Big Fish Column: Record high temperatures leads to a slump in catches

By Ian Welch


In a week that brought us record high temperatures it was little wonder that the fishing was poor, although it did perk up a little with the return to more seasonal temperatures and a little much needed rain.


The River Thames

The Thames last week was beginning to look a little stagnant and, weirpools aside, there was little in the way of flow through most sections. It is typical of the river for much of the year these days and summer conditions simple exacerbate a problem that persists on so many of our flowing waters. Abstraction, flood defence, building on the flood plain, many diverse factors that mean our rivers do not flow as they should at any time of year. That said, the Thames remains the river with the most to offer local anglers and even in its present poor shape it is delivering a few nice catches.

Pretty much wherever you fish you will find bream on the Thames, a nuisance for carp and barbel anglers but a godsend for pleasure anglers looking for a few bites after dark once the boat traffic has eased. One local rod who certainly doesn‘t find them a nuisance is Marlow angler Steve Bellamy who set out his stall for them on a section close to the town centre last weekend. Fishing soft pellet hook baits over a bed of fishmeal groundbait and trout pellets Steve netted a dozen fish to approximately 7lb with a size 12 hook straight to 6lb line bringing them all to the bank.


Surface carp 

The hot weather has seen more than a few carp feeding on top and Burnham‘s Ed Anderson managed to get one of them to take his bread crust hook bait at Island Lake last Sunday morning. Ed presented his bait on a size 8 hook to a long 8lb hook length with a light controller float and after spooking away on two occasions the 18lb mirror took it at the third time of asking.



Stick float dace

Fishing the stick float is very much a forgotten art these days but get it right and it is a delightful way to get amongst the fish and a couple of friends have told me they are enjoying some super float fishing on the River Kennet at present with lots of dace in bags close to double figures. Look for water with a steady pace and a uniform depth and it could just help you catch in otherwise challenging conditions.


The week ahead

August is, typically, the toughest month in the angling calendar but I expect to see Finch Farm producing plenty of catfish and with temperatures back to normal and a little rain forecast the rivers may just improve too.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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