Bird's Eye View of Bute

The Roach

(1) The Roach
(1) The Roach
(2) The Roach
(2) The Roach
(3) The Roach
(3) The Roach
(4) Roach  Loch Fad
(4) Roach Loch Fad


Returning from one of my usual walks from Kilchattan Bay, up to the Kingarth and Kiklchattan Bay War Memorial, then on to Scoulag Moor which passes Loch Ascog, when I met a pair of Fishermen, so I stopped for a blether, with myself been the same since I was an early teenager.


It turns out that they were fishing for roach, and had a few that they had caught in a keep net. This is three or four rings about 12 inches across covered in netting, with one open end. It was put into the water with the open end raised, so as not to let the fish make a dash for freedom, and also for putting in more that they may catch, and at the end of their day on the loch they would be released back into the loch unharmed, as they were using barbless hooks . Barbs on hooks are for catching fish that you want to keep, like salmon, trout, and whatever species that you fancy eating. They point in the opposite direction from the main barb, and if you use them they get a good grip on the fish, and if you try to take them out, it would tear the fishes mouth, So, if you have no barbless hooks, all you need is a small pair of pliers to compress the barbs so no harm to the fish, but they will be annoyed at being kept in a net for maybe three or four hours before being released, and then maybe other fishermen will try their luck the very next day, and so-and-so-on. Well it is better to be returned unharmed than end up in the frying pan?
Well I had been trawling through my CDs to find fish of any species, that are to be used by others, so I was pleased that they held one roach for me to get a photograph of it, and you as you can see that it is a very handsome species, with silvery scales, red eyes, and a lateral line running from top of its gills to its tail.
In Loch Ascog they are not very big, weighing ounces rather than pounds.
When I was young, there was only two of what we called roach holes at Loch Fad, and that was at the south end of the loch, and was very hard to catch. They would not take artificial lures like spinners that do what their name suggests, or even the worm that Perch enjoyed. They would only take bread, wetted and rolled up into wee balls and put onto very small hooks, and if you got one hooked you have to be very careful getting it ashore as their mouths are very soft, and if you damage that part , it would not be able to feed till it got better, so gently does it. These, at that time were also very small, but nowadays they are two or three times more, and it is very tempting to give them a warm up in the frying pan, but no, if we were hungry we would catch Perch, of what there was seemingly millions of them in Loch Fad, but were very small, but Ascog had much larger ones.
Seeing the Roach brought back some nice memories of my younger days.
Norrie Mulholland.



First Published in the Buteman. 23-08-2013




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