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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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