Colin Mitchell, our Sunday blogger.

IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog on this new-look Angler’s Mail website. Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell (right).

For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career. He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.

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JUST like some things in life can be taken as granted and can be relied on, some venues can be bankers for a few fish, whatever the weather.

So with extra water pushing through local venues and a cold wind blowing I knew that the tiny River Bourne – which stars inside this week’s Angler’s Mail magazine – wouldn’t let me down.


Tiny but mighty – the River Bourne provided well for Colin Mitchell.

This Thames tributary is a smashing bit of traditional river with mostly roach and dace, with a few of virtually every other species thrown in for good luck.

It doesn’t always look right for fishing and you often have to search out a few good spots and move once you have caught a few.

But the first stretch my travelling partner Mike and I visited is shallower than most, fast and most definitely dace territory. First chuck in a slower bit of water that screamed it would hold the silver darts and under went the small bodied stick float…with a nice roach on the other end! Told you it could be a banker, I should have added that it can spring surprises too!

One more missed bite and I decided to move. Upstream Mike was in a slack and had four or five decent roach.

I moved to a nice corner where the flow slowed down on the far bank, double red maggot was eased through the swim and under went the float with…a nice dace! Now that should have been a roach!

Anyway, we both had a few more, mostly roach, and I added quite a few redfins from really fast water where they really should not have been living!

A change of stretch to a bit deeper water, a length where we have both had success in the past. First drop in I let the float swing into the slack water on the edge and had what I expected, a roach. But it was a lovely net fish.

A few more followed and then things went quiet. Possibly a pike, although I didn’t expect that with coloured water. I held the float in the slack with double reds once again and after a few dips it slid away and I landed…a perch! A decent one at that. Never had perch on this bit before…So you can now guess what happened next. More perch and nice ones at that, just big enough to trouble the landing net.

More roach, a few dace, a big fish that went bump-bump and goodbye and a gudgeon (just the one!). No chublets which wasn’t a surprise given the colour of the water. Mike had ventured off downstream and didn’t fare well although he did have a nice roach and….more perch!

On the way home we crossed another even narrower stretch of the river and one that I know no one ever fishes. They may have many years ago when the river was a bit wider and deeper.

Given that more fish and moving into side streams and to the upper reaches of many rivers I reckon we could get the odd roach, dace and maybe some half decent chub in these areas. I wouldn’t even be surprised by a big barbel.

You know where I am now going to fish in the next few weeks before the start of the traditional Close Season.

I’ve accepted that I could be in for a few blanks or very few fish but I think the joy of landing something from a narrow untested bit of water will outweigh those factors.

It harks back to my days as a youngster when I used to fish the beck at the back of my local park. There were some big roach – you could see them – which I think escaped through an overflow pipe from the park lake.

We used bread, laid on in just 18 inches of water under bulk shotted stick floats. If you got more than three fish you were lucky – or skilled – but the satisfaction from landing those lovely conditioned, big silver sided specimens was immense.

So don’t ignore any fishy looking water. It might just hold a few surprises…



  • Read about giant 2 lb-plus roach from the River Bourne in the latest issue of Angler’s Mail (cover picture below), where Bill Rushmer enjoys great success for his On Tour feature. Bill can be seen exclusively every week in the Mail’s Where to Fish This Weekend section.

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