The Avon Roach Project 2009
The roach has played a huge role in the history of the Hampshire Avon. The chance of a 2lb or indeed a 3lb specimen has drawn anglers from far and wide to cast a line in an attempt to emulate their boyhood heroes. Famous names such as F.W.K. Wallis, L.A. Parker, Dick Walker, Bernard Venables and Peter Stone had all, at some point in their lives, watched a float glide between the ranunculus beds, and through the likely looking lair of an Avon Redfin.
We, as a species, find it difficult to cross over or indeed pass by a watercourse without feeling the urge to stare into the depths; the hunter gatherer instinct within us all too strong to allow it. For the roach fisher that urge is tenfold. He is beset by a desire not just to see and watch, but to hold and feel.To join them in their watery world and ultimately to have them join him in his, where at vivid close hand he can admire their brilliance of colour and perfection of form.
But, what happens when what we expect to see is no longer there? What happens when those familiar shapes are no longer apparent and ones float has completed its journey down stream and back again for the umpteenth time to no avail? What do we do when the sense of despair at their absence fades and the decay of acceptance creeps in?
The sad fact is that the indifferent attitude, with which angling is blighted, causes most of us to seek pastures anew. To turn our backs on those much loved rivers, swims and fishes and go elsewhere in pursuit of what those former haunts lacked.The problem is that sooner or later, that somewhere else will no longer exist and we shall all be consigned to the landfill sites we call carp puddles.
So when the 2005 Environment Agency fish stock survey of the Hampshire Avon showed a paucity of roach in her middle reaches, it planted a seed of determination in the fertile minds of two anglers. Like many of their brethren they too hankered over the rivers nostalgic past. However, unlike the others, they were unwilling to accept defeat quite so easily and The Avon Roach Project came to be.
Please read our story so far at www.avonroachproject.co.uk