WHERE TO FISH
The weather and the clarity of the water will decide how well you catch off bottom. My aim is to start on the deck and then keep having a look shallow as the constant loosefeed begins to take effect. How shallow to go will depend on the response of the roach but in a 5ft-deep swim I’d expect to be fishing above half depth, perhaps even a foot deep.
In a match I think it is unlikely that a 5m line will produce all day so you’ll need to go longer, but not too far. Around 11m is ideal, as this puts you in the maximum depth of the lake and when you loosefeed with a catapult, the feed will still land in a tightish area. Fishing at 13m or 14.5m runs the risk of spreading the feed too much.
While I would want to start by catching on the bottom, all the time I would be keeping a sharp eye out for line bites, a swirl on the surface or catching the odd roach on the drop. These are all signs that the fish have come off bottom and mean that it’s time to change to a shallow rig.
I’m not saying you will catch well immediately. It normally takes at least an hour for the fish to move up – even then, they may not feed confidently for another hour or so. In this instance, I would keep on feeding but go back on the deck for another 15 minutes before trying shallow again.
On mild, cloudy days with low light levels I’d bet my house on catching shallow, but with high pressure and bright, clear weather you may need to hang on patiently until the closing stages of a match before the quality roach feed well enough to make a difference.