On a recent adventure in search of specimen roach, my angling buddy Glenn Drennan joined me to see what all the fuss was about. He had never really targeted roach until now, and certainly hadn’t tried float fishing, match style, before.
We decided to share the same “swim” so that I might demonstrate feeding techniques and tackle set-up etc. This is not usually ideal for optimum catch results as too much disturbance can put the fish off, but on this occasion, it would be a laid back approach, a bit of fun, maybe a few tips to pass on, and more importantly, a few roach for the camera with any luck.
To “kick-start” the swim into action, I opted for an initial introduction of ten, orange-sized balls of ground-bait. This consisted of standard crumb, a small amount of continental mix, a large amount of crushed hemp-seed, laced with boiled hemp, casters, sweet-corn and a few maggots. Maggots would be loose fed, little and often over the initial feed throughout the day. Hopefully this would generate some action from the smaller fish, with the ensuing chaos attracting a few larger specimens into the area to see what the commotion is!
A water such as this, with a broad range of roach generations will always have the problem of sorting out the larger fish. Unfortunately, it is a numbers game, but with roach so obliging on most occasions, you are rarely left twiddling your thumbs! Large hook-baits are the only option, but there will always be a few small roach that manage to engulf two grains of corn and four maggots in one mouthful! You need to work your way through these until the larger specimens enter the arena. A clue to their arrival is when the smaller fish disappear for a while. They are intimidated by the larger specimens and back off for a short while. On many occasions, bites will cease, the float will remain motionless for five minutes or so, slowly dip and you’re into something a great deal more substantial than a four ounce roach!
Small roach queued to be caught, and for most of the day we just worked our way through the huge shoal mopping up the free-bees. By mid-afternoon, we had run into a few “lumps” around the pound to pound-and-a-half size, before Glenn landed a “cracker” for the camera, just over the two pound mark.
This is what we were looking for with Glenn delighted at finding his first specimen roach on float tactics. Fin-perfect, these beautiful fish really are a sight to behold when they reach this size, and not too shabby at kicking back on balanced tackle either!
After a few near misses, it was another hour before I found my specimen roach, but at two pounds ten ounces, it was well worth the wait! A little ragged around the tail fin, but I certainly wasn’t complaining, after all, she had run the rigors of the spawning season so could be forgiven for looking a little rough round the edges!
All in all, this was a fantastic roach session, and I reckon Glenn is well and truly hooked on fishing the waggler. If you haven’t tried float fishing, get out and give it a go. The more disciplines that you are able to master, the wider range of methods can be adapted for successful angling of all species. For those anglers that have mastered the waggler, you already know the secret to extremely enjoyable angling!