Chub Fishing on the River Lea

Chub Fishing on the River Lea can be quite varied depending on where you decide to wet a line. I’ve written before about it being a ‘river of two parts’ – that being the ‘Upper Lea’ and the ‘Lower Lea’. The chub fishing on the Upper Lea can be hectic and they can be found there in numbers. In contrast, generally speaking, the ‘Lower Lea’ is much more patchy but does have a habit of throwing up the much bigger (record breaking) chub!

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First day of the season fishing the river lea

Oh my god it’s been a looonnnng closed season! It seemed like forever before 16th June came round! The first day of the river season has become so special to me. I used to be a puddle chucker but for the last 5 years or so I’ve fallen in love with the river. Sure I still fish lakes but like many I am particularly fond of my local river, which in my case sees me fishing the River Lea. The last couple of years I’ve tried to do ‘the treble’ on the first day – that is to catch three decent specimens of three different species. Last year I managed it with a specimen Perch, a Barbel and finishing with a stunning Carp on the river in Ware. It’s always a huge challenge and typically involves me in various swims on completely different sections of the river using a range of tactics. Here’s how my opening day went on June 16th 2018 fishing the River Lea.

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Big perch fishing in the Lea Valley and River Stort – winter 2017

What follows is a short article that covers my winter of 2017 perch fishing in the Lea Valley on the River Lea and the River Stort. Last years perch fishing had been fantastic and I was more than ready when October came round, the temperatures started dropping and the lure rods started calling!

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Carp fishing on the River Lea

I love my carp fishing on the River Lea. There’s a certain mystery when it comes to fishing for river carp. Unlike a lake you really don’t know the stock. Fish can swim for miles which can make it tricky at times but also means that you never know what you might catch.

Most of my carp fishing is done in spring, summer and autumn. Obviously on the river we have to wait until the 16th June before we can fish. There’s something really special about 16th June and last year I had a great first day, which included a stunning carp.

The carp in the River Lea are quite nomadic. Whilst a few areas hold resident fish, I generally find myself walking reasonable distances in order to find them on any given day. They tend to pop up in various locations and are not too hard to find with some decent walking boots and a pair of polaroids.

carp river lea
Above: The River Lea around Hertfordshire, plenty of carp if you look properly.

The river has plenty of weed, which the carp love. The banks can sometimes be wild and slightly overgrown. It’s not unusual for me to take clippers and a few gardening tools in order to trim back bushes and create gaps where I can fish effectively.

river lea in hertfordshire
Above: Wild banks and overgrown bushes. Often you can find carp right in the edge.

The fish tend to patrol up and down the river on warm, sunny days. My time is usually very limited and my sessions are frequently less than an hour or so. I’ve not got time to sit behind buzzers and so I find the fish and basically try and stalk them.

River Lea Carp
Above: Probably one of the nicest looking carp I’ve had from the river.

No flashy baits or techniques are needed. I mainly fish with bread, which they struggle to resist. I use this because that’s what they are fed all the time by people intending to feed the birds. I also sometimes feed mixers but general a crust of bread placed in just the right spot will do the trick. It’s all about timing. Often the bait is in the water for less than a minute.

carp fishing river lea lee
Above: Jungle warefare. A lovely dark common. I sat in a bush and watched it take the bait less than a foot away!

I’ve had a lot of success creeping up on these creatures. I sit behind reeds or sit in a bush! They simply don’t know I’m there – until all hell breaks loose! It’s the most exciting way of fishing for carp in my opinion. I’ve stalked loads of carp this way, including some very big specimens!

carp fishing river lea leeAbove: An absolute torpedo!

There’s a lot of stunning commons which are built to fight! Not overweight, boilie guzzlers like their stillwater counterparts. Hook one of these are you know about it! Not all my fish have been taken stalking or off the top. I’ve had some really nice commons fishing on the deck. Setting little traps with pellet and corn. A number of times I’ve had takes within minutes of the bait being in the water. That’s probably because I move around a lot. If I’ve not had a take within 45minutes I’m on my toes!

river lea carp

Above: An absolutely awesome looking, dark old common carp of 17lb 10oz from the River Lea.

Do not underestimate the power of these fish. You need very strong tackle, thick line and strong hooks. There’s plenty of snags and weed so you can’t mess about. When it comes to fishing for river carp (on the Lea or anywhere else) keep you rigs simple and strong!

river carp fishingAbove: Like a bar of gold.

I’ve started to question the size of the fish in this local stretch. I have an office on the river and so I tend to pop here for an hour before or after work. I think I’m probably going to have to go further up river if I want to catch bigger fish. Maybe I’ll stretch my legs and head up there next year. For now I’m having fun catching these corkers.

carp fishing on the river lea
Above: Not massive but great fun. Almost ‘bonus fish’ taken before work. Some have even been caught in my lunch hour!

If you want a challenge and something a bit different then why not try carp fishing on your local river. It’s a very different prospect to your local club lake, day ticket or syndicate. The fish are not as pressured, there’s always loads of swims free and it brings back some of the mystery in carp fishing.

river lea lee carp fishing

Above: Another dark, mid double common taken when poking around boats and barges.

River Lea Carp

The river contains loads of carp and they’re all characters. They fight like crazy and provide great, affordable, fun sport – so get out there!

Barbel fishing on the River Lea

I’ve never really done any barbel fishing on the River Lea. I had a bit of a go towards the end of last season on Kings Weir but to be fair that was a bit of a baptism of fire. The stock levels are low and the fish are very tricky indeed. In August of 2017 I decided that I needed to target a part of the river that offered me a better chance of a fish or two – before then returning to Kings Weir or Fishers Green once I’ve gained a bit more experience with this awesome creature.

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Short sessions fishing the Old Lea Loop

I’ve kind of been forced to become a bit of a short session expert. I run two very busy web design companies and time is precious. It’s not a coincidence that one of my offices is right on the River Lea in Ware. I’ve been doing a few very short sessions, either in my lunch hour or after work fishing Old River Lea at Tumbling Bay.

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Opening day fishing the River Lea 2017

There’s something very special about the 16th June. For me, it goes back to my childhood when everything closed from March until June – lakes and rivers. You literally stopped fishing for 3 months and so the 16th June was a very special date – when we could get back out there and go fishing again! Great to be back fishing the River Lea again.

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River lea big perch campaign – winter 2016

This article is about big perch fishing River Lea. I have never been the kind of angler that hangs his rods up during the winter. It’s a fantastic time to be out on the bank. There is nothing more stunning than a really bright, crisp morning at dawn in winter. I do, however, vary my fishing at this time of year. It’s cold so generally speaking I like to do fairly short sessions where I am constantly on the move with a single rod and a small bag. I’ll be fishing for pike, perch, trout and chub all species that can give you half a chance no matter how cold it gets.

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The Old River Lee

The Old River Lee is Izaak Walton’s old stomping ground. If you read The Compleat Angler you will know of his chapters that cover the fish he caught from this tiny little stretch of river. It’s a quiet loop on the back of the main river that is full of surprises. I joined Ware Angling Club in 2015 and enjoyed a great first season fishing Old River Lee (Lea).

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A boys trip to the River Test

The last few seasons I’ve been doing a lot of fly fishing. I love the light weight, roaming style of angling that fly fishing offers. I can also often get a result on short sessions which is ideal when work and family life is so busy. It’s early season and we’ve had a really special fishing trip planned for a while now, to a proper chalk stream – The River Test in Hampshire.

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