In most cases the light meter in the camera was recording a reading of well under a 1/30th of a second on F8 with a 1 OOASA film.

Whilst having a chat in the Barmy Arms with Jeff Merrall of the Francis Francis Punt Club of Twickenham, he was not at all surprised. He told me that it was a fairly well known fact that roach preferred dull conditions. However when I suggested it would be far more productive if the club fished in the evenings on a Sunday rather than the traditional mornings (no one had a bite that morning) I was met with shock and horror.

I was then informed that club records - reaching back nearly one hundred years - would be invalidated. Then, remembering that I had written the odd fishing article, Jeff commented that my next article should be entitled 'Roach Fishing - does black lingerie make a difference?' hence the title.

Let's start by looking at recent roach fishing trips down to the River Test. My husband Bill prefers trotting bread or maggots on his centrepin and does fairly well, whilst I use a different approach. Not wishing to end up with filthy nails, I leger with bread, again using a pin. As the light starts to fail, Bill is struggling to see his float and missing out on the best part of the day. I just feel for my bites, which progressively get more violent and prolific the later we fish on into dark. In this short period it is possible to put Bill's whole day's catch to shame!

I have used this approach many times to good effect, not only catching big roach but also grayling, dace and chub. This not only applies on the River Test but many other rivers as well. This particularly true for rivers such as the Kennet and Avon where it is worth staying on that extra hour into dark for barbel and chub.

The light factor not only affects river species but also still water species. When on holiday Bill and I are often out during the day, leaving only evening sessions free for wetting a line. It is surprising to see how regularly we catch more than anglers fishing the whole day using multiple rods. I normally use a nine foot stalking rod and a centrepin loaded with heavy line to float fish, using a paste bait very close in. The larger fish generally show as the light begins to fail (and before I lose sight of the float). As the photographs prove, light is certainly a factor worth considering.

Therefore my reply to Jeff is that it is not only roach that like low light or dark conditions but most other species, including the occasional pike. I can confirm that black lingerie definitely makes a difference to my catches. Perhaps Jeff needs to take a leaf out of my book to start winning!

(Unfortunately the Francis Francis has barred me so I can't prove my point!)