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It's acknowledged, I think, that some species are attracted to food mainly by smell - carp, bream, tench. And others mainly by sight - pike and perch - though deadbaiters will say, rightly, that smell can be important, too. But what about roach? Surely this will influence the choice of groundbait. And there seem to be 2 views. The manufacturers of roach specific ground bait clearly believe smell is very important. One that I use has a strong chocolate smell. But others (most?) advocate liquidised bread, which, though it will have some smell, it is nowhere near as strong as the specific groundbait.

Is there a case for using both? Roach-specific groundbait to draw them into your swim from a distance; and liquidised bread because the cloud gives them confidence to feed. Not that I have ever tried this. 

What do you think? Has anyone tried both approaches? Do you think one is best in some situations, and one in others?

john clarke

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It's more than likely you'll draw the wrong species into your swim before the Roach come??

Maybe better to chose a swim where the Roach are already in residence (or likely to be)

Have a look at the Bernard Venables Vid's I  posted in the "Jigging the Float" thread, for an example of a Likely looking Swim.

Edited by Martin56

Fishin' - "Best Fun Ya' can 'ave wi' Ya' Clothes On"!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I’ve tried both approaches on the Thames John, the groundbait was Gros Gardons recommended by my local tackle shop. I caught roach with it but I wouldn’t say it was any better than liquidised bread in the feeder, both seemed to attract the fish. Once the roach were there I found that the hookbait was more important as regards the size caught, flake consistently out performing maggots.

It's never a 'six', let's put it back

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I think feed, hookbaites etc depends on the water infront of you, still water or running etc, and of course the method of fishing your going to be using.

Personally if fishing for roach in a river i tend to stick to using my hookbaits as attractant and feed pretty much every trott or two.  

If legering I often use brown crumb as a binder squeezed tightly in order to keep my other particles together until they reach the deck.

I am of the opinion that roach are often sight feeders and if conditions allow you to see them, they are often darting in and out of bait as it falls through the water, or travells down the current of a river.

I do think that many of the larger specimens feed below the smaller fish as i've witnessed this happening many times. Also larger roach don't seem to be put off by larger baits and I think using a larger bait can sometimes help target the larger among a group of fish.

Regarding sight or smell, imo it has to be both, but also the behaviour of other fish may well bring the presence of food to the attention of them.

All the above is just my ideas and how I see it so you gott'a do what you think best :).

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tigger sums it up   "the water in front of you"

Most important is the water clarity - Fish have eyes to see with, and a sense of smell to find food with when they can't see - for example on a moonless night or in intensely clouded water (eg carp puddles)    Obviously in partially clouded water they may well use both senses. 

A secondary consequence  of cloudy water is the colour intensity of the roach themselves - the cloudier the water, the more anaemic* the roach - and incidentally the more likely they are to be hybrids with rudd or bream rather than true roach. So the future holds fewer brightly coloured roach from sparkling waters, and more colourless mongrels from "commercials"  and similar pools.

Oh, and don't forget sound (and its partner, vibration detection) - maggots, casters, hempseed, small pellets etc will soon train roach to come up in the water to the sound of a pinch of any of those being chucked in.  - and of course the sound/vibrations of other fish gobbling food from surface or rooting on the bottom will grab attention.   


* yes I know the dipthong letters should joined, but I have better things to do than teach my spell-checker Anglicised Greek.

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RNLI Governor


World species 471 : UK species 105 : English species 95 .

Certhia's world species - 215

Eclectic "husband and wife combined" world species 501


"Nothing matters very much, few things matter at all" - Plato

...only things like fresh bait and cold beer...

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Roundhay Park, waterloo lake in Leeds was always a venue for big Roach some 40-50 years ago!!

Wouldn't go there now - Full of druggies & the like!!

It used to be a Leeds Book or Day Ticket water - sadly now unsafe for lone Anglers!!

Fishin' - "Best Fun Ya' can 'ave wi' Ya' Clothes On"!!

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Having caught a bunch of roach on lures, they definitely seek food visually, and the fact that they can consistently hit trotted caster or tares suggests that their ability to find food visually is very good.

That said, they are quite adept at finding pellets fished hard on the bottom and groundbaits definitely work.

As above, the trick seems to be "first find your roach". I can think of several swims that consistently hold good sized roach, and there are plenty of places where you will catch anything but.

Species caught in 2020: Barbel. European Eel. Bleak. Perch. Pike.

Species caught in 2019: Pike. Bream. Tench. Chub. Common Carp. European Eel. Barbel. Bleak. Dace.

Species caught in 2018: Perch. Bream. Rainbow Trout. Brown Trout. Chub. Roach. Carp. European Eel.

Species caught in 2017: Siamese carp. Striped catfish. Rohu. Mekong catfish. Amazon red tail catfish. Arapaima. Black Minnow Shark. Perch. Chub. Brown Trout. Pike. Bream. Roach. Rudd. Bleak. Common Carp.

Species caught in 2016: Siamese carp. Jullien's golden carp. Striped catfish. Mekong catfish. Amazon red tail catfish. Arapaima. Alligator gar. Rohu. Black Minnow Shark. Roach, Bream, Perch, Ballan Wrasse. Rudd. Common Carp. Pike. Zander. Chub. Bleak.

Species caught in 2015: Brown Trout. Roach. Bream. Terrapin. Eel. Barbel. Pike. Chub.

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