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Archive for August 9th, 2013


The fishing seems to be particularly tough for us at the moment.  We are struggling on the river in Berkshire and I have yet to secure my first barbel on my local small river too.  There is some comfort in chatting with anglers bankside who are also reporting similar results to ourselves.  At least we know its not just us.  However I think we need to adopt a different style of fishing to try and beat the current doldrums.  I guess what I mean is perhaps a more roving style, targeting more swims and  using different baits in an attempt to make things work in our favour, rather than hoping that eventually things will improve anyway.  I have used a roving approach on the Medway and Kennet in the past and it worked extremely well.  If you know the stretch really well you can continue to rove throughout darkness too, although there is always the option of then sitting it out in one swim after dark and hoping the fish are present.

My latest trip with Geoff was a continuation of current form.  The Thames tributary we are fishing this season is proving very difficult.  However others are also struggling as I said, so we have to take some consolation from that fact.   We fished until midnight on Tuesday but staying in just one swim apiece.  Either the fish were not home or we didn’t fish the right baits/tactics because neither Geoff or myself had so much as a knock.  Throughout the evening and night I never head a single fish turn on the surface, which always disheartens me to be honest.  I like to hear movement because it signals life and activity.  You at least know that fish are on the move.

At one point a stamping noise behind me awoke me from my thoughts and when I looked round a roe deer was running away from me in the direction of the trees.  I could see its white tail bouncing up and down as it hurried off to find cover.  That was about it for me that night sadly.  Tiredness finally won the day, and at around 11.45 I packed up very much disillusioned again.  So a re-think needed for future trips.

The next day we decided that a change of scenery was in order and so we agreed after breakfast to head to the Kennet.  We popped into Tadley Angling so Geoff could pick up a night permit for Reading and District Angling Association and whilst there I bought some block-end feeders and some hemp.  Tadley is a well stocked and well run shop and the owners are very friendly and helpful.  It’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

There was only one car in the R&DAA car park and we decided to have a recce first.  We then loaded up with gear and headed off downstream to explore.  We walked some distance downstream, spotting lots of decent looking spots to fish on the way.   The level looked good and the river had a decent pace to it with a good tinge of colour.  In fact it looked perfect.   I decided to bait up a couple of swims with hemp and then fish a block-end feeder with hemp in and fish elips and paste on a 4′ tail.  By the time I cast out it was probably 3.30pm.  I had decided to fish this swim for a couple of hours and move if nothing happened.  I could always return later.  At about 5pm the rod top slammed round and my heart jumped into my mouth.  A three foot twitch never fails to get the adrenaline flowing and the pulse racing.  I pulled into what was obviously a barbel and it used the strong flow to full effect.

I could tell it wasn’t a big fish from the fight but a very welcome sight that fish made when I managed to slip it into the waiting net.  I hoisted it out and admired the colours and sleek, muscular form.  I would have taken a quick snap of the fish on the unhooking mat, however senile dementia has well and truly set in because the battery for the camera is still sat on the table at home after being charged up last week.  Doh!  Anyway the fish was slipped back and I opted to move into the other baited swim.  Geoff was also on the move, opting to fish further downstream from his original position.

A large tractor turned up in the field behind me and started to move hay bales from a huge stack onto a trailer.  The farmer had assistance from another guy in a car and two small dogs.  I could hear their excited yapping as they were let loose in the field.   They were tearing around the stack of hay bales, I guess looking for rats maybe.  At times they were almost in a frenzy of excitement and it at least proved a distraction from the fishing.  As darkness fell I wished the dogs were with me as the rats started to appear.   Several large rodents scampered through the undergrowth and out into the open, searching for food.  They could obviously smell my bait as despite my best efforts to scare them off they would soon return even more brazen.   I think those dogs would have made short work of disposing of the rats.

However despite another move on my part no further action ensued and Geoff had remained fish-less also, so we decided to call it a day around 10.15pm.  We both fancied a coffee at the services before the long drive home.

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