Tag: river thames

The Glorious 16th, 2018.

On the 15th of June I decided to make a last minute trip out after work. I drove round the M25 to my parents’ house where my gear is still stored with the intention of fishing Spade Oak gravel pit in Marlow. But when I arrived I realised that I really had to change the plan and fish the river. It was the start of the new season after all.

I was deciding between the stretches available to me on the Marlow Angling Club ticket, when I had a change of mind and decided to fish a local weir on the Thames.

Arriving by the weir at 2330 I setup, and at the stroke of midnight placed one rod behind a closed sluice gate on the nearside of the river, and a second rod further downstream alongside overhanging bushes where I’ve enjoyed previous success.

I lay down on my bedchair under the open sky and began to doze off. Waking at around 0400 to the freezing mist I considered packing up, but lacking any extra layers opted to stay under the sleeping bag and wait until the mist cleared when it would be a little warmer.

The next thing I knew it was around 0530 and I had a screaming buzzer from the rod tucked behind the sluice gate. I bolted up and lifted the rod, gently tightening up the loose clutch. I believed I’d hooked the bottom, until the bottom started to move and powered into the stronger flow in front of one of the fully open gates.

A few minutes later I had little doubt as to what I’d hooked, but its first appearance, slapping its tail on the surface as it dove back down deep, confirmed it was a double figure barbel.

A Romanian angler appeared from just upstream above the weir and offered to help net the fish. After a solid ten minute fight I was slowly dragging the fish over the top of the powerful flow and into the net. I was elated.

My new friend helped take a couple of snaps and I weighed the fish at 12lb 12oz, all while repeating the phrase, “Oh wow!” like a parrot. The fish bested my previous PB caught nine years ago by 1lb 4oz.

Just the one fish, but I decided things had peaked and so set off back home to spend the rest of the day with my nine week old son.

12lb 12oz Barbel PB

12lb 12oz Barbel PB

Back Again

After my birthday session on the 18th, or rather birthday blank, I just had to get back out to the weir pool again. This time, reacquainted with tying a rig and casting a lead, I felt a lot better prepared. The session was to be from about 4pm until 11pm on Thursday 23rd February.

I opted to fish donkey choker 20mm halibut pellets attached to PVA meshes of smaller 3mm pellets. Along with some halibut hookbait dip for extra attraction. The tidier presentations, the clearer ideas in my mind about what I was doing, and fishing well into the evening rather than a bright morning left me feeling a lot more confident.

Arriving at the nearby car park I noticed a car full of gear next to where I’d parked. Panic set in immediately. Had I been pipped to the post by someone who was checking out the weir pool at this very moment and was going to head back down with his gear just before I could get there? Fortunately, three blokes came round the corner and got into the car ready to drive away. They had been fishing the afternoon for roach and dace on the nearby tributary and my luck was in.

As I caught a first glimpse of the water I noticed it was up an inch or two since the weekend. There had been no real rain to speak of so I can only assume the weirs around the area had been opened up to let more water flow down the Thames. Along with the continuing warm weather I hoped this would all work in my favour.

A couple of hours into the session it dawned on me that I’d not stopped at the shop to purchase a sandwich, but fortunately my Mum and Dad had mentioned they were stopping by to say hello so I sent a quick text to The Mother to ask her to pick me something up. I didn’t anticipate a freshly cooked jacket potato with cheese and sweetcorn, wrapped in foil in a cool bag and delivered to the bank but there you go. Gotta love your Mum. (I was 25 years old last week!!)

Shortly after finishing my dinner I had a take on the rod in the run-off… I lifted into it and connected with a reasonably heavy feeling fish. A few minutes later, my father was slipping the net under what I thought was the most enormous chub I had ever seen. It actually only went 7lb 2oz, which is four ounces short of my PB, but nevertheless I was extremely happy with my third ‘seven’.

No other fish came out to play for the rest of the evening before I had to pack up. However, since I’ll be too busy to get out again for the next couple of weeks, I can’t complain about ending the river season with a fish like this. 🙂

7lb 2oz chub

Birthday Session

I’m currently in the final leg of the final year of a software degree, which means whether I am actually sat at the computer working hard or just sat here watching youtube fishing blogs I don’t really go fishing as much as I’d like. Couple this with the fact that I live in south-east London without ownership of a car, while my tackle and fishing (mentally) is still tied up in Berkshire at my parents’ makes it all quite a bit of effort to just spontaneously nip down the river. That said, I’ve never lived closer to the Thames in my life than now (<500 metres) and if anyone reading this has any experience fishing around Greenwich I would absolutely love to be pushed in the right direction, I’ve no idea how to approach it or what’s even swimming out there.

It’s been a bit cold recently, but the weather thawed up a bit during the week in time for my birthday visit to my folks, so last Saturday morning I got out by sunrise and fished until the afternoon. This was my first trip of the year. Sadly the river was running low and clear as gin which didn’t put me in for a good chance but you probably know the feeling, it was great to finally get out this year and enjoy a bacon sarnie on the river bank. Also tried out a new location that I intend to give some attention next season when I’ve graduated.

Odney Weir

Photo by Lara Ruffle.

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