Win­ning tac­tics for Thames roach

Part two of Carl Eland’s roach ses­sion sees a switch to run­ning line

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

LAST week Carl Eland be­gan his day on the Thames by fish­ing the pole. Now, a cou­ple of hours into the ses­sion, it’s time to switch to a wag­gler.

“It’s far quicker than ship­ping in and out 14m of pole and I can wind roach in from mid-river, at speed,” Carl ex­plained.

“Ideally, you want lit­tle or no wind or if it is blow­ing, a slight down­streamer is best.”


“With my pole line at around 13m I’d put my wag­gler line in around 3m fur­ther out to make sure I’m not draw­ing away roach on the pole line. I also fish the wag­gler slightly down­stream, which helps con­trol the rig and stops the an­gler up­stream of me pulling my fish into his peg.”


“Main­line is 2lb Max­ima to a hook­link of 0.10mm Sup­plex Flu­o­ro­car­bon and a size 18 Dren­nan Wide Gape Match hook set to fish just touch­ing bot­tom. The wag­gler is a Dren­nan Merge Pea­cock tak­ing 3AAA, two lock­ing shot and six No8 shot spread evenly in the bot­tom half of the rig.”


“I will keep loose­feed­ing hemp through­out a match, but I do like to give the wag­gler line a big open­ing hit of 10 pouches at the start. This cre­ates a bit of a bed on the bot­tom that won’t be dis­rupted by boat traf­fic. Af­ter this open­ing hit I’ll loose­feed around a dozen grains of hemp ev­ery minute or so.”


“I’ll have 10 min­utes on the wag­gler af­ter an hour of feed­ing to see if the fish are set­tled. If not, I’ll re­vert to the pole, keep feed­ing hemp and try again in 30 min­utes. It can take three hours be­fore the float line gets go­ing.”


Af­ter a change to the wag­gler Carl goes straight for goal with a real blast from the past – a tare!

“They catch the big­ger roach while by­pass­ing bleak and dace,” Carl ex­plained. “I cook my own at home and add iron tablets to turn them jet black. Un­for­tu­nately, I for­got to do that to the ones I have to­day but hope­fully it won’t mat­ter!”

Cast­ing slightly down­stream, the mo­ment of truth ar­rives and there’s an au­di­ble sigh of re­lief when the wag­gler buries on the first chuck. Carl misses the bite but is pleased. “I wasn’t ex­pect­ing that to go un­der but it shows some fish are there,” he says. The next three casts all re­sult in a missed bite

be­fore the next

sees a 3oz roach hooked and wound in.

Over the next half-hour, the pat­tern con­tin­ues with a lot of missed bites but sev­eral big­ger roach added to the net. Th­ese misses prompt Carl to go up to a size 16 Wide Gape Match hook. This par­tially helps, with more fish landed, but it is still hit and miss, which he thinks is down to there be­ing too many small roach in the peg, if you can have such a bad thing!

“I’ve got some­thing in the bag which might help this,” Carl says, and he pro­duces a sprig of plump glossy black elder­ber­ries.

“We’ve all heard of big roach be­ing caught on the berries but how many of us have ac­tu­ally ever caught on them? Watch and see,” Carl says as he im­pales one on the hook.

Out goes the wag­gler and un­der it goes, the strike be­ing met with solid re­sis­tance from a much big­ger roach. The same trick is re­peated sev­eral more times and within 20 min­utes of chang­ing over to the berries, Carl is get­ting a good roach each chuck.

“Elder­ber­ries aren’t re­ally a bait to use in a match. In gen­eral I’d stick to tares, but berries are well worth hav­ing in the bag,” he says. “To­day hasn’t quite been the big roach fest I was hop­ing for but there are hun­dreds and hun­dreds of roach in the river and if you can find a way to pick out the big­ger ones, that’s how the 30lb weights are taken.”

Elder­ber­ries (left), tares (right) and hemp as feed for roach. Elder­ber­ries pro­duced the bet­ter roach straight away.

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