winning roach tactics
Brilliant ways to bolster your match weights when carp bites tail off
CARP are no longer the reliable commercial fish of summer – but big roach, often ignored, can become a key part of your match strategy.
Boosting half-a-dozen carp with 20lb of quality roach can make a real difference at the scales, but it’s not just a case of setting up a top kit and swinging fish after fish to hand. Just like the carp, roach will move out into deeper water and scorn a poorly presented bait.
Catching these roach, along with bonus skimmers, hybrids and even tench, is something that has served me well, especially on the autumn festivals at White Acres. Hone your plan to perfection and you’ll be surprised just how much you catch.
To help you get sorted for these important winter match fish I’ve come to Plantation Lakes near Bristol. The Main Lake is a great summer match water for carp but one that definitely changes when the leaves are off the trees.
You’ll still catch carp here, but the lake is also stuffed with big roach and lots of skimmers that can be caught on the pole.
You can even catch them shallow, and this I think is an important point to get across. Even in cold weather, roach – especially big ones – will feed off bottom and fish that average 5oz-6oz are what you need to be catching to bump your weight up. Doing it with 2oz fish is much harder work.
One final point to make about fishing for roach is perhaps the most important of all – the fish will rarely feed all day on one line so you’ll need to rest the swim. That’s why I would have a longer line with pellets for carp and big skimmers or a feeder chuck on the go as well.
When roach bites show signs of slowing, put the rig down and go somewhere else in the swim but don’t stop feeding! After 20 minutes or so you can go back on the roach line and catch a good run of fish before they fade away again.
On an ideal day, though, I’d fully expect to get a bite and hopefully catch on every drop-in.
Quality roach can make or break a match.