On Thursday 30th July I visited our Sulhamstead fishery to carry out some extra swim clearance and preparation. All the work concentrated on the area between the cattle drink and the 2nd gate. It was very noticeable whilst I was at the fishery, how many different year classes of fish there were cruising around in very large shoals. This is fantastic news for our Sulhamstead fishery, because it seems to be bucking the trend of decline on the River Kennet.
On Wednesday 29th July I visited our Padworth Fishery to fit the memorial plaque to the bench in remembrance of our former General Secretary Malcolm Milford-Scott. It was a privilege for me to carry out this task, because I helped Malcolm install the bench last September. This is the bench he kindly made in remembrance of our Stew Pond Bailiff Alf Duffy.
Whilst I was there, I also re-cut the fly fishing areas, and created a path from the memorial bench to a new swim I had just cleared by the weeping willow.
I have spent two short sessions at the Speringbrook Sewer fishery recently, to start the swim preparations for the glorious 16th.
This fishery is always a little daunting when no work has been done until June, because of the rate the vegetation grows at this time of year. I have managed to create clear access to the fishery, so anglers can park their cars safely off the road. I have also prepared five swims as of the 13th June.
This swims on this fishery really are the archetypal Mr Crabtree type Tench and Crucian Carp swims, which have plenty of weed for the fish to hide and feed in. I would recommend using a rake to clear the weed in your swim prior to fishing, then hopefully you will be rewarded with some of the Tench and Crucian Carp we stocked into the fishery five years ago.
I will carry on clearing the rest of the swims over the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for my next post.
I have always thought that it is a good thing to save the best to last, which is why the main work party at Padworth is always the final one on the calendar. The reason for this being the help I have always been given by members of Thatcham Angling Association.
From the moment we arrive, to the moment we finish, there is always plenty of good humour and the odd bit of banter. But the important thing is, whatever I ask the volunteers to do, it is always done with a smile on their faces. This year was obviously going to be slightly different, because of the social distancing guidelines being in place, but it was still a most enjoyable and rewarding day.
We managed to finish the creation of the two designated bank fishing areas for the fly angler, as well as preparing all of the secluded swims for the coarse anglers. As you can see from the photos below, a lot of work was done in the river. This included pruning overhanging vegetation, which would otherwise have deemed certain swims unfishable. The very last swim on the fishery was given a complete makeover from in the river, and afterwards we all agreed that it would probably be one the best swims to fish in the future.
One highlight for all of us was, the licenced Crayfish Trapper we use on our fishery, arrived to empty his baskets. He said that last year he trapped and removed 19 – 20,000 from our fishery, which although is a staggering amount, means the crayfish numbers would have been greatly reduced.
This is the paragraph I will use to try and entice some more CALPAC members to volunteer on work parties in the future. The first incentive for you, is that you will receive a £10 discount on your membership. The second incentive being that either myself or my partner Liz always bake cakes for the volunteers to enjoy on the day along with the proverbial cup of tea or coffee. For this reason alone, some of the new Thatcham AA volunteers on Saturday, said they would definitely be coming along again next year!!
This was my final visit to our Yalding Two Fishery, so I could finish the preparations for the ‘Glorious 16th’. It looked very different from my last visit in March, when everything was looking very bare with the lack of vegetation. Both the River Medway and River Beult looked resplendent in the evening sun, and I am very tempted myself to pay the fishery a visit on the opening day of the season.
I only needed to carry out some light pruning work on a couple of trees, these had sustained limb damage during the recent bout of very strong winds. The photos below are views from a small selection of the swims which are available to fish. I hope like me, you’re feeling tempted to give the fishery a try during the summer. You will not be disappointed.
This was the first official work party of the year since the lockdown started. It was very easy to social distance when you’re working on a stretch of river that’s 1500m long, and there’s only three of you.
The work mainly comprised of fallen tree clearance, because of the very windy winter we experienced. The fishery is in beautiful condition this year, so is really worth a visit. There are swims that suit every type of fishing on both sections of the fishery, and the river level and flow are really good, because of the high groundwater levels.
Continuing with the solo work party theme, I was to be found this week preparing the Bulls Lock Fishery for the opening of the river season on the 16th June. Like any natural river fishery, the vegetation had grown significantly since the warmer weather had arrived. Not to be deterred, I highlighted the five available swims on this very small fishery, and set about clearing them enough to allow easy access, but still giving plenty of cover for the angler.
You will see from the photos below, that some of the photos are the view of the swim from the footpath. The other photos are the anglers view of the river. All of the swims will work well for trotting a stick float, or fishing on the bottom with a feeder or lead.
This fishery is really worth a visit if you have not tried it yet. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised by what it has to offer you.
With the announcement that angling was able to resume on Wednesday 13th May, I decided that I would pay a visit on Saturday 16th May to the CALPAC fishery at Padworth, to carry out some bank side work along the river.
It has been my intention to take advantage of the increase in the Brown Trout population in this fishery, as well as the ongoing Grayling re-stocking program the EA has been carrying out over the last five years, to introduce Fly Fishing to this fishery. I have been trialling Dry Fly and Nymph fishing at the fishery for the last two seasons, with positive results. Most of this fishing has involved wading into the river to cast a fly successfully. With this in mind, I decided to create a couple of areas along the bank, where a fly could be cast easily.
None of this work has impacted on the many secluded Barbel and Chub swims along the fishery. It is just helping to move towards creating a fishery that caters for anglers from different aspects of the sport.
The photos below highlight what a stunning fishery Padworth is, and how lucky CALPAC members are to have access to such a beautiful stretch of the River Kennet.
Whilst the rest of the angling community were either wetting a line, or dreaming about it now that angling is back on the agenda, I took the opportunity to visit the River Mole fishery at Cobham. Not to fish I must say at this point, but to carry out some fishery work in readiness for June 16th.
When CALPAC first took this fishery on in 2007, you could not even walk along the bank because of the nettles. Now as you will see from the photos below, you can walk the entire length easily, with many inviting swims to entice to stop along the way. This just goes to prove that hard work does pay off in the end, because it was one of my initial targets when I took on the post of Fisheries Officer.
I hope that many of you will spend some time on this fishery during season 2020/21, because there are many specimen Chub waiting to be caught.
I will be revisiting the fishery on Friday 29th May to carry out some more work, if anyone would like to join me. Social distancing will be in place on the day, to ensure everyone’s safety.
This is obviously a lonely time to be a Fisheries Officer carrying out essential fishery work, but I managed to get a great deal of work completed at the Yalding Two fishery on Saturday 28th March. Flood damage to the fishery was very minimal, which was very helpful. I managed to create better access to a number of swims, which can be seen in the following before and after photos.