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Kevin and I decided to have another crack at the Kennet this week.  Geoff had gone AWOL, using some sort of family holiday as an excuse. Mind you when I spoke to him on Wednesday he was trying to catch roach at Britford.  Hmm, family holiday? My foot!

Anyway the real anglers headed to Aldermaston and were taught a very valuable lesson.  Don’t pretend to be real anglers when you can’t catch fish! Unfortunately it was another tough session here.  One or two fish rolled, just to prove there was some life down there.  I was fortunate to catch a barbel of around 7-8lbs and that was my only bite.

I did change tactics this week.  I dropped the pellets (they went everywhere!) in favour of a more traditional approach.  I cooked up some hemp (peace, man) and mixed in a good helping of casters.  I superglued 4 casters onto a hair and masked the size 14 Pallatrax ‘The Hook’ with another one.  I then coupled this with a longish hooklink and a 2.5 ounce Preston blockend feeder.  This was then filled with the hemp and caster mixture.  First part of the attack was to bait dropper 10 loads into the swim.  Leave it for 45-60 minutes and then fish over the top.

It did produce some interest early on when a really nice dace pulled the rod top round and then a little while later a barbel  did an impression of  Usain Bolt and ripped the tip round whilst tearing off down stream.  The fish put up a good fight and looked around the 7-8lb mark. It was an awkward swim to fish and I decided as dusk was approaching, I would move into an easier swim.

Kennet Barbel

I adopted the same tactics but this time nothing was forthcoming.  I decided to call it a day about 10.30pm as I was totally cream crackered.  Kevin was happy to turn in for the night as his rods had remained motionless since arrival.

The next day we decided to move to one of the other beats.  Again, adopting the tactics of the night before I decided to be a little more patient and move a few times into baited swims.  The first swim which is a really nice shady spot only produced a few dace and a roach.  The next move proved more productive.  Just as I opened a packet of crisps and took a bite out of my Tuna and sweetcorn sandwich (and you thought I was unhealthy) the rod tip slammed round and my lunch went about 7 feet into the air! The result was a small barbel of about 2.5-3lbs.  Nice result and I moved on feeling a little more pleased with myself.

The 3rd swim had a lovely big bush opposite.  This time I decided not to use the bait droppers.  This was a small, narrow section and I thought it may cause too much disturbance.  So I kept recasting a smaller feeder out at regular intervals, to keep some bait going in.  This seemed to work, as over the next couple of hours I had 3 more barbel to about 5.5lbs.  Then the swim died.  I would have moved but the heavens had opened and it was tipping it down.  So at around 8pm we decided enough was enough and we packed up and headed back to Kent.

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