An incredible 500lb of float-caught roach tops a long list of redfin hauls this week as venues nationwide prove why sport with the popular species is at an all-time high.
Venues from West Yorkshire all the way down to the South West have been delighting visiting anglers, while those fishing a contest on the River Great Ouse in Bedfordshire were treated to some of best roach fishing of their lives as they filled their nets with roach and dace.
There were more than 20 weights of roach and dace into double figures during the Bedford Hospital Cup, staged on popular club stretches along the upper river, and the top four anglers shared almost 80lb of prime silverfish, all caught on traditional float tactics.
“The roach fishing this year has been the best ever,” said Milton Keynes Angling Association chairman Trevor Johnson.
“This match is perfect proof, but this is just the tip of the iceberg – big nets of roach are being caught up and down the entire river.
“I believe the roach boom on this venue, and countless other waterways across the country, is down to the ongoing silverfish stockings carried out by the Environment Agency.”
The River Trent is another in a long line of rivers that have seen the huge shoals of roach they were historically famous for make a welcome return.
Anglers been flocking to Trent hotspots Burton Joyce, Long Higgin and Gunthorpe to take nets to 20lb-plus of roach on floatfishing tactics, and the owner of a local tackle shop has revealed that sales of traditional roach baits bronze maggots, hemp and tares are on the up.
“Roach catches on the river have been exceptional. It’s not only about quantity either, as there are so many big individual fish being landed too,” said Tim Aplin, who runs Matchman Supplies Angling Centre in Nottingham.
“All the areas that used to produce big catches of roach back in the Trent’s heyday are back in form, and more and more anglers are now fishing for them. It’s great to see,” he said.
“This is reflected in the fact that our bait sales for those visiting the river have increased in line with the general improvement of fishing on the Trent.”
Moving further north, 25lb catches of roach on the stick float have become a common occurrence on the River Calder in West Yorkshire.
It’s this sheer quality of sport that is seeing anglers regularly travel more than 100 miles in order to take part in the weekly contests held on the river around the Mirfield area.
“We get anglers travelling from Newcastle, Nottingham and Manchester to fish here.
“Every week matches on the Calder are being won with between 17lb and 25lb of roach,” said Mirfield Angling Club president Martin Highe.
“There aren’t many better ways to spend a day’s fishing than with a float rod in your hand, catching quality roach.”