WELCOME to the Wednesday blog – each week filled by Angler’s Mail.
This week’s Angler’s Mail HQ blog is by Ben Hervey-Murray.
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Thames is tops
WHEN I tell people that the Mail HQ is by the Thames, their first reaction is often along the lines of ‘Ugh there can’t be many fish in there these days – it looks filthy…’ But, thankfully, they’re wrong. Old Father is a river on the mend. Industrial-level pollution and its use as an open sewer is mostly ancient history now – even the salmon and sea trout are back.
In recent weeks, we’ve reported on club record trout, huge barbel,big chub, lots of specimen carp and just look at the very impressive 5
lb 1oz perch landed by 17-year-old student Corriian Cluskey from a Middlesex section of the river a few weeks ago. If you fancy a record, forget commercial fisheries and big pits – the Thames is a good bet for the next monster perch, zander, barbel or chub and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The work of groups like the Thames Anglers Conservancy, Angling Trust, Environment Agency and other related groups is to be applauded when it comes to our Capital’s river. It’s never been in better shape and with the building of the Super Sewer in a few years, it’ll be even cleaner.
The appearance of another sturgeon in UK waters – as reported in this week’s issue – also had me thinking about how the species was once a relatively frequent visitor to our rivers, with the Thames, Tees and Severn all having detailed records of sturgeon caught by various methods – some foul, some fair – in the 1700 and 1800s.
With a recent project in France to re-introduce the European sturgeon to the Gironde river going well, we might expect more and more oddities like this to crop up in rivers around Western Europe.
On a related theme, few people know that wels catfish were actually stocked into the Thames in the mid-20th Century, and whilst reporting on Tony Curd’s amazing bream haul – as featured in this week’s issue – I came across one of those titbits but grabs the attention; a report of a bream angler having a 3 lb slab taken by a wels catfish on a Surrey stretch of the river.
Obviously species like the wels and sturgeon won’t thrive in UK waters due to the smaller nature of our rivers and lower temperatures, but with the climate getting warmer and serious efforts being undertaken to protect rare creatures, I can see a point in the future when the Thames and tidal river could be a realistic target for catfish anglers.
The barbel and carp potential of the tidal river is also virtually untapped when you look at the amount of water there is to target. Who knows what’s making the most of the relative peace and quiet in the murky depths? The catfish certainly are – we reported on a dead specimen washed up near Richmond just this summer.
I suppose that’s the amazing thing about rivers and angling on them – who knows what will turn up? That sort of mystery intrigues me, and I hope that anyone who sticks to commercial pools and waters will give one of the many fine rivers in the UK a chance this autumn and winter. The rewards could be record-breaking…
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The new Nash S5R bite alarms are brilliant, and the range of Optic indicators even more so. See this week’s mag for a full review of both and to find out why we rate them so highly.
Any moans and groans I could list here pale into insignificance when you look at the scale of the natural disaster unfolding in the Philippines. Flooded rivers, chilly weather and a bit of rain bothering you? At least your house is where you left it this morning.
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