Rudd - (Scardinius erythropthalmus)

Rudd have to be one of Britain’s best looking fish, they are golden down their flanks and have striking red fins, which in the right sunlight can look breath taking. Although very similar to roach, there are a few signs which can help you distinguish if the fish you caught is a rudd.

The rudd's most striking features are its golden flanks, brightly coloured fins and upturned mouth which allows them to feed on surface insects efficiently. Their eye colour is typically yellow with a slight hint of orange and their body shape tends to angle upwards to denote they are surface feeders.

Like roach, if you are lucky enough to catch a rudd approaching British record weight, a scale sample will need to be taken so that a DNA test can be carried out to identify if the fish is indeed a true rudd or a larger hybrid.


Rudd spawn at almost the same time as roach and this obviously make hybridisation a real problem when both fish inhabit the same water. Spawning tends to be from April to June depending on local water temperatures and their spawning grounds are usually in shallow weedy areas where the newly laid eggs can attach themselves to aquatic vegetation. The eggs hatch after 10 days and the young then feed upon zooplankton and form small shoals.

Natural Diet & Common Baits

As predominately surface feeding fish, rudd tend to cruise below the surface intercepting any insects or larvae which are on the surface or gently falling through the water column. The best rudd baits are maggots, casters & bread punch, used in conjunction with a little and often loose feeding approach.

Floating casters are a great way to catch rudd - try leaving some casters in warm air for a little while until they change to floaters.


Due to the majority of a rudd's diet being taken on or near the surface, wind direction plays a vital role in locating rudd, as the insects which are blown onto the surface of the water get carried in the direction of the wind and rudd usually aren't too far behind moping up the food.

Rudd form large shoals and can also be found at midwater depth in open water, usually some distance from the bank, these fish can be incredibly nervous, so a careful and quiet approach is often needed.

If not actively feeding near or on the surface, rudd will usually be amongst lilies, reeds and other vegetation, they can usually be prompted to start feeding when a little loose feed is introduced.

Although rudd feed confidently throughout the day, it is usually dawn & dusk that their feeding activity is heightened, this also tends to be the time when larger specimens begin to feed as the fading light increases their confidence.

Tackle & Tips

  • A light float road coupled with a waggler set at shallow depth can be an extremely fun tactic to employ when targeting rudd - line of around 3lbs with a lighter hook length and hook sizes between 16-22 should be all that is needed.

  • Using a pole can provide prolific fun with smaller sized rudd, although the larger fish will shy away with the pole being seen overhead. You can get round this by having more line than normal between the pole tip and float so the pole tip is not directly over the float, this technique is called long lining.

  • Regular loose feeding of maggots & casters is a great way of getting rudd to compete for food, especially if you use floating casters, with regular loose feeding you can soon create a feeding frenzy.

  • If smaller rudd are smashing your maggots & casters, look to use more solid baits like corn & pellet to avoid their attentions.

  • It can pay dividends to loose feed for awhile prior to getting your rig in the water, spending some time building the swim with loose feed until a feeding frenzy ensues will certainly help your chances of catching a larger specimen which slip up as a result of the competitive feeding.

  • A good time to target specimen rudd can be at night, as larger specimens tend to lead a more nocturnal feeding regime, a light maggot feeder set up can be used quite effectively during the hours of darkness.