Big Roach.

dicky123

Well-known member
Catching big fish demands several things to happen. (I'm reading a few snippets from Marks Roach book and his amazing tally of 2lb plus fish.)

First you have to have availably to waters that still produce fish in the size and numbers you require. Most rivers have declined, or suffered pollution like my local river Witham did recently.

Second, nowadays you also have to have tim, health and travel costs, as many of the current waters with such fish in numbers are all South around the Avon and Wye rivers.

I'd like to ask Mark when he last had a 2lb+ roach from any river. I took my last one over 2lb, 30 years ago from the River Bure. The Bure fish were fast becoming more scares than the Wensum Roach and Dace.

I've had many such big fish, but they were simply about in those days. You could match fish in the Norwich Town River and take several 2lb+ fish in a bag, maybe 5/6 if you were good. I've old pictures of me with such bags, taken on feeder, after dark on bread flake. During those years you could turn up, bait, fish and have a realistic chance of a two pounder.

Unlike Mark, I've never had a 3lb er. But two fish of 2lb15oz+ my fishing mate would not allow me to push anything weight wise. I lived in Norfolk and could be on the river in ten minutes, transport was cheap, and old mini estate doing 50 mpg, a mate doing repairs and a trip to the garage once a year. The river Yare turned up a few two's for me, but not many. There were loads of better roach 1lb+ and the fishing was brilliant for roach. But maybe being tidal had some restriction on upper size?

In the day, Norfolk had several rivers all during a decade that produced big roach, the Wensum, Bure, Yare, River Tudd and several smaller ones. Now for me it's the Trent, but unlike the other rivers spoken of, the Trent has some real problems in finding these big fish.

Hope!! One evening in high summer 5/6 years ago I was barbel fishing and a big hatch of buzzers appeared, just like we use to get at Rutland. Big beast over an inch long, for about two hours the river came alive with big roach. 1lb plus fish taking the pupa just under the surface, some much bigger fish to, rolling like carp and bream do at times. I've fished that same piece of river over again many times, but never had a roach over 10oz from that area, should I persist? I've never seen it happen again several seasons on.

I still live in hope that I'll catch another big roach, but I think my best change will be a still-water sitting behind a bolt rig feeder at range? Do I want one that badly?

Rich.
 

rob48

Well-known member
I fish the Trent quite a lot and rarely see fish over 12-14 oz the last few seasons. The biggest I've had from the river were around the 1.5lb mark and that was twenty years ago at the start of the navigable stretch at Shardlow.
 

Mark Wintle

Well-known member
Last had a 2lb river fish in 2011, had two that year, both over 2-8, one from the Frome, one from the Dorset Stour. Both rivers still produce the odd big one but I have to do short trips nowadays so concentrate on enjoying catching plenty rather than waiting for a single bite. Best river fish this last season was 1-12.
 

barbelboi

Well-known member
Not had a 2lb + since just before I moved nearly 5 years ago but have taken a few over 1.8 from the local streams and rivers to just nudging 1.15 (must get my scales checked);)
 

steve2

Well-known member
I now count any roach over a pound as being big haven't had one of that size for over 5 years. Thought a few years ago I had found a good roach water but they were Rudd/roach hybrids. Another water where people were telling me about big roach it turns out they were Ide.
 

peterjg

Well-known member
I now count any roach over a pound as being big haven't had one of that size for over 5 years. Thought a few years ago I had found a good roach water but they were Rudd/roach hybrids. Another water where people were telling me about big roach it turns out they were Ide.
I think the same as you - now any roach over the pound mark is a real goodun. I've managed quite a few this season but have put in an awful lot of time and effort.

When thinking back to the days when catching quality roach (even for me!) was fairly commonplace I am annoyed that I didn't appreciate them more; never considered that big roach would become so rare.
 

markcw

Well-known member
I have had five 2lb roach, I was from a small pool, another from a stretch of the Shropshire union canal at Bunbury in Cheshire, and 3 from a stretch of the Bridgewater Canal in Lymm. The last 3 could possibly same fish due to location, But I will still admit to five.
All were caught over 30 years ago.
 

barbelboi

Well-known member
Here's a couple of recent fish from a local stream that I could probably have almost jumped over 50 years ago (as in the above post nothing over 2lb since moving )..............the only 3lb+ I've had (3.4) was taken in an LAA river match on the Kennet at Theale in 1964..................
roach 1.15.jpg
roach 1.10.jpg
 

whitty

Well-known member
I had two 2lbers in the last year I believe,funnily enough whilst fishing today a mate of mine caught his first ever two today,2.2 to be precise,he is 70 years old,he got my deepest congratulations....the venue that fish and my fish have come from is not going to be on my list next season,so my 2lbers may be over,hey-ho...
 

Aknib

Well-known member
I wondered if the seemingly general decline in the numbers of big Roach is down to the fact that fewer are really targeting them to any length these days?

Maybe not as I know Peter regularly fishes for them.

Then I wondered if Cormorants were to blame but you usually find that once they've been thinned out a bit those remaining tend to grow bigger, if any do remain!

Anyone have any theories?
 

whitty

Well-known member
Big roach are like big fish of most species,they require the right conditions to exist,many waters have lost the ability to sustain them,many rivers dont suit big roach these days...
 

rob48

Well-known member
I wondered if the seemingly general decline in the numbers of big Roach is down to the fact that fewer are really targeting them to any length these days?

Maybe not as I know Peter regularly fishes for them.

Then I wondered if Cormorants were to blame but you usually find that once they've been thinned out a bit those remaining tend to grow bigger, if any do remain!

Anyone have any theories?
I think the "improved" ie clearer water in our rivers has reduced the survival prospects of roach such that not enough are getting near the size/age to grow on to become 2lb fish. The clear water facilitates cormorant, pike and perch predation of them and also by zander during the night.
The best average sized fish I've had in recent seasons have been from the lower Severn, which is a deep river and usually has a bit of colour in it.
 

Aknib

Well-known member
I think the "improved" ie clearer water in our rivers has reduced the survival prospects of roach such that not enough are getting near the size/age to grow on to become 2lb fish. The clear water facilitates cormorant, pike and perch predation of them and also by zander during the night.
The best average sized fish I've had in recent seasons have been from the lower Severn, which is a deep river and usually has a bit of colour in it.
That makes a lot of sense, I can recall the days when the Trent was a Roach river and it was mucky looking by today's cosmetically cleaner, but more chemically polluted, waterway.

And yes I've said the same before...

Ideal for Cormorants!
 

Philip

Well-known member
Between Oct & Dec last year I had 30 Roach over a pound to 2+ from a French river. It has no track record or other anglers targeting them so I had to do the donkey work of tracking them down.

It’s a venue where If I float fished maggots I would catch literally hundreds of 2-8oz fish. However fishing relatively large hard baits on a short hair, ignoring all the tugs and pulls and waiting for the tip to wrap round 1 in 3 was over a pound.

If Bream are not an issue then I am convinced this method can help single out the bigger Roach.

The river also has a large Cormorant population which usually I would say is the kiss of death but now I am not so sure.
 
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rob48

Well-known member
That makes a lot of sense, I can recall the days when the Trent was a Roach river and it was mucky looking by today's cosmetically cleaner, but more chemically polluted, waterway.

And yes I've said the same before...

Ideal for Cormorants!
Cheers. I honestly think if the Trent hadn't been "cleaned" the cormorants would have remained on the coast, because they wouldn't have been able to find enough food in the river.
 

rob48

Well-known member
Between Oct & Dec last year I had 30 Roach over a pound to 2+ from a French river. It has no track record or other anglers targeting them so I had to do the donkey work of tracking them down.

It’s a venue where If I float fished maggots I would catch literally hundreds of 2-8oz fish. However fishing relatively large hard baits on a short hair, ignoring all the tugs and pulls and waiting for the tip to wrap round 1 in 3 was over a pound.

If Bream are not an issue then I am convinced this method can help single out the bigger Roach.

The river also has a large Cormorant population which usually I would say is the kiss of death but now I am not so sure.
That's interesting. I've had good sized roach on corn and worm baits on feeder rigs meant for bream. What's the usual water colour and are there any other predators?
 

steve2

Well-known member
Looking back my last 'big' roach big for me were taken on feeder fished mini boilies. My biggest ever roach came from small streams on lobworms or flake when fishing for chub.
 

Philip

Well-known member
That's interesting. I've had good sized roach on corn and worm baits on feeder rigs meant for bream. What's the usual water colour and are there any other predators?
Similar size & water clarity to say the middle Thames Rob & a good head of other predators...Zander, & also notably Wels. I actually arrived to see Cormorants diving in the swim at times. I should point out I was baiting heavily almost daily so there was clearly allot of fish to attract them but their presence did not seem to put them off.

Out of interest …I tried corn on the hook a couple of times as a test ..result was almost instantaneously the smallest Roach I caught. On the hard haired rigged baits a waiting for real tug literally every fish was 10oz plus.
 

rob48

Well-known member
Similar size & water clarity to say the middle Thames Rob & a good head of other predators...Zander, & also notably Wels. I actually arrived to see Cormorants diving in the swim at times. I should point out I was baiting heavily almost daily so there was clearly allot of fish to attract them but their presence did not seem to put them off.

Out of interest …I tried corn on the hook a couple of times as a test ..result was almost instantaneously the smallest Roach I caught. On the hard haired rigged baits a waiting for real tug literally every fish was 10oz plus.
Thanks Philip. Just shows there's no hard and fast rules, helps to keep it interesting at least!
 

silvers

Well-known member
I don’t fish the Wye that often but have had three two pounders in matches in The last few years.
Other than that two at 1:15 (on reubens) on the Warks Avon ... again within last 5 years or so.
 
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