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31st December - Emm Brook



The where? I suspect this maybe an internet first, a fishing report from this stream!


Emm Brook….it’s a stream, (although now officially classed as a river by the EA) which flows through the Wokingham/Winnersh area in Berkshire, before joining the River Loddon just downstream of the Twyford & District section at Sandford Mill.


This is proper lowland small stream fishing, almost completely overgrown, inaccessible in the summer months, so I have to wait until winter to get any decent access and this diminishes each year as the brambles further their upper hand. On average the Emm is around 2 metres wide, with depths varying from 5cm to around a metre with a few holes a little deeper.




Anyway, to the fishing, having managed to catch only 6 bleak on my previous outing, see Chris Plumbs blog of 28th December, I was determined the year was to end on a slightly better note than fish that were smaller than the goldfish in my daughters fish tank!


Tackle is a 9’ 6” solid fibre glass fly rod that I have converted, coupled with a small fixed spool reel holding 4lb line, and a little 1 swan shot loafer float is usually the rig of the day. The rod is the first one I ever owned, bought for me by my father, around 1971-ish, and still in frequent use. So, first swim, a known hot-spot…..the bottom of my garden, probably a human created hot-spot as I regularily feed the ducks here! Second trot through the swim, with a lump of bread flake, the float dips and a 2lb 12oz bream is shortly netted. A new pb for this stream, a good start!




Small stream fishing is about being mobile, catch one fish, then move, the chances of two from the same swim are remote. With this in mind, I had a couple of hours to wander and see if I could find any more fish now that the floodwaters were starting to recede.


Having had previous success in the swim below I was hopeful, soon to be dashed when it was established that there were some new submerged branches probably due to the floods of recent days….a bit of gardening will be required in the spring!




Next swim down, this a proper floodwater slack, on a small stream scale, very hard to fish as the river is about 1.5 metres wide at this point, with branches overhanging from the opposite bank.




However, this is the advantage of using a short rod, and a small chub weighing 1lb 4oz couldn’t resist a maggot drifting past.




Another swim that has produced in the past, the erosive power of even a small stream, is fairly evident by the mid-air fence posts! On this occasion the chub that inhabit this stretch were missing.




I managed another chub of just over a pound from a swim I hadn’t fished for several years, before turning for home as the drizzle was getting a bit heavier. Last two swims of my short outing produced a 6 oz dace, and a 4 oz perch,




Five minutes walk and I was back home, couldn’t resist one last trot, float disappeared almost under my feet, a double figure pike had taken the single white maggot. Being that my connection to the fish was a size 20 on a 3lb hooklength, the attachment didn’t last very long! At least I now have a better idea where the 1lb+ roach I had been catching a few weeks ago may have disappeared to!


Post script : just before finishing this blog, I had five minutes to spare so a quick visit to the bottom of the garden swims was squeezed in. Two bites, one dropped fish, the other, this pristine, probably never caught before, 1lb 7oz roach. :)




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That chub almost looks like a dace. The dorsal and anal fins are hardly convex, the head is relatively small, though admittedly the tail doesn't look as forked as a dace.

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Great read. Makes you wonder where fish that size go when the level drops!

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The chap I buy my eggs from is a trout angler these days, and he used to fish this stream back in the early 1960's, had dace to over a pound, roach to around 2lb, plus barbel !! Not massive ones, his biggest was around 7lb's, but from such a small stream is amazing, and to think about it, a 7lb barbel would have been a big fish in that era! I've fished here for 20 years now, only a couple of outings each winter, and never cease to be impressed with the fish I'm catching from it.

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Great read. Makes you wonder where fish that size go when the level drops!


Wow....a comment from the boss.....where's my "notworthy" smiley gone....ah, just found it.... :notworthy:

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Upstart - I've been blogging here since 07 (and before on a previous Elton project) without comment from Mr Murphy. Then again he did have to upgrade the entire forum so that I could continue - so for that alone he gets a :notworthy: from me too!

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The Emmbrook is the river I was talking about. My friend Ray Laker lived in Robin Hood Way in the 70's, the river passing beneath a bridge at the end of the lane, where a deep pool formed. Probably covered in houses now, as much of my other favourite the Wycombe Wye now is. Is there any public access? We all can't have a river at the bottom of the garden!

I agree that the 1lb 4oz chub is very dace like. Concave anal fin and dorsal. It hasn't got that blockhead look either. I'll bow to you though, you were there.


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