River Kennet, Monday 17th June 2013
My seasoned old Barbour Bushman lovingly waxed over the past three years has gone. It usually lives in the boot of my car but because I haven’t been fishing for a while I hadn’t noticed that it had vanished. A new one is on its way to me but it won’t be the same…sniff sniff.
So [hatless] my plan was implemented, Speen Moors for chub then further downstream for trotting and if energy permitted the day would end on the canal for perch.
As expected Speen was devoid of anglers and my favoured swim was available. The two beanpoles were put together, a centrepin attached and I settled into the undergrowth.... quite literally. The reeds were waist high and I had to very carefully tread down a small clearing to make a snug little hidey hole. The two balls of bread mash were followed by a link ledger and a lump of flake on the hook, I settled down expectantly. The fish couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see out, all that was visible was the rod.
A stationary rod as it turned out, my covert setting up and two hours spent in hiding failed to produce a bite. These tactics have worked for me before so I was a bit miffed, the session was intended to give the rod a workout but without co-operative fish it just sat there looking pretty.
Ok so let’s see how it works trotting, off to the next venue and on with the waders. Disappointingly two other anglers were there when I arrived so swim choice was restricted but the one I had in mind was available, a long glide between two fallen trees. A quick paddle to the middle of the river and trotting commenced. Within the first five minutes it was obvious that this wasn’t the rod’s forte, the weight wasn’t an issue in fact I was surprised at how light it felt but the slow through action wasn’t good for mending line or striking at fast bites. Any quick movement would see the middle section bend first and the tip would then spring back a fraction of a second later. It’s an Avon rod and the through action is built in so it really was out of its comfort zone, static bait fishing and subduing chub and barbel are what this particular rod should be used for. On the plus side when I did catch dace they all felt well in excess of 1lb when I was playing them.
The cane went back into its bag and the Harrison was set up further downstream. The water didn’t look too high but wading to the chosen spot was tricky to say the least, there was plenty of water pressure on my legs and a slip would’ve been very embarrassing. This session produced dace, chublets, roach and perch but no ‘proper’ chub. That was what I’d expected really but it was good to be mid river in waders and T shirt soaking up the warmth.
What turned out to be the final session of the day was another hundred yards downstream, the return was similar with a couple of decent roach thrown in. The canal trip will have to wait for another day, my arm hasn’t been used for this sort of fishing for three months was aching like mad by the time I’d planned to depart for the canal.
So an opening day which won’t be setting the world alight but mine seldom do so I’ve learnt not to expect too much. Just having the rivers available again and being able to choose which will be the next venue is enough.