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Session 3 - OK but Should Have Been Better (28th June)
Another Kennet session today, fishing afternoon into evening. Fishing a standard ledger rig with a boily bait, it took about an hour for the first bite to occur. Unfortunately I only had it on for a few seconds before the main line parted, which was very annoying. The line felt a bit frayed when I examined it, although how that could have happened I don't know, as there are no snags that I am aware of in the swim.
Having re-tackled, it wasn't long before the tip wrapped round and this time I safely landed a nice barbel of 6.12. An hour later the tip flew round again, actually pulling the rod out of the rest. Barbel no 2, a 5-pounder, was netted after a spirited scrap. A further hour was to pass before another violent wrench on the rod meant I was leaning into another barbel. This was on for about a minute, when the hook-length suddenly parted. Now it's bad enough losing one barbel, but two in the same session is very annoying.
The chub moved into the swim next and I had three over the next hour. Two of the fish shed milt as I was unhooking them, so it looks like they haven't yet spawned this year.
Just as the light was fading and the first bats started flying around, I had my final fish of the day. It was a barbel, which like the first fish weighed in at 6.12.
Talking of bats - there were plenty around once it got dark and I regularly had them flying within a couple of feet of me. I think they're amazing creatures, with their ability to fly at speed, relying on their sonar to avoid objects and find their food.
First Two Sessions - Slow Start (19th & 20th June)
I took a couple of day off work in the first week of the new season, hoping to get my season off to a decent start. I was also looking forward to trying out some new gear, baits and methods. Methods being the operative phrase here, as I wanted to try fishing the method feeder, which I hadn't really done before.
First session was on the Kennet. Less than two minutes into the first cast on the method, I had a good bite. Striking into it, I straight away realised it wasn't a barbel, but it turned out to be a decent chub of 4.15. This was an encouraging sign, but in fact it was something of a false dawn, as the rest of the day produced a couple more modest chub and a roach. The roach only weighted about 6 ounces and must have had eyes bigger than its belly, because it could never have got my boily bait into its mouth. How it managed to get itself hooked I'll never know.
Second session was to a different stretch of the Kennet. I taken out a Reading permit this year for the first time for several seasons, and decided to give Upper Benyons a go in search of my first barbel of the season. Surprisingly the car park was empty when I arrived, giving me the choice of swims. I decided to start in one that had given me good sport in the past and again gave the method feeder a go. The swim didn't live up to the memories though as there was not a sniff of a bite throughout the morning. After a spot of lunch I moved about 100 yards downstream and changed tactics to a straight ledger, still with a boily bait, and pva bags to introduce loose feed. This produced the only bite of the day, a fighting fit barbel of 7.13.