Fact file

  • The rudd’s Latin name is scardinius erythrophthalmus
  • The rudd is often confused with roach. Check for an underslung mouth to verify it’s the real thing
  • They are a species that love rich, clear and overgrown venues
  • Many of the Fenland drains in Cambridgeshire are home to huge rudd
  • The British record stands at 4lb 10oz and was caught by Simon Parry from a stillwater in Northern Ireland in 2001.
Where are they?

Although small rudd are still fairly widespread, bigger fish are becoming increasingly rare. They can still be found in gravel pits and drains in the midlands.

How to recognise rudd

The mature rudd is a stunning creature, with deep golden flanks and vivid red fins. But in its infancy – it’s easy to confuse the species with a roach. The only sure way of telling the difference is study the mouths – the roach has lips that close together level, whereas the rudd has an underslung bottom lip.

The body of the rudd is also deeper than that of the roach, although this is only really apparent when the fish grow to a bigger size.

Check the eye, too. The eye of a rudd is a yellow to orange colour, whereas the roach has one that is red.

The biggest rudd to be caught in the UK weighed in at 4lb 10oz. It was taken from a stillwater in Northern Ireland.

Where to look for rudd

Once widespread throughout many venues across the UK, rudd are much less abundant nowadays.

The Cambridgeshire drains still hold big rudd.

They can still be found in stillwaters and drains and they prefer venues that are overgrown and rich in aquatic life.

Big, clear gravel pits are also often home to rudd, sometimes very big ones.

So what do rudd eat?

Rudd love to feed off the surface. If you study their mouths, you can see how they are perfectly designed to suck down food items off the top.

All manner of insect life form part of the rudd’s diet, although they will also eat crustaceans and weed, too.

How can I catch rudd?

If you want to catch rudd, the most effective way is with a float. They can be caught on feeder and lead tactics but these are less successful – and nowhere near as much fun!

Maggots are hard to beat when rudd are the target.

Fish the smallest clear waggler you can get away with and put all the shot around the base of the float. Now fish a few feet deep on the drop with a single maggot on the hook. Feed maggots over the top.

Rudd can also be caught on baits like sweetcorn and bread, as well as being suckers for a small piece of crust fished on the surface.

Go and target rudd now!

The most effective way of catching rudd – should you be able to find them – is with floatfishing tactics. Summer is undoubtedly the best time of the year, largely because the species is active in the upper layers of the water where they like to use their underslung mouth to take hatching insects from the surface. It’s during this period when the angler can target rudd up-in-the-water.

The Garbolino Mayhem Match Waggler ‘Light’ – a top class float fishing rod

To do this correctly, a light waggler rod is the first piece of kit that’s required. If your budget can stretch to it, the beautiful Garbolino ‘Light’ 13ft Mayhem Match Waggler rod is ideal. However, if you’re looking for something slightly cheaper, but no less effective, then the Avanti Equalizer 12ft Float Rod is a good place to start.

Finesse rather than power is what’s required with rudd because even though they put up a good account of themselves, they are rarely caught beyond 2lb in weight. With this in mind, marry your choice of rod with something like the Avanti RD4000 Excellence reel or the Trabucco ASAHI NRT 4000. Both offer superb performance at a fantastic price.

Avanti Ultra-Tech Clear Float Line packs are a sound investment

Load your reel with a mainline no greater than 4lb – the Avanti Ultra-Tech Clear Float Line is exceptional value at just £15 for six 250m spools of various breaking strain. And when it comes to hooks, ready-tied hooks to nylon are a great choice and make life easy. Go for Kamasan B911s in size 18 to 3.6lb line.

Next you’ll need the right floats. A simple waggler set-up is ideal – these Image Original Insert Wagglers offer superb value at just £4.50 for a pack of four – and place the bulk of the shot around the base of the float. You’re looking for your hookbait to fall through the water in the same manner as your freebies so there’s no need to put anything other than a dust shot between the float and hook.

Kamasan catapults offer reliability. Save money and get them from Dragon Carp Direct

The key to catching up-in-the-water is feeding. Fish a single or double maggot on the hook then keep firing maggots over the top. This must be done every cast because you’re looking to draw the fish up and get them competing for every grub.

A good catapult is therefore essential, and Kamasan Catapults offer exceptional performance at a great price.

Now watch the tackle in action

*Avanti RD4000 Excellence reel – get yours for just £20