Historic roach haul taken from Lochnaw Castle Loch

A FATHER and son duo has shared one of the biggest catches of specimen roach in angling history from the venue widely tipped to break the British record for the species.

Allan and Neil Billington were rewarded for making the 350-mile round trip from their home near Lancaster to Lochnaw Castle Loch Fishery in south west Scotland where they braved horrendous weather conditions to bank 21 roach over 2lb 5oz, including five over 3lb to a best of 3lb 4oz.

Most of the pair’s fish came from clean areas between weedbeds at short to medium range, where Allan (59) and Neil (27) presented helicopter swimfeeder rigs with white or red maggots on the hook. 

“It’s an amazing place. Prior to going up there for the first time, I spent five years on a water near home after big roach, and only managed them to 2lb 11oz. You can catch fish of that stamp for fun at Lochnaw!” said Allan, who used rigs made from 8lb mainline, 4lb hooklinks and size 14 hooks.

“I was playing what turned out to be a three-pounder, when my other rod went and I had to ask the fishery manager Kevin McArdle to pick up the rod and strike. That fish turned out to be the biggest of the lot, but I’m not counting it because I didn’t play it from start to finish! Nevertheless, it still shows what a remarkable stock of fish is present, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if somebody caught an absolute whacker in a few weeks’ time. The lake produced a fish of 3lb 13oz last November – that roach could easily be over the British record already.”

Kevin McArdle told Angling Times: “What made the catch particularly impressive was the conditions. For much of their time on the loch the lads had to endure howling gales, with winds gusting up to 70mph causing a severe undertow making line lay, bite indication and casting accuracy a complete lottery. So to catch as they did, when the loch had been fishing very hard of late anyway, was a terrific feat of angling.”

*For more info on the venue, log on to www.lochnawcastle.co.uk