Big Fish Column: February offers anglers little to shout about, but the chilly chub continue to feed

Always a tough month, February continues to offer local anglers little to shout about, although river anglers have picked up a few good chub from a variety of venues in the cold conditions.

Chilly chub

Usually happy to feed no matter how cold the water temperature is, chub were the target for many river anglers who braved the cold last week. The Thames at Goring remains the ‘go-to’ beat for the biggest specimens at present but Cookham can throw up the occasional decent fish too as Andy James showed last week with a fish of 5lb 12oz. Andy tempted the specimen with bread fished on a size 6 hook to 6lb line in conjunction with a heavy feeder.

The River Loddon is worth a look for chub at present too and a section close to Dinton Pastures Country Park produced a fish of 5lb 5oz to Twyford angler Roger Parsons. Roger also used a bread hook bait to tempt the fish, using a groundbait of mashed bread to attract it.


Superb trout fishing

It may be mostly bad news for local coarse anglers at present but the winter fishing remains excellent for stillwater trout anglers and Chris Hayward reports that it has been another great week of fishing at the Sportfish Game Fishing Centre with most anglers having success.

The best bags have fallen to naturals but lures have had some success with fish feeding hard on buzzers and nymphs. Surprisingly, given the conditions, a few fish have even been seen taking dries off the top. Floating lines are the order of the day and more fish have been taken from the bank than from the boats

As far as the mix of fish is concerned, there have been plenty of blue trout caught being along with some very pretty browns, which are actively on the hunt for food and fighting fit. The biggest fish of the week was, however, a superb 10lb rainbow trout netted by Simon Mann.

Chris told me that the key to a good day on the fishery at the moment is to keep on the move, if you haven't had a touch in 20 to 30 minutes then it’s time to move on until you find the fish.

That actually sounds like pretty good advice for most anglers in the current conditions and coarse anglers should take note too!


Otter petition

It was interesting to see a report in the national newspapers last weekend about the petition that is doing the rounds ‘demanding action against otters’, claiming the relatively recent reintroduction of the species has had a devastating impact upon fish species, most notably carp and barbel.

The petition, which has already attracted thousands of signatures, was instigated by Barbel Society chairman, Steve Pope who views otters as ‘the equivalent of the urban fox’ and is seeking their ‘non-lethal’ control.

That otters have played a part in the decline of some fisheries – including locally – is not in doubt but, as with all fishery science, it is not quite as simple as it first appears because aquatic ecosystems are biologically complex habitats. Steve’s stance has not found favour with some, including angling’s governing body, the Angling Trust, and there is the potential for our sport to be seen in a less positive way because of it. This one will run and run, watch this space…

 Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at


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