10:00am Saturday 7th September 2013
THE coarse fishing season on the Thames is progressing well.
Bream have fed avidly and are giving some people good sport with bags of up to 100lb, but I’ve ignored them in favour of my favourite fish, the roach.
I like nothing better than fishing the float midstream, using tares as hook bait and hempseed as loose feed. I’ve had bags this season approaching 20lb.
The places I’ve been fishing are Port Meadow at Godstow and Medley at the Perch gate.
I have noticed that the old river is getting silted up rather badly, especially the area at the tail of Godstow Lock. There is one area where you can walk across the whole width of the river.
Back to the 80s, when I worked on the river, we used to dredge this area regularly. The regulation depth was 1.80m.
Some people used to accuse us of digging to a depth of four metres or more and damaging the river, but in fact the opposite used to happen and fishing quality improved afterwards.
I once caught 80lb of bream within an hour of the dredger stopping in this very spot. That shoal of bream used to reside in a spot called Black Jacks.
The whole idea of dredging then was to keep the Queen’s highway navigable and more importantly, to help stop flooding.
I’m sure the lack of dredging upstream of Oxford is a major contributing factor to the flooding of this area.
If you investigate the history of the Thames as it winds through Oxford, you will find that the Port Meadow reach is the shallowest of the whole river.
When flood plains, mainly at Port Meadow and the Botley Road area, were allowed to flood (this happened usually after December every year) there wasn’t ever a prob- lem.
Then over the last 100 years, property developers have been allowed to come along and build on these flood plains. Hence we have a problem, and it seems to be happening all over the country.
But that’s enough moaning, let’s get back to fishing. Old Father Thames is still the greatest, and long may it stay that way.
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