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School of roach
I'm not picky when it comes to fishing and any day I can catch 12-15 fish is a good day - even when the fish are humble roach.
This particular fishing trip was ignited by a photo. Or actually by a handful of photos. Shot by my fishing friend Lars who had been walking along a coast where we fish quite often. You can walk along the bank on a beautiful cliff where a dense forest grows all the way to the edge and trees sometimes fall victim to the wear of the waves and drop onto the beach and into the ocean forming hard-to-pass obstructions and actually quite picturesque scenes.
From the elevated position on the cliff you can overlook the water close to the beach, and thanks to the height you can see a lot. And this particular day, Lars saw fish. Lots of fish! Like hundreds or maybe even thousands. He took a couple of photos and posted on our internal web site, and from the look of the fish and based on our experience the location, we guessed they were ide (Leuciscus idus).
Now, ide are not the most exiting fish to catch, but the temptation in numbers and proximity was more than we could stand, and a small group of us set off to fish for them on a warm summers day.
We couldn't see any fish from the cliff, but as we walked a low pier in the small harbor close to the location, we saw the fish. A large, dark patch moving back and forth, easily within casting range. Judging from the size of the single fish we saw, they didn't look like ide, which are fairly large in the 1-2 kilo or up to 4 lbs. range. These seemed smaller.
Ide usually take small nymphs fished on the bottom, so that was what we started out using. The proof of the pudding is in the eating as it's said, so we had to catch one to see what they were, and before long we knew.
They were roach. Yes, the humble roach, known from almost all over Europe and present in almost any lake or stream. And in the ocean. Now, the ocean here is pretty brackish, and many fresh water species are known to be present, both pike, perch and ide are common, and the roach too it seems.
People who fish for roach know that they are not easy at all, and I usually say that some of the hardest dry fly fishing I have tried has been for small roach in still water. They are lightning fast, and you have to be the same to set the hook.
It was different here. You essentially just had to put the fly in front of the pod and wait. A few twitches and a fish would take. The game became catching the larger ones, but as is often the case, it was mostly the smaller fish that were the fastest and got to the fly first.
Never the less we had fun. I guess I caught about 15 fish or so before the excitement faded and the fish swam off. Still fun.
I remember that a few kids were watching. Some of them had unsuccessfully tried hand lining the fish with a large hook and some lead. We handed one of them a fly to try on the hand line. On the tip of the pier they could get the fly into the school, and immediately started catching fish.
I like fishing for other species than trout, and this day was a day with lots of fun and lots of roach.