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6 July

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Chris Plumb

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River Kennet, Newbury

 

1600 - 2300

 

Overcast and breezy with some drizzle. 20º->15ºC but felt a LOT chillier where I was sitting in the breeze! River at normal summer levels and carrying quite a bit of colour

 

1 Bream; 2lb 10oz

 

An evening barbelling session with Paul to this (once) prolific section of river. Over the years I have come to call this swim THE Banker - I can't remember coming here in high summer and NOT catching a barbel. These days the only certainty about the place is that your almost gauranteed to see an otter! Paul and I saw it here last summer and we saw it 3 times last night. It swam upstream through our swims at around 2000. It did the return journey a little before 2200 and at 2300 poked its head out right underneath my feet - I could have leant down and stroked it - if I'd been quick enough! Given all this its amazing we caught anything! My bream was caught in the fastest stretch of water and gave a very good account of itself - taking line against the clutch. Paul managed a solitary barbel of 7lb 2oz between the 1st 2 otter sightings. So we didn't blank - but 5 years ago we might have reckoned on 10 to a dozen barbel between us from such a session - with perhaps the odd chub thrown in as well - a species which appears to have completely disappeared from the stretch! sad.gif

 

Home of the otter!

Swim.jpg

 

Paul's 7lber...

Barbel.jpg

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Do you really think otters are the reason for the demise Chris? I feel I should know that stretch but I can't place it.

 

Good fish to Paul though, well done.

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I'm convinced of it - there's already been 1, ½ eaten barbel of around the size Paul's got in the picture above, discovered on the bank in the vicinity of this swim this summer....:(

 

 

C.

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Do you not think the demise could in fact be down to a lack of recruitment, due perhaps to changes in ecology that occurred before the otters arrived? And that the otters are simply highlighting an issue, as opposed to causing it?

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I'm sure there are many possible explanations. However I have fished this stretch since 1982 and it has been pretty consistent through ALL that time. It is a place that is usually blessed with excellent recruitment - one stretch where I have regularly caught small barbel from - I'm talking gudgeon sized upto 1lb - my only barbel this season falls into this bracket! Equally chub of all year classes are usually caught. Other species; dace, grayling, roach(small), gudgeon even brownies are still showing in good numbers this year it is just the 'capital fish' which appear to be missing - haven't even seen any evidence of pike this summer - which again is most unusual! Pure coincidence that this has corresponded with regular otter sighting here over the last 18 months??????

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