Just 10 years after being ‘devoid’ of them, the Trent is now being hailed as the best roach river in Britain thanks to a surge in bumper match weights and specimen catches.
Monster barbel might have grabbed the headlines on the Trent over recent years, but roach have taken over this summer with better-than-ever catches since the season opened.
Nottingham & District Federation AS regularly hold matches on their Clifton Bridge and Powergen stretches of the river and double-figure nets of roach and dace are now featuring in evening knock-ups.
The society’s match secretary Neil Pitfield thinks there are several reasons for the resurgence of roach on the river.
“In the mid-1990s to early 2000s you really couldn’t get a bite from a roach on the Trent, but 10 years ago it started to pick up,” he said.
“Whether it was due to the roach getting used to the turbines on the numerous weirs dotted across the Trent I’m not sure, but as soon as the penny dropped anglers started catching huge bags of them.
“The river match weights now often exceed the 20lb barrier but pleasure anglers who are fishing hemp and tares are regularly catching 30lb-40lb bags on certain pegs. It’s fishing better than ever for roach!
“Barbel anglers introduce a lot of pellets and boilies which the roach thrive on, but the combination of no floods and hot weather has meant roach fry have boomed, leading to some excellent catches in our matches and others all over the river.”
Alongside numbers of roach, specimen-sized fish are also making an appearance for many pleasure anglers of late.
Daiwa and Nutrabaits-backed ace Alfie Naylor managed to hook a fine 2lb 10oz example during his latest trip to a middle reach of the waterway.
He fished a light feeder setup using 3lb line straight through with a Daiwa Powermesh 1.5oz tip, size 16 Gamakatsu hook and a simple banded 8mm River Plus pellet to tempt a bite.
“I honestly thought these hook baits were far too big for roach, but how wrong was I!” he said.
“I landing several good roach to just under 1lb and then at last knockings I landed my personal best at 2lb 10oz – a fish that turned my legs to jelly!”
Trent regular David Jones also enjoyed a bumper day on his local stretch of the Trent where he banked no fewer than 100lb of roach and chub, topped by a brace of 2lb redfins.
Regularly casting a 20g feeder loaded with groundbait, hemp and casters, with two casters nicked onto a size 16 hook, ensured bites kept coming with a 2lb 4oz roach proving to be the best of the day.
He said: “It was an area where I’d previously enjoyed some fantastic summer days for roach but the brace of two pounders definitely topped it for me.”