3lb 1oz River Thames roach

The River Thames has produced one of the biggest roach of 2012 in the shape of this huge 3lb 1oz specimen.

It had been Matt Davies’ ambition to catch a redfin over the 2lb mark from his local stretch of the waterway around Oxford since he first picked up a rod at the age of two, and he set about making his dream a reality by baiting one of his favourite swims with a bed of hemp and mixed particles with the help of a bait dropper.

The tactic proved to be a big hit with the resident roach population and his simple groundbait feeder rig, that featured a banded pellet on a size 18 hook, was soon fooling fish up to 1lb 8oz.
But the 29-year-old had to wait until towards the end of his session for the all-important bite which saw him smash his previous personal best for the species by 1lb 7oz and come within 4oz of breaking the current river record.

“I don’t need to tell anyone how rare a 3lb roach is, so as soon as I realised what I was attached to it was hard not to rush things and try to get it in the net as quickly as possible,” Matt told Angling Times.

“There’s no doubt that this fish will be close to the record in a few months time. This is a great sign for the river and on my last short session I caught six roach and not one of them was less than 1lb,” he added.

The Thames is just one of a string UK running water venues, including the rivers Trent and Avon, in which roach are making a comeback.

Drennan International’s assistant director, Gary Barclay, has fished the Thames all of his life and says that the roach sport in 2012 is as good as it has ever been.
“Both specimen and competition anglers have been spoilt on the river so far this season as the extra flow and colour in the water has seen the roach fishing surpass all expectations,” he said.
“I caught 19lb of roach in a match the other day and the number of weights taken over the 20lb barrier has been phenomenal. There are so many big fish coming through that there’s never been a better time to be on the river.”