“I can’t believe that this 3lb 3oz 8dr giant is the first ‘proper’ roach I’ve ever caught from a river.”
These are the words of big fish ace Alan Stagg after he joined an elite group of anglers who have banked 3lb-plus roach from both still and running water.
This incredible fish was caught by the Gardner Tackle employee after he spent three weeks walking the banks of a southern chalk stream searching for what is regarded as one of the UK’s rarest and most sought-after specimens.
After locating a small pocket of fish, he visited the stretch three times without a sign of his intended quarry, but his latest visit was a different story as he had to wait only 20 minutes after casting out a simple feeder rig before the personal best took his double maggot hookbait mounted on a size 18 Drennan Super Specialist hook.
“There’s no doubt that this fish ranks as the best fish I’ve ever caught and I feel so privileged because I know how rare these fish are,” Alan told Angling Times.
“A big river roach was going to be my winter campaign, but to catch something like this so early on is kind of hard to get my head around, especially when it’s the first river roach I’ve ever caught…that’s just mad.
“I hate to think how many miles I walked just with a pair of polarising glasses looking for signs of fish before I actually got round to casting a line. This is what you have to do because there are so few pockets of big fish not only in this venue, but many other rivers throughout the UK.”
Alan beat the fish with a short 3lb fluorocarbon hooklink that sat below a 30 gram maggot feeder that was fished just a couple of rodlengths out from the bank and was presented over a bed of maggots introduced via a small bait dropper.