Some of the tabloids have been whipping themselves into a predictable weather frenzy over the fact that it will soon be winter and probably cold. Duh.
I do hope it doesn’t turn out to be quite as unrelentingly, bone-chillingly freezing as last year though. Last winter was a real grueller. Even on a normally reliable winter chub stretch I went three or four sessions without a fish between late November and January. And it wasn’t until March that things perked up sufficiently and I managed to start catching a few. But maybe it was just me that found things tough?
Still, as I write, we’ve had some rain and with the temperatures still up, the rivers should be in good shape for the late autumn period.
I visited the Barton Court stretch of the Kennet this week with a friend. It was the first time I’d fished the Kennet and this day ticket stretch, that opens for coarse fishing in October, is a charming place to fish.
We hurriedly set up in the hut and the friendly guy working in the car park told us what had been coming out of late and recommended some swims to try.
I settled into a lovely little spot above a road bridge where two carriers met. And there I stayed all afternoon, contentedly working a float down towards a bush that held a shoal of perch. I had a dozen or more on sections of lobworm or maggots along with a small pike, a gargantuan gudge and a couple of the dreaded crays. It would be difficult to think of a more pleasant and fitting way to spend a mild autumn afternoon.
A week or so previously I found my local stretch of the Lea seemingly unaffected by the heavy rain that had fallen over the two days prior to my visit. The gin clear water and falling leaves were making things tricky, but by keeping everything pinned down and the rod tip as low as possible, it was still possible to fish effectively. It was very quiet though and I really thought I was heading for a blank. I was in the process of slowly packing everything up when the rod suddenly went round violently.
The fish fought strongly, sweeping upstream and hugging the bottom of the river. It was an exciting tussle, with the added edge of it being conducted in the now rather chilly darkness.
Despite the gloom, as I drew the fish towards the net I could see it was a good one. And so it proved. A new pb barbel at 9lbs 8ozs. Result!