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Big Fish Column: Hot weather and poorly oxygenated water sees trout fishing slow right up

Hot weather; lethargic fish; low, poorly oxygenated water on the rivers; trout fishing slowing right up, or indeed closed for the summer, it has been a tough week around the local fisheries. The bad news is that it‘s not looking like it is going to pick up anytime soon!


Thames bream

There are, of course, a few fish to be caught and Thames bream remain one of the most reliable of the summer species, creeping out at dusk to get their heads down with unerring regularity.

Marlow‘s Jay Shergold is no stranger to his local river and often creeps out for a few hours‘ fishing after the boat traffic has subsided. Fishing a big cage feeder packed with soaked pellets on a barbel rod and a size 12 hook baited with a drilled pellet two sessions last week brought him 18 fish to around 6lb, all of them banked safely with 8lb main line and a 6lb hook length.


Finch Farm bream

Staying with bream, but stepping up a league in size, last week brought a new venue record ‘slab‘ at Finch Farm with High Wycombe angler, Alan Cross, netting a beast of 12lb 4oz from the half island on the Main Lake.

Venue bailiff, Ray Brooker, also tells me that despite the hot weather a lot of double figure carp are showing from the Main Lake too, along with some quality roach to over a pound. With the venue‘s catfish usually feeing hard throughout the summer it is one of the local fisheries that is well worth a visit this month.


Surprise chub

Summer lure fishing can be great fun with a lightweight roving approach allowing you to cover a lot of water and usually provoke a few plucks from perch or jack pike. Just occasionally though it can throw up a real surprise as Maidenhead rod Alun Richards found last week.

Working his way along one of the lower Kennet beats, close to Reading town centre, Alun‘s soft shad lure was hit by a decent fish alongside a mid–river snag. The fish went deep, took line and then dived towards a big bed of near bank reeds and stuck solid. Convinced he was attached to a seriously large perch, Alun took it easy and steadily applied pressure to tease the fish out, his 20lb braid scything easily through the reed stems.

Back in open water Alun steadied the net, ready for black stripes and a large spiny dorsal fin to surface. Instead a huge, brassy flank flashed and he netted a cracking chub that pulled the scales to 5lb 3oz. A lovely summer fish and a great way to catch one too.



Giant Hayward‘s perch

Last weekend was any method over at Haywards Farm Lake trout fishery, ahead of the lake closing for the summer. In my preview I suggested that a big perch or two might show and so it proved with a monster of 5lb reported by the bailiffs. Sadly, I have no details of the captor, although I understand that the fish was officially weighed and witnessed. Look out for the any method weekend next year, it‘s going to be an annual event.


The week ahead

It‘s going to be tough! My honest advice would be to pack a lure rod and head down to the south coast for some great mackerel and bass sport. At least that‘s my plan!

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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