Feeder tactics account for year's best roach

Specimen hunter Alan Stagg continued his rich vein of form this week with the capture of the season’s biggest roach, a giant weighing 3lb 8oz.

The Hampshire-based big-fish ace used maggot feeder tactics to take the huge fish, which came right at the end of his visit to a southerm stillwater.

Here, Alan explains how one bite turned a blank session into a memorable one...

“I had booked Friday off work so, after arriving home on Thursday evening, I had a quick bite to eat before loading my gear into the van. After battling through the rush-hour traffic I finally arrived at the venue around 10pm and could see it was deserted.

“With the pick of the swims, I chose an open-water area, requiring a cast of 50yds, and by the time I’d finally got the rods sorted it was close to midnight.

“On Friday I woke at 6.30am to a hard frost coating everything. Roach in this pit, like in many others, tend to show at dawn and dusk, so after not spotting anything I feared the worst. The next morning was a repeat performance, with a thick frost. I thought about packing away and heading off somewhere else.

“I checked the weather on my phone and, thankfully, it showed that from Saturday evening onwards, things were looking up, with no overnight frost and temperatures a few degrees higher on the Sunday. If the roach were going to feed, then I thought this might be my little window of opportunity.

“Sunday came around and, to my amazement, I sat there all day without seeing a fish roll, despite the improved weather. By 3pm I had packed away my kit, apart from the rods, when finally I saw a roach roll right over the top of one of my rods.

“I decided to give it one more hour then head off home. Just before dusk I had three bleeps on my alarm, the bobbin dropped back before pulling back up tight, so I struck and was into a fish.

“The fight was ponderous and slow – in cold conditions it’s difficult, when the fish are so dormant, to tell the size. It was only as it came up the marginal shelf towards the net that I could see just how big it was!

“After weighing it at 3lb 8oz, it struck me just how fine the line between success and failure had been. One minute I was on the verge of going home, and the next, ‘bang!’, the rod goes off and I’ve got a new personal best!”