3lb 15oz – but is this fish a true roach?

The age-old debate regarding the identification of ‘true roach’ has been ignited again this week following the capture of this truly stunning 3lb 15oz fish by Stuart Jessop.

The fin-perfect specimen was taken during a session at a Northants stillwater, during which the 47-year-old from Lincoln was primarily targeting the venue’s tench population.

Although at first Stuart believed he had caught the roach of a lifetime, the fact that the water in question has a past history of producing big hybrids throws doubt on the authenticity of the specimen as a true redfin.

“It looks very much like a roach, and after looking at its mouth and counting the scales along its lateral line (43), it still said roach to me. However, this particular water is quite often throwing up what at a glance look like roach but are in
fact roach/rudd hybrids. I had another the other week weighing 3lb 6oz,” said Stuart.
In order to gain expert insight into the identification, Angling Times contacted the Environment Agency’s Nigel Hewlett, a specialist in such matters. He said: “It’s notoriously difficult to be certain from pictures alone, but I’m pretty sure it’s a roach/rudd hybrid. The position of the dorsal fin, the depth of the body, the size of the head and the vibrant colours in the fins all suggest that the rudd is involved in this fish. To that end, I’d be as certain as I can that it’s a hybrid. Either way, it’s a very pretty fish!”

The fact that in all probability he hasn’t caught his dream roach matters little to Stuart, who is simply delighted to have caught such a fine fish.

“These fish are absolutely superb, and whether it is a roach or a hybrid I think you’ll agree they look absolutely stunning,” said Stuart, who caught the fish on a 10mm Esterberry boilie presented on a size 14 hook and 6lb fluorocarbon hooklink.