I had trouble finding a place to park…began no great fishing tale ever.

The forecast rain hadn’t arrived and I made an impromptu exploratory trip to investigate a new place. I’d heard that the confluence of the Rivers Ember and Thames was a good place to try for pike. I made my way to a spot on the Thames just across from Hampton Court Palace.  This is a busy place, and I had to park far from the river; access to the waterfront is tricky too. The inevitable downside of urban fishing.

Savage Gear Perch Lure

The most natural fishing spot at the junction of the two rivers was already taken, so I made do with a spot nearby upstream. I rigged a small soft lure on a 7g jig head – this would also interest any perch. A titanium wire leader and my new PowerPro 30Kg braid completed the setup. I flicked the lure into the Thames. At least the strong braid meant I didn’t lose any lures to snags; the lure’s hook bending out before the braid snapped. With no interest from any predator species, I made the long detour around to the south bank of the River Ember and tried from that side. Not a bite. I packed up and drove a few miles upstream to the place that was successful this time last year.


I stood in the same place as last October and cast the same Mepps Aglia lure into the same stretch of water. Mute Swans bothered me, dogs bothered the swans, but I wasn’t bothering the fish. I hooked a surprising number of freshwater mussels but none of the target species: perch, pike or otherwise. No other anglers were present on this stretch. Maybe they know better?

Sunset came and went. It was a shame to break a run of ten successful fishing trips and I was loathe to leave. I kept trying until it was quite dark. This stretch of river just doesn’t hold the numbers of fish I conclude.