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Big Fish Column: Hollick hooks big beast from 'final frontier' for barbel enthusiasts

The Big Fish Column

Cool but consistent weather conditions kept local fishing results ticking over nicely last week, with both the rivers and stillwater still performing above par for the time of year. The only likely setback to the current state of affairs is the all too regular concern about low water and low flows in local rivers in the absence of any significant rainfall.


Big Thames barbel

Concerns about low water or not the fish of the week, indeed one of the best fish of the season to date, is one I teased you with last week. Thankfully captor Tony Hollick followed his initial report with further details and I am delighted to be able to share his capture of a marvellous River Thames barbel.

Big Thames barbel are not unknown locally but they are certainly not common and anyone who has spent any amount of time targeting them, and I count myself as one of those, will be only too aware that they can be hard work, very hard work. That said, with the decline of the River Kennet as a major league barbel river and most of the fish in the Loddon well known, the Thames remains the ‘final frontier’ for local barbel enthusiasts with the chance of a big unknown beast always on the cards. ‘Big’ in Thames terms can certainly be north of 20lb too!

Maidenhead’s Tony Hollick was certainly not thinking in terms of a Thames barbel of that sort of size when he started a six-hour session in the weir at Old Windsor. Tony fished a 10mm white krill boilie wrapped in krill paste on a size 12 barbless hook to a 6-inch braided hook length, 12lb Korda main line and a 3oz lead and struck into his only bite of the session at 9am, netting the fish – a pristine fish of 13lb 4oz – after a 20-minute battle.

Tony commented: “I am totally over the moon at landing such a fine specimen, my previous personal best was only 7lb 2oz so you can imagine how pleased I am to have landed this one.”


Carp round up

The transition of autumn into winter can be a particularly fine time for carp fishing and local carpers have certainly been enjoying some fine fishing with plenty of doubles reported from Royal Berkshire, West End and New Farm.

Royal Berkshire continues to produce good numbers of fish and Furze Platt rod Gary King netted four to 14lb during a session on the prolific Winkfield venue. Gary presented a garlic flavoured meat hook bait tipped with sweetcorn in conjunction with a PVA bag of pellets to tempt the fish.

For the biggest local fish available on a day ticket basis the Island Lake remains the best option with specimens from 15lb to 20lb falling regularly. Margin-fished boilies presented over small beds of particles are the top tactic.


Finishing with trout

Falling water temperatures continue to benefit the local trout anglers and despite being hampered by a series of relatively bright days there were numbers of fish to be caught locally last week.

Over at Farmoor the bank average was a relatively low 1.5 from Reservoir One and 1.3 from Farmoor Two but the boat results continued to impress with rod averages of 10 and 6 respectively. Water levels are currently some two feet down but there is much improved clarity, the fish are tending to take dries early in the day with fry patterns scoring best late in the afternoon.

The marvellous autumn fishing is likely to continue into next week, do make sure you get out and make the most of it before the first frosts slow everything down.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at


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