Fact file

  • The Latin name for roach is rutilus rutilus.
  • Roach are among the most well distributed of all coarse fish and our found in most venues.
  • Some roach shoals can be huge – especially with juvenile fish.
  • A 2lb roach is still considered to be an extremely noteworthy specimen.
  • The British roach record stands at 4lb 4oz and was caught by Keith Berry from a stillwater in Northern Ireland in 2006
Where are they?

Roach are one of the most widespread species of all the UK’s coarse fish and are prevalent throughout Great Britain. They are equally at home in stillwater and river environments.

How to recognise roach

The roach is silvery in appearance, with a blue-ish hue across its back. Its eye is orange and each of its fins are a brilliant red.

A beautiful fish, it is often confused with the rudd. This species share many similar characteristics with the roach – apart from one very clear difference, which enables the angler to tell them apart.

The rudd has a protruding lower lip (enabling to such food items from the water’s surface) whereas the lips of a roach are level.

The biggest roach ever caught in UK waters was a 4lb 4oz fish taken by Keith Berry from a stillwater in Northern Ireland in 2006.

Where to look for roach

Roach are that well spread through all our water courses that they are extremely popular with anglers. Often, if there is nothing else willing to feed, roach will have a go.

This is especially true of small fish but they do occasionally become a nuisance, particularly on venues where they are in such great numbers food becomes scarce and the fish become stunted.

The Hampshire Avon – it’s roach country!

Ponds, lakes, gravel pits, drains, canals and rivers – you name it, roach live there.

Finding bigger roach – those that reach more than 1lb weight – is a much bigger challenge, though. Stillwaters are probably the best bet, with some gravel pits holding fish of specimen weight. Often these fish have grown big by eating high protein baits like boilies introduced by carp anglers.

Big river roach are becoming increasingly rare. Predation by both cormorants and otters has meant locating them is a harder job than ever.

So what do roach eat?

Roach like to grub around on the bottom looking for crustaceans, bloodworms, aquatic plants and over detritus. But they will happily feed throughout the water layers, too. This is especially true in warmer conditions when they like to come to the surface and roll – a sight that enables the angler to pin-point their precise location.

How do I catch roach?

Maggots are hard to beat as a roach bait. Fish one on the hook and feed a pinch every put-in or cast to achieve success.

Roach love hempseed.

Hemp is also another great favourite with roach. These tiny seeds mimic the water snails that form the basis of the species’ natural diet – and that can make them deadly as both feed and hookbait. Pole tactics, employing a fine line and small hook combination, are best when hemp fishing.

Those in search of bigger roach should look to baits like a lump of breadflake, a lobworm tail or, on venues where they have been eating food introduced for specimen carp, mini boilies can also work well.

Go and target roach now!

The G Max 700 16m pole – pure class

Perhaps the most effective way of catching roach is with a pole. A pole provides the best presentation, enabling pin-point accuracy and direct contact with the terminal tackle. These can range hugely in price and for those on a budget, the Avanti 12.5m GTR Carbon 1250 pole is amazing value while anglers wanting something with a better performance, the G-MAX 700 16m pole is a good option.

Kit you pole up with the correct elastic

The pole will need elasticating, and something soft will be needed for roach. This Avanti Bi-Core Hollow elastic in a 5-8 rating is a good place to start.

When it comes to rigs, buying them ready-made is an excellent short-cut, with bundles like the Pantera Match All-Round Barbless Ready Rigs able to cater for a number of different scenarios.

The Avanti Gear Box seatbox – just £40

If you are going to pole fish, a seat box is essential. You need to be comfortable holding up a long length of carbon so a stable platform is essential. One like the Avanti Gear Box Seat Box is both superb value and capable of doing the job.

You’ll need a landing net too – and the Avanti Electron Blue 20ins Competition landing net is is lightweight yet well-built and perfect for the job.

The Image Bread Punch Board – a great gadget for just £6

When it comes to bait, maggots and casters are brilliant on the hook – but don’t ignore bread, especially in winter. The Image Bread Punch Board is absoultely brilliant – and at £6, amazing value for money.

Now see the tackle in action

*Learn superb feeder tips and catch more roach