Roach are very obliging and will often give you a few bites when not much else is happening.
Legering is worth a go but the truly classic way to catch roach from a river is to floatfish with a waggler or stick, running the hookbait down the swim with the pace of the flow and loosefeeding regularly. Over time you can build the swim up so it draws more and more fish in. As a result, the fishing gets better and better.
Should you find yourself on a slow, deep river it’s time to turn to the pole. This is a very positive way to fish with a big float in conjunction with groundbait to get the bait down fast. It gets far quicker results than rod and line.
Water conditions play a big part in choosing your tactics. As a rule of thumb, colour in the water lends itself to feeding groundbait and fishing the pole, while gin-clear rivers are best approached with the float and loosefeed.
RIVER POLE RIG
Offering precision feeding and bait placement, along with delicacy of presentation, it’s no wonder the pole is the number one choice of match anglers.
But the pole is also a very attacking method, should you be faced with lots of roach. You can get the bait down quickly using a big float, feed plenty and hit bites with more accuracy than with a waggler or stick float.
Better still, if you can get the fish at short range, a long pole or whip to hand can be quicker still!
Begin with maggots, ideally a single bronze maggot. This will get you quick bites, but have an eye on changing to something like a caster or even a grain of hemp later in the session to search out quality fish. Feeding hemp and caster will give you the best chance of catching on both, as the fish will become used to them over time.
RIVER WAGGLER RIG
Few methods lend themselves to fishing a river better than the waggler. This float allows you to cover a lot of water, fish at different depths and present the bait well overdepth or just tripping bottom – it’s that versatile!
To truly search a peg out for roach, gear up with a straight thick peacock waggler that’ll let you drag line on the bottom to slow the bait down without it being dragged under.
This method, when fished with loosefed maggots, is brilliant and gives you the chance of catching a bonus chub or two as well.
RIVER MAGGOT FEEDER RIG
Perfect for introducing small consignments of bait into tight spots such as overhanging snags where the fish lurk, the maggot feeder is also perfect for catching roach in clear river conditions when groundbait may prove to be a bit of a turn-off.
Regular casting, say every five minutes, will build up a stream of bait in the peg, which in turn will draw roach from downstream over time. When it works, the maggot feeder should produce bites within seconds of it hitting bottom.