Posts Tagged ‘Barbel Fishing Berkshire’

Geoff, Kevin and I headed to a new stretch of the Kennet.  We joined earlier in the year and went for a wander along this particular stretch about a month ago. It’s a beautiful stretch.  Quite narrow and winding with lots of features, especially as you approach the end of the beat.

Geoff opted to fish the weir at the upper limit of the stretch and both Kevin and I decided to explore lower down.  I ended up right at the lower limit, in amongst the woods.  Its a beautiful spot down at this point, very intimate with bundles of overhanging trees and other features to fish to.  Sadly though it lacked some depth, averaging only 2′ 6″ to 3′ at best.  So after chub fishing and a spot of plumbing for a few hours, I felt compelled to move back upstream to find some deeper water.

The chub rod didn’t produce, so it was time to get on the barbel, so out came the Torrix.  I found quite a nice, deep swim just off of a bend.  I had around 5 feet, with numerous snags to fish to.  I opted to fish a boilie with a paste wrap in conjunction with a small block end feeder loaded with maggots or hemp. I had plenty of time to admire the scenery and bird life, as the tip never moved!  Unusually I didn’t see any Red Kites or Buzzards today, which is a rarity these days in this area.

With only 10 minutes left to fish, I jumped into a swim that had been vacated a few minutes before.  The guy had caught 4 barbel during his session and had kept a bit of bait going in.  So I thought it was worth a chance.  I didn’t have time to mess about and so wherever the first cast landed it would have to do.  It landed just about perfect.  I didn’t know the swim so couldn’t be certain how snaggy it was, so just had to hope for the best.  I had two knocks almost immediately and I started to worry that I may be caught up, when the rod top slammed over.  Fish on.  After a good scrap, a nice fit 7lb barbel was released.  A great end to what had been a beautiful but tough day.

Sadly Geoff and Kevin could only muster a couple of trout and a bullhead!  Shame. 🙂

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After a hectic few days fishing on the Trent, this week saw me return to my favorite river; The Kennet.  This session certainly wouldn’t be quite as arm aching as the Trent, that’s for certain.  However, I was hoping that the autumnal conditions may just have perked things up a little.

However the forecast was for some very unseasonably hot and clear weather.  With the water levels so low at the moment, the thought of clear, bright skies didn’t exactly fill me with confidence.  The good news was that the night time temperatures were at least up in the mid teens.  So we may at least nick a fish or two during the hours of darkness.

We headed to Aldermaston, as this would offer us the best chance of a big fish.  It was hot when we arrived and after setting up camp we headed off to look for some suitable swims.  I opted for a bit of cover, so headed for the jungle.  Geoff and Kevin headed off further upstream.  First job was to get some hemp out and this week I had opted for a few pints of maggots, rather than casters.  So the bait dropper was at the ready and 2½ pints of hemp and maggots were deposited in the swim.  After that, it was time to set-up the rest of the tackle, enjoy a cuppa and read the paper.


At this point I noticed a few cows in the field opposite.  One huge beast decided to do a Baloo the Bear impression and started to itch a scratch on a tree.  It rubbed itself up and down and from side to side, whilst the tree creaked in response.  This was shortly followed by a further animal making a rather high pitched noise reminiscent of an elephant!  In fact it was almost quite musical. It sounded rather like a trumpet. A jazz trumpet in fact.  So now we had Louis Prima aka King Louis playing  along side Baloo.  This was turning into a bovine version of the jungle book. Amusing, to say the least.

Mad Cow's Disease

Still back to the fishing.  As darkness fell a rather eerie mist started to float in the fields opposite, drawing ever nearer.  It then seemed to disperse, only to return later, even thicker and heavier than before.  It had a dense, damp feel to it.  When I used to fish the Medway, it became known as the mist of doom.  It rarely fished well once it had descended.  I hoped it wouldn’t prove to be the same here tonight.

As the night wore on I had to wonder why the baiting technique had failed.  Sometimes you just don’t know who has fished a swim before you and how.  I had bumped into a regular fellow Wasing member in the car park.  He was telling me about a guy fishing in the area I was heading for, a few days before.  He filled the swim in with boilies. The problem with baiting heavily with boilies is their inability to break down.  I’m sure eventually they get washed away.  However in the meantime the fish feed on them and as they are high in protein, they fill the fish up rather quickly.  Now the Kennet is not a big carp lake, where a carp can munch it’s way through kilos of bait.  Barbel are not there in sufficient numbers, nor do they have the enormous appetite of a group of large carp.  So this type of baiting technique can be the kiss of death.

Whilst musing on this, the rod tip banged round and a jagged bite kept the tip moving.  I pulled into the fish.  The response was a powerful lunge, so I knew I had a barbel on the other end.  After a good fight, the fish lost the battle.  A lovely looking Kennet barbel went back to fight another day.  I re-baited the swim and popped off for a chat with Kevin.  Sadly he hadn’t had so much as a twitch.  Mind you the rats keep you occupied here.  When they are scurrying about in the undergrowth at night, you are convinced they are the size of rabbits!  I wished good luck to Kev and headed back to my swim for a re-cast.  What with this fog and now the rats, it was turning into some sort of twisted James Herbert horror story.   Mind you, thoughts of a young Jamie lee Curtis soon took my mind of being eaten alive by giant ghost rats.

At around midnight the tip slammed round and a much harder fight than before ensued.  This felt like a decent barbel.  It wasn’t fighting quite like a double, but felt good.  The result was a lovely fit fish of 8lb 2oz.  That was the last fish of the evening.  I packed up around 1.30am.  It was time for the traditional late night cuppa and hopefully a  few z’s.

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