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13 February

Chris Plumb


Lower Itchen Fishery


0830 - 1630.


Cool and overcast after a soggy start, rain returning just as we packed up, temps didn't get above 4ºC all day. River quite pacey with a slight tinge of colour.


37 Grayling; 14 over 1lb with half of these over 1½lb. Best two; 2lb 5oz & 1lb 13oz. 1 Brownie and 2 Salmon Parr.


IAC fish-in in memory of Paul Goulbourn.


A poignant day on the Itchen. Paul and I were introduced to this fishery back in the late 90's - via an IAC fish-in and we made a point of fishing it every season since - always scheduling a trip in mid to late Feb - so today was full of recollections of trips past and a fitting venue for some of his old IAC mates to gather in his memory.


The talk on the list this week has all been about otters and blow me if the first thing we saw when we arrived at Gaters Mill at first light was an otter. And not just a fleeting glimpse - we watched as it scampered up the bank, crossed over the track and plunge into the river to head upstream under the M27.


After this early excitement the first challenge was to get the cars up the track - we'd been warned that it was in a poor state but everyone made it up safely even if a few cars had to be pushed out for the return journey.


The angling was everything I'd hoped it would be (save for the lack of chub). The river was quite 'full' but thankfully the lack of rain in the previous days had meant it had had a chance to fine down. The weather was exactly as per forecast - early rain giving way to a dry, cool, overcast day. I started in a spot where I expected there to be chub but the extra water meant that the slack that is usually there - wasn't. However it wasn't long before my trotted corn was snaffled by my first fish of the day a 1lb 9oz grayling - a super start.


It quite quickly transpired that the fish appeared to be shoaled up in a few specific spots - and I ended up catching all my grayling from just 3 swims - rest and return being my mantra for the day.


Sometimes at fish-ins you can go all day without actually meeting up with anyone - especially on a large venue such as LIF. Dave had a arranged for everyone to down rods and meet up for lunch - with the offer of freshly cooked sausages, toasted sandwiches and cupcakes! It made for a nice sociable interlude - even if Ed did miss the photocall in his urgency to return to the river!


Thank you's to:

- everyone who came especially those that travelled some distance to make it

- Dave Smith for organising the day and acting as treasurer -£120 (+ Gift Aid) was raised by the event which will be given to Duchess of Kent Hospice where Paul spent his final days.

- Chris (Rusty) for offering to give me a lift and being great company.


Some the IAC Reprobates! (That's Brian on his knees - praying for a 2lber?)



My biggest of the day.



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I was very saddened to read of Paul Goulbourn's passing and had checked these posts for news of the inevitable.


I never met Paul in the flesh, although we had been in email contact regarding our local water the Blackwater and his little gem the Emmbrook, while he was influential in getting me an associate membership of the Newbury AA.


I had looked forward to being able to fish together at some time, but his cancer was spreading and advancing at a rapid state and this proved impossible. Paul's family was his main concern and hope that he was able to make the most of the last few months.

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Hi kenj - I recall Paul talking about you - and you're right about the Embrook - I was always very envious that it ran through his garden - not many anglers can rightfully boast of catching had 1lb+ roach from their own gardens!

Paul and I last fished together back in Sep though I know his last trip was about a month after this toward the end of October - he died 6 weeks later.....

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Thanks for your reply Chris. My last email from Paul was in late August with promises of info on Speen Moors and other Newbury AA hot spots. He detailed his upcoming treatment, which did not sound too hopeful, taking all his energy. When I heard no more, I guessed that fishing had become a low priority. I regularly scanned these blogs in the hope of good news, but now you have confirmed my fears.


Regarding the Embrook, I went on a scouting mission in October, armed with a 9ft telescopic rod, sickfloat and crumb with bread punch, and caught a couple of 1lb chub, plus smaller and a few 4 oz roach. It was hard work. I intended returning with a camera for a blog write up, but never made it. Next year. Paul read my blog and felt he would have been pleased with the result.

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