River Roach

I make no excuses for the fact that I am a river roach man rather than a stillwater roach fanatic.

For me, true roach will always be river fish. Most of my fishing takes place on the Wensum and the Bure here in Norfolk but we do have occasional sorties further afield. Roach were very much my passport to success back in the ‘70s and ‘80s with, I think, over eight hundred two pounders to my name. Or thereabouts. I have also notched up ten river threes.

Today, a good river roach is a pound but we still manage fish over 1.10 each and every year with a scattering of twos. For me, two pound river roach in this day and age is the ultimate prize.


This is a time-honoured way to catch roach both winter and summer. Trotting isn’t always easy, though, but when you master it, the satisfaction is immense.

Centrepin work for roach

On rivers, I truly believe that whilst you can trot with fixed spools they are very much an inferior tool. It’s no secret or surprise that the vast majority of legendary roach anglers have always used the centrepin. Learn this fascinating art with me.

Stalking and visual fishing

This obviously tends to be at its best between June and October when rivers run low and clear. We might well walk five kilometres during a session dribbling in bait, watching for fish drifting from the reeds to intercept. Thrillingly effective.

Laying on

One of the most effective ways of catching those big suspicious redfins and a method that is grievously overlooked in the modern age. I was taught it back on Cheshire’s River Dane in the early 1960s and I’ve perfected this approach over the decades.

Tip techniques

Over the years, I have had to refine my quivertip techniques for river roach, especially with suspicious fish when bites are desperately difficult to hit.