Big Fish Column: Taplow anglers rewarded for soggy day and night session
Rain and yet more rain, followed by a slight cooling, conspired to deliver more challenging conditions for local anglers last week.
The only good news was that the temperature dip was gradual and catches slowed up, rather than switched off completely.
That, if the forecasters are to believed, is what we will be faced with this weekend!
The buffering effect of the volume of water in stillwaters always means they are slower to cool in winter, and consequently slower to warm in spring, than the rivers, which respond almost instantly to any environmental change.
So this winter, with the extraordinarily mild conditions that have prevailed, they continue to perform more like November than January - the carp are feeding everywhere!
The Reading venues currently seem to have the edge in respect of the bigger fish with the Blue Pool and Island Lake both turning up a good few doubles with a sprinkling of 20lb plus fish, indeed 30lb fish in respect of the former.
The Island Lake appeared to be under the radar of many local anglers throughout much of last year and it has really only been since late autumn that an increasing number of people have cottoned onto the fact that it has been fishing exceptionally well.
Originally stocked as a match-style fishery the management (initially of neglect) saw the fish grow on without replacement and under new ownership it has now switched to a full-on specimen carp fishery - with strains of fish that have the potential to reach impressive sizes.
Last week saw Taplow anglers Pete Osbourne and Gaz Burchett spend a very wet day and night session on the venue and both were rewarded with a couple of good fish for their discomfort.
Pete presented single hi-attract hook baits with no free offerings to trap fish of 13lb 3oz and 17lb 12oz, both safely netted with 12lb main line, 15lb hook length and a size 9 hook.
Gaz opted for small PVA tubes of crushed boilies and hemp, with a corn and mini boilie bait on a size 10 hook to 12lb fluorocarbon to net carp of 14lb and 18lb.
Carp are still showing at Royal Berkshire too, with doubles in evidence from both lakes one and two, with the former probably the best bet for regular action with baits cast to the island proving very successful; a tactic employed to good effect by Maidenhead's Kyle Smith who was delighted when fish of 8lb 8oz and 12lb picked up his flavoured sweetcorn hook baits.
River fishing last week was tricky to say the least, too coloured and high for the chub to be really on and temperatures beginning to dip sufficiently to switch the barbel off.
Specimens of both species were caught, but were very few and far between with a Loddon chub of 5lb 10oz to the meat bait offered by Sam Payne the best reported by a local rod.
Furze Platt-based Sam fished the straight lead with 8lb line straight through to a size 8 hook.
If the forecast is accurate and we do see tumbling temperatures and dropping water it could well be 'chub time' for the week ahead.
Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at email@example.com