Top water action
pursuing roach and rudd has been one of the highlights of my angling year so far. I can think of no finer a way of chasing them than with the fly, and with a bit of lateral thinking I have found that the tenkara approach can be modified into a really fun and effective method for taking roach and especially rudd off the top when the conditions are right.
I first tried this simple method for perch and wrote about it in an earlier post 'summer days and razor blades'. It's a duo rig with a buoyant foam beetle pattern as an indicator with a point fly at the business end. Instead of tying on the indicator fly it's merely threaded on the line and secure with two float stops. This allows the fly to be slid up or down the line then locked in place to adjust the depth the point fly fishes at. Casting line is from level 12lb mono 2 ft shorter than the rod with a 4.5lb 4 ft tippet.
This is a still water presentation and for perch I am happy to let the rig hang or drift for several minutes before recasting as I'm searching the water looking for takes.
But with roach and rudd feeding in the top of the water this is a more active tactic. Casts to sighted fish feeding on a rising midge pupa hatch are made almost constantly and the fly is left for maybe twenty seconds or less before being recast. I'm looking to take fish in the top few feet of water and don't waste time once the fly has sunk deeper. Constantly recasting to keep the fly on the drop, only in the top of the water column, seems to have an added bonus. I'm sure the pecking order of the rudd shoal means that the bigger fish dominate the uppermost part of the water column. Perhaps because as a surface feeding fish this gives the biggest in the pod first refusal of midge pupa at it's most vulnerable - when it struggles to emerge near the surface. It also gives the biggest fish first choice of any food items that fall onto the water from above.
Yesterday I took this tactic to an ancient monastic stock pond with a good head of roach and rudd. Casting room is very limited here but I was only fishing the margins and a catapult cast was all that was needed to flick the duo a dozen feet out. The catapult cast also has two other huge advantages - it's a very light stealthy delivery and there is no rod waving about to spook surface feeders. It's also very energy efficient - important because of the high number of casts I'm making. Casting and recasting with the catapult cast soon develops a fluid rythm punctuated by slashing takes and an elevated pulse as the line tightens and the foam beetle slides away.
Fly choice was for something that would sink slowly and I first tried my 'super shrimp' pattern. This sinks very slowly but in the coloured water the versions I had with me were too difficult to see. Although it took a few nice fish a change to a claret midge pupa pattern instantly got more attention and then the action really started to hot up! Takes were quite aggressive and all within the top couple of feet of water.