Roach, Rudd, Dace, Chub

The next group of Cyprinidae consists of fish which will take a bait similar to those already mentioned and also a fly. The sizes which limit the ordinary angler's aspirations are roach about 2 lb, rudd about 2½ lb, dace about 1 lb and chub about 5 lb. There are instances of individuals heavier than this, one or two roach and many rudd of over 3 lb being on record, while dace have been caught up to 1 lb 6 oz., and chub of over 7 lb are not unknown. Roach only take a fly as a rule in very hot weather when they are near the surface, or early in the season when they are on the shallows; the others will take it freely all through the summer. Ordinary trout flies do well enough for all four species, but chub often prefer something larger, and big bushy lures called "palmers," which represent caterpillars, are generally used for them. The fly may be used either wet or dry for all these fish, and there is little to choose between the methods as regards effectiveness. Fly-fishing for these fish is a branch of angling which might be more practised than it is, as the sport is a very fair substitute for trout fishing.

Roach, chub and dace feed on bottom food and give good sport all the winter.

Gudgeon, Bleak, Minnow, &c. - The small fry of European waters, gudgeon, bleak, minnow, loach, stickleback and bullhead, are principally of value as bait for other fish, though the first-named species gives pretty sport on fine tackle and makes a succulent dish. Small red worms are the best bait for gudgeon and minnows, a maggot or small fly for bleak, and the rest are most easily caught in a small-meshed net. The loach is used principally in Ireland as a trout bait, and the other two are of small account as hook-baits, though sticklebacks are a valuable form of food for trout in lakes and pools.


Among the carps of India, several of which give good sport, special mention must be made of the mahseer (Barbus mosal), a fish which rivals the salmon both in size and strength. It reaches a weight of 60 lb and sometimes more and is fished for in much the same manner as salmon, with the difference that after about 10 lb it takes a spinning-bait, usually a heavy spoon-bait, better than a fly.


None of the fresh-water cat-fishes (of which no example is found in England) are what may be called sporting fish, but several may be caught with rod and line. There are several kinds in North America, and some of them are as heavy as 150 lb, but the most important is the wels (Silurus glanis) of the Danube and neighbouring waters. This is the largest European fresh-water fish, and it is credited with a weight of 300 lb or more. It is a bottom feeder and will take a fish-bait either alive or dead; it is said occasionally to run at a spinning bait when used very deep.


The burbot (Lota vulgaris) is the only fresh-water member of the cod family in Great Britain, and it is found only in a few slow-flowing rivers such as the Trent, and there not often, probably because it is a fish of sluggish habits which feeds only at night. It reaches a weight of 3 lb or more, and will take most flesh or fish baits on the bottom. The burbot of America has similar characteristics.