Tuesday, 25 November 2014


a brace of River Kennet beauties - best 2/3

I have loved big roach since childhood and above all other species, concentrate my efforts on trying to catch them … and I’m not alone, for roach are a favourite of most anglers, with a two pound fish a mythical creature that swims in their dreams.

a perfect upper two
a cracking book - go buy it and catch more big roach

I’ve been lucky, for I’ve had the privilege of catching hundreds of roach over two pounds along with seven over three, so I consider myself qualified to suggest that you should give yourself an early Christmas present by buying Mark Wintle’s book, “Big Roach 2”.

It’s a truly splendid read, full of stories and advice that will undoubtedly help even the most seasoned campaigner to catch more big roach. I thought his first big roach book was good but somehow enjoyed reading this one even more.

Mark's favourite pic in the book - his childhood biggie from the R.Piddle
Like many of us, Mark has been hooked by roach since childhood and having sat next to him when catching some beauties on the Stour, I can vouch for his skill and knowledge. An ex. matchman with an acute eye for detail, he fills the book with guidance on what has been successful for him.
there's lots of advice about 'how and where' - the Stour pic is where I fished alongside Mark in the good old days

two friends with two's - Mike Townsend and Martin Salter
What makes the book even more enjoyable and informative are the liberally dotted stories from other anglers, not least the likes of ace roach catchers Dave Howes, Kevin Ashurst, Mike Townsend, Gerry Swanton, John Bailey and Dave Moody … plus many more ... and even if the book favours the famous Wessex rivers, there are plenty of sections about roach waters such as the Thames and Trent, along with those in Scotland, Ireland and Spain.

 a Christmas card from Pete Drennan - he knows the way to a roach angler's heart
There’s some enlightening thoughts on the philosophy required for catching big roach, not least the need to keep an open mind and keep changing things if you aren’t succeeding … which in my case is most of the time. It always amazes me that by just moving the float or shot by as little as an inch can make all the difference … but it does … sometimes!

Mark’s book contains some useful and detailed factual stuff about the identification of true roach … and a few provocative words about the correct weighing of big roach. It makes me laugh when yet another roach I’ve just landed fails the scales test and ‘only’ weighs 1/15. In fact, if I had a hot meal for every one I and my friends have caught, I’d be a very fat man!

There is of course no difference in a creature that weighs an ounce less than that magical two pounder that we all cherish … but there certainly is to a roach angler, probably any angler in fact. It’s just a number and after all they are only fish, but why some people kid themselves with their scales is beyond me for they are only fooling themselves ... and we've all seen plenty of dodgy two's in the angling press haven't we.

you can make even a 2/6 look like a giant with a wide angle lens!

Where and how you catch roach is surely of more significance than their size. I had a 2/15 but as it was a PB for my pole, it certainly wasn’t a disappointment ... and I certainly wasn't tempted to add an ounce as some are.

a 3/5 giant and after nearly 60 years of roach fishing, my biggest
I have caught a lot of two pounders, even three's from lakes, including my PB 3/5 this summer, but as my wife Sue says, "they’re only from a pond so they don’t count"! And I guess most roach anglers would agree. You can’t beat a true river two pounder or if you’re really lucky, that fish of a lifetime, a three ... or even a four!!
only an Avon mid-two this time

the true record - Ray Clark's 4/3 R.Stour giant
Mark's diary notes from Dorset's Frome
Mark is relentless in his pursuit of the facts, so you can be sure that the contents of his book are accurate. He keeps meticulous records of his catches and techniques too, something I wish I had been more careful about over the years. Travelling abroad so much to make films meant that every moment back home was precious and I’d rather be fishing than writing about it.
Mark with a good 'un from the Thames
But the next best thing to roach fishing is reading about roach fishing so we should be grateful that Mark has taken the time out to create this splendid book about our shared passion.

There sure are a lot of wise words between the covers and Mark's pay off is a prime example of the most important advice about big roach,  “enjoy your fishing”.

The book can be purchased from www.calmproductions.com

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