With the onset of the autumn cold snap, most floaters finish fishing in open water, believing that the activity of whites sharply decreases and it recedes to depths inaccessible for float gear. However, the experience of many familiar fishermen, and my own, shows that fishing for peaceful fish, and in particular roach, can be no less successful than in warmer seasons. True, the tackle, groundbait and nozzles should still be significantly different. Roach is one of the most numerous and widespread carp fish, called in various localities chebak, ram, soroga and other names. It lives both in large rivers, reservoirs and lakes, and in small ponds and streams.
Such ubiquity of roach is probably due primarily to the fact that its food base is very diverse: from larvae of aquatic insects and mollusks to green algae. But the roach bite, despite being omnivorous, is often extremely capricious, since it is one of the few fish that taste the bait before swallowing it. For a split second, the roach draws the bait into its mouth and throws it out, and if it doesn’t suit its taste, the fish will no longer fit it.
Going in autumn to fish for roach, you need to know exactly the type of reservoir: it is a lake or reservoir, a river or a pond. The most difficult thing during this period is to fish for roach in shallow ponds and lakes. On reservoirs, large lakes and large rivers, it is necessary to find out where the main channel comes close to the coast, where there are pits or coastal edges, behind which deep irrigation begins. It is relatively easy to catch roach in small rivers in late autumn, but here the catches are usually not outstanding. Amateur anglers who do not have sufficient experience should prefer medium-sized rivers during this period, where there are decent depths, and the current is not too strong.
Usually roach begins to move to deeper areas around the end of September. However, this does not happen everywhere. For example, on medium-sized rivers, large flocks of roach continue to hold on to quiet backwaters, stretches with a clay or clay-sandy bottom and a small amount of silty deposits. During this period, she often visits pits with a moderate reverse flow, located near the edge or under steep banks. Areas below dams, rifts, spits and islands are promising. Fishing for roach is also successful in the estuaries of small and medium-sized rivers, as well as in front of dams, where, as a rule, the depth approaches the coast, the current is relatively weak, and the concentration of fish is greatest. In such places, roach can be caught up to freezing.
With the appearance of the rims, the roach goes into larger bodies of water or begins to shift to the channels. After the ice reaches the riverbed, only sections of rivers below dams and rapids, as well as “teplogs” – reservoirs heated by the discharge of warm waters, will remain for fishing roach with float gear. The choice of a promising place for fishing, especially in stagnant waters, depends significantly on weather conditions. For example, you should definitely take into account the direction of the wind, because if it drives the heated layers of water to a certain shore, then this is where the roach can peck best.
Groundbaits and nozzles
It is imperative to start catching roach with feeding, otherwise you can waste the entire short autumn day. Usually, constant supplementation is necessary to keep the roach. Its frequency depends on how actively the fish responds to bait. It is better to feed a little, but often, because the roach should be interested in bait, and not fed. It should be borne in mind that, in contrast to the warm season, when the water temperature drops, the rate of food digestion decreases, and the fish is saturated faster. Therefore, the amount of bait used should be reduced several times and the proportion of animal components in the mixture should be increased: chopped worm, maggot or bloodworm.
The bait mixture should contain components that differ in the speed and degree of swelling in water and, consequently, in the rate of erosion and subsidence, on which, in particular, the drift distance of bait depends on when fishing in the current. During this period, a couple of kilograms of dry mix is quite enough for the day of fishing for roach, better than winter, with the addition of animal components. Only clay or other neutral component is suitable as ballast, but not porridge. Do not forget that in cold water, the amount of aromatic additives should be minimal.
When mixing the groundbait, you should select such a viscosity so that the balls disintegrate as soon as they reach the bottom of the reservoir. The general rule here is simple: the deeper the reservoir, the higher the flow rate and the casting distance, the more viscous the bait mixture should be. The balls should be small, about the size of a tennis ball. Maggots can be added at the beginning of the preparation of the bait mixture, and before sculpting the next portion of bait balls, you must mix everything thoroughly, since the maggots are collected at the bottom. But it is better to keep the feed bloodworm until the last moment in a place protected from the sun and wind, adding a little only to a part of the bait mixture immediately before sculpting the balls and casting.
Before starting fishing, use about 40% of the prepared mixture. Then, as the bite is weakening, two or three small balls are thrown into the place where the bite is the most. The frequency of supplementary feeding depends on the activity of the roach. If the bite is even, you should not overfeed, since this can only scare away the fish. In addition, you should remember the rule: the lower the biting activity, the less bait you need to spend, and vice versa. With autumn cooling and the beginning of the dying off of aquatic vegetation, roach usually ceases to actively peck at the plant nozzles. Although, for example, in reservoirs heated by warm discharges, it often takes on them in the winter. When choosing a bait, you need to measure it against the size of the fish. If you are catching small roach, it is better to use a small maggot and a large bloodworm, and for a large roach, a large maggot is more suitable.
In general, you can never say which nozzle will be 100% catchy. Although roach bites on bloodworms all year round, you can fly with it, catching a couple of pieces in a few hours. If the bloodworm is in the bait, this does not mean at all that it should peck better. Therefore, we must try to empirically determine what food the roach prefers at a given time, and approach any reservoir, even a very small one, individually, having a large supply of various attachments.
Tackle for catching cautious and inactive autumn roach should be as thin and sensitive as possible. Its bites at this time, as a rule, are so careful that bloodworms or maggots remain practically intact. Therefore, very light and thin rigs are required, and an angler with coarse gear may have the impression that there are no roaches at all. In my opinion, it is better to give up rods with guides and reels, as they do not work well with light and thin rigs. A light swing 5-8 m long is best, depending on the distance you are fishing. It is also desirable for the fly rod to be rounded with a thin combination tip to accurately send light rigs weighing up to 1 g into the fishing zone.
The main line that I recommend using for fishing roach during this period is monofilament, with a diameter of 0.10-0.12 mm. A leash with a diameter of 0.07-0.09 mm is connected to the main line by a loop in a loop or through a micro swivel No. 24. The leash length should be at least 30 cm, which will allow the attachment to slowly and naturally fall in the water column, attracting the attention of careful roach. The hooks will fit # 18 to # 22 fine wire. You must have a sufficient supply of ready-made leashes so as not to knit them in the midst of biting.
It is better to choose floats with an oblong shape and two attachment points, with a long metal keel painted in black. Such floats are the most sensitive, stable in currents and strong winds, and when properly loaded, they offer minimal resistance to fish. In most cases, floats with a carrying capacity of 0.2-0.8 g are suitable for stagnant reservoirs, and 0.8-2 g in the current. Too heavy a float in a weak current and shallow depth greatly reduces the number of bites. It must also be remembered that only a properly loaded float will show the most careful bites.
If the bites have stopped, this does not necessarily mean that the roach has left the fishing area. It is quite possible that she just moved and is slightly above the fishing horizon. Therefore, you must try to change the descent, and, perhaps, the missing fish will be found. Autumn fishing for roach can be called filigree, it is so demanding on the angler in terms of the choice and location, and lures, and tackle settings. However, with the right approach, this fishing can be not only very exciting and varied, but also quite prey.