The River Bourne

I decided to try some barbel fishing on the small Thames tributary River Bourne. On my Chertsey ticket a small stretch of the river is included so it would be worth seeing what the river held. I had heard of barbel to 10lb being caught and some rather large roach that have escaped from the many surrounding gravel pits during floods but in reality the majority of fish in the river are small.
Equipped with some maggots, spicy luncheon meat and some sweetcorn I headed down the M25 to Chertsey. It was an extremely hot day and when I arrived I noticed how small the river really was in summer. The water was no more than 2ft at is deepest and some places I could literately step over to the other side of the bank. With the help of my Polaroid’s I could clearly see the bottom of the river.
After an hour or so of looking I finally found a chub of around 2-3lb moving in and out of the current feeding. I flicked a small cube of luncheon meat in front of the fish and drifted it down the current. As soon as the bait touched the water the chub was off and darted downstream. (Great start). I moved to the other side of the bridge where a large tree was blocking the river and a small deeper pool had formed (pictured left). As I peered down I caught sight of a large fish 6-8lb. I was sure that it was a barbel not just because of the size but the way it was holding in the fast current. I lowered some sweetcorn down and it hovered over it before turning away and leaving the swim. Following this I moved down stream further and got excited when I saw what I thought were three big barbel. I lowered my sweetcorn down once again and one fished moved over it sucked it in and I struck. I was In!!! As soon as the fish was hooked I knew something was wrong as there was no fight or powerful run in which barbel are notorious for. It floated to the top and I realised that it was a bream of around 7lb gutted. I netted i and put it straight back amazed that bream that size would be in fast flowing shallow water. I came to the conclusion they were escapees from the surrounding gravel pits.
I decided to explore the other side of the bridge and try and find some better fish. After being stung by stinging nettles thousands of times I eventually found a clearing where I could fish from. It was ridiculously tight but I could see fish. There were four bream and one good chub. I flicked out a piece of meat in front of the chub and in the crystal clear water I saw him pick it up and I struck. A fight commenced and he was safely in the net and at around 2 and half pounds I was relatively happy. Chub pictured right.
The rest of the day was unsuccessful with just a small perch to show for my efforts. I can see how the river can be good for fishing but believe I was fishing it in the wrong conditions. The barbel may venture down that far from the Thames but on rare occasions. I will go back to the River Bourne as It runs adjacent to my Chertsey Lake but will fish it in the winter when the water level rises. Not the best days fishing but it was nice to explore a new river.
Tight lines.

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