Today, despite the weather forecast, Rupert and I met our friends Nat and Martin for a day on the banks of the simply beautiful River Kennet, just west of Reading in Berkshire. We were on the hunt for big barbel.
The Kennet rises from Swallowhead spring in Wiltshire right between Silbury Hill and West Kennett long barrow, the ancient ritual centre of the British neolithic world; so for me, as a megalithomanic, it has a magic and connectivity to something very, very old. Today after the summer deluge, it was fast flowing with lovely overgrown vegetation, tangled branches, thick willows, banks of wildflowers and nettles. The vegetation made casting a problem and the water was flowing almost too fast but to obsessively keen anglers like Martin and Rupe, this simply makes the challenge more exciting.
We’d been fishing for about an hour and suddenly the rod virtually jumped off the rod rest and the line screamed away! Wow! At that moment I understood the attraction of barbel fishing. A bit of fight followed and finally the boys landed a magnificent 7lb 14oz barbel.
Moth thinks all fish are ugly, but I think they’re beautiful and barbel are surely one of the most attractive. They have long muscular, shark-like bodies, delicate colouring, gorgeous pink pointy fins and splendid whiskers!
Sadly this was the only fish we landed, but just to have the pleasure of sitting by this fabulous river with wonderful friends and the knowledge that such handsome fish lurk in our waters – that we’d had the privilege of seeing one – was good enough for me.