The Roach is a member of the Carp family with relatively large scales firmly embedded in it's skin. It has a dark brown or grey back with a bluish or greenish lustre, silvery white sides and a white belly. The Roach is one of the commonest fish in UK waters and can be found in stillwaters, canals and rivers, where it feeds on crustaceans, aquatic plants and detritus. The Roach is generally found living in shoals and often feeds at all levels.
Methods of Capture. Float fished and legered baits will catch Roach. Steady loose feeding will tempt the shoal to feed and become confident. Popular baits are maggot, castors, small redworms and bread either punch or flake. Other baits that can be used are hempseed, tares, sweetcorn and bloodworm.
A float such as a waggler with small shot (no.6 or 8) spread evenly down the line and plumbed to allow the hook to sit on or just off the bottom, will allow the bait to fall gradually with loose feed through the water. Initially bites may well come once the bait has settled but as the Roach starts to feed often bites start to be taken whilst on the drop. Once this happens keep up with the loose feed, little and often, but shorten the depth of the main line. Be prepared to have to return it to it's original setting though should the shoal become spooked. Groundbait used sparingly can also tempt a wary shoal into feeding.
Stick floats work equally well in flowing water, again with a similar set-up.
Legered baits also need loose fed samples around the hook-bait, this is where swimfeeders come into their own. Either a closed feeder for maggots or an open ended feeder with a mix of groundbait and samples of hook-bait, cast repeatedly into the same area is an effective method.
Roach initially tend to be shy and the bites may often appear as little more than a knock or dip of the float but once they become confident the bites will become more positive. Pole fishing is particularly effective, again with a float set as above.
Fast, sucked out maggot, roach bites can be turned into fish in the net by simply side-hooking the maggot instead of through the blunt end as we normally do. As the fish possibly gain confidence through loose-feeding, they compete more and take quicker leading to positive but hard to hit bites. Experiment and see if it works for you.
Tip: When fishing for Roach feed the swim heavily before fishing. For hook bait use a cocktail of one maggot and one caster, and you will be catching both rudd and roach all day long. Though you must keep baiting the swim.