June 2019 Blog – Floods!


Here in the UK we often get summer floods, especially on the big rivers such as the Severn. We tend to forget about them, as they quickly diminish, but it’s quite common to have floods in June, and it’s usually around the start of the fishing season – which then sees many anglers’ dreams washed away.

This year was no different, with anglers up and down the country getting their gear ready for the “glorious 16th”, alas, my local rivers were running at 2 metres above normal, and most of the fish were in the fields!
When it’s this high it’s a waste of time, so all you can do is wait. But summer floods subside quickly, and when they start to drop it’s important to be on the river first – as everyone else will soon be following. Knowing your local rivers is important and timing that first visit is crucial, I like to think I get it right most of the time, and generally hit the river a couple of days before most will venture out.

Most right-minded anglers stick to bait when the river is chocolate and pushing though, and, while this may be a good choice in winter floods, in the summer when the water is warm you can absolutely slay them on lures – if you know what to do!


Zander feed in flood water – it disorientates their prey and they have an advantage with their eyesight in these conditions, so they will readily be caught on lures. The key is how to fish them.
Firstly, forget about fishing on the bottom. Contrary to what most people think – in flood water the zander are nearly always near the surface – you can often see them splashing about under trees and in flow lines.
If you look at the river, and I mean really look at the river – you will see where the main current is pushing – debris will form on this line and you will get leaves, twigs, foam etc. in one distinct area.

Now watch this area for a bit – and you will often see this is where small fish like roach and bleak are topping, feeding on the bits and bobs that get washed down, or washed off trees. Occasionally you will see bigger fish like bream and chub rolling in the same area – if you see these then you can guarantee zander will be around.

Westin lure

So it’s this area you need to fish. I find big lures work better in these circumstances and my “go to” is the 16cm ShadTeez, I rig them with a 15-20g jig head – which is enough to keep them in the flow and just enough to keep them at the depth I want, which is 2 – 3 feet deep. The big paddle-tail also helps keep the lure up in the water. I simply cast to the flow line and trap the line, allowing the lure to come around in the flow on a tight line. Usually if zander are there, they will hit it when the line is on the 45 degree angle, as this is the point that the lure speeds up as the flow gets it and the lure starts to rise up.

The other area to fish, again shallow, is right amongst the tree branches. Zander will hold here if the flood is really kicking in, and then move out every now and again to get a couple of bleak, so fishing a lure shallow in this area can pick up some bonus fish, and you will catch them before the hordes of bait anglers descend on the river!

Flood water is dangerous, so you have to be up on your boating skills and be on the lookout for logs, trees, dead sheep and everything else that gets washed down, so it’s not for the faint hearted – but needs must when you have been cooped up for a couple of months waiting for the start