One of my biggest dilemmas is not what to fish for but what do I leave out. I genuinely love all species and want to target them all. And if you look at the home page of my Angling Journal website that has images from the last 14 weeks on display you will see that there is plenty of variety. And rarely does a species occur two weeks on the bounce. Not that I’m bored of targeting one over another, far from it, just that I can’t wait to get on to the next one. And that’s how it was this week. It seemed like ages since I had fished for roach and I was getting withdrawal symptoms!
I decided to fish one of my roach venues ie a place where I have been before and one that features regularly when I get my redfin head on. With a short evening session planned I wanted to try out a rig I had been playing around with in the drawing board of my mind. It pretty much evolved around using a Greys top and tail rubber over the swivel to act as a buffer for the lead but also to create a slight boom effect.
However it didn’t work and even though I was fishing just 3 lengths out and flicking the bait, tangles were the order of the day. I experimented with the hook length but it just wasn’t happening. I kept the top and replaced the tail with an ESP mini boom and that did the trick. Almost immediately I began to get bites – and fish. You can see the rig in the photograph and the other components are mainline 4lb Maxima, hook length 4lb Sufix Invisiline and size 12 Drennan Super Specialist.
Bait was a single piece or sweetcorn soaked in CSL tutti fruiti and I catapulted groundbait out that consisted of 2 parts Sweet Fruit to 1 part wheat with a few healthy squirts of the CSL tutti frutti added to the lake water. In with the mix went grains of corn and several were catapulted out as well in addition. Keep the fish keen, don’t over feed but don’t drive them away either because there’s no bait going out.
I will certainly be looking at developing the rig further ie looking at line strength, length of hook length and even the brands of tackle used. But one thing is for sure the general basics worked as I caught a number of roach. The photograph shows the first one netted, with the biggest going to about 10oz. I was using a quiver tip rod and the 3/8oz lead was free running.
Back on the venue, this time it was for an overnighter. I fished two rods, one on the bottom and one with a pop-up bait. I used the Greys top and tail rig on the latter and as I cast out with the hookbait in a small PVA bag, it worked fine. I fished pretty much the same as the rig in the first photo except I created a fixed rig set-up for both using a Drennan grippa stop. I fished the baits on a hair rig with the hook pattern being a Drennan Boilie size 10.
As with my crucian carp fishing in my recent articles the pop-up was a corn shaped boilie with the bottom bait a tutti frutti pellet shaped one. Fishing for bigger roach I knew I would get plenty of plucks from smaller ones but only something decent would actually hook itself. And so, before dark proper, when the hanger shot up and the alarm sounded I knew I had connected with something other than the small fish that are in the venue in abundance.
It’s not a massive fish but I was really happy to catch it, particularly as I was embarking on my first roach overnighter on the venue. I didn’t arrive till quite late and so the fish came early on in the session. And I had to wait until almost the end of my visit for the second and final roach. As you can see from the photograph the sun was up, even though you couldn’t see it. It was a murky grey start to the day.
But the weather did not detract from the fish at all. There is something stunning about a big roach. And always remember the word ‘big’ is relative. These fish were all over 1lb but not beyond 2lb, although I didn’t actually weigh them. But for the venue they’re pretty decent and that’s what counts. And that’s why I was fired up and ready for a return visit. Both fell to the photograph-featured bait. It was fished a couple of lengths or so out and over a bed of Sweet Fruit groundbait from SBS and ground wheat at a ratio of 4:1 and a kilo of supermarket sweetcorn well mixed in.
If you have seen my video for September then you will know I did a review of the Greys Prodigy box. It certainly gets tops marks from me and I went through the reasons why in the video. My previous tackle box was a Fox and I certainly have no complaints with that, just that the Greys is better, that’s all. One of the pluses is that when the lid is open you can use it as a work station.
Whether it be hair rigging boilies, a convenient place to keep the small items like swivels or stops (I have lost so many because they drop on the ground and you can never find them) or just somewhere to put something that needs to be at hand, I find the box is always open when I’m on a session. And no, I don’t have any links with Greys, just happy to share what I consider to be a great product.
Back to the session, I had a couple of roach, one while it was still light and the other at dusk. Then another couple of short evening sessions saw more fish. Using a hair rig I find that the smaller roach are eliminated. They pluck at the bait and you get plenty of short bursts on the alarm but you don’t hook them. But when the bigger fish pick the bait up they get hooked.
I enjoy roach and certainly having a water where one or two decent fish are residence definitely attracts me. I wasn’t really going to get going on them till late autumn and winter but I’ve been drawn to them. And as I always say, fishing is about pleasure. If you want to do it, then go ahead and do so. That’s one of the reasons I fish solo, I want the flexibility of deciding where to go and what species to pursue as opposed to being moulded into the plans of an angling companion.
With my roach head still firmly on my shoulders I decided to have one final outing. I switched everything around and went for a cage feeder approach with asingle maggot on a size 18 hook. I had several perch but in the 3 hours I was there not a single roach. I even fished into dark for an hour but the tip remained motionless. As with all sessions I digested the information and tried to work out why. The great thing about angling though is that it isn’t ‘scientific’ in the sense that you can always reach methodical conclusions. We think and analyse but sometimes it’s ‘just fishing’!
I’ve already mentioned my YouTube channel and the link is at the foot of this article. I’m amazed at how many views I get and at about 20,000 a month I’m looking at breaking the million mark some time in the middle of 2013. I’ve gone through numerous approaches since I’ve been making angling videos such as short ones, lengthy ones, weekly ones, monthly ones etc. But the format I’m on at the moment is one decent length video out on a monthly basis.
If you like them then don’t forget to hit the ‘like’ button. Not that I’m motivated by ‘likes’ and I’m certainly not discouraged by ‘dislikes’ either! There’s also a ‘share’ button on the videos, so if you think they’re worth passing around then thanks if you do! (article published September 22 2012)