Where are the larger roach hiding?

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Where are the larger roach hiding? Empty Where are the larger roach hiding?

Post  J Robinson on Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:32 am

Wanted to pick your collective brain regarding a mystery that gets me every winter. As I've mentioned, I fish a game fishery for coarse fish. 98% of the fish are roach, with the odd micro perch and some nice tench around a pound. From April to the start of October you can quite easily catch decent numbers of decent roach (anything over 4oz I class as decent - you usually get 10-30 above 4oz in a session) as well as many smaller roach.

The water is an former quarry, about 1 1/4 acres, depth averaging 30ft but up to 45ft. I fish the shallower shelves at 8-18ft with a pole. There is little point fishing long pole as the sides are sheer and my favourite peg has a depth of 8ft 3ft from the bank just the left of where I sit and 14-15ft straight out on a 6m pole. Apart from the coarse fish, there are rainbow trout in there and a head of 60-70 brownies that get returned (they are growing well, to 10lbs now. Entertaining on the pole).

As mentioned, over summer I get plenty of larger roach. I tend to use sweetcorn to try to avoid the millions of small roach (they average 45 fish to the pound, so very small). What I can't figure out is where the larger roach hide over winter. I've been perhaps 8 times in the past two months and bagged about 2000 small roach (these get rehomed or used as pike groundbait so aren't going back in). Of those 2000 only 2 have been larger (4oz and 6oz). In summer the ratio is more like every tenth fish is decent.

Roach feed over winter. So the large roach must feed, but where and on what? Could there be bloodworm on the bottom in the depths that they are sustaining themselves on? Ledgering is tricky due to snags. Possible but tricky. I'd thought perhaps closed feeder with maggots?

It's just frustrating. Large roach are great to catch, but you do get sick of the fingerlings on the pole and I'd like to find the larger fish. I've had them to 1lb 5oz and I think they do bigger than that.

Any suggestions gratefully received!
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Post  J Robinson on Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:02 pm

No one?

It has me stumped. It's not a large water, but there are a fair few larger roach in it. I just don't understand how they are so uncatchable through winter.

The only thing I can think is that they have a viable food source on the bottom of the deeper areas through winter. Bloodworm perhaps?
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Post  adie1200 on Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:01 pm

Roach are like that in a lot of places you might find you catch more if you scale right down and using bloodworm or pinkys and feed little and often Very Happy they will be looking for the warmest part of the water which may be deeper than you have been getting them .
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Post  J Robinson on Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:22 pm

adie1200 wrote:Roach are like that in a lot of places you might find you catch more if you scale right down and using bloodworm or pinkys and feed little and often Very Happy  they will be looking for the warmest part of the water which may be deeper than you have been getting them .

Thanks for the reply!

I'm presently on size 24 hook and single maggot/pinkie. Line is 0.13 (4lb 12oz) as there are a lot of trout in there, to about 10lbs. Not sure how much lighter I want to go. If it were the canal, with the knowledge that larger fish were extremely unlikely I would scale down a lot, but I tend to average 2-3 trout per session, as well as 150-350 small roach.

The chances are that the very deep water is warmest, especially as we've had quite a cold start to winter. I suspect the deeps are still warm (not much water movement in the pond) but the surface has cooled significantly. Perhaps time to crack out the feeder rod?
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Post  J Robinson on Sun Dec 25, 2016 6:17 am

Even the smaller roach are starting to prove a little trickier to catch. They've mostly vacated the 8ft deep shelf now and are sitting in 14-15ft of water 6m out in front of me. Pole fishing at 15ft depth is OK when you've a reasonable chance of a better fish, but for tiddlers it's a pain in the blep! I went out on Thursday (in weather that I can only describe as the worst I've ever fished in, outside of a bivvy - 2-4 celsius, fairly strong breeze, showers deteriorating to persistent sleet!) and had to work hard to get 125 roach. That's about 1/3 of the normal catch rate, though did get one rainbow. No pike activity at all.
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