commercial silvers worms 1

Worms - The Key to Unlocking Commercial Silvers

Worms - The Key to Unlocking Commercial Silvers

One of my favourite baits, especially in spring when the water is beginning to warm up is worm as it’s a bait that almost every fish will readily eat and on those occasions when all else fails will often get a response.

It’s not all about carp

Today I’ve come to a typical commercial fishery, Frant Lakes on the Kent/Surrey boarder, a complex of eight lakes, where most anglers target the large numbers of carp. However these lakes aren’t just about carp as they also contain a good head of slivers namely bream, roach and perch which have been caught to over 4lb.

Recipe for success

Bait for today’s session is going to be worm fished over regularly introduced helpings of chopped worm, casters and maggots. This has in the past been a recipe for success with bags of perch exceeding 30lb, many being over 2lb along with the occasional three.

Wash those worms

At the start of the session I simply feed a line down each edge along with one around ten metres out where the lake drops off into slightly deeper water. If the perch don’t show on the longer line then normally by alternating the inside line will produce. Each line is kicked off with a big Pole Cup full of chopped worms, maggots and casters and then every fifteen minutes or so these will be topped up with the same mix using a small Mini Cup. A little tip is to place a few big handfuls of worms in a fine mesh landing net and wash of all the soil they come in as this isn’t something I want to be depositing in my swim and if you lose feed here all that will happen is the carp will respond to this and potentially ruin a good perch swim.

commercial silvers worms 2

Bait consists of worms, casters, red maggots and pinkies.    

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Large Pole Cups kick start each line and the Mini Cups top them up.

commercial silvers 4

You just can’t beat the head of a worm as bait.

Plan B

The session hasn’t gone to plan as starting on the Waterfall Lake in perfect overcast perch conditions all I’ve been able to catch has been skimmers and after forcing the feeding a bit too aggressively dragged in the carp resulting in at least six doubles. Time to move and after three hours on the previous lake I’m now set up on the Car Park Lake which is much deeper, the only problem is high pressure has drifted in and the earlier overcast skies have disappeared leaving a bright blue sky and an ever growing chilly north east wind. 

Spread bulk or olivette

The pole I’m using today is my trusted Sphere Zero-G F1+, a fantastic all-rounder that will not just cope with bagging big weights of carp but is equally as good when things need to be fined down for silvers. Top-kits are the Sphere two-piece ones, all with pulla systems and Xitan Microbore Lime Green 1.30mm elastic running through which has a of 3-5 rating. The rigs I’m using are all very similar created from Cenex Hybrid Power 0.14mm and 0.12mm Mono and wire stem rugby ball shaped floats which combat any tow. The only difference being on the Waterfall Lake the rigs were cocked using a spread bulk of shot along with two No10 droppers down to a size 16 Sphere Beast barbless hook as opposed to an olivette bulk and two droppers on the deeper Car Park Lake.

sphere f1 plus pole

he Sphere Zero-G F1+ a great all-rounder.


A nice gate crasher, but I don’t want to catch too many of these as they can scare off the perch.

sphere beast hooks

Beast hooks will deal with anything but still regain some finesse.

Against the odds

Amazingly, even in such bright conditions the move has paid off as after around thirty minutes the leak of from the chopped worm and all their amino acids have drawn in some fish, not perch but skimmers, odd bream and roach. These have all come on my two longer ten metre lines in around nine feet of water, one being worm head hookbait fished over chopped worm, casters and maggots the other, that did produce a few fish for a while, being corn fished over groundbait, always worth a try as a backup line when skimmers and bream are around. The odd occasion I did try the inside marginal lines produced, yes you’ve guessed it, more double figured carp so these have been neglected relatively quickly as carp aren’t what I was looking for.  

It’s been a frustrating but rewarding day as I really was looking for a bag of big perch but for some reason they just didn’t show, yet making the effort to move not just swim but lake has made the session so worthwhile as around 30lb of silvers have graced my net. Just a shame those perch didn’t show! 

John Pantrey

roach and bream

John’s Tackle

Sphere Zero-G F1+ 

Sphere 2-piece top kits

Xitan Microbore Lime Green 1.30mm elastic 

Cenex 0.14mm and 0.12mm Hydro Power Mono 

Sphere Beast Barbless size 16 Hook 

John’s Bait






microbore elastic

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Silverlite ghost net 1

Silverlite Ghost Net

Silverlite Ghost Net

The Silverlite Ghost Net is the ultimate silver fish net as it’s so light it can be easily moved not only to the fish even when using the longest landing net handles but also when the nets in the water due to the mesh being quite large.  

The distinctive Ghost mesh is less likely to scare fish when speed fishing and another huge advantage of the 6x6mm mesh is it makes netting fish on a canal or river that much easier especially if there’s a flow or a strong crosswind. 

The moulded spreader and frame are also lightweight but extremely rigid and strong so easily capable of being able to land a bonus fish if it comes along. 

Available in two sizes –

Medium W40cm x H35cm x D25cm

Large W48cm x H28cm x D28cm 

John Pantry

silverlite ghost net 2

Silverlite Ghost Nets are available in two sizes, the medium is perfect for roach, whilst the large is ideal if bonus bream and big perch are on the cards.

silverlite ghost net 3

The Ghost Mesh has a fine fish-friendly weave and is very light, making this net very easy to move through the water.

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pole fishing for roach 1

Pole Fishing for River Roach

Pole Fishing for River Roach

Whilst the huge numbers of big barbel might overshadow the other fishing available today on the river Trent, the silverfish have experienced a huge upsurge and today many stretches are full of silvers that make for a brilliant days fishing. What is more, you only need simple tactics to almost guarantee a bumper catch. Today I am pole fishing for river roach on the Trent near Nottingham. In fact, I haven’t fished this stretch before, so it will be interesting to see how we get on. 

Setting up in a comfortable swim just above a row of boats I am immediately struck by the amount of small fish topping. These are mainly bleak, which can be a nuisance, intercepting the bait as it falls through the water. The answer to this is to use a heavier rig – today I have set up 1.5gram and 2gram rigs, as the swim is about eight feet deep. With the bulk of the shotting down the line the hookbait will get down quickly and past the pesky bleak. 

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Simple River Roach Fishing Rigs

My rigs are quite simple consisting of a round-bodied Perfect Control float that has a solid plastic bristle and wire stem for stability. The bulk, in the form of an olivette, is about two feet above the hook, with droppers below this. I’m using the excellent Hybrid Mono in 0.14mm for my rigs with a 0.08mm Cenex Classic hooklength. Todays hookbaits are caster and possibly hemp, so I am using a size 16 Sphere Classic hook. I’m not fishing overly fine, because there is a good chance of a bonus fish coming along and I want to be able to swing decent stamp roach without worrying 

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Focussed Feed When Pole Fishing for River Roach

To begin with, I have potted in four balls of groundbait laced with hemp and casters to try to encourage the fish to concentrate on the line I want to fish. The groundbait is a mixture of Black Magic and Champions Choice no. 1. The Champions Choice helps to bind the mix together and ensures the balls of bait reach the bottom intact. This is introduced just downstream of me, so that I can run the float through the hotspot. When fishing I will feed little-and-often with a pinch of hemp or casters, stepping up the feed if the bleak become a problem. 

Casters definitely pick out a better stamp of fish than maggots, so I will start on the chrysalis and see how things develop. If the session goes well I will try hemp, which can be a bit hit or miss, but on the right day can be very selective. 

Right from the off I have started to get bites simply by running the float through at the speed of the current. Most of these are roach, but with the odd good dace and perch mixed in. The roach are of all sizes, including a few ‘netters’.

river roach pole baits

Run the Rig Through for River Roach

Despite a downstream wind, I am fishing a fairly long line today; fishing the top-six of the pole. Using this longer rig helps in a couple of ways. Firstly, it means I only have to break down the pole once when shipping, making the process much faster, especially when the banks are steep. Secondly, I expect the fish to drop back down the peg as the day progresses, and the longer line allows me to follow them should I need to. 

Incredibly, it has been a bite every run through on caster, which has encouraged me to switch to the hemp. Normally, I would expect action to slow even if the roach were feeding on the hemp, but the bites are still coming regularly today and the size of the fish has definitely increased. 

You will often read that it is best to hook hemp through the split, where the white kernel is exposed, but I find that if I hook it through the shell the bait stays on much better and I can even catch several fish on the same hookbait. Don’t worry about the hook being exposed, if the fish are feeding confidently this won’t make any difference. 

Brilliant Sport on the Pole

After a few hours fishing I must have more than 25 pounds of fish in the net. The bulk are roach, but there are a few clonking dace mixed in too. What fantastic sport, that shows exactly what the middle Trent is capable of these days. If you are looking for an enjoyable days fishing then I cannot recommend it highly enough. 


Nick Crooks

Nick’s River Roach Pole Fishing Tackle

Browning Xitan Z8 Advance Pole

Cenex Hybrid Mono 0.14mm Rig Line

Cenex Classic 0.08mm Hooklength

Size 16 Sphere Classic Hook

1.5-2gram Round-bodied Float


Nicks Bait for River Roach




Champions Choice No. 1

Champions Choice Black Magic

river trent pole fishing roach

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