THE season’s best roach has come out to a dedicated specimen hunter following a tough two-year campaign.

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The giant 3 lb 11 oz roach came from noted carp syndicate Highbridge Fisheries in Bridgham, Norfolk, where a 4 lb 1 oz specimen was matted two years ago.

Captor Dan Woolcott, from Biggin Hill, Kent, smashed his old roach PB of 2 lb 11 oz from Scotland’s Lochnaw Fishery.

Dan explained: “It is an unusual water being a large clay bedded hollow of 6.5 acres up to 35 feet deep used by the farm for irrigation purposes, so the water level fluctuates enormously.

“It seems completely featureless but I have been fortunate to be present when the level was low enough to see the bottom and I was able to photograph it and map the few features.

“There is one small shoal of only about eight to ten large roach which are estimated at 20-25 years old and I’ve been after one of these beauties for several years now, mainly fishing in the autumn.

“On this session I fished to a couple of one foot ledges where I baited up with a mix of hemp, dead maggots and sweetcorn topped with a touch of Scopex flavouring.

“Over this I fished a single grain of sweetcorn directly on a size 12 wide gape hook and a helicopter style rig with 5 lb fluorocarbon hooklink and 6 lb main line.

“I came planning to fish for the weekend, but had the roach after about seven hours so decided that, as I had finally achieved my objective of a PB 3 lb plus fish, I would pack up and go home to Kent to celebrate with a few beers.

“My next target is a 4 lb perch from the more local River Mole,” added the 30-year-old surveyor.

Positive ID from roach expert

Fish ID expert Dr Mark Everard has confirmed that it is almost certainly a roach.

Mark explained: “As a scientist I cannot definitively confirm without being able to examine the dorsal and anal fin spines and rays.

“However the 42 lateral line scales (albeit two missing), orientation of dorsal and ventral fins up the scale column and overbite, all check out for those parts. It looks pretty roachy to me – a lovely fish,” he concluded.

This is just a short version of the full story that appeared in Angler’s Mail printed magazine. Get the magazine every week for top tips, big news, best products, and venues that are in form.

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