Big Fish Column: Stay away anglers miss the big catches

Ian Welch

The Big Fish Trail


The winter conditions continue to be really tough and yet another weekend saw far more local anglers sitting at home, rather than on their fishing chairs and a couple of mates who did venture out told me they wished they hadn‘t bothered. That said, get in the right swim at the right time and there are fish to be caught on the rivers and the stillwaters are in decent shape for the time of year.

Finch Farm

Starting off on the stillwaters and Ray Brooker has been in touch with an update from Finch Farm Fishery, which continues to fish very well indeed given the far than perfect conditions we have been facing.

Pleasure anglers are getting plenty of bites and as far as the match results are concerned, 13 anglers from the Bracknell Herons club recently fished the venue and 43lb was needed to win, with Simon Harrison clear of the field. Dan Shaw was runner up with 25lb 12oz and Paul Fields third with 19lb 6oz. Most of the weights were made up of roach, ide, goldfish and a few small carp, with maggots the main bait. Great results considering it was a very cold day with a sharp frost to start.

The Finch Farm open match series for 2020 is just about to commence, watch this space for the results as they come in.

Royal Berkshire perch

A few perch are beginning to show to anglers on Royal Berkshire, although the venue does not seem to be producing as many headline fish as it has in recent seasons.

Windsor angler, Terry Wood, usually targets the venue‘s carp but having struggled on his last couple of visits he opted to try for the perch and silver fish instead. A regular feed of maggots and several casts with a light waggler and small sections of prawn as bait failed to produce the hoped for big roach, but stepping up his float gear and opting for a worm on a size 8 barbless hook to 4lb fluorocarbon brought a couple of perch around the pound mark, then a much better fish of 2lb 2oz.

Thames perch

There are a few good perch beginning to show on local beats of the River Thames too, if you can get out of the main push of water and target the big slack areas behind islands or in moorings. Marlow rod, Alex Cuthbert did just that and picked up perch to well over a pound and a couple of small jack pike by jerking small spinnerbaits between moored boats in the Marlow Lock area. Alex used a light baitcasting outfit with 30lb braid and a knottable wire trace.

River chub

Fishing on most of the rivers remains difficult but ahead of further rain last Sunday most venues were beginning to fine down nicely and there were chub to be caught on the creases and in the steadier flows. The best of the bunch reported to me was a 4lb 14oz St. Patrick‘s Stream fish to Woodley‘s Geoff Salmon who presented a cheesepaste bait on a size 6 hook direct to 6lb main line. Geoff fished a roving session dropping his legered baits into slacks behind snags and converted his only bite of the day into a chub on the bank late in the afternoon.

The week ahead

Consistent weather conditions are the key to fishing success at this time of year, particularly on the rivers, and I fear it may be a little longer before we see them. I suspect it will be another tough week for all of us.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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