New River Season Q&A Roach, Dace, Carp – Will Barnard

Will Barnard is one of the best all-rounders in the country with a big list of impressive specimen fish to his name. Will is different from many anglers who fish Rivers as he really enjoys the purist styles often with his centrepin and stick float targeting anything from Dace, Grayling and Roach but also occasionally targeting bigger fish such as carp – who better to learn from?

Bait-Tech: You have had some real impressive Dace catches in recent times what would be your tips and approaches to anyone who wanted to go out to catch a real specimen sized fish and what are you looking for in the perfect dace pic 1 daceswim?

Will Barnard: I love catching dace on the stick float but in some instances, a feeder is perfect. On deeper waters it’s just a question of priming a few swims with a perfect river groundbait, Bait-Tech Pro Natural is ideal and ticks every box as its binding properties allow the bait to get down fast before breaking up, a few trots over the baited area should start producing bites, if not, and particularly in winter, move to another prepped swim but do return later. For dace in particular, look for deeper stretches rising to shallow and clean gravel, stretches just below weir pools are ideal On shallower chalk streams you can still maintain the roving approach by travelling light with a small bomb rod and a cage feeder. My mix is again Pro Natural but I do add very few maggots, I prefer not to use a maggot feeder as most chalk streams are full of trout and grayling that’ll muscle out any sensitive dace. A very short paternostered hook link and I look to drop my feeder in any…and I mean any flat spots no further out than 6 inches from the bank, a minute of the bait being out should be enough time, no bites, then move on to the next. It really appeals as it uses my sixth sense as well as water craft and still gives me the enjoyment I get from winter roving.

Bait-Tech: Catching a Big Roach on a River is the holy grail to many anglers who love their running water sport – what would be your advice and bait approaches to anyone who hopes to catch an elusive 2lb Roach?IMG_0495

Will Barnard: As we know once the word about big river roach gets out, they get it all thrown at them! The key then is to get in quickly offer them something they may not have seen and get out again before they move to quieter areas in this instance, I really do well with very earthy flavours and mixes. Bait-Tech Pro Natural again for the groundbait but I do like to lighten it up with Bait-Tech Big Carp Method Mix Sweet Coconut and mashed bread with a drizzle of Bait-Tech Liquid Worm and either offer bread, dendrabena worm or maggot/caster on the hook. Again, trotting is my preferred method as it’s not only ‘proper’ but it offers a chance to understand what’s happening below the water. This isn’t always practical so on occasion I’ll use a scaled down helicopter rig and feeder to offer the same baits. Bites on this set up can be absolute smashers which are unmissable!

Bait-Tech: There are a lot more Carp finding their way into our Rivers now and they provide a great challenge for anglers who may wish to get their hands on a true ‘Unknown’ what is a problem for many though is knowing where to start and location always seem to be the number one essential – what would you be looking for when tracking these nomadic fish down and how would you go about baiting up for them is it all about a long pre-baiting campaign?

Will Barnard: I haven’t fished for Carp in earnest for a few years apart from one or two sessions a year when the bug hits and if I get the time to put my all into it. Having grown up on the middle Thames, we discovered the best time to think about starting a campaign was during flood conditions, simply because it’s much easier to locate them in the obvious slacks that high water conditions provide. Other than that, finding Carp on rivers can be a daunting experience so my best advice is to; Pick your bait for the campaign Bait-Tech Poloni Boilies are ideal as it has enough scent to be recognisable in high and coloured water. Find your spot, if you think it looks and feels carpy then that’s half the battle, where you fish has to be somewhere you like it makes the blanks easier to deal with and the captures well worth it due to sticking to your guns!

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