Archive for August 5th, 2011

Without doubt (in my mind anyways!) the Kennet is one of the country’s most beautiful rivers.  The area I fish is wild, unspoilt and left to its own devices.  That’s a rarity in this day of flood prevention and housing estates!

The Warren Beat

I am a member of the Wasing Estate syndicate.  They have several miles of the Kennet from Brimpton to Aldermaston.  The river here varies greatly.  Some areas are shallow, gravel riffles, others deep runs with overhanging trees and lastly deeper, darker waters of Aldermaston, home of the big fish.

One thing is common though and that is the beats are left untouched by man.  The Warren in particular is a lovely wild section.  Its overgrown with vegetation and thick woodland.  Its dark and foreboding and yet on a bright summers day full of light and life.  The sounds of wildlife and bubbling water allow the angler to totally submerse himself in his surroundings.  Its a wonderfully relaxing place to spend a day.

9lb 12oz kennet perfection

So far this season the fishing has proved difficult.  In past seasons I have caught well here.  All the beats have provided me with some excellent sport.  The fish have ranged in sizes from a few pounds to over 13lbs.  Plenty of doubles have come my way, but this season I am struggling.  So far I have managed 8 sessions, some short ones and only 5 fish have been coaxed into the folds of the landing net.  Sadly I have had 4 hookpulls as well, which is a high percentage of fish hooked at the moment.  All in all very frustrating.

However fishing is not just about catching.  Luckily this area of the Kennet is so unspoilt and beautiful that blanking is almost a pleasure.  Actually no, that’s a lie.  Not a pleasure, but you know what I mean.  It doesn’t seem quite such a bore when you fail to catch when you are immersed in such serene tranquility.

On a recent trip to Aldermaston we were fortunate and perhaps privileged to watch 2 magnificent Red Kites quartering a freshly mown field.  These majestic birds circled overhead and then swooped down to grab at perceived carrion.  Sadly for the birds these were only lumps of cut grass and as they lifted off with them, they soon realised the error of their ways and dropped the useless bounty.

Red Kite

They worked the field for some time and I watched them on and off throughout the day.  It made my trip.  I was spoiled again because the following day we moved to a different beat and I witnessed a Kite floating on the thermals high above me. Later I disturbed another one in a quiet avenue of trees.  The bird lazily spread its wings and climbed over the tree tops.  They are an impressive bird at a distance but close up you realise just how big these birds of prey are.

The fishing as I have said has been slow.  Generally I fish Tuesday evening and Wednesday.  I am able to pitch a tent out of the way.  I use a small pop-up tent along with Geoff.  The two tents are small enough to be fairly unobtrusive and yet can accommodate an angler comfortably.  These are not pitched in swims of course, that would not be cricket.  Instead they are set up well away from the river.  When I’m fishing, I’m fishing.  When I’m sleeping then I’m sleeping.  I’m not in to the bivvy scene, but each to their own.  I have no problem with bivvies if the rules allow.

Anyway so far my biggest Kennet fish was 9lb 12oz from Aldermaston.  Not a particularly big fish for here but nonetheless a stunning example of a Kennet specimen.  The other 4 were of a smaller stamp but just as welcome and just as perfect.  Hopefully my angling ability will improve as the season wears on and I’ll start to improve on my success rate.  But I truly hope that I never loose sight of the importance of just being there even if I’m not catching.

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