With less than five weeks until the end of the fishing season, I am normally fishing frenetically in early February, but even on those odd days when the river has shrunk back within its banks the wind has howled and I have left the rod bag in the calm of the hallway.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I did manage a day on a Kennet sidestream, fishing as a grateful guest – and the sport was good once I’d accepted the lack of perch.

All morning I tried ever more perchy looking holes, and but for three lost pike and a greedy chub, my worms remained untouched.

Eventually, I followed the line of my fellow anglers Ed and Keith, and scaled down to catch whatever came along. It is many years since I have found any part of the Kennet quite so prolific. It was a bite every cast, from dace, chub, roach and bleak. Keith had some lovely dace approaching 12oz while Ed caught some cracking roach and chub.

Chris, as I had, persevered for perch and did at least hook one, though it slipped the hook at the last and then the bream moved in…

Away from the rivers, I have made the most of the lulls in the weather to enjoy the absurdity of a 21st Century winter.


I found a January adder without much searching, while other traditional portents of spring, the first celandine and the song of the mistle thrush, were evident well before Christmas.

The shapes simply don’t fit. The sun remains low, though it is now carrying warmth, but there are banks full of fresh bracken and verges dotted with the white flowers of cow parsley and hogweed.


There were painted ladies flying on New Year’s Day and flowers of red campion for them to land upon. Perhaps I should take a rod down to the sea – the mackerel might already be moving.

These are strange days indeed….


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