River Roach

October 8, 2014by Dave ArmstrongBaitsFishing

My canal background has found me enjoying many an afternoon fishing hemp for roach.T he fast bites and quick action never fails to cocoon me into my own little world. Tares are a well know switch bait to hemp. These tend to pull out a slightly better stamp of fish as well as offer a stand out bait should the roach not really be on it. Over the past few years I have been using tiny little dark pellet hook bait over the hemp with great success. The idea first came when I coloured some grains of corn black and fished that over my hemp on the Leeds to Liverpool and nailed some good skimmers, bream and lovely roach. More recent times has found me using dark soft pellets in the same way, mainly in the colder months on commercials and some lakes where i’m after silvers and maybe the odd carp, but now I have a new favourite. Marukyu’s JPz Black Hook Pellets.

I have a jar of 8mm and 6mm of these in my bag and often try slipping one of these little beauties on after an hour or so of building the swim. I’ve found that if i’m not getting that many bites, this smelly dark parcel of juicy goodness can win me a few. On the other side of the coin, if the fish are feeding and I slip one on, a better stamp of fish can be found (usually).

For example, recently I have been exploring the river with the core base of my feed being hemp. The river is deep and hemp is perfect for my needs. Its heavy so sinks fast and is in my opinion still the best holding bait out there for most species. Depending on the target species its been paired with ground bait mixes, casters, corn, worm, pinkies, maggots and even on its own with mole hill soil. I’ve been targeting everything from bream, roach, dace to chub and perch mainly on pole lines up to 14 meter and tip work but the one constant has been hemp.

Last week I was getting bites on hemp that I just couldn’t hit and was getting frustrated. The switch to caster found me getting shelled or a tiny pair of eyes would be attached to the hook, greedy little fists. I guessed the small roach, bleak and tiny dace were nabbing at the bait on the drop and in around 10 feet of water and a good tow on it was difficult to work out what level to fish at. I tried a number of things such as push my olivette further down the line and bulk it up more to try and see if there was anything better down on the deck. I then went balls deep and opted for a soil / roach X mix laced with caster, 3 good sized balls and two cups of hemp over the top. This was to either push the fish down or push the eyes out of the swim. Either or, at this stage I wasn’t to concerned. Once this went it took 10 mins to get a bite but when they did come the bites slowed but a rhythm was formed. Allow my rig to hold up just before the feed area and bang a bite and if not trot through and a bite would then follow. With so much hemp down there I swopped from caster on the hook to a JPz Black 6mm on my small 20’s hook. The speed that the bites came didn’t really change to be honest, the quality of bite did though. A lot more of a positive bite. A chain of nice roach at around 8oz to 12oz soon followed all on the JPz Blacks. I’m confident to say that these fish on this river wouldn’t have seen these before but they took them and took them well. I was fishing at 14 meter at this stage and and hour before dark I cupped in a full cup of caster and two cups of hemp to my left at around 6 meters, just over the near shelf. Depth wise was still around 6 foot. My first look down there found a dream fish for me, a stunning lump of roach. My personal best but with no scales I can’t claim it accurately. It was over a pound and a half and would love to say pushed two but can’t without the scales. I took 6 roach in 40 minutes on the JPz’s. Four of which pushed over the pound mark and two around 8oz. Has to be said, I was absolutely made up with my

Now, i’m not saying I wouldn’t have got these fish on caster or any other bait but what it has done has given me confidence in this product. If roach on a natural water will nail them then they will work anywhere. Think I’ll actually do a review on these when I have tried them else where.

So to actually sum up river this last couple of weeks, it has got a bit harder then on recent visits. Not sure if its to do with the temperatures, weather or not the stretches that i’m trying is always harder or if i’m just not fishing as well. That said, I’ve still had my best ever roach in over 20 years of angling and there is still great sport to be had. The quality of the fish is a pleasure to see.