Roach fishing

Where to fish for Roach

Roach inhabit most of the lakes and rivers in the UK, big Roach however are rare these days. Predation from cormorants, otters and the general decline in the condition of our waterways has led to the gradual reduction in big Roach numbers. Your best chance of catching a large roach these days is by fishing one of the many lakes and gravel pits which are spread across the UK.


How to tell a Roach from a rudd or roach.


Where to find Roach

Roach inhabit most rivers, canals and lakes in the UK.

Natural diet of Roach

The natural diet of the roach consists of various types of insects including caddis grub, nymphs, insect larvae, small water snails and tiny mussels. Although primarily a bottom feeding species, on warm days roach will often take flies and other insects from the water surface.

Big Roach

Small roach are common in both UK rivers, canals and lakes. Big roach are becoming increasingly rare, a one pound fish is considered a very nice catch while a 2lb specimen would be a target fish for many specimen roach fisherman. Pollution and predation by cormorants have had a big negative impact on big roach numbers in the UK.

Tackle to catch Roach

Use a small quality fixed spool real or, if you fancy something a little more traditional, then a centre pin. If you choose the latter make sure it has a line guard to stop those tangles on a windy day. A line of 2 -3lb or if fishing around weed where larger fish may take the bait then 4lb may be needed. 4lb may sound a little heavy by traditional standards however, the modern lines available today have a very fine diameter versus pound ratio. Drennan produce a fishing line specifically designed for float fishing and its superb. Its called simply, Float Fish.

You will also need lead free shot. Add these with the spacing displayed in the image below. Hook size will depend on the bait you use. If fishing a single maggot then then the hook could be as small as a size 22. More usually a hook size of 16 is most common and would be suitable for a wide range of baits. Float fishing is an effective method of fishing for Roach and many other species. A light float rod would finish the set-up.

Roach baits

Float fishing for Roach


A state of preoccupation can be achieved by loose feeding to many species of course fish and the roach is no different. Regular introduction of hempseed will often pursued the fish to feed near or at the surface.

When feeding in this preoccupied state all fish are easier to catch as they throw caution to the wind and become competitive over every grain. By setting the float depth fairly deep and using a bigger bait (sweetcorn for instance) you will often catch the larger, more cautious fish from a shoal which often hold back while the younger, smaller fish throwe caution to the wind and charge in.

Record Roach

The current UK Roach Record is held by a 4.4lb specimen caught by Bill Rushmer from the Tanyard Fishery, Sussex.