A Salmon from the river Thames-Sept 2012
I remember, more than a year ago, when I had numerous discussions with my fishing companion, Norman, bemoaning the fact that we had no opportunity to fish the weirs on the river Thames. These excellent fishing locations on Britain’s largest river have been a target for anglers for hundreds of years.
Fortunately, Norman purchased a small boat and outboard motor before Christmas 2011, which he proceeded to renovate and improve so that it was ready for the river Thames and indeed the ocean. Herewith I present Egg II, in which Captain Norman has conveyed me (that’s the crew) on numerous fishing adventures in the river Thames and in the English Channel:
On September 7th 2012 we sallied forth from Bridge Marine, next to Walton Bridge, and headed for one of the nearby Thames weirs. After a few mishaps (e.g. losing an anchor) we managed to station Egg right in the thick of the white water of this weir:
We had tried a few different approaches to fishing Thames weirs on previous occasions, in terms of tackle and bait, with a certain amount of success, especially catching barbel and bream, but on this day we decided to employ a very simple approach, namely ledgered lob worm (a venerable technique as recommended in old books). The results were no less than spectacular. I think it was my second cast that hooked my first fish after about 5 minutes. It fought very well and turned out to be one of the biggest chub I have ever caught – a fine figure of a fish:
I then proceeded to catch a few nice perch, who had obviously noticed the long wriggling gourmet offering drifting by. And then I hooked a large fish which fought with great vigour. I did not detect any bite or movement on the line until I started reeling in and felt the weight of a really decent fish which had no intention of being caught. I could only imagine a barbel on the end of the line.
There was a certain amount of pandemonium in the boat as the fish was played and the landing net was readied. After about 15 minutes of resistance the fish began to tire, it came to the surface and we caught our first glimpse of its form. You can imagine our surprise when we surmised that it was a salmon!
I cannot describe the surprise and delight at catching such an aristocratic fish in the river Thames, above London. I of course returned the fish to the water after photographing it. After all he was probably on his way to perform his conjugal duties (even if he was somewhat lost).
In my previous incarnation (in the 18th century), every year there was a strong run of salmon in the Thames and I had the privilege of catching a few, but this fish was the biggest surprise of my long angling career.
I have informed the Environment Agency of this salmon from the Thames by phone and email and they do not seem to be in the slightest way interested in this fabulous catch. In fact, from their non response one could imagine that salmon were caught every year on the Thames. As far as I know, I have not heard of any other salmon caught with rod and line in the Thames in recent history. Or perhaps they are more common than I am aware.