My final outing of the river season was to the Upper Benyons stretch of the Kennet, in search of a last-gasp barbel. The river was running high, coloured and was flowing quite fast following recent heavy rains, though it had apparently dropped levels a bit since the day before.
My tactic was to rove the fishery, using large, flavoured meat baits, spending 10-15 minutes in each swim. Where practical, I was upstreaming the bait, working it down the swim.
The first swim I tried produced a decent bite which I failed to connect with. My suspicions at the time were that it was more likely to have been a chub bite than a barbel. More of that later.
The day had started cool and foggy, but by around 11 o’clock, the sun broke through the fog, and the rest of the day was fished in glorious sunshine.
I covered the entire length of the fishery and back, with only one other bite to show for it – a rapid drop-back on an upstreamed line – which again I missed. This time, I was more certain that a barbel was responsible, so was annoyed at missing the chance.
Eventually I returned to the first swim. The bait had been dropped into some steady flow close to the bank and had been there for a few minutes, when the rod tip was jerked round. This time I made contact, and the fish took off like a scalded cat. After a short but very lively battle, I slipped the net under a very large chub.
The scales settled on a weight of exactly 6lbs – a new PB chub, beating my previous best by 3 ounces. After resting the fish in the net, the trophy pics were taken and the fish returned. I used a new camera for the first time – an Olympus Tough TG-3, which is a waterproof camera designed to take a few knocks, so ideal for fishing purposes. It also can be wi-fi’d to a smartphone, which can then be used as a remote viewer to frame the shots and as a remote shutter release. Picture quality seems fine for trophy shots viewed on the PC.
I fished a few more swims after that, but with no luck, so, reluctantly, I decided to call an end to the session and the season.