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Big Fish Column: Autumn is in the air and that's good news for the region's anglers

Autumn is definitely in the air: it is noticeably cooler in the mornings, the evenings are beginning to draw in and water temperatures across the region are falling, albeit slowly. Slowly too, very slowly, the fishing is beginning to improve.

It is very early autumn though, and it is likely to be some weeks before we see any real impact on angling prospects, but the first real signs of change were apparent around some of the local venues last week with results beginning to pick up.


Early autumn perch

Perch really are one of the real harbingers of autumn and last week brought some good results from both the River Thames and the River Kennet with fish over 2lb reported from both.

Starting with the Thames and Marlow was the location selected by brothers Tim and Ralph Townsend last weekend as then finished a family get together with a few hours‘ fishing along a section of river they first fished together as kids. Now in their 30s both fish less regularly than they used to, but the boyhood competitive instinct always kicks in when they are together and Tim told me that as soon as they decided to head to the river it was always going to be a case of who could catch the most, and the largest!

As it happens, honours were even, with Tim catching four perch and two pike to Ralph‘s two perch and one pike but Ralph‘s perch and pike – at 2lb 4oz and 5lb 8oz respectively – easily beat his brother‘s for size. Both Tim and Ralph used light spinning outfits with a variety of small lures and spinners to connect with the fish.

The Kennet remains a tough river to do well on, for reasons we have discussed in this column on numerous occasions, but there are still some cracking perch to be found and Twyford‘s Matt Goddard connected with a brace of lovely fish scaling 2lb 2oz and 2lb 10oz from a canalised section of Reading and District water.

Matt fished without a bite all day but, and how typical is this for perch, struck into both fish within a couple of minutes of one another as the light was beginning to fade. A lobworm hook bait on a size 8 hook to a 4lb hook length and 6lb main line did the business for Matt, who cast his bait tight to a long run of overhanging trees below a moored barge.


Autumn barbel

It has been a generally slow couple of weeks for barbel fishers and Thames regular Neil Wayte tells me he is averaging one bite every three nights, now that is tough! His patience was, however, rewarded last weekend with a barbel of 9lb 8oz. ‘It is becoming a tad chilly overnight now!‘ he told me. When Neil feels it, then it must be getting cold!


Autumn carp

Carp fishing always picks up as we head into the autumn and although it tends to reach its peak in October and early November there are already indications of an upturn in sport with several fish reported, including Windsor rod Dominic Payne who netted a 15lb specimen from the Royal Berkshire fishery on a pellet hook bait.


The week ahead

It may be getting cooler but the forecast for the week ahead suggests no great change, indeed,  if anything, overnight temperatures may be holding up well. Don‘t get your autumn fishing hopes up just yet, it could take a while…

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at


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