ROACH NOW GIVING ME THE BEST RIVER SPORT OF MY LIFE
Where have these long-lived fish been hiding all this time?
WITH our rivers, big and small, producing an incredible amount of roach – including what could almost be considered a glut of two-pounders – you have to wonder where they have been hiding all this time.
Unlike dace, roach are a very slow-growing, quite long-lived species. A ‘two’ from anywhere is likely to be a minimum of 12-15 years old. A survey of Thames roach many years ago indicated that the average age of an 8ins fish was 10 years! When the Avon Roach Project stock their fouryear-old progeny into the Avon they are usually 4ins-5ins long, with the odd 7ins ‘shooter’.
I have mentioned before that, on the Thames, fishing with conventional roach gear is very unlikely to produce roach in excess of 12oz. On the other hand small (and not-so-small) boilies and pellets will often provide fish of over 1lb and much bigger.
The river is currently very clear, and a long spell of high-pressure and east winds has killed daytime sport, but once a drop of water is running through again I’ll be back down there, especially as bonus fish tend to be barbel rather than bream. It’s the best river fishing of my lifetime – I never thought I’d be saying that after the roach decline of the early 1990s!
River roach fishing has never been better. Here’s my mate Chris Gadsden with a fine fish from the Blackwater.