ROACH BAT­TLE!

Spec­i­men redfins ga­lore – and here are two great rigs to catch them...

Angling Times (UK) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

FLOW

STRAIGHT WAG­GLER

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.

MAGIC MAG­GOTS

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.

STICK FLOAT

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.

SHOT­TING PAT­TERN

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.

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