By Ian Welch
The final few days of the river season did have a touch of déjà vu about them as one of the anglers of the season made another unexpected return to the local angling scene.
Neil Wayte’s remarkable chub captures from a local beat of the River Thames made headlines on numerous occasions this winter and having reported his last catch, which included three fish over 6lb and one of 7lb, Neil told me that was it – his season was done. Only it wasn’t.
Neil could just not resist one last overnight session on what he describes as, “the best chub river in the country” and although his cheesepaste bait was only picked up once, it was by a huge fish of 7lb 5oz. Now that is some way to end a season!
BACK END BARBEL
Also finishing with a big Thames chub was Windsor rod Eddie Brown who also used a cheese-based bait to score with a specimen of 6lb 4oz from a local section of river.
A size 6 hook and 6lb line brought the fish safely to the net.
Back end barbel can be very tricky to tempt, particularly if temperatures are high, as they often begin to migrate towards spawning areas and their feeding behaviour can shift markedly.
Indeed, I gave up on spending the last few days of the season barbel fishing as a bad job many years ago and decided that my time was better spent after chub or perch.
It’s not quite so cut and dried the further north you head and the Midland rivers will doubtless have thrown up a few heavyweights last week, but locally it was tough.
There were a few local barbel banked last week, the best reported a River Loddon fish of 9lb that picked up the pellet and paste offered by Arborfield angler Gary Dawson.
Gary fished at Dinton Pastures with a small pellet wrapped in paste on a size 8 hook to a 15lb coated braid hook length and 12lb main line.
BETTER FOR PERCH
The perch fishing was, however, a little better and Reece Franklin enjoyed an excellent last day on the Thames at Bourne End with four fish to 2lb 12oz hitting into his dropshotted soft plastic lures.
Marlow weir produced some fine late perch fishing too, although lively small pike proved troublesome to many of the anglers who had smaller predators in their sights.
Just as the back end of the season can be tricky on the rivers, so the start of the spring season can be tough going on the stillwaters with bream and carp usually the only two species willing to feed with any great enthusiasm, but it has been a warm start this year and that has brought some interesting early returns.
SPRING HAS SPRUNG
There are many ways to tell that it is spring ‘proper’ and for me it was really brought home last week with the first reports of catfish from Hawthorn Hill’s New Farm Fishery appearing in my inbox!
Jeff Allen fished the Cat and Carp Lake with a luncheon meat bait to take carp of 15lb and 21lb before banking a catfish of 45lb.
That was, however, a ‘small’ one compared to the beast of 64lb caught by venue regular Graham Wo who also used a meat bait to great effect.
With water temperatures now rising rapidly I think we shall be seeing a lot more from New Farm in the weeks ahead.
Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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