Specimen redfins galore – and here are two great rigs to catch them...
Our expert puts two deadly tactics to the test - which is best for big catches?
EXPERTS are predicting a red-hot autumn of river roach sport following a flurry of stunning catches across the country.
Silverfish have made an incredible comeback on running waterways, and venue insiders are now claiming that sport will soon be better than ever before.
Several successful breeding seasons, Environment Agency stockings and localised restoration projects have all played a role in the transformation, and a positive weather forecast suggests the shoals are all set to feed in force.
Lancashire rod Alan Barnes included a 2lb 8oz roach in his latest haul from the River Ribble, pole fishing hemp for a new personal best.
The former Angling Times journalist has banked five roach over 2lb in the last 18 months, and is convinced the action will now step up another gear. He said: “I am certain we will have great roach sport this autumn. Several factors are helping roach stocks flourish, and one of them is the huge boom in barbel fishing. All the pellets going into our rivers are helping make roach bigger. “I commonly hear of barbel anglers catching 2lb-plus roach after dark on 8mm and 12mm pellets. I think they have thrived on neglect and the shoals have regrouped while anglers have ignored them in favour of other species.”
Kent specimen angler Scott Cordingley has caught countless quality roach but hit a career highlight during his latest session with a personal-best 2lb 2oz fish from his local River Stour.
With limited time to wet a line, Scott made the short trip to the bank and legered breadflake in a deep hole – and soon got a lot more than he bargained for. He said: “The river is packed with roach but I’ve only had a few over 1lb to a best of 1lb 14oz. I never expected a fish this big.
“I’ve been trying for years
to land one over 2lb and it’s great to finally make that mark. This is proof that it is definitely time to head out if a pb roach is on your agenda.”
Not just specimen anglers, but matchmen too have cashed in on the latest roach action.
A two-day festival on The Norfolk Broads system saw 68 anglers share over 2,100lb of silvers between them, with 36lb of roach the top individual catch.
Organiser Tony Gibbons told Angling Times: “The system is absolutely teeming with roach, and the sport we experienced during the tournament was absolutely incredible.
“We had 26 weights over 20lb, of mainly roach, on day two. I can see the action getting even better in the coming weeks.” Similar levels of success have been achieved on both the Thames and Trent, with numerous 25lb-plus nets of roach being taken by both club and open match competitors.
River roach feed on or close to the bottom so a straight peacock waggler offers the buoyancy needed to drag some line overdepth and slow the bait down. Pick a float taking around 4AAA shot.
Casters, hemp and bread are all good baits but nothing beats red or bronze maggots at this time of year.
Scott Cordingley’s 2lb 2oz roach taken on legered breadflake from the Stour.
You can use a much lighter stick float than you would need for the waggler. A basic rule of thumb is to allow one No4 shot for every foot of water you’re faced with so, for a 7ft swim, pick a 7 x No4 float.
Although a bulk of shot can work on the stick float, a strung pattern, known as ‘shirt button style’, will present the bait more naturally in the current, allowing it to fall slowly and rise off the bottom.
Alan Barnes roach with his 2lb 8oz from the River Ribble.