Bob Roberts re­veals the ul­ti­mate big roach feeder rig – tie it now!

Bob Roberts reck­ons it could be...

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

“When a sil­ver flank rolled on the sur­face I knew this was the fish I’d come for”

WHEN carp an­glers re­port catch­ing 3lb roach by ac­ci­dent from a well-known day-ticket com­plex, you first of all ques­tion how ac­cu­rately they are weigh­ing these ‘nui­sance’ fish that have spoiled their care­fully set traps.

Even so, there comes a point where the scep­tic within starts to ask ques­tions. And when my friend Brian Skoyles re­turned from a carp­ing trip to Lin­ear Fish­eries in Ox­ford­shire and said: “Bob, I think we should have a go for the roach,” I didn’t need ask­ing twice.

When we rolled up on Brasenose 2, top spe­cial­ists Phil Smith and Mick Din­ni­gan were al­ready roach fish­ing, while an­other – Tony Miles – had fished up to the right ear­lier in the week.

We pitched up at mid­day, just as our il­lus­tri­ous neigh­bours were pack­ing away af­ter two-night ses­sions. In­for­ma­tion was shared freely, but that only served to com­pli­cate mat­ters be­cause they had fished at dif­fer­ent ranges with dif­fer­ent bait­ing ap­proaches. But they had each caught a 2lb roach. Could we em­u­late them?

Brian and I started by cast­ing a lead around. We wanted to find rel­a­tively weed-free ar­eas at ranges that could still be reached if the wind strength­ened. Ac­cu­racy mat­ters. We didn’t want bars, ei­ther. Big roach are a graz­ing fish. They will move around quite a bit, hav­ing a nib­ble here, a nib­ble there. No point in pil­ing in moun­tains of bait hop­ing to hold them. Even a 3lb roach has a rel­a­tively tiny stom­ach and if num­bers are low the chances of your bait be­ing picked up are slim.

A bit of smooth gravel would be ideal, not too stony be­cause we were fish­ing mag­gots, and it’s im­por­tant they re­main in view of the fish to work their magic pulling power.

We would be us­ing stan­dard he­li­copter rigs with block­end feed­ers and sen­si­tive and re­li­able Delkim in­di­ca­tors.


While I spent the af­ter­noon be­ing mullered by small roach and perch within sec­onds of cast­ing out, Brian merely had half-an-hour’s worth of trou­ble and then couldn’t buy a bite. This al­lowed him to slowly build the swim, and it came as no sur­prise when his bob­bin jumped and fell straight back on to the floor as a good fish bolted off with his feeder in tow.

I knew from the sec­ond I saw it on the sur­face it was a 2lb roach.

And it was – a mint-con­di­tioned spec­i­men weigh­ing 2lb 6oz.

Brian then had an­other crack­ing roach of iden­ti­cal weight and a pound-plus perch, while I was driven out of my mind by tid­dlers in the very next swim.

The next morn­ing I was up early, fish­ing hard and pleased that the

‘bits’ hadn’t wo­ken up yet. Out of the blue my bob­bin jagged and dropped to the floor, and be­fore I could pick up the rod the bob­bin had hit the butt again.

The rod-tip jagged sav­agely as what was clearly a big roach shook its head vi­o­lently, as they al­ways do. When a big sil­ver flank rolled on the sur­face I knew this was the fish I’d come for.

Hav­ing made sure it was se­cure in the net I then ran round in cir­cles, jump­ing up and down punch­ing the air.

That’s what a 2lb roach means, even to an old git like me who’s caught a fair few in the past...

Brasenose 2 is best known for its huge carp.

Brian Skoyles and his 2lb 6oz roach.

Job done – my two-pounder made me happy!

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