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Big Fish Column: Pellet hook bait bags Howard Davies Thames bream near Little Marlow

A cool, wet August may not be ideal for the summer holiday season but it has made for better than average angling around the local venues, with the rivers in particular in decent shape for the time of year.


Around the rivers

Despite the unseasonal rainfall, we still remain too close to drought for comfort and our rivers are finely balanced in terms of flow. The Thames continues to remain the standout performer of the local flowing waters and at present it is pushing through reasonably well and holding its summer level.


The River Thames

Fishing–wise the Thames can be challenging at times but it retains an element of the unknown that is lacking in some of our smaller rivers. There are certainly some good barbel to be caught at present and last weekend saw Thames regular, Neil Wayte, bag his first big fish of the season in the shape of a 14lb fish on his first visit to a new section of the river. Proof that, with a bit of luck, you can just drop onto a spot and catch.

The Thames bream remain either a blessing or a curse, depending on whether you are setting out your stall for them, or trying to avoid them while targeting the barbel and carp. They were certainly in evidence last week, for both types of angler, and one of those who was glad to see them rolling into his landing net was Bourne End‘s Howard Davies who fished a section of the river around Little Marlow to net a dozen fish to around 6lb in weight. A heavy feeder packed with pellets and a pellet hook bait did the job for Howard.

I‘m told there are still some decent perch showing at Bourne End and below Marlow weir and occasional chub on a variety of beats too. If you fancy a river session, the Thames is hard to discount at present.


The River Loddon

Is it me, or is the River Loddon heading into decline, the same way the Kennet has? Catches reported this year have been few and far between and there seem to be fewer good fish showing every season. Yes, there are still some great specimens to be caught but I get the impression it is not the venue it once was, certainly not the one I fished when it was in its prime.

The only report from the Loddon last week was actually a nice perch, rather than a cub or barbel. The fish, a specimen of 2lb 2oz, was taken by Sonning angler Mark Jarvis who fished the maggot feeder with a bunch of red maggots on a size 10 hook to a 6lb hook length and 8lb main line.


The River Kennet

Not quite dead and buried as a fishery but a shadow of its former self. It takes a lot of effort to find good fish on the Kennet these days but don‘t write it off entirely as there are some good pockets of fish which ‘may‘ offer hope for the future. Burghfield River is looking in great shape for chub and further upstream there are still nice perch to be found.

Alan Yeomans tends to fish the Kennet regularly, as it is on his doorstep, and although he mourns the decline of the once great fishery he still finds a few nice fish, including a brace of chub from the Burghfield River beat last weekend scaling 4lb 4oz and 5lb 6oz. Both fish took bread flake hook baits on a size 8 hook to 6lb line.

The week ahead

The weather looks like it will be warmer and more consistent for the week ahead and prospects for the late summer bank holiday weekend are better than usual for the time of year.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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