ONE of the greatest hauls from a big roach hunters’ mecca has brought the question of DNA sampling back to the fore.

Jamie Cartwright followed a superb brace of 30 lb-plus pike, with a stunning six redfin haul for 18 lb 11 oz… topped by this 3 lb 13 oz cracker (pictured).

Targeting an Oxfordshire gravel pit near where the beautiful big brace of carp was landed (story right), Jamie landed fish of 2 lb 13 oz, 2 lb 13 oz 8 dr, 3 lb 8 dr, 3 lb 1 oz, 3 lb 2 oz and that absolute monster weighing 3 lb 13 oz! The  Staffordshire 30-year-old added two rudd to 2 lb 2 oz.

On inspection, roach expert Dr Mark Everard admitted he could not be 100 per cent certain the larger fish were indeed ‘true’ roach. Only a DNA test, using scientific analysis of a tissue sample, such as a scale, would tell for sure.

For the full story of the amazing catch and more pictures, read this week’s Angler’s Mail magazine.

Below, exclusively in full for this website, is Dr Mark Everard’s full roach identification verdict.

Dr Mark Everard’s verdict

Here are my counts:

3 lb 1 oz
Lateral line: 43/44 scales
Dorsal fin: III, 7-8 (fin not fully extended)
Anal fin: Squashed down
Dorsal/ventral alignment: roachy
Mouth orientation: roachy
Colour: a crap feature for identification and I never use it!
General vibe: looks more roachy than the others. Lateral line and fin orientation check out. Dorsal ray count a bit short, but perhaps some rays are not visible as the fin is not fully extended. Ideally, I’d like to see dorsal and anal fins fully extended.

3 lb 2 oz
Lateral line: 42/43 scales
Dorsal fin: Squashed down
Anal fin: Squashed down
Dorsal/ventral alignment: roachy
Mouth orientation: roachy (though some will say it points upwards but this is purely due to the depth of the belly keel. There is a clear overbite)
Colour: a crap feature for identification and I never use it!
General vibe: looks less roachy than the others. Lateral line and fin orientation check out. Shame I can not count dorsal and anal fins to verify

3 lb 13 oz
Lateral line: 42/43 lateral scales
Dorsal fin: Squashed down
Anal fin: Possibly 7 soft rays, but really too squashed up to count reliably
Dorsal/ventral alignment: roachy
Mouth orientation: roachy (though again some ‘experts’ will say it points upwards but this is purely due to the depth of the belly keel. There is a clear overbite)
Colour: a crap feature for identification and I never use it!
General vibe: looks less roachy than the others. Lateral line and fin orientation check out. Shame I can not count dorsal and anal fins to verify

Dr Redfin’s overview
All piggy fish! All probably roach. 3 lb 1 oz fish more ‘true’ roach features but not all features available for counting. Other two can not make a definitive ID due to photos obscuring key features. Balance of probability is roach.