I’M NOT SURPRISED TO HEAR OF THOSE BIG THAMES ROACH
...or the tactic Martin used to catch them, for that matter I
AM not in the least bit surprised to hear about Martin Bowler’s experience with Thames roach (see pages 40-43).
The river around Oxford has always held quality roach – the Binsey length, more commonly known as Medley and probably my all-time favourite bit of river, has seen three-pounders in the dim and distant past and Donnington used to produce plenty of big fish on bread... in fact they were impossible to catch on anything else!
Now things have changed and, as Martin and Ryan Heyden found out, the tactic to catch the bigger roach is, like so much of our fishing these days, more akin to scaled-down carp gear.
Although the pellet feeder as used by Martin and Ryan works, bream can be a nuisance, especially in early and late sessions. My mate John Gard found that out on a recent evening sortie when he had two, both over 8lb. He had a sea trout on the same gear!
What seems to work better, producing far fewer bites but a higher percentage of redfins, is a straightforward running leger with a long hooklength and a hair-rigged 8mm pellet or boilie, while loosefeeding pellets.
Don’t think this works just on the Thames. I reckon the upper and middle Trent, the Severn and even the Fen rivers would produce the goods. Use a medium quivertip rod, tackle that will handle barbel or even carp, and fish open swims on the ‘crease’, where the main flow starts away from the bank. You never know...