Size of Bait for Roach??

peterjg

Well-known member
I would appreciate you thoughts on this. Usually when fishing specifically for roach I use quite big baits - typically big bits of flake or punched bread, largish particles, 8 or 10mm pellets, etc. On most waters (with patience!) these baits work reasonably well. Yet, there are some lakes where they are useless and the roach will ONLY take small baits!? Why on some waters do only small baits work for roach? It makes it so difficult to single out the better ones. Prebaiting does not work because all it does is encourage the signal crayfish.
 

markg

Well-known member
A piece of crust from the edge of a sliced loaf about 1/4 inch square is my best bait for big roach with a 14 or a 12 hook pushed through it just anchored off the bottom about 2 inches. Float mainly, layed on sort of but legered probably just as good if not better just I like a float. I find the smaller roach give it less attention until it goes soft and I have had more big roach on this than any other bait I think. Sep usually a good month for the bigger roach so I will be giving this a go if I get out and fish.
Bigger than 1/4 inch I try sometimes, say a 1/2 by 1/4 inch length of crust but not sure if it makes any difference.
I like sweetcorn and sometimes try 2 or 3 nicked onto the hook but I find I miss bites a lot, I think the fish are trying to put one in thier mouth and dont take it properly so, one sweetcorn works better usually. if thats the same with other roach baits I don't know, wheat, hemp as I have not tried them, is one better than two or three?
I have been trying soft pellets lately and not done enough yet but I feel one on the hook works better than when I have tried two, missed bites, I think the same reason, are the fish trying to put one in thier mouth?
 
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daniel121

Well-known member
The answer to your question is the stocking level of the water and the presence of carp/catfish etc. Where these larger fish are present fish have to complete for food and so much is placed in the water for the carp the roach start getting alike to them.

On waters where these fish are not so present in number roach become a lot smarter and more shy. The lure of big roach is that they are very difficult to catch and also every pretty as long as they live clear/clean water.

Signals are a pain, I try to stay clear of waters with them in large numbers. The best way to tackle bigger roach in natural waters is first locate them, then get roach completing for food. Feed hemp from the off but fish maggot or caster, then slowly introduce tear, elderberries or wheat looking to get the bigger fish on that in the dying hour or two of the session.

Good luck, a large roach is not a fool you will need to present your bait spot on and have a little bit of lady luck your side also. However this I have found is the best way to catch rid fins above average in size, pretty consistently over the last 60 years. Other methods bread flake over leger, I've never had much success if I'm honest, not for roach anyway, chub yea but roach... not for old dannyboy

p.s use a keepnet too, roach are shoal fish and communicate via body language.
 
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peterjg

Well-known member
Many thanks for your posts. It just seems odd that on some waters roach will not take say a single grain of sweetcorn or a largish pellet but will only take small baits like tares or maggots or small pieces of flake? This makes eliminating the small roach difficult and you have to wade through the small ones to catch the better roach.
 

daniel121

Well-known member
Many thanks for your posts. It just seems odd that on some waters roach will not take say a single grain of sweetcorn or a largish pellet but will only take small baits like tares or maggots or small pieces of flake? This makes eliminating the small roach difficult and you have to wade through the small ones to catch the better roach.
Yes I've always found that the large roach wade out the small ones for you on red letter days. When the big roach show up in mass they bully off the bits
 

Philip

Well-known member
I recall reading something about Roach fishing on a heavily matched fished canal. During the day it was all tiny baits to stand any chance at all but after dark the Roach would take big lumps of bread on comparatively crude tackle....so maybe timing is a factor here.

For my own part a 50p sized bit of flake folded over & pinched on to the hook or 3 grains of corn. Thats about the size I go for when after the better ones.
 

peterjg

Well-known member
I recall reading something about Roach fishing on a heavily matched fished canal. During the day it was all tiny baits to stand any chance at all but after dark the Roach would take big lumps of bread on comparatively crude tackle....so maybe timing is a factor here.

For my own part a 50p sized bit of flake folded over & pinched on to the hook or 3 grains of corn. Thats about the size I go for when after the better ones.
Philip, thanks for your post: I am sure that you are right concerning big baits after dark for roach. The biggest factor required for bigger roach to feed is the lack of light or/and water clarity but I find on some waters bigger baits are still not eaten by roach? It's a great puzzle, there is a gravel pit which I regularly fish which contains some bigger roach which I am unable to catch while other similar nearby pits are easier.
 

markg

Well-known member
It is a bit of a mystery with roach how they differ on different waters. I have frequently notice how they look different as well, different colouring mainly. One river I fish they are a sort of slate grey colour yet on another river close by they are more silvery. But they are finnicky, change what they want week to week, sometimes its small bread, sometimes large, sometimes sweetcorn or not at all.
Trying to find what they will take on what water and what day is not easy. Keep experimenting Peter, have you tried luncheon meat, I cannot try it where I fish because of a plague of eels but it is very good on some lakes I fish, small cubes on a 14 hook but bigger lumps on a 10 hook say might keep the smaller ones away and some anglers fry it a bit first to make the skin tough which also stops the small fish nibbling it. But it might attract tench and carp as well, was not a problem on the lake I fished as the carp kept well away on the far bank in the day time and the tench fed at specific times, usually about 4-6pm. The roach loved the luncheon meat though and the crucians as well. So, try some largish lumps of slightly fried luncheon meat might be worth a try.
Then there's the old favourite, tail of a big lobworm or even a whole lobworm but you never know what you might pick up but, a big roach might come along as well.
I have often said this but when small roach are shoaling around the baited area, I will fish away from it, 20/30 yds downstream or off the edge of the area on a lake, the big roach sometimes hang back looking for morsels and don't compete with the more agile and smaller fish; picked up some nice big roach like this.
 
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theartist

Well-known member
The biggest factor required for bigger roach to feed is the lack of light or/and water clarity .
I put an album together a few years ago of photos of my 2lb roach, I was surprised to see that 70-80% of them were caught on bright sunny days, and mostly from really clear rivers. If you look at random catches in the mags you'll see that 'sunny roach' pics seem more common than that of species like barbel or chub. I'll actually go for sunny/clear conditions now especially with baits like pellets/hemp

It's a myth that they need coloured water and overcast/dark skies - defeat it ;)
 

peterjg

Well-known member
Markg, yes I have tried luncheon meat and it can work well. I use small cubes died black (Tescos food dye) and with hemp as feed. Same with me, I also find that they be finnicky, I suppose that's half the fun.

The Artist, while I don't doubt your findings for a second I can't say that I have found the same. My best roach catches have been mainly on dull days, early or late or after dark. Water clarity, or lack of it, certainly helps roach to feed freely with (for some unknown reason) hemp being the exception to sometimes work well in gin clear water?!

I certainly wish I could catch more roach in clear, bright conditions I am doing something wrong!?
 

theartist

Well-known member
The Artist, while I don't doubt your findings for a second I can't say that I have found the same. My best roach catches have been mainly on dull days, early or late or after dark. Water clarity, or lack of it, certainly helps roach to feed freely with (for some unknown reason) hemp being the exception to sometimes work well in gin clear water?!

I certainly wish I could catch more roach in clear, bright conditions I am doing something wrong!?
I think everyone's doing something wrong, myself included it's not fishing if we aint.

My findings are based only on rivers but I can go further than my narcasistic photo album to a lot of fish watching over recent years, which has revealed the large roaches penchant for feeding in bright sun and clear water when everything else is really cagey. I would agree that they are contrary to popular opinion but that suits me fine ;)

That's not to say they are going to be easy, but they do like the sun, I go for them in such conditions as I know the barbel and chub will be less inclined.

You refer to crayfish in an earlier post so that you are fishing on the bottom? All my fishing is up in the water albeit rivers but whilst they feed on all layers they really are masters of the mid water levels especially in summer. The old adage that a tint of colour must have some theory but I can only go on what I've found from my catches, I'm happy to buck any trend if it gets me results and also I hate 'set in stone' theories even if they have come from better anglers than myself - which isn't hard lol

Despite this I've caught much more big roach on sunny days than I could have ever dreamed of so it's all good :thumbs:
 

Philip

Well-known member
Its true they can come at any time but given the choice I would still be more confident fishing for them as the light starts to fade at the end of the day.

Something I have noticed allot, and I am talking about rivers here, is that as the lights comes off the water the Roach can suddenly switch on. For example as the sun dips below far bank trees and so on. Its happened far too often to be coincidental.

What intrigues me however is that on full darkness the Roach often switch off just as suddenly. I have never quite worked that one out..

If I was going to fish for them in bright light, clear conditions then I would probably opt for a mid water approach. A flow of regular feed flying past their noses in clear water would be too hard for them to refuse in the end and they could slip up to a trotted bait.
 
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barbelboi

Well-known member
Despite this I've caught much more big roach on sunny days than I could have ever dreamed of so it's all good
Me too. If I'm stalking fish in a clear river/stream (and as I only tend to fish during mid morning - mid pm these days - let's face it the fish are there 24 hrs a day you just have to adapt to the different locations) and they are proving finicky I tend to creep back upstream for about 10yds and stir the bottom with the end of the landing net. Once the 'clouded' water reaches where they are it can quite often mean a/some takes that wouldn't have happened otherwise.
 

peterjg

Well-known member
Again many thanks for your advice - all good stuff! I have picked up on your references to "mid-water feeding", this is something that I should try more often - nearly always I fish with the bait on the deck! When fishing lakes mid-water what baits do you use (can I ask?) and do you feed or is there just the hookbait? My results when doing this are for smaller roach - maybe I should be more patient with this method - never too old to learn!!!
 

theartist

Well-known member
Again many thanks for your advice - all good stuff! I have picked up on your references to "mid-water feeding", this is something that I should try more often - nearly always I fish with the bait on the deck! When fishing lakes mid-water what baits do you use (can I ask?) and do you feed or is there just the hookbait? My results when doing this are for smaller roach - maybe I should be more patient with this method - never too old to learn!!!
I rarely fish big lakes (Which everyone will see at the fish in:D) but if you are going to fish midwater you will need to feed and feed very often, regularly. I cant imagine many self respecting roach just taking a lone bait midwater like carp do with zig rigs but they may do when competing for feed with others.

On ponds, canals and rivers fishing on the drop works for me. I think there's a paranoia when feeding a lot of bait that it can end up piling up on the bottom but if anything it just leads fish like roach to compete in the upper layers. It works with other fish too as the bait landing draws fish to attack it. You know your getting it right when you start getting big swirls on the surface. This can take ages to happen and doesn't work in winter but in summer it's amazing how shallow everything is, even barbel,bream and tench

I'm not sure I would be comfortable doing this at the range that may be needed on a large lake or pit so maybe it's best to stick to bottom baits but it's worth trying if you can get them close in, on the drop a rod length out although you may have to get through the small bits depending on the bait used, be worth trying for a few hours fun you can always fish over that feed later in the evening as per usual if any is left.
 

peterjg

Well-known member
The artist, thanks for your reply. The pits I usually fish for roach are too lightly stocked to get the roach to compete for bait. Also they are only very lightly fished so the roach are not educated to 'bait'. Even with maggots or worms the fishing is slow and the roach are mainly small with only the rare big roach being caught. If I try a bigger bait to avoid the small ones the fishing is not slow it's stationary! Larger baits which I use elsewhere are just not recognised as bait. There must be an answer but I can't find it?
 

theartist

Well-known member
The artist, thanks for your reply. The pits I usually fish for roach are too lightly stocked to get the roach to compete for bait. Also they are only very lightly fished so the roach are not educated to 'bait'. Even with maggots or worms the fishing is slow and the roach are mainly small with only the rare big roach being caught. If I try a bigger bait to avoid the small ones the fishing is not slow it's stationary! Larger baits which I use elsewhere are just not recognised as bait. There must be an answer but I can't find it?
Keep trying it sounds like your having fun working things out, sometimes you can just crack a water by sheer persistence or going for a fun session and getting 'lucky' Big roach are like that in that they can turn up anytime anywhere.

Sounds like a hard water, pellet probably don't work there if they don't see any but bread maybe? But I'm guessing the crayfish will be all over that on the deck knowing them.

Maybe maggots and just see how many small fish you can get in a day and seeing if the bigger roach show eventually.

Failing that find out if/how others are catching them and copy
 
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