Directions: From London follow the A316 to Twickenham. Take the turn off for Twickenham and follow the road to the town centre. Turn left down the A310 (Cross Deep) towards Teddington. Radnor Gardens is on your left hand side just before the first roundabout.
Facilities: Parking can be difficult in the week but at weekends there are normally plenty of spaces down the side roads. There is a new W.C. block planned to be constructed in the near future.
The venue: Fishing is free but a national rod license is still required.
The venue has steep banks with a shelf half way down. Most fishing is carried out from the shelf until the tide comes in when you could be forced to retreat to a higher level.
This section, strictly speaking, is semi-tidal as the half weir downstream at Isleworth stops the tide dropping to its lowest level. There is always a good head of water maintained in the navigational channel with a maximum depth approaching 12ft at low tide.
The fishing area is clearly marked out by the Council. The downstream limit is a wall separating the Gardens from private housing. This downstream limit is opposite the so called "deeps" and is really coming to the end of a giant eddy that covers most of the fishery. Naturally in the eddy much of the bottom is mud. This eddy provides shelter for many species of fish during winter floods. The eddy is particularly noted for the shoals of bream that can hold up in the area. It is getting a reputation for tidal carp that appear to be inhabiting the area in increasing numbers
Looking downstream from the lower limit of fishing: Eel Pie Island and Twickenham are visible whilst upstream we have Swan Island with all its moored houseboats. Further upstream is Teddington and the limit of tidal flow at the weir. Sometimes on an exceptionally high tide the water flows over the weir causing a tidal effect as far up as Kingston.
The middle section of the fishing area is the muddiest being in the middle of the eddy. Upstream the eddy becomes far narrower with shallower runs over gravel, easily reached with a modest cast. These gravel runs hold the majority of the venues roach and dace.
Above this area is Swan Island where officially fishing is not allowed from the bank. However as I understand the situation, the council do not own the river bed. Therefore you can fish at low tide standing on the river bed in your waders. This can be a very productive area for roach and dace as they seek shelter under the moored boats of the island.
Times to fish: Fishing the run-off following a good spring tide is generally recognised as a good time to fish. The swims in the eddy being particularly productive for bream at this time.
Boat traffic can be very heavy in the Summer during the day when the locks are in operation. I tend to avoid these times preferring to fish a late evening spring tide in summer months.
Radnor Gardens has always been noted for producing bream in coloured water. Winter floods, particularly with a tide, can produce remarkable catches of bream.
Species: The main species are bream, carp, roach, dace and perch. However, pike, salmon, sea trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, carp, crucian carp, tench, chub, barbel, zander and other exotic species have all been caught.
The bream have grown steadily since I first fished the venue in the late 1950's. In those days a three pound bream was a big fish. Now five and six pounders are caught. They still appear to be growing with the odd fish of over seven pounds reported. Taking the year as a whole, bream are now recognised as the dominant species.
Carp have likewise grown much bigger with individual specimens running over thirty pounds. Grass carp have also been caught nearby and I have seen photos of two separate specimens. The largest being over thirty pounds whilst the second a smaller fish of 181b 6oz was taken last winter by my old friend, Louis Deeks.
Roach have shown a decline in numbers and size. Cormorants are thought to be the cause. The largest tidal roach I know of was caught by Barry Jarvis in 1962 from his punt moored downstream from Radnor Gardens opposite the convent. Barry was laying on with cheese when he caught the monster roach. The fish was witnessed, photographed and accurately weighed at 21b 14oz 6drm. Scales from the shoulder of the fish were sent with top quality photographs to the Angling Times who carried the story and authenticated the fishes identity.
However this is the only roach that I know of that ever cleared the 21b 8oz mark from the tidal Thames. There have been other big roach claimed but on checking they were all found to be roach/bream hybrids. On the subject of hybrids, I once had a very odd looking hybrid that I photographed. Looking at the photographs, Alwyne Wheeler of The Natural History Museum felt it was most likely to be a rudd/bream hybrid. It certainly had a rudd's mouth and there are rudd in the section.
Roach now appear to have declined in both size and numbers. The water is now much clearer which has possibly helped predators like cormorants reduce their numbers. There are now very few roach caught that would clear 1lb 8oz. I've not seen or had one for many years.
Tactics: Most standard bream tactics work for the bream off Radnor Gardens. The groundbait or block-end feeder account for more than their fair share of bream. I prefer the groundbait feeder with bread in clear water, switching to the block end filled with maggots in coloured water.
It is advisable to use stronger tackle for these bream compared to that used for still water bream. They tend to fight harder and there is always the possibility of catching a tidal carp.
Float fishing can also be productive. Trotting a float on the back eddy or on a tide can produce good catches. Wet bread fished over mashed bread groundbait can produce remarkable results when the river is fining down after a flood.
Radnor Gardens also produces tidal carp. Many carp anglers fish it with standard carp tactics with boilies but I prefer to use a paste bait on a spring tide. Both methods work and under the right conditions produce carp that can run to well over thirty pounds.
Conclusion: Radnor Gardens has enjoyed a well deserved reputation as a tidal hot spot for over fifty years. It still produces good results when conditions are perfect and is well worth fishing.