Big Fish Column: Combination of frost and flood proves testing for anglers

Nick Clewlow (L) presents Peter Martin with his cash prize.


The combination of frost and flood is rarely good for fishers. Fining down after a flood is great, a prolonged spell of cold, frosty weather is great too, as the fish become acclimatised and start to feed again. A frost on top of high water is not good, and that is exactly where we were last week.


Slack chub

Chub are always one of the first species to start feeding after a frost but they are not lovers of high, coloured water so there were very few to be found last week, unless you could find an area of slack water, where the fish could feel more comfortable out of the main push of water. That is exactly what Slough angler, Jez Chambers, did.

Jez told me, “I know an area of the Thames that always has a large slack area of water, no matter what state the main river is in, and I was itching to get out and wet a line so I headed out very early,, hoping nobody would beat me to it!”

Nobody did beat Jez to ‘pole position‘ on the river and his cheese and trout paste bait was taken by three fish during the course of the day, weighing in at 4lb, 4lb 14oz and 5lb 12oz. Jez fished his hook bait on a size 8 hook tied direct to 8lb fluorocarbon main line.


Reading pike

Local pike fishing has had a fairly slow start this winter but Maidenhead‘s Den Edwards connected with a nice fish from one of the large Reading and District gravel pits week. Den presented a popped–up smelt on one rod and a legered herring tail on the other and struck into a fast run on the latter, just 30 minutes into his session.

After a short fight on 15lb line to a 24lb wire trace and size 6 size semi–barbed trebles he netted a fish of 15lb 4oz, following it up with a jack of around 5lb, which took the smelt bait later in the day.


Trout returns

Local trout anglers have enjoyed some of the best local fishing so far this winter but poor weather made for difficult fishing conditions for them last week too. That said, there were still a lot of cracking fish caught at Haywards Farm last week with a few blue and rainbow trout showing amongst the usual rainbows.

No double figure fish were reported, but there were a few 6lb plus fish showing with hothead damsel, cat‘s whiskers, blobs and buzzers all tempting fish. The most profitable result of the week, however, fell to Peter Martin who landed himself an early Christmas present by netting the prize tagged trout – a 9lb rainbow – and collecting a very nice £250 bonus. Peter is pictured here being presented with the cash by Sportfish team member, Nick Clewlow.


The week ahead

As much as I would like to suggest some great sport in the run in to Christmas, I fear it is going to be more of the same for the week ahead. Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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