The rudd is widely scattered throughout England, particularly in the SouthEast. It becomes less common in the North and West, and in the extreme West and North it is uncommon or even rare. The rudd does not occur in Scotland or west Wales but is very common in Ireland, where it is traditionally known as roach.
It is no mean fighter either. Size for size, the rudd fights better than the roach, which is hardly surprising because size for size it runs heavier. The rudd is a lake and pond fish, which thrives well in a Stillwater habitat. However, it is also found in limited numbers in slow and sluggish rivers, or in the almost still reaches of older canals.
In such waters it prefers these slow reaches and pools and rarely mixes with roach populations found in the faster reaches, except when it moves in shoals between one fairly still water region and another.
Overgrown chalk pits also produce shoals of rudd and where such populations are well balanced with good pike, perch or even wild bird predators, the resident rudd do well. In other waters they are prone to become too profuse.
Rudd are shy, sensitive fish that must never be underestimated. To catch good, specimen rudd, the experienced and successful angler has familiarized himself with the precarious life cycle of the species, its movements, habitat, and feeding patterns from hour to hour.
Fishing for rudd
Rudd frequently provide a fair bag and the early season lake angler can look forward to a peaceful day when the rudd are obliging.
Surface and middlewater fishing methods are clearly indicated, and if shoals of rudd are seen well offshore the angler must shotup a fairly heavy tackle to provide long casting. Rudd feeding well off the shoreline are not unduly shy, but most anglers prefer to take no chances.
A useful strategy is to cast well beyond the shoal, where the splash of tackle hitting the surface will not be noticed. The tackle is then drawn slowly towards the angler and into position over the shoal. Runs are often signified by a determined lateral and oblique movement of the float as fish take the bait along with them, rather than diving with it.
In these situations a bubblefloat partially filled with water often provides casting weight, permitting light shotting. Alternatively, a controller lying flat on the surface rather than being cocked like a float, allows swift bite detection on finer tackle than might otherwise be required.
When shoals of rudd do venture close inshore, great care is necessary to avoid alarming them.Fish hooked must be drawn aside from the shoal without allowing them to splash on the surface. This means employing side strain with the rod tip low until the fish can be landed.