London river adventures

I had a few spare hours after working in central London towards the end of last week, so naturally I decided to go fishing.

I’d travelled in with my trusty travel rod and a little bag with the bare essentials. I was accompanied by a friend to the wonderful little urban river we’d elected to try. Our plan was to try trotting in search of silver fish and then to perhaps try fishing a bigger bait at dusk in search of a barbel or chub.

The weather was overcast and very mild, but occasionally a cooling breeze provided welcome relief from the humid conditions. After working in a hot office all day escaping to the river for my first session of the new season was just what the doctor ordered.

It was also my first trip to this fascinating waterway – a venue that’s had its fair share of issues with pollution over the years. Yet it seems to have bounced back again and offers some interesting and varied fishing for local anglers.

Urban river
Urban river

I must admit I was simply enjoying walking along the course of the river using my polarising glasses to find likely looking spots and finding signs of aquatic life and it was well over an hour before we actually settled down to fish.

Feeding maggots into a lovely looking deeper run soon had little fish darting around in an effort to get to the grubs. It was magic watching them and soon my friend landed the first – a little chublet. He soon added a dace, a roach and some other chublets and I was itching to have a go. I did, and landed a chublet as well, a lovely little fish that darted around the river determinedly.

My first fish of the season, a little chub
My first fish of the season, a little chub

It was already becoming gloomier when I decided to go for a wander with my rod, net and a bag of bits and bait.

Despite trying some really nice looking areas, nothing took a fancy to my link ledgered spam. I almost walked straight past a swim that looked a little too shallow at first, but with some cover at the end of the run it looked like it was at least worth a cast into.

Despite giving it half an hour or so, nothing materialised. My friend had joined me by then and just as we were debating whether to make a move I noticed a long fish roll just off the faster water – barbel!

I repositioned the spam at the top of the run. It was probably five minutes before the rod top began to nod and a fairly gentle pull was met with a strike and – fish on! It was a classic, feisty battle and the barbel gave a good account in the flow. I was able to play the fish quite hard though and we soon had it in the net.

The barbel was bang on 6lbs and in good shape after spawning. It took a while to nurse the fish in the water after an energy sapping scrap but its strength returned and it was soon powering off back into its urban home. It capped what had been a memorable first session of the season.

A lovely barbel of 6lbs that took a chunk of spam at dusk
A lovely barbel of 6lbs that took a chunk of spam at dusk
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Author: tescovalue79

Age: 37. Work: Marketing & communications. Like: fishing, art, ITFC, good music, bad pubs.

5 thoughts on “London river adventures”

  1. I know that bridge Ben,been around six years or so since I last cast a line in this river.But it’s good to see that various species can thrive in such and environment.Sadly the people who live near the river,view it as a dumping ground for their detritus.

    Glad to see you caught.When your down that way again,drop me a line.;-0

  2. Hello Monty.

    It’s a testament to the determination of nature that despite the river’s problems over the years, there are plenty of species living and, in some cases, prospering there once again.

    I really enjoyed the trip and of course it’s always nice top cap it with a decent fish.

    I’ll drop you a line next time in town mate!

  3. Hi Ben, I have really enjoyed reading through all of your adventures. I’m after some info on bures lake, I am thinking of joining LAA. But can find no info on the lake. I know there’s big tench:-) What size too? Also what’s the carp size/stock like? Also really looking forward to roaming the LAA stretch of te stour near bures!! 🙂
    Thank you in advance.

    Dean

    1. Hi Dean.

      Thanks for the kind words mate. It makes writing the blog worthwhile. I’ve not fished Bures lake for probably ten years, so I’m not sure what it’s like these days. I know they stocked more carp in there a few years back. I had a few small commons out of there as well as the tench. I think the tench went to around 8lbs, maybe a bit bigger, I had them to 6.2. I used to love fishing there. Not an easy water but a rewarding one.

      I’d be really interested to hear how you get on – let me know how it goes Dean!

      Good luck.

      Ben

      1. Ah, 10 years is a fair bit I time :-/ thank you or taking the time to reply.

        I will defiantly let you know how I get on. Really looking forward to seeing what it hold now!! Also, I’m Counting down the days till river season opens and see what is in the stour too! 🙂

        Cheers

        Dean

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