Big Fish Column: Wright lands 45lb beast of a catfish on the stillwaters New Farm Fishery

Ian Welch

Big Fish Column: Wright lands 45lb beast of a catfish on the stillwaters New Farm Fishery

Water, water everywhere…

It is beginning to look like it may be one of the wettest months of June on record, coming out of a decidedly damp spring with rivers already well above their normal summer levels at the beginning of the season that is a lot of water.

A good flush through is no bad thing as far as rivers are concerned, and high water is always preferable to drought. Indeed floodwater, providing the water is warm, is up there as the very best barbel-catching conditions there are during the winter months. During the summer it is not quite so spectacular but there were certainly a few good specimens caught locally last week.

Top of the list was a fish of 12lb 14oz from a canalised section of the Kennet caught by Marlow angler Tom Butler, who fished the popular PVA bag and pellet method. Targeting a small stand of overhanging trees on an otherwise featureless section Tom cast every 30 minutes to keep a steady stream of small pellets trickling through his swim and, despite problems with crayfish, he persisted all day until the fish moved in late in the evening.

Also netting a cracking barbel, this time from the River Loddon, was Arborfield angler Ed Hall who also put the PVA bag and pellet to good use to tempt a fish of exactly 11lb. Ed presented a 14mm pellet on a size 8 hook to 15lb coated braid and 10lb main line.

The Thames is the one river that so often lacks a good push of water but when it does have a reasonable flow the fishing can be excellent. Bream provided the action for many local Thames rods last week with the groundbait feeder with maggot, caster, worm or pellet all scoring, particularly after dark.

Amongst those enjoying an excellent net of bream was Windsor’s Geoff Downley who fished a local section of the Thames with a heavy feeder rod to hold the deck in what he described as a river that was, “tanking through in a very un-Thames like fashion when I arrived.”

Geoff packed a flattened 2oz feeder with softened pellets stiffened with some fishmeal and presented a soft pellet tipped with a red maggot on the hook to score with eight bream to 6lb during a 6pm to midnight session.

On the stillwaters New Farm Fishery continued its excellent run of big catfish with a 45lb specimen to John Wright the best of a very busy week. John, pictured, took the fish – his first ever catfish – on a half mackerel bait, a bait that also scored for Gordon McKie who netted a specimen of 42lb from the venue.

A few cats have been showing from Finch Farm too with a sardine head the bait that produced a 28lb 8oz fish for Wargrave angler Bill Keene who fished the Anaconda Lake. The same venue has been in great form for carp and pleasure anglers too with float fished meat tight to the reeds turning up some good carp and pole fished maggot accounting for nice mixed bags of smaller carp, along with bream, perch, roach and even the occasional goldfish.

For bigger carp the Island Lake at Theale is picking up after a quiet spell when the fish were spawning and Taplow angler Andy Young netted fish of 18lb 4oz and 16lb during a 24-hour session. Crab flavoured boilies fished close in over a bed of mixed particles did the job.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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