Most, if not all of the fishing I do, is based around team matches, so every ounce is vital. There is nothing better in my mind than catching a roach a chuck on the river or canal. Over the last few years on my local circuit, however, it has been noticeable that the winning weights have been getting much better on the whole, due to the amount of better quality fish being caught. Unless you draw an end peg, keeping those roach coming for long enough to compete with those better weights hasn’t been possible.
Take the Kennet & Avon Canal as an example, going back a quite few years, top anglers such as Kim Milsom and Mike Stone would turn up, fish the whip and bread punch with bottom-end-only floats and clean up with double figure weights made up purely of roach and small skimmers.
Back then I saw chopped worm fishing as something to do when I couldn’t catch any more roach. I used to joke with some of my team mates that that people who fished the worm were not ‘skilful’ enough to catch roach, and to be honest I’m sure it used to wind a few of them up! A few years back I would only feed worms when the roach line was exhausted. Now, though, it goes in at the start of the match, on a line far away from the roach-catching area. After 45minutes, whether I’m catching roach or not, I will have a look, because if there is a big perch or skimmer on that line you shouldn’t have to wait any more that two minutes for an indication. Before you know it, your keepnet could be 2lb better off!
Maybe I have been a little slow on the uptake? Over the last few years I have been grumbling about jammy/fluky better fish beating my ‘pure’ roach nets, but unless you invest a bit of time fishing for them they won’t end up in your net!