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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


An Interesting Few Days

I well remember being told when I was in my 30's that being retired and on a pension wouldn't be nice, all I can say is I enjoy the experience, despite my health problems I can still go angling as often as I wish, I've even got a bus pass, so save on petrol for some trips. After my session on the opening weekend with tench on the Ashton Keynes AC water, it was back to Lancashire fishing for brown trout, rather than go downstream for chub barbel or roach. I love fishing the dry fly, all I need is a fly fishing vest holding a fly box with some bits and pieces plus a 9 foot 4 weight fly rod rigged with floating line and a 15 foot tapered leader with a tippet of 3lbs bs. The choice of fly in use will depend on what flies are hatching off. This can change often during the course of a days angling which in my case can last for 12 hours or more.
I will have plenty of time for coarse fishing when the trout season ends. I fished Tuesday and Wednesday catching some nice brown trout to around a pound and a half most fish were caught on size 14 green bodied Klinkhammer, though I did get a few on a size 20 black buzzer when fishing these tiny flies I tied in a 3 feet of 2lb fluorocarbon tippet. On Tuesday evening I had a couple of hours in the dark seeking sea trout, but no success.

On Friday we had torrential rained all day and late into the night, how thankfully I was having a garage where I could load up my car in the dry. Saturday morning at 5 o'clock I tried to get out of the village the first two routs were blocked with flood water, thankfully I was able to cross the third bridge in safety. Apart from a heavy shower near Preston I had a good drive south with no more rain. Arriving in Berkshire I stopped at Tadley Angling to catch up on the latest news where I enjoyed a mug of tea and spent some time talking with the customers, I learnt that some nice roach were being caught from the River Kennet on mini pellets. With the river looking better than itís done for a few years it seems the barbel were willing to feed. Some anglers catching 8 or more barbel in a session, the best fish I learnt of was a 12 plus barbel from Aldermaston by Tony Stanley. Hopefully we will continue to get some rainfall to keep the river topped up.

My Saturday evening session on the river didn't offer any surprises but it was nice being back, I fished with cheese paste wrapped around a chunk of crust I was rewarded with 2 small barbel no bigger than 4lbs. Changing to sausage meat I also had a bream about 5lbs, then was plagued by signal crayfish so packed up after about an hour then went off for dinner.

Next day bailiffed the Wasing waters, then the Newbury AC water, arriving at the car park I found a group of anglers preparing to fish a competition. No need to check permits, I then went off to the Aldermaston beat where I found 2 people spinning with no permit so moved them on. In the car park I made a fresh brew while chatting to a couple of members who were getting ready to fish. Moving up to the Warren beat I met Colin Culley, we then walked downstream to the bottom of Dalston beat pointing out to Colin various swims. Back at the Warren car park I handed over 12 balls of sausage meat to Colin who then left, while I walked the Brimpton beat. Finally I chose a swim halfway down the Warren beat. A few hours of fishing with cheese paste sausage meat and crust accounted for 2 small barbel non bigger than 4lbs and a nice fish estimated at 8lbs plus.

Monday morning after bailiffing the Wasing and Newbury waters I went off to Thatcham for lunch and a meeting with Jon Quinn the head bailiff of Newbury AC, around 3 o'clock in the afternoon I arrived back on the Warren beat of Wasing choosing a swim near the car park. I had 1 small barbel on paste.

Tuesday visited Tadley Angling for a mug of tea and catch up on the news, then went off baillifing starting on the Aldermaston beat, before covering the Newbury and Wasing waters then moving on to Woolhampton where 3 non members were asked to leave. Back on the Newbury AC beat with no anglers on the bank, I chose to fish the first bend where the water shelves off towards the far bank, and I had what I reckon was a good looking barbel or chub spot under a far bank swim. Throwing in a few bits of crust wrapped in cheese paste I went back to my car for a fresh brew and collect some gear. An hour later I'm fishing my chosen spot. For about 2 hours I didn't get a single pluck from fish or crays. Rebaiting for about the tenth time I cast and allowed the bait to roll slowly down the swim, I felt a small pluck then a more distinct pull. Striking I felt the powerful surge of a good fish. Ten minutes later I had a good fish in the net, laying it on my unhooking mat I extracted the size 4 barbless hook. I then moved the fish from mat to plastic bag and hoisted it on the scales. The needle gave a reading of 10-6-0, I moved upstream to some quiete water where the fish was released.

I then moved into another swim where I had introduced a few hook bait samples catching 2 barbel averaging 6lbs. An hour with no interest I moved off to another beat on the Kennet, Fishing a side stream with mussel I quickly caught 2 barbel about 4lbs each. Thinking it was an area of small fish I moved further upstream on the main river. Fishing a long smooth glide I fed in some sausage meat chunks then rested the swim for an hour before rolling bits of sausage meat. It was a good move I had 1 barbel which weighed 9-14-0 and 2 other fish which probably averaged 8lbs. As the darkness enveloped me I called it a day feeling very satisfied.
Wednesday morning after breakfast I met up with Judith and Bryan Broughton of Spombs Ltd where I recorded an interview with Brian before heading off home.

Martin James Fishing