ANGLING: How to use hemp and tares for Thames roach

First published in Sport

We're fast approaching the time of year when the roach in the Thames will be in the mood to eat small seeds, mainly hemp and tares.

You use hemp as a loose bait and tares on the hook and the secret to success is patience. I will come back to this later.

For tackle, there are two approaches. I start by using a 13ft match rod loaded with 2lb mainline.

For a float, I use an insert waggler with all the shot bunched under it and one No 1 12 inches from the hook, which is a size 18 barbed to a 1ft 5in hooklength.

This will be fished just tripping the bottom in mid-river.

On every trot down, throw a few grains of hemp over the float. If it is too far, a bait catapult makes the job easier.

I also set up a pole, using a No 6 elastic with a small bristle insert float. I use this after about four hours of fishing when the roach are really on the seed.

You will need half a pint of tares, two pints of hemp and I also take a pint of casters to catch a few fish on a bait other than tares, so you don’t put them off at an early stage.

Now, let’s get back to that word patience I mentioned earlier.

You must give yourself at least two hours of trotting and baiting, and don’t expect a bite for some time.

Persevere and what may seem like a boringly slow start will turn into a hectic finale with a bite a chuck.

This really works, I do it every year with good roach catches resulting.

Last year, I took bags of up to 40lb from several different swims and individual fish up to 1lb 12oz.

You might not believe it, but I have fed a few grains every minute for an hour (that’s approximately 650 grains) without fishing and in the next 60 minutes I had 10lb of roach and finished with over 30lb.

So give it a try. If you can’t prepare your own seeds, you can buy them canned or frozen.

I have got mine recently from FTB Tackle in Northway, who have an excellent bait selection.

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