Big Fish Column: Chub persuaded to feed on highly flavoured bait by Shiplake angler Dennis Lowe

It was another very patchy week around the local fishing scene with the rivers still very much out of bounds, with the exception of a few backwaters and sidestreams. Many of the commercials were performing slightly below par too and most anglers, perhaps sensibly, decided to sit it out and wait for better conditions to arrive.


Backwater chub

Chub are not lovers of high, coloured water but find an area out of the main push and they can be persuaded to feed, particularly on highly flavoured baits.

This was exactly the approach adopted by Shiplake angler Dennis Lowe who spent a morning last weekend fishing a roving session one of the small River Kennet tributaries. Presenting a cheesepaste bait made from a mixture of mature Cheddar and Gorgonzola, stiffened with a little pastry mix, Dennis converted his only two bites into fish, the first scaling a couple of pounds, the second a belter, given the conditions, of 5lb 1oz. Dennis brought both fish to the bank on 6lb line direct to a size 6 hook and tells me he decided to call it a day when the dry morning turned into downpour of ‘biblical proportions‘.



Trout returns

Coarse anglers may be finding the conditions really tough but local trout anglers are still enjoying terrific sport over at Haywards Farm Lake where the fish of the week was a cracker of 12lb to P. Muir that fell for a damsel pattern and was returned alive. Damsels of various variants were certainly the patterns to be on with hot heads also catching a lot of fish but buzzers, orange blobs and pheasant tail nymphs all scored. Another double–figure specimen fell to Paul Edwards, who netted a 10lb 5oz rainbow and there were plenty of fish around the 7lb mark showing too.

The fishery team tell me that top trout fisher, Charles Jardine, paid a flying visit this week to gather some shots for an upcoming magazine feature on his charity, Fishing for Schools. Despite it being a fleeting visit, Charles still managed to pull out a chunky rainbow on a small FAB pattern.

Fishers are beginning to catch a few of the newly–introduced tiger trout in addition to the ever–present rainbows and the average weight for the week was 3lb 10oz, with a rod average of 3.0.

Anyone looking to visit the fishery this winter should be aware that because of the on–site tree work to increase the site‘s biodiversity – by replacing existing trees with native British species – the railway bank is currently out of bounds.


The week ahead

Looking at the forecast I can see it being another really tough week for local river anglers but with temperatures likely to climb towards this weekend the commercials could well be back in some sort of form. Let‘s hope so.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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