Believe it or not I have seen barbel in the Thames as far downstream as Hammersmith together with large carp and medium pike. The Thames is alive and kicking. Not that this message helps Martin very much. I do know from a club member with access to the Mole that barbel are in the river and are usually to be found in the slower deeper stretches.
Cigarette Island, Molesey Lock, Surrey, River Thames (where Mole meets Thames opposite Hampton Court Palace) ? 0208 9416633. Plenty of free fishing here from Molesey to Walton Bridge (2 miles) and from Hampton Court Bridge to Teddington (5 miles) with one angler recently taking nine fish in a session. Big baits like boilies, pellets and meat on the hook but use plenty of feed to get them going in the form of maggots, hemp and small pellets. Fish in 10 ?12 foot of water at least a third of the way out.