Big Fish Column: Barbel back on the menu in River Loddon

With the rivers finally dropping, clearing and becoming fishable again and the stillwaters showing a little bit of good winter form in rising temperatures, it was a decent week for local fishing.


Barbel back on the menu

Local barbel fishing has been a little quiet recently, not helped by tricky river conditions, but they were very much back in the spotlight last week with the Loddon and St. Patrick‘s Stream both producing fish.

The best reported fish was from the Loddon and pulled the scales around to exactly 11lb and was netted by Woodley angler Geoff Salmon who fished trout pellet paste on a size 8 hook to 12lb line and a 2.5oz lead. Using small PVA bags of mixed pellets as his attractor, Geoff had just one bite during his afternoon into evening session and landed the specimen just before dark after a five–minute fight.


Kennet perch

Kennet barbel continue to be few and far between but the river is still throwing up some terrific perch with lure and bait anglers both finding plenty of fish prepared to feed. The best of the week was a lovely specimen of 2lb 14oz that fell to Shiplake angler Dennis Lowe who banked it, along with a couple of smaller fish, on a soft rubber lure fished between moored boats on a canalised section of the river.


Island carp

Mild weather after a cold snap always gets carp feeding, as well as barbel, and Island Lake regular, Maidenhead‘s Dennis Edwards, fished an overnight session to take mirror carp of 18lb 8oz and 24lb 6oz. Both of the fish falling for popped–up mini boilie hook baits in a short late morning feeding spell. Dennis used just a handful of chopped baits around his hook bait, which was fished just a rod length out.


Trout returns

Over at the Game Fishing Centre, Jonno Randall reported that sport continued to be brisk last week and as well as the usual riot of rainbow trout, plenty of blue trout were caught too with Hare‘s Ears, Montanas, Dawsons Olives and Black Buzzers the flies of choice. The best fish of the week was a beast of 12lb 4oz to the rod of Micky Barnes, the average weight a decent 4lb 1oz and the rod average was 2.5.

If you are looking for an excuse to avoid the Christmas shopping this Saturday – and who isn‘t – Jonno tells me that the annual fur and feather match takes place on Haywards Farm Lake on Saturday 14th December, with a range of great prizes up for grabs. Tickets cost £45 pp and include bacon rolls and hot drinks on arrival, fishing between 10am - 3pm, followed by the prize giving. Call the team on 0118 930 3860 to reserve a place.


The week ahead

The forecast suggests that a lot of rain is heading our way, so the rivers could well be out of sorts again very quickly. However, with temperatures likely to remain well in the black, if the  deluge isn‘t too bad the fishing could be excellent.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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