Paul Scowen 2lb 7oz, 2lb 10oz and 3lb 9oz roach

“the bobbin on the same rod danced again..”

“My mate messaged me a couple of weeks ago to say that he had a 2.13 roach from a southern pit which for the past 6 years I have had a ticket for, but not fished. I am usually in full predator mode at this time of the year but with the rivers out of condition, access unexpectedly restricted to the reservoir I had planned to focus on this winter and repeat captures of pike on another pit I have been fishing I thought I would try my luck for the roach.

I hadn’t fished the lake before but had been given the heads up on half a dozen swims that have produced in the past. With little else to go on I spent a couple of hours lapping the lake looking for signs. I saw a couple of carp show and then heard a splashy roll that sounded very ‘roachy’. The current roach stock is unknown beyond it is low, so that sign was all I needed.

Decision made I made just 3 casts with the marker rod to minimise the disturbance and located a couple of hard spots in around 13 feet of water. That would do me, I now had spots I could confidently present a bait over and I felt like there may have been roach in the vicinity.

As I was fishing for potentially just a handful of fish I didn’t want to attract any of the resident carp. I only introduced bait via the feeder and planned to minimise recasting if I wasn’t getting bites so as not to overfeed. Filling the feeder with a high attraction cereal based groundbait and approximately just 15 maggots and fishing 2 maggots on a short helicopter rig the theory was that any big roach that were drawn to the groundbait would pick up the hookbait before filling themselves up on the freebies and moving on.

As this was my first trip I wasn’t expecting any results and had reconciled to using the session to tune in to the water. However, just an hour after making my first casts the bobbin on the rod cast to the furthest mark danced in classic roach style and then dropped back to the floor. I wound down but did not feel any resistance or the tell tale thumping of a big roach twisting and turning in an attempt to throw the hook. This was one more chance than I was expecting and I thought I had blown it but just an hour later the bobbin on the same rod danced again but this time did not drop back. Lifting the rod up I was met with the thudding of a quality roach.

Playing big roach on small hooks is always a nervous affair. The water is deep and gin clear in this pit with a very steep marginal shelf. I caught my first sight with the fish still some 3 rods lengths out and could see it was a reasonable roach. Once I got the fish to within a couple of rod lengths she really started to pull back, perhaps spooked by me or the shallower water, and I had to give line for fear of the hook hold slipping. Like a chub she made for the marginal bushes to my left and I found myself in the bizarre position of conceding line and putting side strain on a roach several times in an effort to stop her reaching the safety of the snags.

As the fish slid over the net I realised she had been holding deeper in the clear water than I had thought and this ‘reasonable’ roach was actually a significantly bigger creature. At 3lb 9oz I had far exceeded my expectations and recast with mission already achieved inside a couple of hours of making my first casts on the venue. Roach of 2.10 and 2.7 quickly followed and I remember catching myself being disappointed that they were getting smaller and had to remind myself that I would have been delighted with just the 2.7. Shortly after the third fish it started raining and the action was over. It rained for several hours, I stayed on but didn’t receive any further indications”