SECRETS FOR BIGGER PERCH!
Rigs, baits, lures and essential tips
THE biggest roach of the season – a giant weighing 3lb 11oz – has been caught this week.
After travelling to venues up and down the country in search of a new personal best, Daniel Woolcott finally struck gold at Highbridge Fishery in Norfolk on the first session of his latest winter campaign.
Last year Daniel landed a flurry of fish to 2lb 10oz from the same venue, prompting the Londoner to return for a second season targeting the big roach that inhabit the six-acre lake.
Setting up for his first trip of the winter, he fished a helicopter feeder rig a couple of rodlengths out in a shallow area of the venue, with sweetcorn on the hook.
His rodtip didn’t move for several hours, but just after midnight Daniel had an unexpected take.
He told Angling Times: “The biggest fish tend to kite off straight away and that is exactly what happened, so I knew I was into something special. As soon as it went into the net, I knew that I had finally beaten my previous roach personal best of 2lb 11oz.
“Strangely, I’d joked with the venue manager when I arrived that I would be calling him in the middle of the night to take pictures of a 3lb-plus roach, and so it proved!”
Daniel, who had earmarked a large chunk of his winter fishing time for targeting big roach, added: “To land one of this size on my first session of the campaign is almost beyond belief. I had intended to spend three nights at the venue, but I packed up soon afterwards to go and spend time with my family and have a beer.
“I don’t think I’ll be going back to Highbridge for a while, as it will be extremely tough to beat this fish. I am now going to switch my attentions to pike and perch.”
Daniel wasn’t the only man to set a new roach personal best this week in less than ideal conditions – Matthew Fernandez (left) raised the bar with a 2lb 8oz fish from the River Itchen. The Hampshire rod has been a venue regular for more than 15 years but had never banked a 2lb-plus redfin, despite many attempts.
He finally set the record straight when the fish fell for his double maggot hookbait presented underneath a 3BB stick float.
Matthew said: “I’d had fish over 1lb earlier in the session, but then I was left absolutely gutted after something much more substantial slipped the hook at the net.
“I thought my chances of a giant were gone, so to land this fish shortly afterwards really made my day.”
His successful rig was made up of 3lb mainline to a 1.5lb hooklength and a size 18 Drennan Super Specialist hook.
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By trapping the short hooklength between two beads on the mainline 6ins or so above the feeder, once cast out it will spin freely in flight, preventing tangles in the process.
Two of the best winter hookbaits for roach are corn and maggots. These can be hair-rigged or impaled on the hook.
Both cage and blockend feeders work well with this rig, helping to deliver loosefeed accurately.