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River Thames in benevolent mood as Bray angler Spencer Smith connects with two chub

The arrival of autumn continues to bring a steady change to local fishing and the past week has seen reasonable returns despite variable weather conditions which brought a bright, sunny high pressure system hot on the heels of a wet low pressure one.

On the rivers, chub continue to provide the best of the sport with most local venues producing a few good fish to a variety of different tactics with the Thames still probably the best bet for a bite of two, although it has been a little inconsistent of late.


Benevolent Thames

Bray angler Spencer Smith was one of the anglers who found the Thames in a benevolent mood when he fished a full day into darkness session on a section below Windsor last week. Although he was looking for chub, with an outside chance of a barbel, Spence used stepped up gear as he had connected with carp in the past and his outfit featured 10lb main line with a 12lb fluorocarbon hook length to a size 8 hook baited with a paste-wrapped mini boilie. With a large flatbed feeder loaded with softened trout pellets to provide the attraction he connected with two chub, weighing in at 5lb 12oz and 5lb 4oz, during the day and backed these up with a third, smaller, specimen and a couple of good bream after dark.


Kennet chub

Staying with chub and Maidenhead’s Des Williams made one of his infrequent visits to the River Kennet and scored with a couple of chub from the Reading and District beat at Burghfield River. Fishing a bread-based feed in conjunction with bread hook baits on a size 6 hook to 6lb main line and 5.4lb hook length Des netted fish of 5lb 1oz and 4lb 14oz along with a bonus roach of 1lb 8oz.


Autumn perch

Few fish typify autumn fishing more than perch and local rivers and stillwaters are currently beginning to come into form for the species. As with chub, the Thames remains one of the best bets for a good fish or two at present and Phil Parkinson made the most of a short lure fishing session with small shads to net four fish to just under the 2lb mark. Taplow-based Phil presented the rubber baits on a small baitcasting outfit with 15lb braid and also took two small jack pike.





Rod licence gloom

To finish off this week, some very disappointing news with figures released by the Environment Agency showing that fishing in England and Wales has reached an all-time low in respect of numbers with a 14.7% fall in sales in a year, representing a ‘loss’ from our sport of almost 133,000 anglers. Statistics show that sales have dropped by 40%, that’s well over half a million anglers, since 2010.

A bitterly cold spring followed by a scorcher of a summer and a football World Cup have all undoubtedly played a part this year but you cannot escape what is a very worrying trend. Leaving aside the argument as to whether freshwater fishing should be licenced at all, this is bad news for all of us with not just fewer bums on seats, but also less money going into the EA’s fishery kitty. There is no short fix here and as a sport we desperately need to market ourselves better than we do and our governing body, the Angling Trust, is already beginning to be challenged in respect of its response. Watch this space…

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at


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