My roach kit hasn’t been out too much during the winter that just past, simply because I was engrossed in predator fishing and, with limited time, I couldn’t fish for everything – although I do try at times!
Over the last couple of years, I have discovered the feeding times of big gravel pit roach change throughout the season. Most of the big roach I’ve caught in the depths of winter would be caught after dark. However, come March, for some reason they become more catchable during the day time. So, the plan was to wait for the rivers to close and then dust down the roach kit – and I’m so glad I did!
I’m not going to describe each and every capture of big roach but, to give an idea of what I experienced, I managed 14 roach over 3lb in five day-only trips. This was topped by probably the best day’s roaching ever, where I landed six fish over 3lb. The exact weights were 3lb 2oz, 3lb 5oz, 3lb 6oz, 3lb 8.5oz, 3lb 10oz, and 3lb 12oz. This isn’t even to mention several back up twos. I would think this is the first time six 3lbers have ever been caught in a single day, and that the 3lb 10oz and 3lb 12oz could possibly be the largest UK brace? It was an absolute dream come true for me!
I change my approach during the spring for catching big roach. During the colder months, I’ve nearly always used maggots; nothing fancy, just white maggots combined with the Korum Heli Rig Kits and Maggot feeders. But, come March, the lake becomes much more active – meaning that as soon as my maggot hookbaits are cast out, a small roach has taken them. So, the maggot feeders are swapped for Plug-it feeders and the hook bait is a hair rigged 12mm Code Red boilie. Another noticeable difference is the amount of bait I feed during the spring. A winter roach day session would consist of 3-4 pints of maggots and maybe a pint of casters. A day in the spring would be 3-4kg of SonuBaits explosive feeder groundbait, 1kg of sweetcorn, 1kg 12mm Code Red boilies, 3-4 pints of maggots, 2 pints of caster, and possibly 1kg of pellets.
The groundbait feeders are regularly recast to keep the swim topped up and I will feed a mix of boilies, corn, maggots, pellets, and casters via a spod over the feeders. There are huge shoals of roach and bream in the lake and they will soon clear the bait out if you don’t keep topping the swim up. Even though it’s applied little and often throughout the day, it’s surprising how much bait I can get through during a day.
It still hasn’t really sunk in catching six 3lbers in a day. I can remember driving mile upon mile and fishing well into dark on freezing cold winter nights in the hope of catching a 2lb roach and a 3lber was considered the holy grail! It goes to prove that you never quite know what’s around the corner in this fishing lark and I have been well and truly spoilt roach wise! I never thought the day would come when I slipped upper twos back without taking a picture.
The tackle I use is extremely simple. The Korum Ready Heli Kit allows you to easily create a helicopter rig that is perfect for roach. It won’t tangle, and create a bolt-effect to help hook the fish. Onto this I simply attach a short 3ins hooklink of Korum Dropshot Fluorocarbon in 6lb. Fished on 6lb Korum Feeder Line this makes a very balanced set up that will fool any specimen roach. I’ve even landed carp to over 40lb on the same setup!