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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


Itís Been Tough on the Kennet

Last Sunday I left my Lancashire home at 4-45 am and travelled 244 miles to the Wasing Fishery in Berkshire, I wasn't going to be put off by the low water temperature and icy cold wind. After a big bowl of porridge and a mug of tea at the waters edge I moved off downstream on the Warren beat in search of perch with float tackle and lobworms as bait. First chuck a perch of 2-10-0 my best of the season. In all had 5 perch from 1-15-0 all on float fished worm. I then had a pike of about 5lbs again worm was the bait. After a biteless hour I moved off downstream trying several swims catching a few chub with the best at 5-12-0 all on legered crust. About 4-30pm I had a surprise barbel of about 5lbs. I fished on until about 7pm when the cold got the better of me and I went off to my B&B

Monday was just as cold with an even stronger icy cold wind, I had 4 bites hooked and lost the first fish in a snag after nearly filling my chest high waders. I had about an inch to spare. Early afternoon I had lost another fish when the hook pulled free. I was annoyed as bites were at a premium. I then walked the length of the beat fishing all the likely looking spots. An hour before dark I had a good pull connecting with a nice chub of 5-4-0. Then as the light faded I had another chub about 4lbs. A couple of hours in the dark without any bites it was time top go off to my warm B&B

The next day Tuesday I went off to the River Frome with Paul Smythe to meet up and interview Simon Pomeroy the inventor of the Stonze system for my At The Waters Edge programme on BBC Radio Lancashire.As I interviewed Simon Paul went off to the river to fish for the grayling catching some nice fish on trotted gentles. I had a short session in the afternoon, in fact it lasted some fifteen minutes of fishing in the heavy rain then I called it a day.

Wednesday itís back on the river Kennet, the conditions were really grim water temperature had dropped 3 degrees F the river had snow broth and salt from the run off of the A4 It looked horrid. All morning and most of the afternoon I wandered up and down river with no bites. Non of the other members had any bites. About 2pm I thought I would try to catch a perch. within fifteen minutes the float disappeared striking I connected with a good fish for about ten seconds I though I had achieved my ambition of a 4lb perch then realised was a good chub. After a good tussle I was able to net a big chub. It weighed 6-2-0 That's 2 X 6lb plus chub from the Kennet in my last two visits in the past fortnight.I quickly found another member who was more than willing to take some pictures. Meanwhile my mate John Bodsworth fishing a bit of crust had a barbel of 6-12-0 a most welcome fish. We had an hour in the dark then headed off to Johnís van. It was so cold that night we slept in our cloths.

Thursday It was tough on the river though John did catch a personal best chub of 4-15-0 on a lobworm. That night it was even colder and again we slept in our cloths, we also added a blanket on top of our sleeping bags. Next Sunday 6th March its back on the River Kennet with Mike Osborne of Carlisle, this time its not B&B we have hired a caravan with a heater. We will return home on the 15th March Hopefully the weather will improve but I donít hold out a lot of hope.

Martin James Fishing