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Big Fish Column: Back to business as usual as Stollery nets 3lb 4oz roach at Maidenhead's Finch Farm

After a mini heatwave, it was back to business as usual last week and, at times, the weather felt almost autumnal. Thankfully at this time of year fishing will never switch off totally but it certainly wasn’t easy.


Finch Farm results

Ray Brooker from Maidenhead’s Finch Farm Fishery called in to report superb fishing across the complex, topped by an incredible roach of 3lb 4oz caught by Knowle Hill angler Dave Stollery. Dave netted the fish along with a mixed bag of other species from the Main Lake. All swims on this lake have been fishing well with good bags of mixed fish

coming out to all baits and the warmer evenings have seen a lot of carp coming off the surface to floating crust baits.

The Catfish Lake at Finch Farm has also been in terrific shape and last week Graham and Mike from Totally Awesome Fishing were down filming a feature for their online programme. You’ll have to wait until the footage is released for the full story, but suffice to see you will see footage of cats weighing 15lb, 28lb and 39lb on the bank!

Ray enjoyed an excellent session himself last week too with eight bream to 7lb plus and a common carp of 12lb from the Anaconda Lake fishing jelly pellets over a bed of 4mm pellets.


Carp on top

Despite the conditions we are experiencing, Ray’s report of carp off the surface reminds us that it is almost summer and the carp are feeding well and Taplow’s Dickie West was another angler scoring off the surface with a mirror carp of 18lb 2oz. Dickie presented a hair-rigged Chum Mixer hook bait with a long 8lb hook length and 10lb main line after spotting fish sucking at flies and other flotsam from around the margins of a small island.

There are plenty of carp feeding on the bottom too and reports from Royal Berkshire have been good with fish to upper double figures reported from Lake One and Two.


May tench

May is traditionally ‘tench month’ but despite tench beginning to show with increasing regularity from local venues it could still be a week or two before we see the fishing really begin to pick up, with early June possibly prime time for the best of the fishing. The cold spring has a lot to answer for.

The best tench reported locally last week was not a monster, tipping the scales at 5lb 14oz, but it gave Twyford rod Geoff Timms a serious workout on a 14ft float rod with 4lb line through to a sweetcorn-baited size 14 hook. Geoff targeted one of the smaller Reading and District gravel pits for the fish and also netted a smaller specimen of around the 4lb mark.



Sportfish Reading Show

Prospects for the bank holiday weekend are looking very positive indeed and if you are into game fishing don’t forget that the following  weekend - 12th and 13th May - sees the biggest game fishing show of the year over at Theale with the Sportfish Reading Show.

This annual lakeside celebration of game fishing showcases all the leading manufacturers and celebrities in the sport, with all the latest kit available to try and to buy. There’s free entry and parking, free demonstrations and seminars, great competitions, show-only deals and a hog roast and a beer bus. What’s not to like!

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at


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