Big Fish Column: Coarse anglers forced to sit it out and wait for better conditions

Local angling was more than a little challenging last week with the rivers largely out of bounds and the larger stillwaters mostly in a dour mood. Some sport could be found on the canals, the commercials and a few sheltered backwaters but many coarse anglers appear to have decided to sit it out for better conditions, and who can blame them!


River conditions

High and largely unfishable water was the name of the game on most of the local flowing waters with some of the smaller venues bank high and even the Thames, usually sluggish, even in winter, was up and pushing hard.

There were a limited number of fishable areas though, and anglers with access to some of the Thames marinas and lock cuttings were able to find a few fish feeding as these areas not only allow fishers to present a bait with a degree of finesse, but also act as sanctuary areas for numbers of fish when the main channel is in flood. With small fish often packing such areas they can be real pike and perch hotspots as the predators always follow their prey.

So it proved for Marlow‘s Angus Carpenter who enjoys boat access and mooring on the Thames. Describing himself as ‘an occasional angler at best‘ Angus made the most of one of those occasions last Sunday morning as he spent a couple of hours in chilly but otherwise lovely autumn weather flicking lures between anchored craft in a little–fished Thames backwater. Using soft plastic shad baits and ‘old fashioned‘ Mepps spinners and spoons Angus banked four pike to 5lb and a couple of perch around the pound mark. Average fish in ‘normal‘ conditions, but an exceptional result from the Thames last week!

The good news for river anglers is that the long term forecast suggests a relatively dry spell ahead, allowing the current water to flush through without being topped up. It can only get better…


Commercial carp, and bits

There were surprisingly few reports from the local commercial pools last week but Big Fish Column regular, Maidenhead rod Jay Foster, put together a nice mixed bag of ‘bits‘ at Finch Farm with roach, perch, skimmers and a very unseasonal tench of 4lb falling for his pole fished red maggots.

At the Royal Berkshire fishery Windsor‘s Terry Wood  also enjoyed some success with carp to 5lb falling for his legered sweetcorn hook baits.


The week ahead

River sport remains uncertain but without further rain conditions should improve towards the end of the month.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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