What is a Roach (Rutilus rutilus)?
The roach, commonly known as the redfin due to the orange/red fins which stand out beneath its sparkling silver flanks, is perhaps the best-loved coarse fish of all.
It may be a relative minnow when placed alongside freshwater giants such as pike and carp, yet there are many thousands of anglers who value a specimen roach above any other species.
Small roach can be quite suicidal, grabbing at any bait placed in front of them. But once a roach reaches about 8oz (227g) in weight, it has been caught and returned several times and has learnt plenty. It becomes a wily old fix, which will turn its nose up at any suspicious-looking offering.
To catch a big Roach you must combine skill with fine tackle and watercraft, and if you do fool a fish over the 1lb (0.45kg) mark, you can be proud in the knowledge that you have succeeded where hundreds of fellow anglers have failed.
Catch a two-pounder (0.9kg) and it’s time to take the camera out of the bag. And if you are ever lucky enough to slip the landing net under a magical 3lb plus (1.36kg) roach, savor every moment. This is a fish of a lifetime.
What Are Some Effective Roach Tactics?
Roach are fast biting fish which are difficult to catch on the leger, so float fishing either with a stick float, waggler float or pole is the best approach.
When targeting river roach for instance, the pole offers the best presentation when the river is flowing slowly. A stick float is better when there is a medium to strong flow, and a waggler should be used in medium to slow-flowing conditions when you need to fish beyond the range of your pole.
The correct tactics for roach do not just vary from one venue to another, they can also vary from day to day, so choosing the right method can be tricky indeed. Luckily there are some rules which you can follow to point you in the right direction.
The first thing to look at is the color of the river, stillwater or canal. If the water is crystal clear, you can rule out the use of groundbait and stick to a loosefeed approach.
Bronze maggots will get you the most bites, but casters will pick out the bigger fish. Hemp is another good loose feed, particularly on rivers when the water is running fast.
If there is color in the water, either washed in from a recent flood or by boat traffic or fish activity, then ground-baiting is a good idea.
Roach Tips Please
- Roach love bronze maggots flavored with a spoonful of the spice turmeric.
- Roach are very wary fish and you may need to use light hook lengths to fool them.
- Roach are finicky feeders and terminal tackle should be as fine as possible. Use size 20 and 22 fine wire hooks with maggot, and 18s and 16s with caster, making sure the whole of the hook is buried inside the shell of the caster. The force of your strike is enough to pull the point of the hook through the shell and set the hook.
- A good choice for mainline for stick float, waggler and pole fishing is 2lb (0.8kg) and hook lengths should be no stronger than 1.5lb (0.08mm) and finer if pole fishing, using a number 3 elastic.
How to identify a Roach
Silver flanks, red eyes, red/orange fins, upper lip protrudes slightly over lower.
1lb 8oz (0.68kg)
Most stretches of rivers, lakes and canals.
What is the Top Methods for Roach Fishing?
Definitely the stick float and pole. Period
Best Baits for a Roach?
Hands down: caster, hemp, maggot