The biggest roach of the season – a giant weighing 3lb 11oz – has been caught this week.
After travelling to venues up and down the country in search of a new personal best, Daniel Woolcott finally struck gold at Highbridge Fishery in Norfolk on the first session of his latest winter campaign.
Last year Daniel landed a flurry of fish to 2lb 10oz from the same venue, prompting the Londoner to return for a second season targeting the big roach that inhabit the six-acre lake.
Setting up for his first trip of the winter, he fished a helicopter feeder rig a couple of rodlengths out in a shallow area of the venue, with sweetcorn on the hook.
His rodtip didn’t move for several hours, but just after midnight Daniel had an unexpected take.
He told Angling Times: “The biggest fish tend to kite off straight away and that is exactly what happened, so I knew I was into something special. As soon as it went into the net, I knew that I had finally beaten my previous roach personal best of 2lb 11oz.
“Strangely, I’d joked with the venue manager when I arrived that I would be calling him in the middle of the night to take pictures of a 3lb-plus roach, and so it proved!”
Daniel, who had earmarked a large chunk of his winter fishing time for targeting big roach, added: “To land one of this size on my first session of the campaign is almost beyond belief. I had intended to spend three nights at the venue, but I packed up soon afterwards to go and spend time with my family and have a beer.
“I don’t think I’ll be going back to Highbridge for a while, as it will be extremely tough to beat this fish. I am now going to switch my attentions to pike and perch.”
Daniel wasn’t the only man to set a new roach personal best this week in less than ideal conditions – Matthew Fernandez (left) raised the bar with a 2lb 8oz fish from the River Itchen. The Hampshire rod has been a venue regular for more than 15 years but had never banked a 2lb-plus redfin, despite many attempts.
He finally set the record straight when the fish fell for his double maggot hookbait presented underneath a 3BB stick float.
Matthew said: “I’d had fish over 1lb earlier in the session, but then I was left absolutely gutted after something much more substantial slipped the hook at the net.
“I thought my chances of a giant were gone, so to land this fish shortly afterwards really made my day.”
His successful rig was made up of 3lb mainline to a 1.5lb hooklength and a size 18 Drennan Super Specialist hook.