river kennet [barton court fisheries]

tinca taker

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Hey folks, going to do the last day of the season down barton court stretch of the kennet. Has anyone got any tips on the best approach and swims?
Would like to catch me first grayling so any advise would come in handy.


Cheers, tinca
 

Stick_Float

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Tinca, I'm off there tomorrow, I'll report back how I got on.

Lovely but much changed fishery over the years and the once thriving roach populations have had a tough time of it in the past few years, although I'm sure there are a few lumps around if you can find them.

I fished it a few weeks back and had several grayling on trotted red maggot, I've had them all over the fishery from the fast shallow top sections to the bottom 'middle cut' section. One swim that I've found a banker for grayling is just above the green footbridge on the old river where a carrier flows in, trotting along the crease. Most people stay mobile and search out any likely looking areas and eventually you'll find some fish, often a greedy trout which are good fun on light tackle, but can disrupt your swim - one muscled in on a shoal of good dace I had found last time out and they didn't hang around.
 

tinca taker

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Cheers stick, fished it last year and couldn't find a big roach anywhere! the grayling were elusive too but took too much gear to stay mobile. This year going light and gonna walk the whole venue! Did have loads of trout on cheese paste intended for chub which were good sport on light gear.
it'll be nice to get a catch report before going cheers mate!:D
 

S-Kippy

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I heard that a lot of the big roach ended up in the lakes...only a rumour though.

Just below the bridge was always good to me....either bank but LH side looking down for preference.Right on the bottom limit [RH side] can fish well on its day too.

The trout are a nuisance but good sport on a difficult day.
 

Stick_Float

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Cheers stick, fished it last year and couldn't find a big roach anywhere! the grayling were elusive too but took too much gear to stay mobile. This year going light and gonna walk the whole venue! Did have loads of trout on cheese paste intended for chub which were good sport on light gear.
it'll be nice to get a catch report before going cheers mate!:D
If I'm honest Tinca, I'd leave the cheese paste at home next time, I've fished BC since 2000 and have only seen one chub caught - It's a mystery but the chub (and Barbel) don't appear to show this far up which is not necessarily a bad thing.

I generally use maggots trotting, sometimes bread and always take a tub of lobs for the perch. Tomorrow I'm going to give corn a go, to see if I can tempt a bigger grayling. I generally tackle up a float and quivertip set up when get there and wander round the place with a small rucksack on the back, BC really does lend itself to the mobile approach, and because of the gin clear, shallow water I try to be extra quiet and keep low as possible - although I do find the banks really slippery and due to my clumsy nature, have stacked it a few times trying to creep about!

I heard that a lot of the big roach ended up in the lakes...only a rumour though.

Just below the bridge was always good to me....either bank but LH side looking down for preference.Right on the bottom limit [RH side] can fish well on its day too.

The trout are a nuisance but good sport on a difficult day.
I heard that rumour too. I've fished the lakes many times though and have only really caught the hordes of stunted roach and rudd that are in there now with a couple knocking on a 1lb and haven't heard of anyone catching anything bigger. There are some nice perch in there now, and it could easily chuck up a real biggie.

It was more coloured than I have ever seen a few weeks back, so fish spotting for once wasn't possible but I didn't have a sniff of a roach, and my 1 trip last season only threw up a couple of small ones (encouraging all the same). I remember a few years back I often saw some huge roach when crouched on the green footbridge, and on the main bridge - but it takes a better angler than me to catch them.

Lovely venue though, and always a pleasure to fish alongside the pheasants, hares and if you're lucky some deer. One of those places where just being there is enough.
 

S-Kippy

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The rumour I heard was that the river was netted to remove the bream and that a lot if not most of the big roach went with them into the lakes. I can believe that because when the water was low & clear you could see the bream shoals and sometimes tucked away at the back were two or three huge roach.It might explain why the big roach seemed to vanish all of a sudden.

Lovely spot though...if a little crowded at times.I was never convinced that it could take as many angler as they let on.
 

Stick_Float

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If I'm honest Tinca, I'd leave the cheese paste at home next time, I've fished BC since 2000 and have only seen one chub caught - It's a mystery but the chub (and Barbel) don't appear to show this far up which is not necessarily a bad thing.
When I wrote that it was obvious that the story would proceed to write itself, yesterday at BC 5 chub were landed amongst the 10 of us that went, the biggest a clonker of 5.01, and a couple of 3lbers!! 10 years and I'd seen 1 chub then 1 day throws up 5, maybe they are beginning to establish themselves there now?

All in all it was a tough day and I had to work hard for bites but I managed to catch a fair few dace and grayling with only 1 rogue trout and I had a couple of small roach at dusk. I spent a majority of the day trotting single red maggot and found some grayling in the faster flowing top sections early on but my solitary trout of the day inevitably sent the grayling packing with a typically thrashing fight testing my 2lb hooklink and 20 hook. Still, it was a lovely trout, as all BC trout are. It is also noticeable how bulk shotting to get the bait down on the bottom quickly produces more grayling than 'shirt button style' here.

I then moved down to the bottom section and had some more grayling and a few dace, but the dace were a little finicky and could only take a few from each swim before they were off, although It was interesting that I could almost follow them downstream as they backed off when I caught a couple. Once more though, a trout intervened but this time my line broke.

Later on I decided to change to a maggot feeder on a section where a shoal of bream were spotted moving and 2 possible clonking roach but I only had a few trembles and in hindsight I don't think dropping a maggot feeder into shallow water was the best idea and should have switched to bread and and a light link leger. I soon moved back on the float and I hooked into something massive which put an uncomfortable bend into my fairly stout float rod until it straightened out my hook - I can only guess it was one of BCs huge trout and it had almost reached Reading before I lost contact. After that I had the only roach caught all day, just 2 small ones at dusk and whilst it's encouraging that there are some small roach coming through, it's sad that they were the only roach caught in a fishery that was once famed for it's roach - they've certainly had a tough time of it.

Overall it was a lovely day, and between the 10 of us we had dace, grayling, trout, roach, perch, chub and bream. Enjoy your visit Tinca, and let us know how you got on and feel free to ask any questions.
 

S-Kippy

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Thats interesting...I never had or even saw a chub caught at BC but I have seen the odd sea trout.As well as the big roach there were some huge dace at BC though I'm going back 7-8 years now

Real shame about the roach.Even the smaller ones seem thin on the ground at BC now. Adds weight to the netting story IMO.
 

Stick_Float

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Thats interesting...I never had or even saw a chub caught at BC but I have seen the odd sea trout.As well as the big roach there were some huge dace at BC though I'm going back 7-8 years now

Real shame about the roach.Even the smaller ones seem thin on the ground at BC now. Adds weight to the netting story IMO.
The chub really surprised me, I'd told the guys I was with that there were no chub there and then they start catching them! Very strange after only seeing one in 10 years, but interesting to see how rivers change and adapt, maybe they will establish themselves there now. It always struck me weird they weren't there, especially as the stretch not far downstream where they filmed 'passion' held chub.

There seems to be a fair head of dace there, I had them to about 5 ounces yesterday but I haven't seen the shoal of monsters for a while now. I remember seeing them a few years back, (always accompanied by a golden orfe!) and I have no doubt that they were pushing the record and soon after Ian Welch was in all the papers with dace to 1.04 from there. I didn't even bother fishing for them, as I was young and would have stood no chance with them but I enjoyed following them up and down the carrier they always seemed to be in.

The roach have certainly pulled a huge disappearing act, and whilst I imagine there are a couple of monsters left there is certainly a lack of roach from all year classes present - not so long ago I could catch roach up to 6-8 ounces all day in good conditions. I'm not so sure of the netting rumour, and I think the combination of pressure and predation has done the most damage and don't really want to start making accusations tbh.
 

S-Kippy

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Know what you mean but I've heard the story from so many [well informed] sources now that I think there must be an element of truth in it. I cant think what else would explain the almost complete absence of all year classes of roach. I too knew where I could bag up all day long on quality roach at BC...wasn't where the big uns came from generally... but in the right conditions there were stretches that were stuffed with roach. Last few times we fished there we were lucky to see a roach at all. I can't believe thats all down to predation or natural causes.

I never got one of the big dace but I did see one caught of [I think] 1-2 and I was also there one absolutely filthy day when a far better [and braver] angler than me had a dozen big roach. What a sight that was.Kept me going back for a couple more years but I never had the great good fortune to find them...by God I tried though !

I was also a bit disturbed to see a number of roach/bream hybrids turning up. The best roach I ever managed from BC was 1-12 then one day I finally had my 2 pounder...2lb 6oz actually but no matter how much I tried to convince myself it was a true roach I knew it wasn't.

That was the beginning of the end for me and I dont fish BC now because my hearts just not in the place anymore.
 

Stick_Float

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I've heard the story from quite a few people too, I guess I don't want to believe the story more than anything and can't work out for one minute why they would think of moving the fish that pretty much earned BC it's reputation.

It's a tough place for roach to survive, from signal crays mopping up the eggs, to a massive head of pike, perch and predatory trout to contend with (I've never seen a cormorant down there thank god). The thing is, the pike are happy to feast on trout all day long so they won't thin out when the silver fish stocks are down so I'd imagine the few roach that do make it through are just fodder for the pike and trout. The perch population appears to have dwindled too, which may be because of the lack of silver fish about now. It would also be interesting to see the roach stocks of the surrounding fisheries, but good luck getting blood out of that stone!

1.02 dace, would love to see one that size on the bank, my best went 10oz on one of the best days fishing I have ever had when every fish in the beat seemed determined to get caught. I had roach, dace, my best grayling at 1.04 and trout all day long (the day of the 2003 rugby world cup final), even the trout couldn't wreck the swim and it was a bite a chuck. Every other person in the country was watching the rugby but I had a great time.

Best roach I had from BC went 1.07 and whilst not my biggest remains my favourite ever fish, as a youngster, it looked enormous. I saw 1 2lber caught, by my dad at 2.06 - awesome fish, that was back in the day when he was catching 1lb+ fish with ease and one day had 20 over 1lb but they seemed to stubbornly stay at 1.14. Good days, even if I was young and inexperienced and had to make do with catching smaller roach.

I'll stick with the place, and hope the roach population re-establishes itself but despite this I enjoy the dace and grayling fishing and it's a nice place to be, even if it to escape the banks of the Colne where all my bait gets eaten by marauding dogs!
 

tinca taker

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Thanks for your report stick, i'm sitting here sorting my gear out and cant wait for the 14th now! Every year the last day of the season seems to produce something different for me. Last year i spent it on the tidal thames and had a pb bream at a little over 9lbs followed by the most gorgeous ghost carp at 16.4 but the weight meant nothing, it was stunning! My fingers are crossed I'll get me a grayling and I would love to see one of those monster roach make an appearance to one of us fishing on the day, just to see it is good enough for me!!!
If you have any hot tips you can pm me pegs,bait, size of stick float it's all welcome:D

Thanks again stick.
 

S-Kippy

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I've heard the story from quite a few people too, I guess I don't want to believe the story more than anything and can't work out for one minute why they would think of moving the fish that pretty much earned BC it's reputation.
My understanding was that it was the bream they wanted out as people were complaining about them.Trouble is nets are indiscriminate and a lot of the really big roach hung around with the bream.Add a few herberts doing the netting for cash who couldn't tell a roach from a haddock and you have a possible explanation as to where all the roach went. Whether its true or not I dont know....but I think there is some truth in it.

Shame...I really loved the place but IMO the whole Kennet is in decline not just BC.I used to enjoy some fabulous roach fishing on that river but not any more.
 

tinca taker

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they're here!

Firstly i'd like to appoligise for the delay on the report but it's been a hectic week and i have not had time to wipe my a***!

7 o'clock and i arrived at a cold breezy barton court. As we pulled up a little corsa parked along side, which we soon found belonged to dr who! We were amazed to see four grown men squeeze out of the car followed by rods and then the tackle, this was most definately the tardis!!! We then proceeded to the lodge where we started the day the best way i know how, yep i never get tired of the smell from smoked bacon sizzling in a frying pan!!

To the fishing, trotting the stick started off very difficult as an up stream wind was making presentation terrible. Bigger avon float on and the trotting was now ok. After a fruitless hour and cold hands i decided a change was needed. I dont adam and eve it! the spare quiver tips are still propped against the door at home. Luckily the 1oz tip attached to the rod was perfect for the job! Out goes the maggot feeder armed with two red on the hook. Just as the rod had settled on the rest the tip trembled followed by a big tug, i struck into what i thought was a small trout going ape on the other end. I soon found this hard fighting little fish was to be my first grayling!!! Yippee! all 10oz of gorgeous silver fish. The next three casts all resulted in grayling of simular size, what a geat start! After catching the smallest brownie on the venue it all went quiet and decided to go walkabout.
A move to the top of the venue resulted in me witnessing a couple of beautiful perch being caught. Around a 1lb 1/2 the first followed by a 2lber in there prestine winter colours.I spent a while with lobs trying for one without success.
After a few trout the best being about 2lb i decided to get comfortable and settled down in the roach hot spot for dusk. First cast a fat little minnow, the hook as big as his head! knowing the greedy perch are about i cast him into deeper water. Within two minutes the rod bent into a fish, could it be a big perch could it heck!! The tiniest pike i've ever seen! perfect miniture eating machine.
Back to the roach, baiting up with hemp, castor and liquidized bread with castor on the hook. The tip kept bouncing without me being able to hit a single bite. A change back to double red maggot resulted in a few cracking dace.
Then it happened, no it was'nt a three lber or a two but it was one of the prettiest roach i'd seen :D she went 1lb 4ozs and i was happy!

beutiful venue, lovely day, great company and even better bacon sarnies!!



Cheers to stick for the advise it was spot on! and to everyone else. :)
 

Stick_Float

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Nothing like a good bacon sarnie on the riverbank, I went through a few rashers last time out there!

Well done on the grayling, and even more well done for the roach. Not a monster, but they've had a tough time of it down there the last few years and I've only had a couple of tiddlers in my last 3/4 outings - so a fish over a pound is a good catch, and a river roach is the best of all fish. Was that from the bridge pool if you don't mind me asking? I haven't had a decent roach from there for a good while now, but that's an encouraging catch.

Glad to hear you had a good and productive last day of the season, I spent the last day down there last season and it's a great place to call time on the river season - although I can't moan with a 11lb barbel I had on the Colne this year!
 

tinca taker

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It was from bridge pool at dusk, left side was producing the dace and thr roach came from the right side. Good infomation stick, bang on!

Nice bertie as well! when they get big they have got to be one of the best fights you'll have down the river! well done that man!!!
 

red creel

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I was at Barton Court a few days ago and speaking to a couple of guys in the car park at dusk it seems they had encountered a few roach during the day.No roach for me but some very nice dace more than made up for that.

I have fished at B.C. for donkey,s years long before it became widely known.In the early years the roach fishing was superb with pound to pound and a half fish being commonplace,although i have heard the netting stories as well i believe that is not the whole cause.The entire river is not the roach fishery it once was,one famous beat on the lower river was once as good if not better than B.C. but now its barbel and chub and not much else.

I know of two places where i could still confidently catch pound plus roach with a good chance of a two but we talking two or three swims within a whole fishery, not very encouraging i know but where big roach are concerned i am prepared to suffer for the cause!
 

Ray Daywalker Clarke

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I have fished Bc since 1990, and it isnt the water it was, some very good Pike, but sadly the days of good bags of Roach have long gone.

I do know the place was netted, Bob the owner told me himself that he had removed Bream and put them in the lake. I also know there are some big Roach in the lake, couple of carp anglers have been catching them, along with the Bream.

There has been some great Dace caught at BC over the years, but like everywhere they seem to be in decline also.

Last year was the first year i hadnt fished BC since 1990, and that was because IMO the place is on its last legs, for big Roach anyway. I have no doubt that there are still the odd couple around, but finding them isnt going to be easy, but then is it ever.

The last time i was there i hooked into a common carp, didnt get to land it.

Had a few Grayling but all very small, my PB came from there at 2lb 10ozs, but that was back in 1992.

I used to love going there for the day, not just for the fishing, but the wildlife also, just keep our fingers crossed that the Kennet as a whole can get back to its better days, or at least somewhere near it.

I used to fish at hampstead marshall just up the road, that was like BC in the early days, and is like it today, very few fish, and those that are there all seem to be on the small side.

Great if you want Crays..................:mad:
 

S-Kippy

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Sad when a water like that goes into decline. I was firmly of the belief that this was normal & cyclical and confidently used to wait for rivers to recover but increasingly they dont seem to. The balance has been upset...whether that's crays,barbel,otters,cormorants or what I dont know but I have no confidence now that these rivers will ever recover to the status they once had.

I'll not fish BC again...not even for old times sake. Its had it.
 
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