Bag-up with Autumn Roach

Having never fished Watmore Farm Fishery just outside Yateley in Hampshire before I did a bit of homework and tapped up my team mate Colin Sheppard, who fishes the venue regularly for some information. Colin talked about the quality silver fish it contained as well as the numbers of carp that he had been catching on the Xenos Feeder Slow Sinker, a method I’m yet to try, but must. He also mentioned that the venue was deep, well over 20ft in places and that it was a great winter pole venue for the silvers and being a bit of a sucker for float fishing it seemed the perfect place to fish the whip to hand, a tactic I love doing but rarely find the right venue to enjoy it. 

Slightly stronger rigs

A quick plumb up in my swim found around 10ft of water at 5m, so with plenty of depth in close and with no need to head further out my Black Magic 5m Tele Pole was perfect as it would leave enough line between the flick tip and float as well as enough line overall to effectively swing fish to hand or land if needed. It’s also extremely light, just 150g and has a rapid tip action making it the perfect tool to hold all day and hits those lighting fast bites if needed. When fishing to hand its best to fish slightly stronger rigs than when using a more conventional pole, just because swinging fish to hand constantly does take its toll and has no elastic to cushion the fight if a bigger fish is hooked. My rig consists of Cenex 0.14mm Hybrid Power Mono and a Cenex 0.12mm Hybrid hook length with a barbless size 16 Sphere CPF LS hook attached. My float choice is an alloy stem 1g rugby ball shaped Tamgi attached using three rubbers and although I started using a bulk and two droppers soon realised that stringing No9 shot out in a shirt button fashion with them getting slightly further apart as they neared the hook was far better. 

Sitting comfortably

Just a little tip when whip fishing is not to have a line that’s the same length as the pole. Ideally when swinging the rig out or bringing fish to hand you don’t want to have to alter the position of your hand so the rig should be couple of feet shorter than the length of the pole.

roach to hand 2
roach to hand 3

High percentage of bites

Bait for today consists of maggot, casters, worms and my favourite groundbait, Champion’s Choice Black Magic which I’ve mixed up on arrival with a whisk and then riddled a number of times to create a light, fine, fluffy mix. Not quite knowing what to expect I spent the first hour perfecting my rig and bait application and after missing loads of bites striking as soon as the float moved found that waiting for the line to follow after the float disappeared was best, resulting in a high percentage of bites producing fish, mostly roach, odd rudd and occasional better perch. I also found that the fish responded to plenty of bait as opposed to the ‘little and often’ feeding over the top of three balls of groundbait introduced via a feed cup at the start. What the roach wanted was a handful of maggots being fed by hand, followed by my rig that was swung over the top and then a small ball of groundbait again fed by hand. I must admit that it all seemed a bit clumsy but it was working, the mild weather probably contributing to this, however I’m sure when it gets really frosty and cold accurate baiting from a pot will come into play. 

Odd 2lb roach

Most of my catch consisted of roach in the 2oz – 5oz range, perfect for speed fishing on the whip. A couple of better roach around 12oz also showed plus a much bigger one lost and Colin Sheppard tells me that the odd 2lb roach is caught, ouch, oh and a bonus perch. I only fished for a few hours and thoroughly enjoyed the session and although I stuck on the maggot knew that in future a caster or worm approach would defiantly be worth a go for those bigger roach and perch. 

Justin’s Tackle 

5m Black Magic Tele Pole

Cenex 0.14mm and 0.12mm Hybrid Power Mono

Sphere size 16 CPS LS Barbless hook 

1g Tamgi Pole Float 

Justin’s Bait

Red Maggots

Champion’s Choice Black Magic Groundbait



roach to hand 4
roach to hand 5
roach to hand 6

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