Matt Jackson did what most anglers can only dream of when he banked one of the biggest braces of river roach in angling history.
The immense specimens weighing 3lb 7oz and 3lb 2oz were caught by the 27-year-old specimen hunter when months of hard work paid off in a swim on the banks of a southern chalk stream.
After 15 visits with only a few tiny roach and dace to show for his efforts this winter, Matt built the foundation for his red-letter day by introducing a bed of CC Moores hempseed with a bait dropper and then cast a simple running maggot feeder rig over the top.
It was the largest fish that was first to be fooled by his single white maggot that was nicked onto a size 18 hook and it set a new personal best for the Pure Fishing-backed angler, who’s previous river best stood at 2lb 12oz.
“As I guided the huge fish out of the flow and into the slack of the river that’s when my heart raced, my mouth dried out instantly and my knees were visibly shaking,” a delighted Matt told Angling Times.
“After I’d calmed down and realised what I’d done I was ready to pack up and start the celebrations at the pub because thought my chances of another bite were next to nothing.
“But my mate convinced me to have another cast as I put the kettle on and I’m so glad that I did.
The Wiltshire-based angler only had time to have a sip of tea when his tip arched around and the second fish-of-a-life soon lay in the folds of his net.
It completed a catch that’s believed to be the second biggest brace of river roach ever landed with the largest being caught by Colin Gilson with fish weighing 3lb 15oz and 3lb 8oz from a Christchurch AC controlled stretch of the Hampshire Avon in 2004.
“It really does feel like a dream as I know how rare river fish like this are and even though I spend a lot of my time carping there is something really special about river roaching fishing.”