3lb 8oz Broads roach biggest of the year

The biggest roach of 2015 and a handful of huge river specimens have kick-started the season for one of the nation’s favourite species.
This 3lb 8oz example was caught from the prolific Broads system by carp angler Jake Baxter.
He had the surprise of his life when the only bite following eight gruelling sessions on Oulton Broad in Lowestoft, Suffolk, produced the huge specimen. It took a liking to a snowman rig baited with a trimmed-down 18mm bottom bait tipped with a smaller pop-up.
It was an offering intended to deter any roach or bream, but the 26-year-old local angler certainly wasn’t complaining when he slipped the new personal best on to the scales.
“I had a few small bleeps and pulls and then the rod screamed off.
I thought it might be a bream but it seemed to be to going too fast, then I saw the red fins, thought ‘whoa!’ and realised it was a true roach,” Jake told Angling Times.
“A couple of pike anglers came over to help me photograph it and confirmed what it was. This was a really solid fish like a chub and it was 2ins-3ins wide. Laid down on the net next to my arm it was double the length of my hand and reached more than halfway up my forearm!”.
Jake used 14lb mainline, a 15lb coated braid hooklink and a size 8 hook with a running lead set-up.
The theme of shock captures continued as a 2lb 6oz roach fell to a barbel angler on the River Ribble.
Lee Hitchon used a 15mm Source boilie to set a new personal best on the tidal section of the North West venue. It was the only bite of the day for the 30-year-old from Preston.
“The rod-tip started bouncing and I thought I had a small chub on, but then this massive roach came up. I’ve had them to 1lb 8oz before on the Ribble, but nothing like this.
“I was using a PVA bag full of micro pellets which must have attracted the roach,” said Lee.
Fishing-mad Labour MP Jon Cruddas, who is part of the All Party Parliamentary Angling Group and a supporter of the Angling Trust joined the list of anglers netting big roach when he spent a day on a chalk stream in Hampshire.
Alternating maggot and corn hookbaits, the biggest specimen of the day at 2lb 7oz fell to his fishing pal Vaughan Lewis, of Thames Water, while Jon set a new pb with a redfin tipping the scales at 2lb 2oz.
 “It was a really special day – not only did I catch my first fish on a centrepin, but I was fortunate enough to catch what most coarse anglers consider to be a fish of a lifetime,” said Jon.