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Big Fish Column: Angling could remain tough as a result of Indian summer

Early September does have a track record of delivering gloriously warm late summer sunshine and this year has proved to be no exception. It is, perhaps, a little early to call it an Indian summer but the signs are there for another warm week ahead, the signs are also there for local fishing to remain tough as a result.


Thames roach

The Thames remains the standout local river and this week we are starting the column not with a big fish catch, but with news of the river‘s roach potential, which at present is excellent throughout many local beats.

Roach used to be a highlight of winter fishing on the river and sections such as Reading Prom and Marlow Town used to produce double figure bags throughout the cooler months with some regularity. The quality of fish dipped alarmingly for a number of years and has, perhaps, never quite regained the quality it once had but fish populations are naturally cyclical, and the roach are back.

A light maggot approach on many local sections of river at present will see you getting a few bites with plenty of roach to be caught, most of them in the 2oz to 6oz bracket, but enough fish of 8oz to 12oz amongst them to liven things up. Whether these fish will continue to come through to produce the shoals of quality fish that local Thames anglers used to catch remains to be seen but head to the Thames this month with pole gear and a couple of pints of maggots or casters and you will almost certainly get amongst the redfins. Hemp and tares (remember them?) might just sort out a much better stamp of fish.


Thames bream

A column without Thames bream would be unheard of at present, and they are certainly not to everyone‘s taste, but if you want to guarantee some action then head to the river with plenty of pellets and as much fishmeal groundbait as you can carry and you will catch!

The back to school easing of boat traffic has made the fishing a little easier than it was throughout much of the summer and there are fish to be found on most beats, including the Child Beale area at Theale where Marlow anglers Dave Foster and Gil Hammond headed last weekend.

Heavy groundbait feeders with pellet hook baits on size 10 hooks to 6lb line was the technique chosen by both anglers and during a busy night session they netted some 20 bream between them, the best weighing in at around 6lb. Dave also netted a solitary chub of 4lb, which did make for some respite from the bream onslaught.


The week ahead

It might not be officially classed as an Indian summer yet, but the forecasters are suggesting warm, bright sunshine for the week ahead. Although overnight temperatures are dipping, water temperatures are still holding up and the fishing is likely to remain tough.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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