Thursday 24 November 2011

Mission Accomplished! Grayling Caught at Barton Court Fishery

It's not a monster, but it still counts!
Some time ago I set myself the challenge of catching every major species of British coarse fish from UK waters and I've been doing pretty well, with only the grayling box left without a tick in it. In an attempt to catch the lady of the stream Dan suggested a trip to the River Kennet and a fishery called Barton Court, where fishing on the main river and it's several carrier streams is available on a £15 day ticket. On arrival we were greeted by Bob, the river keeper who gave us some pointers and told us that despite low water levels the fishing had been good in recent weeks. Quietly confident we set off to explore the venue. The main river was flowing very slowly and whilst looking good for pike fishing I didn't fancy it for the grayling, so we both chose to fish a roving approach on the maze of lovely little carrier streams. Light tackle is the order of the day on venues like these so very small Drennan Loafer floats were shotted right down and size 20 hooks were tied to 2lb breaking strain line. We started by trotting a single red maggot in deeper water beneath overhanging near bank reeds and had soon caught some decent dace before a couple of perch moved in and spooked the shoal. Moving on and I found what I thought would be a good swim, a fast paced shallow pool on the outside of a bend just below a large weir. First cast and the float slid away and after a short but spirited fight I netted what I thought was another dace, it wasn't until I reached to unhook the fish that I realised I had caught my first grayling and in doing so had successfully completed the task I had set myself all those months ago! Feeling very pleased with myself I sat down to have some lunch and watched Dan as he caught a couple of grayling and a brown trout of about 2lb, which proved brilliant sport on such delicate tackle. The afternoon was spent searching out more likely looking spots and both Dan and I enjoyed further success catching more dace, grayling, trout and perch as well as some quality roach, a few gudgeon and many minnows. Towards the end of the day I found the fish to be very finicky and the bites hard to hit so I swapped maggot for caster and buried the hook inside the bait, a little trick that worked a treat, catching me a few extra fish and picking out the bigger ones as well, worth remembering for our next visit to this lovely venue! Visit for more information on fishing at the Barton Court Fishery.

Home of my first grayling

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