Atcham, below the Tern.

Written By
Adam Bowen.

I have fished the Atcham stretch many times for Barbel, and every time, I say to myself "Should have brought the stick float gear". I always look at the peg I'm on and imagine a stick float gently cascading down the inside of the crease and vanishing just at as it reaches the edge of a tree or where the bait is skipping along the bottom, so on this occasion I took nothing but.

Anyway, enough of the romance of my angling imagination, waking before my alarm at a gentle 04:30, much to my wife's dismay, I made my way down to the to the river with a few pegs in mind. I pulled into the decent sized secure car park that Lymm have on this stretch, with dew on the grass and that smell of a fresh summers morning filling my lungs, I was raring to go. I slung my rucksack on, one rod and a landing net handle my nets and off I went, feeling extremely liberated as normally I carry enough gear to fill half a tackle shop.

I headed to a swim I've never fished, but my angling colleges have been on a number of time, and every time I've seen it I've really fancied it for a day session. The peg is the last downstream on the bottom meadow, this pegs has two more pegs down steam from it in the woods, which don't really lend themselves to fishing the stick float. The peg I chose has  a glide of water, which shallows up and increases in speed across the river, with over hanging trees on the left and a large rock under the water mid river, creating an nice channel to run the stick float through, cutting across the edge of the trees on the left.

I set up my peg, with the water pulling through I started with a 8x4 float as the depth was only about 4ft, so I wanted that heavier float for better control and guiding it through the swim. I placed the shot in bulk of two, to a small swivel and a small dropper to a size 18 hook. The water was clear so I started putting the hemp in and running a single maggot through the swim. I started getting instant bites, but I was being bleaked out, I popped double maggot for not a nibble, despite how I ran it through. So a decision needed to be made, do I bleak it for the day, or do I attempt to feed them off. I started to ramp up my feeding, continued on the single maggot and started to get some Dace, but the bleak were still there like locust.

The white maggots I was using, were a few days old from the tackle shop and a few had started to turn. So on a caster went, trotted through, float buried, and a Roach graced the top of the water. So, cracked it, or so I thought, singled out the caster, and had a few more Dace, a cracking Perch at about 1lb and the odd bleak. With these bonus fish turning up, so did the pike and I started to get smashed up. With only a pinch of caster left, my hemp stocks gone and just maggot left, I called it a day.

I fished from 07:00 until 13:30, ended up with about 4lb of mixed silver fish, feeling more rewarded and challenged than I have in a while. I learnt that instead of two pints of maggot and two pints of hemp, for these conditions this time of year, I should have brought caster and hemp, and I lingered to long in that swim once the pike moved in. Thanks again to Lymm Anglers, and it was great to see the National Trust working on the river bank and surrounding country side, they checked my Lymm card and rod licence, working in conjunction with the club and the EA.