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11:00 Monday 13 October 2014  Written by Ian Welch

Big Fish Column: Barbel cracker of 13lb 15oz from Loddon for Stewart

Local river fishing was somewhat in the Doldrums throughout much of September but with last week delivering some much-needed rainfall and temperatures finally beginning to dip they are finally beginning to get into shape for autumn.

The Loddon has probably been the most consistent of the local venues throughout the latter part of the summer with many sections producing the odd decent barbel; the FAS water at Stanford End being particularly good and the recent flush through has given the river another boost.

Woodley angler Josh Stewart certainly made the most of the improved conditions with an evening into darkness session on a local beat of the Loddon producing a barbel of 7lb 12oz, followed by a real cracker of 13lb 15oz. Josh presented a 14mm pellet hookbait on a size 8 hook to a 10lb hook length and 12lb main line with a PVA bag of mixed hemp and pellets every other cast to pull the fish to his swim.

Staying with barbel and the Kennet also showed an improvement last week with Slough’s Tim Hargreaves netting a specimen of 10lb 8oz from the Reading beat at Upper Benyons. Tim fished a running rig with a crab-flavoured boilie on a size 8 hook to 10lb line and also netted a couple of chub scaling 3lb apiece.

Chub fishing on the Kennet appears to be very much on the up this season with far more upper 5 and 6lb fish reported during the summer months than I can remember for many years. The bigger fish appear to be showing throughout the river and it looks as if a particularly strong year class is coming through. Looking ahead a couple of seasons and I think we shall see the river producing the odd winter 7lb specimen, something it has not done with any regularity for a long time.

For anyone looking to get onto the bigger specimens at present the Old Mill is well worth a look, as is the canalised section above Lower Benyons.

Speaking of strong year classes the roach fishing on the Thames is becoming rather special in a few areas with numbers of fish peppering the 2lb mark and the occasional fish a good few ounces above the magical mark. With numbers of back up fish and fish falling to the float and the feeder it looks like we can look forward to some excellent redfins in the seasons ahead too.

The higher than average water temperatures and lower than average flows impacted upon the Thames more than the smaller rivers and the fishing has been somewhat inconsistent of late but the big fish boys have found the odd decent carp and there have been bream aplenty on a number of sections, with Marlow producing a 100lb bag for river regular Derek Hall who used a groundbait feeder in conjunction with a soft pellet hookbait with 6lb line straight through to a size 10 hook.

Derek also hooked what he ‘thinks’ was a carp during the overnight session; with the fish stripping some 40 metres of line on its initial run before parting the line we ‘think’ Derek’s assessment was probably correct – the Marlow waters do hold a few real heavyweights!

As well as the bream the Thames perch continue to provide quality sport with the latest big fish reported by Marlow angler Charlie Roberts who lure fished from a boat moored close to Maidenhead Bridge to take specimens of 2lb 2oz and 2lb 10oz. Charlie also netted a couple of jack pike, all of the fish being fooled by soft plastic worms in a variety of colours.

More rain and further cooling is forecast during the week ahead, the autumn fishing has finally arrived and following on from the Indian summer I have a feeling the month ahead could well be a very good one indeed locally.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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