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Barbel are back after cold snap breaks

Improving conditions after a short cold snap brought a marked uplift in sport last week and the good news for all of us is that a forecast of consistently mild conditions with a little rain for the week ahead means that it should continue for the week ahead too.


Barbel are back

As far as last week was concerned the best news for river anglers was the reappearance of barbel in catches for what seems like the first time in ages.

Most of our local rivers have ‘challenges’ as far as barbel are concerned and even a cursory glance at the national angling papers show the River Trent as the outstanding venue in the country, with relatively few reports of big from the southern rivers. Whether the local rivers will ever return to their glory days is open for debate but there are good fish to be found, and not just in the Thames.

The best reported barbel of the week was netted by long-time friend of this column, Dave McManus, who no longer fishes the River Kennet, ‘because there are few fish worth chasing’ but now spends his time alternating between the Rivers Loddon and Thames. Last week it was the turn of the Loddon where a small paste-wrapped mini boilie in conjunction with a PVA bag of pellets resulted in a decent fish of 11lb 1oz. Holyport-based Dave presented his hook bait on a size 9 hook to 15lb coated braid with a 12lb hook length and a 2oz running lead.


And chub are still here

Barbel may have made an appearance in catches for the first time last week, but the chub haven’t stopped feeding. The best Thames fish of the week was another huge specimen to Neil Wayte who bagged an absolute beast of 7lb 11oz. ‘Nelly’ has made some incredible catches from the river in recent seasons and this ranks among the very best of them, a fish that will be well over 8lb after Christmas. Neil employed bread and cheesepaste to tempt the monster.

A more modest, but nonetheless good, fish was banked by Windsor’s Chris Spinks who also fished the Thames with a bread bait to net a fish of an ounce under 6lb. Chris backed up the big fish with a smaller specimen of 3lb 8oz.


Perch prospects

Autumn perch fishing is beginning to get into top gear and a 3lb 2oz specimen was the reward for Furze Platt rod Calum O’Connor who fished a Reading and District beat of the Kennet last weekend. A link legered lobworm tipped with a red maggot on a size 8 hook to 6lb line produced the fish at dusk – always prime time for good perch.


Mixed trout returns

For trout fishers on Haywards Farm Lake the arrival of cold weather last week signalled challenging conditions for some, but produced brilliant fishing for others, including 11-year-old James Penwright who had a fantastic day’s sport catching six rainbows to 4lb 8oz.  James was very savvy and switched techniques throughout the day and kept on the move fishing from both the bank and the boat. He found success fishing an intermediate line with orange/coral blobs and fabs, fished with a start/stop retrieve.

The best fish of the week was taken by Rob Hayes and scaled 7lb 4oz and the average for the week was 3.9.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at


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