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Warm weather sees barbel return to give local rivers a real boost

Warm and wet winter weather usually signals the appearance of a barbel or two and last week was no exception as temperatures above the seasonal norm and plenty of the wet stuff gave the local rivers a real boost.


The barbel are back

The Thames can be a tough barbel river but when it’s in form it is without doubt the best of the local rivers, particularly for large fish. One name has dominated the Thames barbel scene for the last few seasons, Neil Wayte, and ‘Nelly’ was back on the fish again last week with three doubles, weighing in at 14lb, 12lb 6oz and 10lb 8oz on Thursday night.

Neil commented, “The windows of opportunity are so very short when the Thames is spot on and you just have to be lucky to be there at the right time. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,”

I would add Gary Player’s famous quote to the end of Neil’s comment, ‘The more I practice, the luckier I get’ because there is nothing ‘lucky’ about Nelly’s captures.

Away from the Thames the River Loddon was also looking good for a barbel or two last week and a section of the river close to Dinton Pastures Country Park resulted in a 9lb 14oz fish for Cookham’s Nathan Green, who presented a boilie hook bait over a bed of pellets.


Cheesy chub

Although river conditions favoured barbel last week there were some good chub banked too, with the best reported a Thames fish of 6lb 1oz that took the cheesepaste offered by Cookham’s Adrian Foster. Ade presented a ‘walnut-sized’ lump of the bait – made from a mix of Danish blue cheese, mature Cheddar and Parmesan – on a size 6 hook to 6lb line.

Also netting a ‘cheesy chub’ was Clive Richards who used a piece of paste – his formed from ready-made pastry mix and Stilton – on a size 6 hook to 4lb line. Clive fished the canalised Burghfield River section of the Kennet.



Trout returns

Jonno Randall reports that fishing on Haywards Farm Lake has been particularly rewarding for those anglers who have ventured out in the boats, with the yellow buoy near the fish cage producing some particularly good fish.

Bank anglers need to roam the banks to make the most of their day as the fish are currently in small shoals, often patrolling the margins. Buzzers fished just 18 – 24in below the surface have accounted for many fish. However, for those looking to keep warm, blobs and taddies stripped on an intermediate line using the ‘Rutland Rip’ have also worked exceptionally well. The best fish of the week scaled 6lb, with a rod average of 3.1.

Finally, news that the ever-popular annual fur and feather competition will be taking place on Haywards Farm Lake on Saturday 15th December, tickets are strictly limited and cost just £40, which includes breakfast, prizes and all the mince pies you can eat! Call the team on 0118 930 3860 to book your place.

The weather is set to cool down slightly as we head into the weekend, so chances are the brief window of opportunity for barbel will be firmly closed but with the rivers still in good shape there should be some great chub and perch to be found locally.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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