image Thames, Hampton Court

Winner Thames recipe for roach, dace and bream: 2kg of VDA Super Match, 2kg of heavy leam, VDA caramel additive, some hemp and dead maggots. If you don’t catch on this, you won’t catch on anything!

My very first visit to Hampton Court happened 4 years ago in May, that time without any fishing gear. That was when I first started to play with the thought of doing some fishing in England too, instead of limiting the pleasure of it only to the times I visit back home in Hungary. So back than I used to buy the Angling Times magazine in which I always used to see pictures of beautiful bream, barbel and chub caught in the upper parts of Thames. But that time I didn’t drive yet so I knew that if I did go fishing somewhere, it must be a place near a tube or train station. So I opened Google maps and started to follow the river further upstream, until I found the nearest part to London where there is a train station very close to the river bed. And that place happened to be Hampton Court. I checked and found out that there are trains running from Waterloo with a stop at Vauxhall in every half an hour, and the journey time is a survivable half an hour ish. That time I lived in Vauxhall, so next day I hopped on a train and there I was. I loved what I saw, so I decided I will start fishing.

And so that’s when I bought my first rods in England, Including my ever since favourite, Daiwa TDSR2 which is my first serious pole as well. Back home I use a slower Maver Blue Vega which is perfect for the chunky river barbels on 9.50m, but the TDSR2 is a completely different category.

Remembering back, my first fishing trip there was diabolical. Everything went wrong, after one week of continuous heavy rain (which is normal in England anyway…) the river looked like the Yellow River/Amazonas. My 10gr flat float almost flew out of the water as I attempted to hold it back – that’s how strong the current was. Of course I hadn’t caught a thing, and got soaking wet in a sudden afternoon shower towards the end. I wasn’t disappointed though, I left home with excitement towards the next trip, thinking that it can only be better next time. And so it did..

Around 3 weeks later the river was calm and slowly moving, and the water level was much lower too. And there I was..

As I started catching my first roach, dace and gudgeon I knew I did the right thing and my money, time and effort I put in to the whole thing including research, shopping, journeys etc, would eventually pay back. And Hampton Court quickly became my favourite, easily accessible, quiet, peaceful and beautiful stretch of the Thames, where I can actually not only escape London’s everyday craziness, but catch some gorgeous fish too!

You’ll need all of these if you seriously wanna catch. The above recipe always works on river – fish will sooner or later find it!

I do mix the groundbait with coke: it darkens your mix and its sweet taste ans smell defo attract more fish


First roach of the session: not too big but its beauty makes up for it
A slightly bigger one
Pretty perch



No monster bream showed up that day, but I ended up with a big bag of mixed silver fish: roach, perch, skimmer bream, dace and a gudgeon. They all swam away happily 🙂

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