I can't believe it has been just over two weeks since the annual fundraising event for the Avon Roach Project which took place on the Somerley Estate on the Hampshire Avon. What amazes me is that it was 29 degrees centigrade that very day in early October and we had a frost here last night!
Some fifty anglers fished that day and not a great deal was caught which was due to all manner of valid excuses (the river being so very low, very warm bright conditions, lethargic fish, no fish, lethargic anglers blah de blah), but we all had a splendid day. Over £5,000 was raised between the ARP and the Barbel Society which will be monies well used by both groups for environmental projects. The work that is carried out by Budgie Price, Trevor Harrop, Pete Reading and Hugh Miles with a willing band of helpers is just astonishing. I salute you.
In a nutshell the ARP assists the reinstatement of a self sustaining population of Hampshire Avon roach, for which this most majestic of rivers was once famous. They collect spawn from from true Avon roach on home made spawning boards with a covering of old net to replicate Fontinalis weed - they then transport the spawn to holding tanks where they are nurtured, eggs hatched and raised to one year old fry before returning to the river at two years old. Of course there is more to it than this, but the dedication by this little band of knights in shining armour is something to behold when this most lovely of fish has so much to contend with just to survive the first two years of its life - Avon roach numbers have been decimated over the years, so a kind helpful hand may just give them a chance so future generations can enjoy their beauty.
Have a look at their website, support them if you can and watch the charming film that Hugh Miles has made for the project.
May the sun shine on the Avon Roach Project and roach everywhere this day and every day!