The River Kennet (Barton Court) 16 Oct 2016

I last visited this venue with Adam Stafford and Zek Klietz back in the middle of March in the hope of intentionally catching a pike on the fly. Zek had organised to have the fishery to ourselves this time so a few guys were invited along. Zek had very kindly offered to do breakfast and lunch, and most welcome it was. I had not seen many of the lads for a while as Loch Style fishing takes up most of my time in the summer months. The drive to the venue was only an hour and on a Sunday morning it was a doddle. As I neared the venue the skies opened up and a deluge of rain was unceremoniously dumped. The morning light had yet to push the night away and it was still pitch black as we clambered to get into the hut for shelter from the rain. While we were tucking into a venison burger and a bit of gunfire for breakfast It was grand to catch up with the lads.

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Only Adam Sinclair and I opted to chase down the Grayling and neither the two of us was gagging to step out into the rain which was still torrential. Zek was landing a pike from the pool by the hut as we walked up to the car to tackle up, a promising start to the day. Despite the current situation there has been very little rain and the river was on its bones. Adam had set up a double nymph rig and I went with the Duo. As we wandered up one of the carriers I was pleased with my choice although there were the odd deeper pools mostly the depth was around a foot and a half. The rain was so heavy it was like looking at the top of a kettle.

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I left Adam at a weir pool which looked very promising and carried on down to the bottom limit of the beat. It took a while to get into the right position I could barely see my dry fly in the down pour and was casting pretty short. It still seemed like it was not yet daytime as it was so dark. Only two or three casts in and I noticed my fly line move and lifted. It became quickly evident as the fish went nuts round the small pool the it was an OOS Brownie, well their not to know are they. I took a quick picture and slipped it back. It had trashed my rig and in the low light It took me some time to re-rig.  Once I was back up again I made two steps upstream and made a short cast only maybe fifteen feet in front of me. The parachute Adams I was using was struggling to stay afloat in the monsoon like conditions. As it dipped away I half expected to lift into thin air but to my surprise it was a Grayling. Not a monster but a start, I moved upstream a little for another small fish before deciding to go find Adam.

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Dipping in here and there at likely spots I failed to increase my tally, only able to spook the odd fish. I eventually found myself at the weir where I had left Adam, he was nowhere to be seen so I tried my hand for nothing. I had switched to a full blown indicator as the Adams was just not up to the job in deluge of rain. As I wandered up back towards the hut I bumped into Sean who had just bust up his Pike rig as well as the end of the floating line it was attached to. We noted that there was some blue sky on the horizon and that it looked inbound. A long walk around much of the fishery dipping in here and there produced nothing for me. The weather had cleared though and the Sun began to put in a shift. I ditched the bung and decided to go back to my original Duo which had done me well at the start of the day. I also thought it prudent to return to the area where I had gotten the most sport. An inspired decision as it turned out as a few more Grayling and another couple of daft Brownies came out in short order. My belly was telling me it was time for lunch though and I made the short hike back to the lodge.


Not unusually I was the first to arrive I stripped of most of my outer layers hoping to dry them out in the sunshine. Sean was next to arrive with a lighter for the gas stove to get a brew on. Sean had kindly brought a little starter in the form of some cheese and cold meat. I had made myself a brew but mistakenly put salt in the cup rather than sugar. After spitting out the first mouthful things went from bad to worse, I had left my bowl and cutlery back on top of the fridge at home bugger, bugger and bugger! Luckily Zek had a spare plate a fork and a spoon so all was well with the world. The Venison Stew was very tasty and the warm meal was most welcome at half time. The fishing had proved quite difficult across the board. Poor Adam Sinclair was also man down with a bout of D&V so had to retire early.

The other Adan, Sean and I decided to bimble up the carrier I had fished in the morning looking for rising fish in the afternoon sunshine. We did come across some very small fish rising to take what I assume were tiny midge. Sean and I looked on as Adam gave us a master class in dry fly fishing. After a short while I could see the odd fish moving below and decided to have a chuck at them. No joy initially put perseverance was the name of the game and it did not take long to tempt a few ladies out of their lies. We all wandered back up towards the hut and Adam was plonking a couple of nymphs into the little pool and getting a bit of interest. He was just about to call it a day when he had an unexpected guest. A hardy little Rainbow put in an appearance and gave Adam quite a fight as well as giving the waiting Sean with the net a good soaking. It was a nice way to finish off the day and we all decided to pack up I was only an hour from home but Adam and Sean had a two-hour trip to look forward to. Zek and Rob were still off hunting the Pike.

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It occurred to me that I have been somewhat spoilt with fishing the river Avon this year. The head of fish in that river is unrivalled. The Kennet was a much tougher prospect and I had to work really hard for the meagre few fish caught. Still a great leveller and just great to be out as well as the opportunity to catch up with some fine gentlemen most of who will be at Broadlands next week for the inaugural Grayling Classic. Thanks to Adam Stafford for the use of one of his photos, nice job pal.