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How To Catch Roach

The roach (Rutilus rutilus) is a member of the Cyprinidae family of freshwater fish. This breed of fish is widely distributed throughout Europe and the western part of Asia. The fish has a number of distinguishing features. It is a lustrous dark brown or grey in colour with a much paler coloured underside. Its body has 42 to 45 large scales in the lateral line and its dorsal fin is directly above the base of its pelvic fins The fish's other distinctive feature is its red irises, giving rise to the nickname 'redeye'.

These fish are often found in the same waters as rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus) and look quite similar to them. Three slightly differing features allow differentiation of the two species; the rudd's eyes have yellowy orange irises rather than red irises, its mouth curves upwards and its dorsal fin lies further towards the rear of its back. To complicate matters further, these two species sometimes interbreed, causing further difficulties in identification of some specimens.


This type of fish is relatively small with a slim profile and a long narrow tail fin. Specimens rarely exceed 14 inches (36.5 cm) in length and 2? lb (1 kg) in weight. The UK record is 4 lb 3 oz (1.9 kg) for a fish caught in 1990.Many anglers contend that most of the larger specimens that have been caught are, in fact, hybrids rather than the pure breed and lively discussions have taken place on this topic on various angling websites and online bulletin boards.

How And Where To Catch Roach

These fish are found in many waters including rivers, canals, lakes and ponds. Their preference is for water around 6 to 9 feet (2 to 3 m) deep, with a certain amount of aquatic weeds for cover.

Breeding Habits

This variety of fish spawns between April and June. The water temperature must reach at least 12c before spawning takes place. A mature healthy female can lay up to 100,000 eggs in a season. The eggs are yellow and stick to plants, algae and submerged tree roots. They hatch after 9 to 12 days. The fish take up to 3 years to reach maturity.


Even though the normal diet of these fish is varied, including algae, insects, insect larvae, annelid worms and small aquatic invertebrates, the fish are not always easy to catch because they have the knack of 'throwing' the hook when taking the bait.Worms and maggots are the most popular baits, although some anglers claim good results with bread, sweet corn and hempseed particle baits. Boiled baits (boilies) and cubes of processed meat are less effective as bait because they tend to be too big for this type of fish to swallow easily.


Float fishing is by far the most common method for catching these fish. A 13 foot (396 cm) coarse fishing road would be ideal for most water conditions. The choice of float depends on the kind of water being fished. In fast flowing waters a stick float is usually the most effective type, whereas in stiller waters, waggler floats are more appropriate.


These fish are well known for being reluctant to take the hook, so anglers try to counteract this trait by using a number of different rigs. The most straightforward option of just baiting a hook attached to the end of a fishing line does not often produce a satisfactory outcome. Anglers have created a variety of different rigs to attach to the end of the line, in order to tempt the fish on to the hook.

Ledgering Rig

If you attach a baited hook near to a lead weight or a swivel, then you create a ledgering rig. This type of rig is not without problems because, all too often, the lead weight falls off at the critical moment when the fish is starting to take the bait.

Hair Rig

The idea behind the hair rig is amazingly simple. The bait is attached to a delicate 'hair' line, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the hook. When the fish starts to chew the bait it doesn't immediately feel the hook on its lips, but as it continues to eat more of the bait it then, hopefully, becomes hooked.

Bolt Rig

When many fish pick up a baited hook, their first reaction will be to bolt, in order to try to extricate the hook from their mouth by force. The way that the bolt rig works is by having a lead weight on the line which causes the hook to become more deeply embedded in the mouth of the fish, the harder it pulls. The main disadvantage of the bolt rig is that if the line breaks as a result of snagging, the fish can end up swimming around with a lead weight attached to its lip, resulting in it being unable to feed itself, with the final outcome being death due to starvation.

Helicoptor Rig

The helicopter rig is made up of a fixed torpedo or pear shaped lead weight at the end of the main line, above which is a trace fixed to this line by a rotating bead, that is able to rotate freely around the main line, leading to the description 'helicopter'. This type of rig really come into its own when fishing above mud or aquatic vegetation, because the weight on the end of the line can sink down but still leave the hook in good position well above any potential obstructions.

Books And Websites On How To Catch Roach

A number of books have been written about this type of fishing. The definitive book on the subject is 'The Complete Book of the Roach' by Mark Everard (ISBN 1899600574). This book covers the subject from all angles. It includes information about habitat, ecology, angling techniques, fishery management, technology, research, art, gastronomy and literature associated with the species.Another slightly older book of this genre that is also worth reading is 'Roach: The Gentle Giants' by John Bailey (ISBN 1852230355).Many other more general books about coarse fishing contain chapters about this type of fishing. In addition, angling magazines and their associated websites cover the topic in great depth. Shortage of resources should not be an issue for people interested in this type of fishing!




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