Saturday saw the gathering of the Gobio Society; the venue was The Old Mill, Aldermaston on the marvellous river Kennet. It was Steve’s 50th birthday celebrations; he wanted very dearly to catch a gudgeon to mark the occasion.
I arrived early, just on 8:30 and soon after the fishery opened. Nigel was there already set up in a little weir pool he’d had some success years previous. There was room for me to sneak a rod in so after a chinwag I set up a perch rod and began fishing a worm in a deep hole just before a fallen tree.
No perch were forthcoming so it was time for me to have a wander. I ambled downstream a way, trying my luck in various likely looking dips and glides, but nothing wanted to snatch my trotted worm. I returned to base camp, set up the gudgeon rod and returned to see if I could tempt anything at all.
I began just left of two thick trees, a corner where the water swung round under said trees and opened out into a fairly substantial pool with a relatively uniform depth of around 18 inches. I started to catch quite quickly, mostly small roach and perch, but then a small gudgeon was caught at the end of the run where the water shallows up, the target species, I was thrilled.
As with all small stream fishing it didn’t take too long for the bites to dry up. I wandered on and fished the point, an outcrop where by the side stream was joined by another. It was a lovely glide and threw up many small dace, but after half an hour of catching similar 6 inch dace one after the other it was time to get on the move again.
On the way back to Nigel I noticed a deep slack between those two trees I’d been fishing near before. I plumbed the depth and sent two red maggots down to case the place. No sooner had the float settled, it was under and sliding off to the right. I struck and to my utter amazement up came a wriggly gudgeon. I repeated the process and caught another, much bigger specimen. I’d found their lair.
Each one was a glittery, pearlescent wonder, some touching 2oz too. I was in my element. I shared the location with Nigel who joined me and caught one himself. Some minnows also joined the party, along with the obligatory perch, some of which were more than capable of feasting upon some of the gudgeon we were catching. It was delightful fishing.
Around lunchtime and back at base Nigel had a roaring take on luncheon meat and hooked what he swore was a barbell, but unfortunately it was gone as quickly as it came It did wonders for the enthusiasm levels though, and soon we were flinging meat baits out into the weir pool in the hope that old Boris was still lurking.
As it happened I fell asleep for a while, a much needed lunchtime nap to recharge the batteries. I woke to find Nigel back off on his travels in search of something to angle for. I trotted the weir pool and caught some more perch and dace. I also tried the canal type section behind us, and caught more small roach and perch and minnows.
Sometime after 3pm the man of the moment, Steve, and his band of merry men arrived from their lunchtime gathering in the local brew house. After the meetings and greetings we all angled together and caught some more fish, Nigel even caught what at first looked like a huge gudgeon, but which turned out to be a baby barbel.
I took Steve over to my gudgeon hole, I knew he wanted to catch one on his birthday, and it didn’t take him long to catch that fish. He went on to catch 5 in the short space of time I had left. At 5pm I had to depart so bid a fond farewell to everyone as I set off towards the car. Next stop FLE Top Lake and a rendezvous with some big carp.