First Published in English.


If there’s two baits that I wouldn’t leave home without when targeting roach in the colder months on a venue that’s crystal clear then it has to be bread punch and pinkies. Today both are with me as I’m heading to a beautiful venue called Waggoners Wells, controlled by Grayshott Angling Club situated on the Surrey/Hampshire border. The Middle Lake here is deep, gin clear and contains loads of quality roach, great for punch which will be my first line of attack and if things don’t go to plan, then good old pinkies over a dark groundbait will come into play. 

Back-up plan

I’m fishing off the dam where the water quickly shelves away to around nine feet at 10m and to say things aren’t going to plan after a couple of hours is an understatement as the roach are just not responding to the bread punch, a rarity here. It’s time to introduce a couple of balls of Champion’s Method Black Roach, a dark mix which is ideal for clear water, and within are a few pinkies, fed on a new line slightly to my right. This is left for around thirty-minutes whilst I persist on the punch line but although I do believe the roach will feed eventually on this line, I don’t have the luxury of staying all day and need to make it happen sooner rather than later. 

Staggered shirt button

The rig I’ve made up for the pinkie line is created using Cenex 0.08mm and 0.14mm Classic Mono, a great all round line and hook length for pole rigs. A hook that I have recently started to use for most of my roach/skimmer fishing is the Sphere Ultra lite. It’s an extremely light and sharp hook with a fine gauge but still very strong and in this situation have opted for a size 18 onto which two pinkies will be impaled. I’ve decided to cock the 1g pole float using a staggered shirt button, starting at half depth with the first of twelve no9 soft shot which are spaced out so they get slightly further apart as they near the hook. This gives the hookbait a much more natural descend through the lower levels and have decided to fish at dead depth to start off with. Two important components when float fishing are a large plummet to initially find the depth of the swim and the other the use of soft split shot, as if the fish come up in the water and I need to adjust my shotting pattern I can easily move the shot on the line without causing any damage. The pole I’m using is a Xitan Z16 pole and as I’m not using this fully extended have pushed over the butt end one of the new Xitan EVA Pole Caps, the reason being, as although I’m using a roller, at the rear of me are some bushes and this cap simply protects the section and stops any annoying dirt or grit getting into the end section. I’ve also opted for the thinnest Microbore Poe Elastic available, the lime green 1.3mm and with a Pole Elastic Alignment Bush inside the topkit creates the smoothest elastic you could ever ask for, something very important when fishing for hard mouthed roach. 

Fluoro pinkies, a must-have bait in the winter. 

Black Roach, great in crystal clear water.

Start off with a small amount of groundbait and pinkies.

Switching the roach on

The roach are just not responding to the punch so it’s time to test the pinkie line and although bites aren’t instant finally one comes, yet it’s not my intended quarry but a small perch but at least it’s a bite. Fortunately this line just gets better and better as the session continues and by feeding a small ball of groundbait every twenty minutes plus a few pinkies fed through a pole cup every put in, keeps the  bites coming and eventually the roach switch on. I have to admit that if the roach were in an obliging mood and responded to the punch straight away then I would have easily put together 25lb plus of sizable roach which usually average 10oz and do go to well over a pound but for some reason it just hasn’t happen today, however with 15lb of roach and perch taken in the last three hours, how can I be disappointed!

Stereotyped approach

Fishing in winter can be very unpredictable and this session just goes to show that if I had been stereotyped in my approach and come with just one bait, bread punch that nine times out of ten produces, would have on this occasion headed home with just a handful of fish, as I did from time to time try the punch line and although bites did finally come they were few and far between. Always have a back-up plan as one day you will need it! 


Ken Russell

Light and sharp, just what’s needed when targeting shy biting roach.

Classic Mono, great for pole rigs.

Microbore elastic offers major advantages over conventional elastics.

"Pinkies are such an effective winter bait"

Ken’s Tackle 

Xitan Z16 L Advance Pole

Cenex 0.08m and 0.14 Classic Mono

Sphere Feeder Ultra Lite size 18 hook

Xitan Microbore 1.30mm Elastic

1g float

No 9 Soft Shot

Ken’s Bait

Champion’s Feeder Black Roach

Fluoro Pinkies

A brilliant result on a winters day.