Why not turn your attentions to roach this winter? These tips will help you catch more and bigger redfins.
THE humble roach continues to be the nation’s favourite and it’s easy to see why. Many anglers cut their teeth catching small roach from tiny pools through to sprawling pits, and the odd capture of a weightier specimen is an impressive sight.
A specimen breaking that magical 2 lb barrier is the ultimate goal for many roach fans, and the rapid growth in commercial carp pools have also resulted in plenty of big roach, which thrive well on all the highly nutritious feed thrown in for greedy carp.
Although fingerling roach are easy to catch, a big one is a different matter altogether, and they can be frustratingly tricky customers.
To succeed by design, especially in the dead of winter, you’ll need to radically fine-tune your gear to be in with a chance.
Fine float tackle
The most rewarding method is to float fish with a delicate insert waggler, shotted to a mere pimple on the surface to indicate the very subtle bites characteristic of large roach.
Winter roach hug the bottom, so either fish at dead depth or lay on an inch or two if surface drag or tow is a problem. A big roach will not tolerate a drifting bait.
For bait use a single red maggot on a size 20 fine wire hook, but be prepared to wade through stacks of juveniles. Casters are more selective and small soft or hard pellets are better still if nuisance fish are a pain.
Overcast, mild winter days are prime conditions for targeting big roach, but they don’t always play by the rules. Many roach fans have enjoyed memorable sessions in extreme conditions where the line freezes to the rod rings and cat ice is forming in the margins, so be prepared for that fish of a lifetime even when conditions seem dire – you never know what that tiny dip of the float might produce!