser.

a lovely young roach filling the landing net
Just last winter I caught a beautiful young roach of 1lb10oz and the next day caught a thin old warrior of 1lb14ozs which would have easily been a two pounder when young and fit. It’s great trotting water with bread flake or punch, especially when an upstream wind makes float control a dream.

Mr.Yates was on hand to see me bagging little roach every cast
Even better, a vibrant new team are running the club and we now have permission and a license to scare and shoot cormorants, so some of the small roach will have more of a chance to grow to be big roach. The fishing is already really enjoyable and getting better every year.

good sport on a winters afternoon
you can't beat trotting a float down this idyllic waterway
More about our vibrant committee will follow but I can’t leave the river without mentioning the splendid perch. I’ve had many memorable days, often with Chris Yates when we have caught some big ‘uns, including a day when the big perch were biting and resulted in a brace of three pounders.

a cracking brace of three pounders - my best on the stretch weighed 3lb10ozs - so far!
perch lurking in the bank-side tree roots
On a freezing cold February day many years ago when I expected to blank, the perch were going mad and so I landed eleven two pounders and several smaller ones on the deadly lobworm. Memorable too was the day when I landed my biggest roach on the stretch of 2lb9oz and thought a brace shot would be good so cast out a lob and caught a 2lb5oz perch. Chris took the happy snap for me but a publisher lost the neg. so this image is lifted from the magazine and very poor.

2lb5oz perch and 2lb9oz roach snapped by Chris

you can't beat a cup of smokey tea

But what a memorable day, shared with my pal Chris who also caught big perch. We enjoyed plenty of Kelly Kettle tea too and still do, for the perch are still there, even if their size fluctuates year on year depending on the hunger of the local otters and some of our visitors from abroad. 

otters are sometimes seen at dusk © Jane Adams
the local kingfishers are very confiding

I’ve been roaching there and had otters rise up under my feet and with barn owls and little egrets hunting the far bank, along with kingfishers standing on your rod, it’s a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise.

barn owl hunt the river-side meadows © Stewart Canham
dynamic Hon. Sec. Stuart Hitchman gathers the troops

I haven’t tried many of the clubs’ waters as there’s never enough time to go fishing but there’s numerous lakes providing good carp fishing and thanks to our vibrant new committee, lots of improvements to many of them, with stockings aplenty to provide superb fishing. 

students from Sparsholt College replacing old platforms at the Creekmoor carp lakes
hundreds of tons of stone ensured all swims are disabled friendly

the lads worked hard
students, club volunteers and supervisors happy after a productive days work
Our new secretary Stu has been dynamic, raising tens of thousands of pounds from the EA and Angling Trusts’ development funds to enable new swims to be built and provide easy access for all, including some impressive platforms for the disabled.
ensuring access for all at the clubs lakes at Edmondsham

Crucian guru Peter Rolfe advising committee members before starting work on the new fishery at Edmondsham
One of the most exciting projects has been the dredging of the upper lake at Edmondsham to provide a new crucian and tench water … and it’s filling up as I write, ready for stocking in the next few weeks.  It will make a wonderfully peaceful place to fish in traditional ways and a rare and very valuable asset for the club.

President Brian Heap waits for his dumper truck to be loaded with silt
all hands getting deep and dirty and they are all club members working the machinery!
creating the perfect crucian habitat
... and AFTER - what a lovely tench and crucian water it will be - worth joining for this alone
All the work has been done by the stalwart volunteering members who make WDAC the great club that it is and it’s to their credit that the lake is going to be so good. As you’ll see when you go to fish there, we all have a lot to thank them for … and there’s no excuse for not joining them at work parties in the future. Please do what you can, when you can. Your club needs you! 

making six fifty minute films kept me away from the river

And please come along to hear what Chris has to say. If he bangs on too long I’ll cut him off with a new clip of film.
the first TV showing in 1993 - a long time ago but still as enjoyable as ever, so I'm told!