I have been targeting a small irrigation lake for some big roach this year and have had mixed success with a few blanks and some cracking fish to 2lb 2oz. The target is a 3lb plus fish and this lake in question is more then capable of producing specimen roach of this calibre.
On arrival to the lake it was clear that the water level was up considerably and although it still wasn’t high enough to fish from the actual bank the conditions were better than on my previous session. The water was clear and with the temperature at seventeen degrees the fish had to be moving about. The downfall to the unprecedented warm winter weather was that the small fish were still very active. This ruled out the possibility of using maggots and kept me awake for most of the night attending to shorts bleeps on the bite alarms.
I had planned to fish a two night session using the same rigs and bait I have had success on in the past. Small hook links fished helicopter style incorporating mini booms fished with sweetcorn directly on the hook. Although at times the sweetcorn is picked off the hook by the smaller fish I am yet to have one take plastic bait and so feel more confident fishing with the real stuff. It can make the fishing tiring having to recast every few hours through darkness to ensure you always have bait on the hook but in my opinion it is well worth the effort. On each cast and renewal of bait I topped up the swim with a couple of handfuls of corn followed by a generous helping of hemp.
On the first day I managed a few small roach with a couple pushing the pound mark. All were beautiful fish and in excellent condition. It wasn’t until around 4pm when the action really picked up and the swim came alive. I began to get numerous bites on all rods and managed a few more fish over a pound but still no 2s. At around 10pm I received a slow take that held the bobbin tight to the rod. I felt the line and received a pull back confirming a fish was on the other end. Lifting into it I could tell straight away that this was a better fish but was concerned that a bream may have been the culprit. After a few head shakes followed by the fish kiting right I was beginning to think I may have hooked a monster roach after all and my suspicions were confirmed when a large sliver flank broke the surface reflecting the light from my head torch. Concentrating hard not to lose it I nursed the fish into the waiting landing net and sighed relief.
Looking down I could see it was a big fish and thought it may go 3lb plus which would have been a very special roach indeed. I weighed the fish and at 2lb 10oz and I was chuffed to bits with what turns out to by my second biggest roach falling 1oz short of a 2lb 11oz roach caught in Scotland.
The session flew by and I managed another fish of 1lb 8oz
before it was time to head back to Kent with a big smile on my face. I am looking to get back to the lake in February for a week and try to catch an elusive 3lb roach.