A HUGE roach has been reported from the Lower Thames by an angler night fishing for barbel.

Charlie Shirley, from Sunbury–upon-Thames, Middlesex, was fishing a local free stretch when he hooked into the roach claimed at 3 lb 5 oz.

The 20-year-old waiter explained: “Barbel were my target fish and I had a double boilie on the hook.

“I had caught an eight-pounder then the big roach struck. I just couldn’t believe the size of the fish.

“It looked a monster in the net, and I couldn’t believe the weight for a roach but my scales are accurate. It was the fish of a lifetime.”

Dynamite Halibut and Sea Salt double boilie was the successful bait, fished on a hair rig with a size 10 Nash Fang Twister and a PVA bag of chopped boilies. A standard lead-clip bolt rig with a 10 in. hook length completed the end gear.

Roach are getting bigger

Angler’s Mail Where To Fish columnist and Thames expert Bill Rushmer was impressed when he saw video footage of the fish being returned.

Bill said: “It does look like a true roach. I have only known roach up to 2 lb 8 oz coming from that area and they are extremely rare.”

It’s believed that ever-growing Thames redfins are feeding up on all the boilies and pellets going into the river these days.

Fish ID expert Dr Mark Everard commented: “This fish looks pretty roachy to me but I cannot be definitive on the basis of the focus and resolution of the photos and the hand hampering the view. It’s a fish I’d like to catch, examine properly and weigh on reliable scales.”

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