A trio of 3lb-plus roach topped by a near four- pounder suggests now is the perfect time to target a personal best.
All three fish were banked in a manic five-day window – proof that big roach are now packing-on weight ahead of their annual spawning period.
We start with Wiltshire-based angler Mark Woodage who is no stranger to catching big roach having won two weekly Drennan Cup awards for catches in the 2018/19 season.
His success continued further when his most recent session produced the year’s biggest roach in the form of a 3lb 14oz beauty.
The Mark-One-Media man targeted an undisclosed southern gravel pit during his session and finally had a tentative bite after hours of inactivity.
He said: “I was fishing a spot at 60yds with Drennan maggot feeder bombs fished over a bed of Bait-Tech chilli hemp.
“After spending the whole day bite-less I was thinking I must be in the wrong area but just as I was starting to pack up my alarm signalled a single blip, which showed a drop back of about one inch.
“A good strike confirmed it wasn’t a crayfish and very slowly I brought the fish towards me during which time the typical thuds on the rod tip confirmed a roach was the likely casualty.
“In the crystal clear water I got first site of what was obviously a huge fish.
“I just became a wreck, shaking and praying that we kept in contact.”
Thankfully, Mark’s fears weren’t to be realised and soon he was able to slip the net under a new personal best.
“Thankfully the size 18 wide gape hook was firmly embedded in the roach’s lip,” Mark added.
“I called big fish angler Andy Cowley who was fishing a couple of swims away and asked him to witness the weighing which he kindly did for me.”
Second on the list of big roach catches was a fin-perfect 3lb 4oz specimen taken by Daniel Woolcott.
Similarly to Mark, the London-based specimen hunter also targeted a large Southern gravel pit and cast a 50g cage feeder to a spot at 50yds.
He said: “On my first night I managed a perfect roach weighing 3lb 4oz which was followed by a 2lb 12oz and 2lb 2oz brace.”
All three fish were caught on red maggots on a size 18 hook with short helicopter rigs and 5lb fluorocarbon hooklinks.
The last of the three specimen roach reported fell to Lancashire rod Paul Houghton in the form of a 3lb 1oz fish.
The all-round specialist journeyed the length of the country to fish a southern stillwater and just like Mark and Daniel decided to target the silverfish at distance with feeder tackle.
“I fished two rods over a lightly baited area of hemp, corn and dark groundbait at 50 yards,” Paul said.
“My rigs were 35g Drennan feeder bombs, 3ins 5lb Drennan Supplex hooklinks and red maggot or corn was used on the hook.
“These tactics helped me catch two roach weighing 2lb 10oz but the 3lb 1oz specimen was by far the best – beating my old personal best by 3oz!”