Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kingfishers at 12 oclock!

Well we’ve had some rain, days of steady stuff, some of which will have got down into the ground. Numerous intense showers have flooded the road and run quickly off into the river adding a flush of colour and a brief lift before quickly returning to its current default level. The weed cut has now ended and nothing came down from up river, we sent our cut-weed on down the river with a day to spare, and what normally takes half a day took a little longer due to the reduced flow.
Fishing has become quite tricky. Fish have been caught, including several around the three pound mark but it has taken a lot of effort. Some who have camped on a midwater fish for an hour, have toured their fly box and been rewarded for their travels/travails.
There are few free-risers bar a brace of errant Rainbows, although many undersize fish have been spotting the surface on the shallows. Today an angler had his hook straightened on the middle bends by a fish he thought was around six pounds. There is a fish on that stretch that has been hooked and lost for the last three seasons, but it is considerably bigger than six pounds. Whichever fish it was, it will be another dark sulky lump on the bed of the river for the coming months.

The Millstream that was formed by man hundreds of years ago to turn the wheel at the Mill, is now a pond. As the river drops, water is diverted from the millstream to maintain the flow on the main channel; in times of flood, the mill stream carries extra water away from the main channel to prevent excessive flooding. In it’s current benign state, it is almost unfishable, bar the bit in front of the house and the top twenty yards where it first forms. Currently it is home to a huge shoal of Minnows. Mum and Dad must have thought it a good place to spawn when the water was flowing, but now the water is gone, things look bleak for their babies, Kingfishers congregate and war has broken out between a pair at the top of this stretch and a rival pair just below our bottom boundary. Both pairs appear to be feeding young, and continually chase the other pair up and down the narrow channel. One day this week, while making my stately passage through the ford with the trailer on the back, they passed, shrieking at low level, between trailer and vehicle. A walk along the road with the wobbly dog is often accompanied by the whine of Kingfishers dog-fighting over a plate of minnows; a plate of minnows that may not have been as accessible had the river not been managed by man.

The student from Sparsholt has returned north. A useful and entertaining addition for three weeks he should go far in the Fishery Management field, although the canny Carp in the pond defeated him. He did hook a couple fishing on the surface but both fish were lost. The few that remain are around fifty years old, double figures and pretty cute. The Perch, Roach and Rudd proved to be more obliging along with Brian the brainless Bream who, at this week's weigh in, clocked four pound. A few Tench have put in a an appearance around the Lillies and I hope to have a go myself sometime soon.

I was invited to fish a stretch of the Kennet by a friend who provides one of the premier country-store retail experiences in the area. Beer and an excellent lunch were taken and an enjoyable afternoon followed on plenty of water in Berkshire. The keeper was worried about water levels (obviously) but the fishing was good, with fish taking Olives from mid afternoon on. I had several fish on a Klinkhammer before thunder and lightning (not the fly) hove into view and I exited stage left. I have yet to fish the Kennet and not catch a trout, even when fishing for Barbeland Chub. A pretty and productive river it needs to be looked after, this stretch is obviously in good hands.

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