River yields lifetime best roach of 3lb

Floatfishing enthusiast Keith Speer achieved a feat many anglers could only dream of when he banked this 3lb roach from a Hertfordshire river.

Despite less than ideal conditions with strong winds and bright sunshine, the St. Albans-based

specimen hunter was determined to try his luck and presented a single red maggot on a size 18 Drennan Super Specialist hook and a 3lb hooklink under a Dave Harrell 10 No.4 wire stem stickfloat.

Feeding a mixture of 6-10 red and white maggots every run through he took several chub to 4lb from close to the nearside margin but a switch to the far bank reed line put him in touch with his target species.

“In the afternoon the water coloured up a little and a bit of cloud cover provided me with much better conditions to catch a big roach,” explained Keith.

Severe gusts made accurately placing the float in his favoured area difficult but when he eventually made the mark he was rewarded with what many would consider the fish of a lifetime.

“I missed a bite and on the next run through it buried again - I thought it was a chub as it instantly tried to get in the snags. Shortly afterwards I saw the red fin flash in the water and my heart started pounding as I knew it was a big roach.

“There wasn’t a great hook hold so I tired it out in the main flow so that it wouldn’t make one last dash for freedom before it was netted. Once on the bank it was clear I’d beaten my previous best of 2lb 12oz and it was hard to hide my excitement.”

The capture marked Keith’s 99th 2lb-plus roach from a river and he is confident he will soon take his tally into triple figures. He concluded: “I know there are bigger roach in the river and I’ll be going all out to increase my pb again.”