Here’s a present: http://www.tidetimes.org.uk is a handy bookmark for anyone planning coastal excursions in the UK. As strange as it may seem at first, this includes those who wish to fish the tidal Thames (everywhere downstream of Teddington Lock). Whilst I’m dishing out handy hints, here’s another: Make sure you purchase your appropriate Environment Agency rod license from the Post Office website rather than paying additional fees to some third party site elsewhere online.
Today marked another spring tide, with low water at 12h39 fitting perfectly with my plan to complete my chores beforehand. Weather conditions were mainly clear, intermittent cloud cover releasing only a couple of very brief showers. The wind was kind to me, leaving barely a ripple on the water most of the time. I enjoyed a few wonderful hours casting and retrieving, playing my Foxy Baitfish through the current and anticipating all manner of scenarios. When the tide changed I was fascinated by how quickly the dynamics of the river switch. I very quickly developed awareness of how many millimetres I had left before my Wellies became buckets, gently stepping towards higher ground before it was too late.
Water clarity was surprisingly good. I could see the white flash of my fly from quite a distance, with a hint of yellow and orange as it drew near. I was surrounded by evidence of fish: three corpulent cormorants actively feeding in the channel, one crested grebe sporting his dashing summer kit and three other humans casting bread and various morsels in the hope of connecting with carp or bream. One fisherman showed me a picture of him with a 15lb common carp caught and released last Sunday. He regaled me with a story of another 10lb mirror carp. I quizzed him on the topic of sea trout and rainbow trout as he mentioned catching them by accident whilst fishing with bread. He is adamant that they are in the river, however he did concede they are not caught as frequently as other species.
I met Taz, the owner of a long boat who was working against the clock busy blacking the bottom of his hull before the water came up. Last week, whilst en route from Reading, he and his friend saw a dead salmon floating in the water… Circa 8lb in size, apparently – more anecdotal evidence of Salmonids making their way up the river. Taz is an avid fly fisherman who makes his own flies too… He shared some with me (flashy streamer patterns tried and tested on sea bass in Devon) and I insisted that he have at least one of mine in exchange. As always it is hugely refreshing to experience the generosity and camaraderie between fellow anglers.
Eventually when the size of the beach and my options for a back cast rapidly diminished, I dismantled my rod and took a few pictures with my camera to capture my 2013 Thames debut. To sum up: A very satisfying blank day today, providing me with a million questions and a few ideas to take back to the vice.
On the Foxy Baitfish pattern, in windy conditions, there is an increased tendency for the main bunch of arctic fox fibres to wrap around the hook. Tonight I tied an alternative pattern that carries the bulk of the streamer at the tail end of the fly. My hope is that this modification greatly reduces the potential for hook wrap complications… I’ll let you know how that works out in due course.
Thank you for reading, please visit again soon!