Tuesday, 7 July 2015

In praise of roach

Regular readers of this blog will know that I and my angling companions have recently unearthed (more by luck than judgement) some prime roach fishing. While spending a morning fishing for carp, three of us landed four roach in excess of a pound, two to my friend Pete, and one each for me and Dave. It would have seemed rude and wrong not to return to fish specifically for redfins, and so further sorties have taken place, with interesting results.
Having caught our first roach on carp rods, baitrunners and method feeders, I was keen to catch one "properly" using maggots, sweetcorn, hemp, traditional floats and a centrepin reel, all of which turned out to be a bit of an error of judgement, resulting in me landing only small roach along with some pretty rudd.
My son also joined the fray, fishing with maggots as bait and using a pole, and he too only caught modest sized roach, although had a lot of fun doing so.
Greg also tried a conventional approach, fishing with a pole and using maggots, but he also only took small roach, the odd golden hued rudd and a plethora of greedy baby perch.
Pete, by contrast, ever the pragmatist opted to fish with a pair of quivertip rods, and with a method and banded pellets approach was able to land a pair of quality roach. It certainly appears that the roach on this water are more amenable to scaled down carp tactics than they are to more purist approaches.
My son and I are planning another return trip, and (on the basis that if "you can't beat them, join them") method feeders and quivertip rods will be in evidence! Targeting roach has formed a pleasant diversion from the carp fishing that we usually find ourselves subsumed in at this time of year, and feels like a return to a much more innocent era of angling; when I first started fishing, nearly 35 years ago, every angling book confidently proclaimed that roach were "the angler's favourite fish", a claim that would now surely no longer hold true. The ubiquitous carp would doubtless claim the modern crown, and I, for one, think that we're the poorer for that fact. However, I guess I shouldn't be too hasty to "bite the hand that feeds"- I'm pretty certain that these roach have grown big on boilies, but even if their tastes are modern, their silver-sided, red-finned beauty is timeless.

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