Unfortunately, very few waters contain big roach.
There are just a few waters that continually produce roach upwards of 2lbs, in most other fisheries, you will be lucky to find fish much over 12ozs.
Often said, it is better to fish for large roach in a water that contains many predators such as Perch, Zander and Pike. This may be due to the numbers being kept down, so that the small fish are not overcrowded or “stunted”.
There is obviously another argument to this – that Pike would eat the larger roach as easily as the small ones, and many large roach waters contain few predators.
The safest bet is to fish a water where you know large roach have been caught in the past, such as the famous Royalty Fisheries in Christchurch.
Roach seem to be happy feeding at night or day, they are also willing to take bait in very cold water. It is however very unusual for them to feed on very hot days.
Try fishing for roach on light tackle. A float-fished small bait is usually a good start. It is not normally necessary to fish with a strong line (no stronger than 3lbs bs), as roach are seldom found near muddy water beds which are covered with reeds or water-lilies. They tend to prefer gravel beds where weeds etc are easier on light tackle.
Quite often it is necessary to move away from small baits when fishing for big roach, especially if there are too many small fish about. Fishing on the bottom using a swimfeeder packed with maggots and groundbait can be more effective, but if the smaller fish are still taking the bait, switch to a lump of bread paste or a large worm.
When using groundbait for bigger roach, make sure it sinks to the bottom before breaking up, as cloudy groundbait will just attract small fish.
NOTE: Most large roach these days are caught by anglers fishing for other species such as carp, barbel or tench. The best roach that I’ve ever caught were taken on tiger nuts, a very hard bait which I had always previously believed would only be taken by large carp.


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