Love at first bite.

squimp

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Some of you will be aware that I’ve recently started fishing a new stretch of the Thames (downstream of Oxford) targeting specimen fish.

The big fish are both thin on the ground And nomadic- so hard to track down. We are looking for big barbel, chub and maybe Carp.

A mate suggested that we try a new Stretch and we had our first look about 3 weeks ago. The river was a bit low and pretty clear. Much of the bottom(in areas that I Plumbed was covered in Light weed). I was looking for the clear areas - some of which were hard gravel.

Since then it has rained most of the time and the levels have been up and down like a yo-yo. I’m used to fishing higher up the river where the effect of any rain is much more predictable.

I’ve done 4 short trips and not had a single bite or even seen a fish roll. On a couple of visits there was allsorts of rubbish coming down which made things tricky. I’ve gradually refined my exact swim choice as I pin down the clearer areas. On one trip I fished 5 swims - just to get a feel for the general area.

This afternoon I did my fifth trip to the same area ( give or take 200 metres) to find the river up a few inches from the last visit. I had been trickling bait into the general area each trip ( roughly 300 metres of river) - a few boilies and a few mixed pellets.

Today I got my first bite and after a testing but fairly uneventful 5 minute battle landed a big barbel. My gear was deliberately substantial (Chimera 3 rod, 15lb line, coated braid hooklink and size 4 hook) just in case a serious carp comes along.....Bait was a 14mm savoury boilie and a small very potently flavoured pop up.

At 16.10 it is a new PB And one of the most spectacular fish I have even caught. It was unmarked and maybe even previously uncaught.

Big thanks to my mate for suggesting we target that stretch and a few other close friends for info on the general area of the river to target.

I took a couple of quick pics before I returned it. However my desktop computer is out of action, so I will have to work out ano way to download the pictures.

I’ve just had a very nice glass of wine to celebrate an incredible fish.

PS It has just occurred to me that I caught a PB perch the day before the first lockdown earlier this year. What a coincidence.
 

Silverfisher

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Sounds like a fantastic fish well done. If barbel and carp are the targets I assume you’re downstream of Abingdon as well? Tends to be where you see and hear of such fish being targeted Thames wise around here.
 

warrington63

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Sounds like a fantastic fish well done. If barbel and carp are the targets I assume you’re downstream of Abingdon as well? Tends to be where you see and hear of such fish being targeted Thames wise around here.
Anything decent around Sanford ?
 

Silverfisher

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Anything decent around Sanford ?
I have heard the odd barbel apparently comes out of the old channel and I’ve seen pictures of the odd one caught down the meadows but not enough to be really worth with targeting as far as I can tell. Unless you can put many hours in of course. Did hear of someone seeing a couple of carp on the lock channel a few months ago but that’s the first I’ve ever heard of them around there so probably even less of them than barbel.
 

warrington63

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I have heard the odd barbel apparently comes out of the old channel and I’ve seen pictures of the odd one caught down the meadows but not enough to be really worth with targeting as far as I can tell. Unless you can put many hours in of course. Did hear of someone seeing a couple of carp on the lock channel a few months ago but that’s the first I’ve ever heard of them around there so probably even less of them than barbel.
I wouldnt be surprised about carp in there, it looks decent . Not had chance to fish it yet.
 

Silverfisher

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I wouldnt be surprised about carp in there, it looks decent . Not had chance to fish it yet.
Been down there plenty myself this season. Pushing 15 sessions on the old channel and 1 session opposite the meadows and will likely be opposite the meadows again this weekend.
 

squimp

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When I was fishing Medley etc for big chub ( a few years ago) there were a few biggish barbel around and quite a number of good sized carp too.
 

Silverfisher

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The occasional barbel does still come out at medley but no more than anywhere else around Oxford really. Only places I ever see them and carp targeted around here are down around Clifton and long and little wittenham and up around cassington and eynsham but even there they are thin on the ground. There’s not many barbel around Oxfordshire but they seem to be good size when they do turn up. Only ones I’ve seen with my own eyes were a couple probably upper single figure fish in the castle mill stream right in the middle of the city.

All things considered make your fish even more impressive ??
 

squimp

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The occasional barbel does still come out at medley but no more than anywhere else around Oxford really. Only places I ever see them and carp targeted around here are down around Clifton and long and little wittenham and up around cassington and eynsham but even there they are thin on the ground. There’s not many barbel around Oxfordshire but they seem to be good size when they do turn up. Only ones I’ve seen with my own eyes were a couple probably upper single figure fish in the castle mill stream right in the middle of the city.

All things considered make your fish even more impressive ??
Thanks, much appreciated.

Your experience of bigger fish round Oxford sounds just the same as it was when me and a couple of mates were fishing there.

we were targeting the chub but a well known carp angler who worked for Drennan at the time was fishing for (and catching) the carp. There was one big 12-13lb barbel on Medley at that time.

The barbel numbers above Oxford have really declined over the past 30 years. The population now seems to be highest in the lower river(west London).

I found a book the other day - ‘more Thames carp’. It is a recently (very badly) produced compendium of carpy experiences mostly from the tidal and lower river. there are several pics of decent barbel Included.

There are probably more carp in the river now than there have ever been and some of them are huge !
 

squimp

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Finally have a pic of said fish.

It may not load as it is a big file and with an unfamiliar computer ‘I can’t work out how to reduce it.....

Fishing update: went back to the river yesterday just in case lightning would strike twice. I did actually get another bite (on a big lump of fishy flavoured paste), but this time it was a bream in the 8 - 9 lb bracket. I slipped it back unweighed.

It seems I was in the right place at the right time just for a fleeting moment.
 

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Silverfisher

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Certainly is a cracker! So sounds the bream!

How's the river looking now? I'll be on it Saturday but suspect it'll still be a touch high and cold after the rain and frosts for what I'll be after so probably going to book a day off to go in the week as well when it should have dropped and warmed up a bit.
 

squimp

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Certainly is a cracker! So sounds the bream!

How's the river looking now? I'll be on it Saturday but suspect it'll still be a touch high and cold after the rain and frosts for what I'll be after so probably going to book a day off to go in the week as well when it should have dropped and warmed up a bit.
River was down an inch or so from the day before. I’ve found a fence post in the river close to the access and I check it as I arrive each trip.

bad news was an almost certain drop in water temperature. I used to religiously carry a thermometer- I need to restart that habit.

The colour is dropping out too. It is supposed to rain over here onSunday.
 

Silverfisher

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Thanks for the update ??

I'm almost already chalking up Saturday as a day out with a session in the week being the proper session. Touch of colour going in Sunday followed by a few dry days for it to drop and low teen temperatures to warm it up should get it going again.
 
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