ANGLING: Don't let the floods put you off fishing

First published in Sport

The recent floods have curtailed many people’s fishing for weeks, but it is not impossible to get back on the riverbank, writes Gerald Stratford.

If we don’t have any more rain this coming week, the Thames above Oxford will be fishable – very fast, but don’t let that put you off!

You just need to change your style.

I will be pike fishing, using 30lb braid mainline, a wire trace with one size-four single follower on the end with a size-six treble hook.

Attach the single hook to the deadbait’s tail – this takes the strain you need for casting – and the treble hook goes in level with the dorsal fin. I will anchor this down with anything up to an 8oz gripper lead. I have used a 10oz lead and still caught.

These pike will be very hungry as they will not have fed for a week or two.

In terms of location, if you can find a dropping shelf from a regular run of water, say 6-8ft of water dropping to 11-12ft, that’s ideal.

A pike will hold up on that slope as there will be no pressure on fish there and they can ride out any tonnage of water going overhead.

Take my word for it, they are catchable and it’s not just pike, you can catch all fish in these conditions – chub, barbel, bream and carp.

I use a 12ft carp rod and hooklengths of 10lb flourocarbon, which is stiffer than nylon.

A bite will show as a big drop-back and strike at every indication.

For bait, you can use bread, cheese- paste or sausage meat.

I’ll share with you one of my ‘secret recipes’. Chop up a large tin of luncheon meat in big chunks and put them into a bait box.

Buy some Madras curry paste and pour it over the meat until it’s covered. Then put it in the fridge.

This mix will last indefinitely as the curry paste acts as a preservative, but be careful, it tastes lovely and you might end up eating it yourself!

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