On Thursday 24th June’20 I had the opportunity to fish at the Barton Court Estate.
I had anticipated fishing a stretch of the River Kennet, what I found was a much more interesting mosaic of Kennet carriers. Although not the same venue, it did immediately put me in mind of the Fishery map at the front of Neil Patterson’s book ‘Chalkstream Chronicles. I found myself eagerly awaiting similar challenges.
Nick Richards, the river keeper, has done a lot of work in restoration.
I liked his golf analogy to describe the fishing on each of the beats. He ranks them from par 3, fairly easy to the par 6 which is overgrown and challenging.
When you arrive, a fantastic landscape opens up in front of you.
There is a hut with outdoor seating and a portaloo.
Each of the beats have their own identity.
We arrive at the fishery at about 1pm and planned to fish the evening rise. Of course, we picked the hottest day of the year, so far, to visit. Which did have one advantage for me, namely it meant that I could spend the first couple of hours exploring without any urge to dive in and start fishing.
At about 4.30 pm we tackled up and braved the blistering heat. Spotting the browns, some quite large, wasn’t a problem. However, it soon became apparent that if they were to feed then it would be nymphs.
The rules state that it is dry fly only until July.
At about 6pm we sought the sanctuary of the shade and had something to eat and drink. Plus, the obligatory swapping of tall tales and outright lies, all in all a thoroughly convivial time.
At about 7pm we again ventured forth, unfortunately the evening rise didn’t happen for us, unless you count the billions of midges! I did manage to catch one brown and lose another at the net, both on an olive paradun, this was on a stretch that had spent most of the day in the shade. The heat and a hangover from, apparently, a prolific mayfly hatch defeated us.
What I did learn was that this is a fascinating fishery that I can’t wait to visit again, and explore more thoroughly.
If you fancy a visit then I can thoroughly recommend Andrew Coles of 3 Valleys Fly Fishing, as a guide.