Big Fish Column: Coarse anglers have challenges whilst local anglers have luck in Christmas run-up

Ian Welch

With seemingly continual rain adding to already fully-charged rivers, the prospects for fishing on the flowing waters does not look good in the short term and, unsurprisingly, sport was pretty much washed out last week.


Bits and pieces

The rivers may have been out of bounds but there was some sport, albeit patchy, to be found on the local commercials and Maidenhead’s Jay Foster told me that there were a few carp coming from Finch Farm, with fish well into double figures showing. Carp of a similar stamp were also showing from the Royal Berkshire Fishery, where Windsor’s Dominic Payne banked a fish of just over 10lb on a legered meat bait. I’m told there are a few good silvers and the odd perch to 2lb showing at the fishery too.


Trout returns

It may have been mostly tough going for coarse anglers in the run up to Christmas but it was much better for local trout anglers and at the Sportfish Game Fishing Centre the pre-Christmas fishing was exceptional, with takes all around the lake and from the boats too with several anglers bagging six or more fish in a session with four double figure specimens recorded on the catch return cards.

A few blue and tiger trout put in an appearance amongst the usual rainbows and with very high water levels more than a few fish were showing tight to the banks, probably foraging for worms and other invertebrates that may have been washed in by the rain. Snakes of various descriptions were the go-to patterns for the week but damsel nymphs were taking fish too. The average weight for the week was 3lb 14oz, the rod average 3.8 and at least four fish topping 10lb were netted. The quality of fishing is likely to remain excellent into the New Year.

Fishery manager, Jonno Randall, has asked me to remind all anglers heading to the site to ensure they complete and return the catch return cards after every session, even nil returns, as it helps the stocking policy and the accuracy of weekly reports. The catch return is on the reverse of the fishery ticket, and the box to pop it into at the end of your session is at the front of the lodge. No excuses, folks!


Fur and Feather

The team at the Game Fishing Centre has also asked me to pass on thanks to everyone who ducked out of the Christmas shopping, braved the weather and took part in the annual Fur and Feather competition last weekend. The driving rain was a bit of a challenge early on but when it eased, the fish really started to feed and it was an enjoyable day!

The results were as follows:

1st Place: Colin Jordan with 17 fish for 41lb. 2nd Place: Martin Matthews with 14 fish for 35lb. 3rd Place: Alan Tyson with 14 fish for 30lb.

Special congratulations go to Martin Matthews who not only came in second place overall but also caught a tagged fish to win himself £250! The biggest fish of the day was a 10lb rainbow landed by Chay Hedger.


Into the New Year

Unless you are heading out in search of trout, or perhaps onto the chalkstreams for some grayling, the forecast suggests the fishing is going to be challenging for the forseeable future. I’ll be back in the New Year with a full round up of all that was banked during the holiday period.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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