Fishy Tales from the Emerald Isle –

Roach Trip



The Trip

As a nominated consultant for Pure Fishing in Ireland, I have been asked to write regular "blogs" on my adventures throughout the country using and product testing Pure Fishing tackle. As the months proceed, you will be able to follow my travels and see how the gear, and hopefully my angling abilities perform under scrutiny.

To begin my journey, I had been asked to have a look at the Mitchell "Big Mouth", a no-nonsense, distance casting spinning reel from the Pure Fishing stable. Teamed up with the new Shakespeare Superteam Feeder rod, this appeared to be a formidable fresh-water ledgering set up. I was dying to try it out, and needed to get the thinking cap on for a venue and species that would do this new combo justice!


Ideally, a venue that required a big "chuck" to find fish, in order to test the casting accuracy and capabilities of both rod and reel, and hopefully find a few specimens large enough to put the new drag system under a little pressure.

The area I had in mind is a distance casting venue, with roach being the predominant species. This particular water throws up some large fish now and then and pound for pound, a specimen roach fights every bit as well, if not better than most other coarse fish in Ireland. One particular secret is the need for accuracy over distance on this water, due to the extremely small feeding areas available. The greater the accuracy, it seems, the larger the reward. Random casts can, and usually will destroy any chance of picking out a decent fish. Many anglers say they can cast onto a pin-head, but in practice, this venue usually sorts out the men from the boys!

With one of my angling pals, Andrew Wolsey joining me on this occasion, we went through the process of dropping feeders out over the pre-baited area. The Superteam quivertip and wide arbor Mitchell accurately cast the large feeder with ease. All I needed now was something "lumpy" to reel in.

Carp style angling doesn’t really work here, so there’s no sneaking into a bivvy, dozing until an alarm screams out. Consistent, accurate casting every few minutes keeps the swim alive with explosive feeder mix, and the crushed hemp and particles create an active "fizz" that large roach find irresistible. Its hard work and a concentrated effort is required, but this is necessary in order to feed off the smaller fish and draw in the larger specimens.

Andrew was first to find one of the big fish, and a cracker at well over the Irish specimen barrier of two pounds. At this size, roach take on a whole new look and are simply stunning. An hour or so later and he had a second specimen, equally impressive, although to be honest this fish looked more like a roach-rudd hybrid. I began to worry that I’d lost my touch!


Perseverance paid off eventually as I bent into a proper fish, and enjoyed the rod and reel, not to mention the dogged fight, to the full. Once safely in the landing net, I could see that this fish had a vivid golden sheen to the flanks, definitely not a pure roach or a rudd, but almost certain to be a roach-rudd hybrid. It doesn’t matter either way; these are stunning creatures to behold what-ever they turn out to be!


With the fish safely in the carp sack (through experience, carp sacks are superior to keepnets for safely retaining small numbers of fish), a re-cast to the same mark produced another large specimen, this time looking more like a pure roach. Another two for me and we finished on six "lumps" for this session between us. Bearing in mind that each fish would be considered a fish of a life time, I would consider that was a pretty good result! The rod and reel performed superbly and I would not hesitate in recommending this combo for a wide variety of ledgering, distance fishing or otherwise, for roach, dace, bream, hybrids and tench on all relevant Irish waters. Hopefully most of my trips will turn out as positive as this one!


The rod

The Shakespeare Superteam Feeder system, with three butt sections included for an 11, 12 or 13 foot option is an extremely versatile piece of equipment. The blank has a progressive action and remains responsive through all three lengths.

The 11ft set-up is ideal for light feeder situations or plain lead and close-in work, such as small rivers etc. Its forgiving action allows for light hook lengths and small hook set-ups.

The 12ft set-up covers most feeder situations encountered on Irish waters, ideal for medium sized feeders and medium casting distance on rivers and lakes.

The 13ft set-up is excellent for distance casting with either braid or mono. The extra length is ideal for line pick up when lifting into fish.

The entire kit retails at £170, or euro200

The reel

Mitchell "Big Mouth"

This large arbor reel offers several key advantages. There is an increase in distance and ease of casting, as line leaves the spool in larger coils. The large, shallow spool helps to reduce line "bedding in". The surface area of the front drag system is significantly increased to improve smoothness and power.

The handle can be converted for left or right-hand users, and with six stainless bearings and instant anti-reverse, this is a very smooth and balanced reel.

Spare spool included

Retails at £60 or euro 71


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