The Big Fish Column: Thames anglers find the river in a very foul mood

For local anglers, the new year has continued just as it started, with challenging conditions and the few catches that were made last week were all hard earned.


River chub

With most of the rivers pushing hard and carrying cold water it was very tough fishing for the few who made the effort to get the rods out and Thames anglers in particular found the river in a very foul mood.

Anglers targeting the smaller rivers fared a little better and Wargrave’s Todd Stevenson braved cold rain showers on the Loddon at Twyford to tempt a single chub of 5lb 5oz on a homemade cheesepaste bait. Todd presented a walnut-sized lump of his pungent Danish Blue and pastry combination on a size 8 hook to 6lb line to tempt the fish from a margin swim alongside a dead rush bed.

Also netting a good chub, this time from the Kennet, was Andy Hull who fished a lobworm bait in the hope of perch on the canalised section of the river at Ufton to net a specimen of 4lb 4oz. The hoped for perch did materialise at dusk and weighed around 8oz, although Andy did tell me that he witnessed a 3lb fish caught from the section earlier in the day.


Canal catches

The canalised section of rivers certainly appeared to fare better than the main streams last week and with most of the local rivers struggling to find form a few anglers headed to the canal proper for their sport, as opposed to the sections with a river influence.

Despite the fishing being far from good there were some reasonable returns with a few perch and bream showing from the Reading and District beats of the Kennet and Avon Canal, including a mixed bag of bream to 3lb and perch to just over the pound mark to Windsor rod Barry Thomas who alternated between the pole and a light bomb rod with a red maggot hook bait.


Slow stillwaters

A few of the local commercials have produced small carp during the past week but for the majority of anglers getting out it has been tough going with few fish happy to feed. Even the local pike anglers have been struggling, although Maidenhead’s Des Williams did manage a good fish of 15lb 2oz from a RDAA stillwater last week. A float-legered sardine presented on size 8 semi-barbed trebles to 28lb wire was the bait that attracted the solitary fish shortly after first light.


The week ahead

The forecast for the week ahead suggests a little more in the way of consistency than we have seen recently, with the temperatures looking set to remain above freezing and the rain showery, rather than persistent. If it does indeed unfold as predicted we should see a slight uplift in catches.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at


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