Roach fishing rig | The waggler

The waggler is the approach that most anglers began their fishing career using. 

On a mixed commercial fishery where bites are the name of the game, it’s ideal for a relaxing day catching quality roach with the odd bonus surprise thrown in.

Roach are a species that will feed at all depths, and because of the waggler’s versatility compared to that of the feeder, you can target fish feeding from a foot deep to hard on the bottom, making changes throughout the day to keep in touch with the fish. 

Rod and line tactics mean that if you hook a carp or two, you’ve or every chance of getting them out – something that can’t be said for a pole armed with a light rig!

Roach waggler & maggot rig.jpg

1) Insert or straight?

Insert and straight wagglers perform very different jobs. For all-round fishing the insert can be fished with the bait falling through the water (known as on the drop) or hard on the bottom. 

It can also be used for fishing shallow, and can be identified by the thin insert tip. The straight waggler is better for fishing on the bottom, often with a few inches of line laid on the lakebed to present a still bait. The straight waggler has a thick, blunted tip.

2) Float size

If you need a decent cast to find the fish a 3AAA float is about right. If you plan on catching fish close in on the drop a big float isn’t needed. Prepared anglers will carry a range of float sizes, to cover all eventualities, but a 2AAA straight or insert waggler will deal with most jobs.

3) Feeding

What you feed should be based on where you want to catch the fish in the swim. That means using maggots, hemp and casters for fishing off bottom or on the drop, changing to a groundbait attack for catching on the bottom. 

A steady trickle of loosefed maggots or casters (a dozen fed every few minutes) will work for catching off bottom.

If you go down the groundbait route, two or three balls with casters and hemp added will get the swim going. You can then loosefeed over the top or rely on a top-up of the odd ball of groundbait when bites fade away.

4) Space the shot

The waggler should be fixed with large AAA or BB locking shot but closer to the hook should be No8 or No10 shot, enough to sink the tip right down. You should end up with five or six shot down the line. 

Push these together as a large bulk just above the hooklength for fishing on the bottom or space them between hook and float to give the bait a slow natural fall through the swim.

5) Hookbaits

Classic roach baits are red maggots, casters or small pieces of worm fished as singles or doubles, but a bold big bait can sometimes score. 

That means a grain of sweetcorn or even a piece of breadflake are both worth slipping on to the hook now and again.