River fishing delight for those braving the cold

My friend and I spent a day in January fishing the Halstead reservoir to try and catch some of the big roach that inhabit that water and usually feed in mid-winter on legered maggots, writes angling correspondent Roger Fleming.

It took a few hours to get a bite, then I landed three roach and lost a carp on treble maggot fished from a quiver tip and a closed feeder filled with mixed maggots and casters.

As I wanted to do some river pike fishing I headed for a swim with a large slack in front of it on a venue controlled by Colnes Angling Club.

I’d often had pike from that swim, so I set up with a smelt under a Gazette float and cast out about 20 feet.

The bait held out and within 10 minutes I had a run, landing a fish of about four pounds, after another 20 minutes, another pike of about 6lb.

Since then, my friend and I have been back to Assington and sitting in sunny swims all day we caught plenty of fish — perch, roach, skimmer bream and common carp from about 3lb to 9lb.

I’m pleased to say that the Stour is still producing sizeable chub; a friend of mine had an afternoon session on the river below Nayland and caught three chub from 3lb to 4lb in fairly quick succession.

It’s some years since I caught big chub and they took Stilton cheese, which another angler had given me.

Well, looking out of my window as I write this and seeing a slight flurry of snow, it can only get better!