How to catch more roach on a waggler

Silverfish are notorious for spooking easily, but there are ways of helping a shoal to settle.

One of them is to put the pole away and switch to the waggler. Waving a long length of carbon over the top of a big group of roach, rudd, perch and skimmers can put them off feeding at this time of the year. This week England star Darren Cox reveals his top tips for keeping the bites coming on the waggler...


Essential baits

“When it comes to fishing for roach and rudd on the waggler there are only two baits I will consider – maggots and casters. “Maggots work well when the going gets tough, with casters a better option when you are getting more bites and better stamp fish. “In order to get the shoals competing you need to be really busy with the catapult, firing out 10 freebies every minute or so.

“That said, you may have to cut it back to half that amount at times as the fish could go into a frenzy every time you feed, brushing against the line, moving the float around and giving false bites. “Reduce the feed and the fish will settle down, picking out the few freebies that are present and, in-turn, increasing your chances of them finding the hookbait.”

Light tackle

“Roach are incredible at sensing any resistance in a rig and once they feel something isn’t right, they’ll leave the peg and feed elsewhere.

“To combat this you need to use really light tackle, and 3lb mainline to an 0.10mm or 0.12mm hooklength and a size 18 Kamasan B911 F1 will help trip up a fish every chuck. Always dot the waggler to a pimple to reduce the chances of fish ejecting the bait before you have chance to react.

“Rod choice is also important and one with a soft tip will cushion the strike and reduce fish losses. I use a A Garbolino G System Match 13ft Light Waggler.”

Shotting patterns

“I use two shotting patterns on the waggler, and it is a matter of trial and error on the day to find out which one is best for the session.

“The first aims to get the bait to the bottom quickly. It has a small bulk set a couple of feet from the hook. This will be a starting point, but as soon as I start missing bites it means the fish have come shallow and it is time to change.

“The second set-up has No10 shot strung out down the line. This makes the bait fall slowly and helps me pick off fish on the drop. I will come off bottom a foot to start with, and come even shallower if I continue to miss indications.”

Venue knowledge

“Doing a little homework on the venue will definitely help your catch rate and one of the most important bits of information you can gather relates to the stamp of fish stocked.

“If you are fishing on a lake that has roach averaging 6oz but you are catching them at half that size, then you should make changes to try and increase the stamp. Little tweaks such as altering the depth, changing hookbait and adjusting the position of your shot on a strung-out pattern could achieve this.”