Find out how Paul Glenfield makes the most of a winter river session by combining specimen and match tactics. Join the former Thames Champion on the banks of his favourite river for a session that’s full of surprises.
Paul Glenfield kicks the session off on the bread feeder.
An early chub on the bread!
The tail-end of the season can offer some fantastic river sport if you time things right. Here on the Thames at Wallingford there’s a touch of extra colour and flow, but it’s fining down quite nicely. These are ideal conditions to get out and enjoy a few hours on the riverbank!
Fish can shoal up tightly in the winter, so location can often make or break a session. My advice is to head for a town stretch with an obvious fish attracting feature, such as the road bridge that’s upstream of me today. With the natural cover this offers, plus the variations in flow it creates, you can be confident that there will always be a few resident fish about. Bridges are also a magnet for people who love to feed the resident ducks and swans, so there’s always a bit of free food going in for the fishes.
I’ve gone for a two-pronged float and feeder approach to get the most from today’s session. A loaf of bread, some maggots and hemp are all I’ll hopefully need for a decent day.
Len Arbery caught this excellent chub weighing 7lb 5oz just over a week ago from the Thames. The former Drennan Cup winner and well respected big fish specialist explains how he caught it:
After the weekend’s rain I was quite surprised to see the middle Thames in perfect chub fishing condition. That is, with a bottle-green colour and having little flow. My usual touch-legering tactics accounted for a 4lb 2oz chub after about an hour spent in the first swim. That was the only bite, so I moved farther downstream to large slack area.
After noticing a couple of ‘unhittable’ small indications on the quiver I changed tactics to a coil of silver-paper as a bite indicator. I then missed the first bite, but made no mistake with the second!
This hooked fish took quite some line off the clutch, more like a carp than a chub but, after a tremendous tussle, a chub it proved. And what a chub at 7lb 5oz! It was 23 inches long with a 16 inch girth.
I had two further bites here before ‘drawing stumps’ – one from a 3lber, the other a very pleasing specimen weighing 5lb 2oz.
My tackle included an original Drennan Bomb Rod, Drennan Feeder, a fixed-spool reel, loaded with Whiplash braid. A short link leger stopped 3ft from a size 6 T6 Raptor hook, completed the outfit. Bait was plain old-fashioned cheese paste.
This 7lb 5oz chub is my second biggest ever (the best being last season’s 7lb 8oz). It is also my second ‘seven’ this winter, which has also seen me land fish of 6lb 5oz and two 6lb 12oz specimens.
Jamie Cartwright caught this immaculate 4lb 6oz perch from the Great Ouse on a lure last week. Here’s the former Drennan Cup Champion’s account of a memorable capture:
I arrived at the river bright and early on Sunday morning. The first thing I did was set up my lure rod in an attempt to track down a shoal of fish. I also had a bucket of lobworms and a couple of pint of red maggots with me as a back up in case I struggled with the lures, but I had been enjoying a rich run of form with the lures of late, so for now the lid would stay on the worm bucket.
I started casting my roach pattern Savage Gear 4 Play Shad all the way across to the far bank and began twitching it back along the bottom, trying to keep in contact with the lure at all times. To help with this, it’s crucial to use a jig head that is heavy enough to allow you to feel the lure hit bottom, but not too big so the lure behaves unnaturally.
In my third swim, I had an aggressive take as a clearly big fish made its mistake. I was beginning to think it was probably a pike, as it was feeling pretty heavy, although it didn’t seem to be darting about as pike tend to do. As it came up under the rod tip I was genuinely surprised by the size of the perch that appeared out of the gloom. I scooped up my prize and let out a huge sigh of relief, as I could see the lure clearly in the corner of the fish’s mouth during the latter stages of the fight and I was very nervous of the hook dropping out or snagging up in the rushes under the rod tip.
On the scales it weighed 4lb 6oz, which is my lure-caught personal best by exactly 1lb. It also fulfilled an ambition I’d set myself back in January, which was to catch a 4lb perch from the Great Ouse before the season was out. I followed that fish up with a few more perch weighing 3lb 1oz, 2lb 15oz, two 2lb 14oz and a 2lb 6oz, which certainly made it a day to remember. I just hope I can enjoy a few more days like that before the season ends.
Michael Woods from Norfolk and his brother Kieran had a memorable night’s feeder fishing on the River Yare, catching an estimated 200lb of bream to 9lb. Here’s his account of a red letter day:
Following Storm Doris I heard the local rivers were high with surge non-salt tides pushing through colour on both the Yare and Waveney. Because of this I had a feeling one of my all time favourite river stretches on the Yare could be on good form.
I have a love and hate relationship with Thorpe Green as it’s a beautiful stretch of slow moving river in lovely surroundings but at the same time can be incredibly difficult with blanks commonplace and busy, being close to a road and popular with dog walkers and duck feeders! It’s pretty much all about the bream fishing, but only when colour pushes through. When it’s clear (as it usually is) you can get roach but they are not very plentiful or big fish.
I could see the river was not too dark but a perfect cloudy brown and a nice flow. I knew it was worth going for it during the evening. The plan was to fish from 7pm onwards and attack the peg with one feeder line, putting in plenty of bait. Out went 10 XL cages full of groundbait, containing lots of casters, corn and chopped worm. I then fished two full worms and a dead red maggot on the hook.
An ounce feeder was holding bottom perfectly and the first 45 minutes was good with four decent bream in the net and Kieran had two. They were all proper bream over 5lb each, so I upped the feed to hold the shoal. From the second hour onwards the fishing was superb. The Bream kept coming and many were 6lb to 9lb+ fish! I lost count but must have had approximately 40 slabs and Kieran had at least 15.
With rain forecast in the early hours we decided to stop fishing by midnight. It was a shame as, although the tide was now ebbing, the fish were still feeding well and getting bigger! The fish all went back safely and we didn’t want to mess about weighing them, but estimated 200lb with the average size of fish. It will have to go down as one of those rare red letter days that keeps you coming back for more. It’s a pity we only have two weekends left of the river season now!
Mark Doherty caught his best ever perch weighing in at 3lb 1oz from the Rivern Severn this week.
The Swindon-based angler and Drennan fan caught the specimen using a Combo Medium Feeder rod at its longest 12ft 6in length with two halves of a worm on a size 14 Super Specialist hook to a 4lb bottom. He also managed three chub and several dace during the productive session. Congratulations Mark!
Tom Hobbs shows you how to target quality fish on the pole feeder in this week’s Angling Times.
The Drennan Oxford and England U25s squad member tackles his local River Thames to put together a net of big roach and bream in less than favourable conditions.
Pick up a copy of this week’s Angling Times to find out all about this great tactic.
Drennan’s Ryan Hayden was rewarded this weekend with a lovely brace of perch from the River Great Ouse after spending the day searching with lures.
With the colour dropping out of the river, Ryan decided to give the lures a go in hope of locating a few big perch.
“After a relatively unsuccessful morning with only one small pike to show for my efforts, a move further downstream resulted in a take on the drop. A perch of about a pound had hit my lure within a foot of the far bank less than a second after it had hit the water. With plenty of water already covered, I hoped I had located a shoal of perch held up tight to the far bank behind a large fallen tree, sheltering from the extra flow.”
A dozen or so casts later, Ryan had hooked and landed two better fish, again from the same area confirming his thoughts that they had been sat out of the extra flow.
Ryan used his 8ft 6in E-Sox Dropshot rod coupled with an FD-3000 reel loaded with 8lb braid, 8lb Fluorocarbon leader and a crayfish lure mounted on an 8g jig head.
“When there is extra colour, I prefer to use creature type baits as they give off much more vibrations into the water than a fish shaped lure. The only downside being that they do not cast as well due to their size and less aerodynamic shape. I find myself using a slightly bigger jig head than normal to achieve the same distance and to be able to confidently feel the lure hit the bottom when twitching it back on the retrieve,” added Ryan.
Alan Scotthorne spent an enjoyable session on a little known stretch of river last week, catching over 20lb of roach.
He chose to tackle the River Torne with his son Oliver for a spot of pleasure fishing, but also to brush up on his whip fishing skills in readiness for the forthcoming Winter League Final on the Fens. Being just 12m wide and no more than 5ft deep, the Torne at Belton is not unlike the Old Nene at March – but a good 100 miles nearer to his Yorkshire home!
Alan soon had the fish queuing up on his 5m whip swim by feeding regular small balls of punch crumb with punched bread on the hook. He chose to use a 0.4g AS7 pole float, which he had slightly modified by cutting down the wire stem because of the extra shallow nature of the swim. A simple bulk and one No9 dropper was all that was needed with a size 20 barbless Silverfish Match hook to a 0.08mm hooklength. Swapping between 4mm, 5mm and 6mm Brass Head Bread Punches kept the fish coming as he amassed well over 100 pristine roach.
Alan fished the Doncaster & District Angling Association controlled stretch of the River Torne at Belton, South Yorkshire.
The Thames is still producing good winter sport, despite extra water and cold conditions, as the Sutton Courtenay club match on the river proved.
Ian Higgins on his way to a match win using his Acolyte Ultra 12ft Feeder rod.
All of the anglers managed to catch a few fish on the stretch below Abingdon, most of which were quality skimmers.
Leading the field was Ian Higgins with 11lb 12oz, which consisted of seven big skimmers on groundbait feeder tactics. All were caught using an Acolyte Ultra 12ft Feeder rod with a 2oz tip and maggot and worm on a size 16 Kamasan B611 hook.
Second placed Bob Gosbee managed three skimmers and a chub for 8lb 2oz using the same tactics, while 3rd placed Gary Stafford included a specimen 5lb 10oz chub in his catch.
Paul Elt shows you how to tackle small rivers for pike with float fished deadbaits in the latest issue of Improve Your Coarse Fishing.
The well respected specialist angler visits his local River Ivel to highlight the great predator sport you could be experiencing this winter. Check out his article in the latest Issue of Improve Your Coarse Fishing, which is on sale now.