Where have these long-lived fish been hid­ing all this time?

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

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.

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