Thursday, 26 April 2012

Walking the Thames - Northmoor

After several days of heavy rain, it is just about bright enough today to tempt me out for a walk along the Thames.  Today's chosen route is from Bablock Hythe back to Northmoor Weir following the Thames Path.  Years ago I used to sometimes fish this stretch, when I think it was on the Newlands ticket (or some other club, not sure).  So a slight surprise when I started walking was the occurance of signs for Reading and District Angling Association.  When I was on their website somewhile back, I don't remember seeing this stretch mentioned.  But it would be very interesting if it was.

The other side of the river is owned by David Gow, who may be the "Farmer Gow" of Appleton, though that actually may be his sister.  We used to take Daughter to their farm to see the spring lambing when she was about 5.  Today the lambs are out in numbers in the fields and are charging round like lunatics as lambs do.  This far bank is quite overgrown with unpollarded willows along much of the stretch.  But this is a good thing for fishing, providing lots of cover.  It could be fished reasonably well from the Northmoor side though.

Northmoor weir is one of those old fashioned weirs based on lowering wooden slats down alongside groved wooden posts.  Some time ago, there was a plan to replace it with a modern automatic weir, but that plan seems to be on hold at the moment.  I had a brief chat with the lockkeeper at the weir and he said that in his 8 years of work there, he had only sold a handful of tickets to fish the right bank, but that such tickets were still in operation though the stretch being shared with another club. 

It is ages since I last fished a weirpool and I have Northmoor weir as a possible candidate for next season.  Today's weir configuration resulted in two main flows, left and right of centre, which produce a calm area between the two flows.  Were I fishing today, I would be ledgering in this calm area, on the edge of the fast water.  I have been watching more of the fishing videos set on the river Swale and noting the bolt rig methods he uses.  There was also an article some years ago on fishing at Burghfield weir on the Kennet which suggested something similar - so-called "codding" set ups with semi-bolt rigs, baitrunner reels, etc.  Northmoor weir might be a good spot to adopt such a tactic.

It rained quite hard on the walk back to Bablock Hythe but the wind was behind me and it wasn't unpleasant.  The river is up about a foot on recent levels and has quite a rich chocolate colour - the first time I've seen that for some while.

I called in at Barnes Lake on the way home.  This is a small trout fishery just down the road from where we live.  No one was fishing there today and the thought has occured that this could be the venue for a fishing video test.  So I have re-stocked with trout flies this afternoon - my usual early season order of daiwl bach nymphs, plus red, black and orange hoppers.  I rarely use any other type of flies.  Maybe I could go Monday or Tuesday next week?

And back home I confirmed that Reading DAA have taken a new lease on Northmoor after a year without it on the ticket.  I have been looking at some of their other waters - famous stretches like Upper and Lower Benyons on the Kennet - and I might well join them this year.  I suspect that the stretches I've just mentioned are very popular, but my fishing niche remains that I mainly fish during the week, so maybe they wouldn't be so busy then?

No comments: