It’ss time to rip up the roach rulebook

Us­ing 12lb line will catch you more roach. No, that isn’t a mis­print and you did read it cor­rectly. Rus­sell Ship­ton ex­plains all...

Improve Your Coarse Fishing (UK) - - Tactics - Words & Pho­tog­ra­phy Tony Grig­or­jevs

GRAB a spool of 12lb line from your lo­cal tackle shop and it’d be rea­son­able to as­sume that big carp were your tar­get. Af­ter all, such strong kit would only be needed to tame the most pow­er­ful mir­rors and com­mons swim­ming, right? But what if an an­gler told you that they were us­ing it to help them put to­gether big nets of roach that oth­ers could only dream of? First off, you’d be per­fectly en­ti­tled to think the per­son mak­ing that claim had lost the plot. But lis­ten to their the­ory and you’ll quickly re­alise that their seem­ingly bizarre tac­tic was ac­tu­ally noth­ing short of a mas­ter­stroke. Marukyu and Middy-backed an­gler Rus­sell Ship­ton was given more than his fair share of be­mused looks when he first started us­ing 12lb main­line for sil­ver­fish but he brushed off the scep­ti­cism and is now reap­ing the re­wards.

Per­fect pre­sen­ta­tion

“Com­mer­cials are full of roach but it can be re­ally tricky try­ing to pick out the big­gest fish,” ex­plained Rus­sell. “They are the wari­est in the shoal and if the rig and hook­bait doesn’t act nat­u­rally you can guar­an­tee it will be ig­nored.” One of the most com­mon prob­lems when fish­ing for qual­ity roach is slow­ing down the fall of the hook­bait so that it drops at a sim­i­lar rate to the loose­feed and this is where the thick main­line comes into play. “Main­line that has a 12lb break­ing strain has a big­ger sur­face area than line of 3lb break­ing strain and this in­stantly slows the rig’s des­cent. “I still use a re­ally light hook­length like you’d ex­pect when roach fish­ing and this is all that the fish see when they are feed­ing so the heavy main­line above doesn’t put them off.”

String­ing your shot evenly down the rig also helps make the hook­bait fall slowly. When a big roach en­ters the swim it is highly un­likely to sense there is any­thing un­to­ward and you can ex­pect the elas­tic will be pulled out of the pole tip in no time at all.

Lit­tle and of­ten

While your peg may be home to a lot of roach, it will take a busy feed­ing regime to get them com­pet­ing hard. If you are fish­ing for carp or F1s, trick­ling in a few bits of bait via a pole pot af­ter ev­ery fish is the best way to get into a bag­ging rhythm. But that won’t suf­fice for redfins. Lash­ing in mag­gots or cast­ers ev­ery 30 sec­onds is para­mount. Fail to stick to this rou­tine and your re­sults will suf­fer. “It is all about get­ting the fish to com­pete. If you are putting in a few cast­ers ev­ery now and then, you won’t stir much of a re­ac­tion. “It is a bit like a chain re­ac­tion – the small fish will hunt down the bait first and, if the big­ger fish see them dart­ing around tak­ing food, they’ll soon get in­volved and bully out the tid­dlers.” Cast­ers are usu­ally bet­ter as the small fish find it more dif­fi­cult to de­stroy them in an in­stant. Although you will feed over 100 times ev­ery hour, your bait bill doesn’t have to make you wince and three pints of cast­ers will be enough for a day ses­sion. “You only need to feed seven or eight cast­ers each time. It is not the quan­tity that mat­ters, it is keep­ing a con­stant trickle go­ing through the wa­ter col­umn that does the dam­age. “But when you are feed­ing so reg­u­larly it is im­por­tant to fish close to the bank so that you can do it by hand.”

Pole to hand

You will put plenty of roach in the net if you are fish­ing the pole in a con­ven­tional man­ner but you will bag even more if you fish to hand. This in­volves fish­ing a rig that is al­most the full length of the pole you are hold­ing so that you can hook fish, play them and bring them to hand or the net with­out hav­ing to un­ship sec­tions. “I use a top kit and a No.4 sec­tion and it is used like a whip. Once you get into a busy rhythm you can catch at dou­ble the speed that you would when fish­ing the pole con­ven­tion­ally. “The rig should be about six inches shorter than the length of pole you are fish­ing with. This will make sure ev­ery fish swings straight into

your hand when the elas­tic is stretched.” A fairly heavy float is re­quired to give you the nec­es­sary cast­ing weight and one of 0.5g-0.75g is usu­ally ideal in good con­di­tions. Sink­ing the line and keep­ing it tight is vi­tal or you will miss a lot of bites and the tac­tic will be­come in­ef­fec­tive. “You need to be in touch with the float at all times. If a bow forms in the line it will take a frac­tion of a sec­ond longer to pick up the float on the strike and that will make all the dif­fer­ence to re­sults.” Tar­get­ing the Match Lake at Sus­sex’s Sum­n­ers Ponds, it didn’t take long for Rus­sell to prove that what looks like a crude rig at first glance is ac­tu­ally a fan­tas­tic way of catch­ing big weights of roach. Small fish were the first to fall for the trap but, once the shoal set­tled, the big­ger redfins came out to play, with plenty of sam­ples to 1lb and the odd bonus cru­cian con­tribut­ing to a 40lb haul. To help prove his point, Rus­sell even had brief spells us­ing an al­most iden­ti­cal rig but with much lighter main­line. Although his catch rate didn’t re­duce, the stamp were much smaller. “Peo­ple think you are ab­so­lutely clue­less when you men­tion us­ing 12lb line for roach but it’s a tac­ti­cal move that will keep you one step ahead of the game,” con­cluded Rus­sell.

“Once you get into a busy rhythm you can catch at dou­ble the speed”

Us­ing a thicker main­line (lower) will help re­duce the speed at which the hook­bait falls Us­ing a strung out shot­ting pat­tern will slow the pace down even more to help fool big roach catch this!

Keep the point of the hook show­ing when you are miss­ing bites Bury the hook when big roach are hard to pick out of the shoal

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