Many anglers nowadays are after elusive big fish such as carp, pike, and catfish. But what about all the smaller fish that thrive in our waterways? There are plenty of smaller size freshwater fish that are well worth targeting. One of said fish is the stunning rudd. So let’s have a look at how to catch a rudd or two.

The rudd is a shoal fish that tend to hang around in large numbers in almost all venues including lakes, streams, canals, reservoirs, and ponds. Even though they don’t grow as large as carp, and other big fish, they can be great fun to catch on lighter fishing tackle. Because rudd are found in large numbers, once you get them in a feeding frenzy they can provide you with some good sport for hours on end.

When targeting these stunning little silverfish there are certain baits that generally work better than the rest. So let’s look into what kind of bait you will need for catching rudd.

What Are The Best Baits for Rudd?


Maggots have got to be one of the most versatile baits going. Literally, all fish will go for maggots and rudd are no exception.

Maggots make perfect hook bait. I use a size 18 or 20 hook and just nick the hook through the flat end of the maggot (the head) and be sure not to burst the maggot.

Rudd will almost certainly go for any colour of maggots going but personally, I prefer to use bronze ones. In between casts just throw in a dozen or so loose maggots to keep the fish feeding in and around your hook bait.


Maggots, before they turn into blue bottle or green bottle flys go through the stage of being a caster. Casters are just maggots encased in a small shell that the fish find irresistible. You can buy them from most of your local tackle dealers and cost about the same as maggots do. Casters can go mushy and bad quite quickly, especially in the summer months. Be sure to keep them refrigerated and don’t let them get too warm. You can also freeze any casters that are left over.

When you are out on the bank fill up a small bait tub with water and put a handful of casters in it. Look out for any casters that float. These ones are dead and no good, just throw them away. The ones that sink are the healthy ones that you will want to use.


Bread is another popular hook bait for catching rudd. If you are going to start using bread as bait it is well worth getting yourself a bread punch. A bread punch basically pushes into a slice of bread and compresses a small bit of bread ready for the hook. Because it is compressed and the perfect size it will stay on the hook longer and will be presented nicely to the rudd. 

The good thing about using bread is that it is readily available and cheap as chips to buy. Perfect if you are on a budget.

Hemp and Tares

Hemp and tares are absolutely brilliant bait for rudd, especially in the autumn months. Hemp is what you will throw in as the loose bait to attract the fish to your swim. Rudd just cannot resist the smell and irresistible oily slick that comes off the hemp. A good tip is to buy your hemp raw and boil it up yourself.

It really is very simple to do and this will keep the price down quite dramatically.

Due to the softness of the hemp, it is practically impossible to use as a hook bait. This is where the tares come into it. Tares are very slightly bigger than hemp and quite a lot firmer. For this reason, they make a much better hook bait.


Sweetcorn is another roach bait that is readily available in supermarkets and fairly cheap to purchase.

I always find that rudd are a bit harder to catch whilst using corn. But usually, the rewards are worth it. In my experience sweetcorn quite often sorts out the better stamp of fish. One grain of corn on a size 16 hook usually does the trick.

If you go to the freezer aisle in your local supermarket, you should see that they will sell frozen sweetcorn in big bags. This is a lot cheaper than buying it by the can and is just as good.

What is The Right Tackle for Catching Rudd?

Regarding the tackle for catching rudd, keep it as light as you can get away with. Although rudd don’t grow huge, they really do put up a great fight for their size. For this reason, keep the tackle light so you can fully appreciate this stunning fish. I like catching rudd mainly on my local river.

My preferred method is using a stick float and trotting it downstream. I find this presents the bait in the most natural way possible. Rudd, much like roach can be quite wary at times. If it doesn’t look like it’s falling through the water naturally it might just put them off and they will move on from your swim.

For this type of fishing, I use a light float rod a Daiwa 3000-size fixed spool reel, a 4lb main line, and a 2lb hook length with a size 18 micro barbed hook. Always have your mainline slightly heavier than your hook length. There is a good reason behind this. If you happen to get snagged up or snapped up by the fish, the line will snap down near the hook. The last thing you want is metres of the line being left in the fish’s mouth or left in the water.

A lot of anglers targeting rudd will use a centrepin reel whilst trotting on a river, which is ideal due to the way the line gets released off the reel smoothly. But if you are a beginner to fishing I would suggest a fixed spool reel, you will be less likely to get in a tangle.

What is The Best Weather for Rudd Fishing?

Like with most freshwater fish the weather can play a big part in whether you are going to have a good day or a bad day fishing. As a general rule, the fish do not like high-pressure or scorching hot days. If possible aim to fish on days with low pressure. Preferably when the pressure is settled and has been low for a few days. This is usually when fishing is at its best.

A sudden big change in temperatures can also make the fish think twice about feeding. It’s all about settled conditions when it comes to the ideal fishing weather. This is only a guide though, fish, including rudd, can be very unpredictable at times.

What is The Difference Between Rudd and Roach?

Whilst fishing for rudd, you will almost certainly come across some roach. Roach are also a stunning little fish that fights hard for its size. But how do we tell the difference between a rudd and a roach?

The first main difference is the mouth. Roach are classed as bottom feeders. Therefore the top lip overhangs the bottom lip slightly. With the rudd, they are surface feeders. So the bottom lip protrudes further than the top lip. This is probably the biggest giveaway in identifying these 2 fish.

The eyes are another key feature in telling the two fish apart. A roach has a very prominent red eye that really stands out. The rudd on the other hand has more of a yellow colour to its eyes.

When roach and rudd are young their bodies are very similar in colour, making them hard to tell apart. As the fish get older the roach tends to stay more of a silvery colour, whereas the rudd turn a bit more of a slightly golden yellow colour.

To Conclude

Learning how to catch rudd can be one of the most enjoyable ways of fishing. In general, it shouldn’t be too hard to find them. Once you do find them keep trickling the loose bait in and keep them interested. Groundbait is well worth a look at as well. If done correctly you could easily be bagging up on fish in no time at all.

Above all else enjoy your fishing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I catch rudd all year round?

The simple answer is yes, rudd, much like roach are a good fish to target all year round. Not only can you catch them in the warm weather, but the cold winters are just as good. In the winter months, it is worth trying punched bread as a hook bait.

How big do rudd get?

Rudd certainly are not one of the biggest fish, but they are a lot of fun to catch. A rudd of 2lb is a dream fish for many anglers, but they have been known to go up to 4lb in size. The good thing about rudd is that they are a shoal fish. If you get them on a feeding frenzy you can certainly soon get a good netload. Usually, an average size rudd would be around 6oz. But this does depend on the venue where you are fishing.

Do rudd feed off the bottom?

In general, rudd aren’t really bottom feeders. They are much more likely to be caught from the surface or midwater.

Can I catch rudd on a river?

You certainly can catch rudd in almost all rivers. In fact, rudd are very adaptable and can be found in most bodies of water including, rivers, streams, canals, lakes, and reservoirs.


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