Life on a Chalk Stream Header

It is always exciting to have new beats as you never quite know how they will turn out; over the years I have had unexpected hits and head scratching duds. Rivers can sometimes be as confounding as the fish that swim in them.

At the Craven Fishery on the River Kennet it is good to be working with Josh Purton who spent many summers weed cutting with us and is now installed as the river keeper. Josh is one of a new breed of keepers coming through who are in their 20’s, with fishery management degrees from Sparsholt College. Along with our own Simon Fields this cohort, including Michael Taplin at Wherwell Priory and Rob Rees at East Lodge, seem to have a good way of blending progressive thinking with traditional practices. You will see plenty of this at Craven.

Craven Fishery on the River Kennet

Craven Fishery

Many of you will be familiar with Kanara on the River Itchen, which is probably one of the longest established day ticket chalkstream fisheries, dating way back to the 1960’s when it was under the care of ‘Scrappy’ Hay of the Rod Box in Winchester.

Kanara on the River Itchen


If you like wading this is definitely one to consider. There are one or two sections that are fishable from the bank – river keeper Keith Purse, who also runs John O’Gaunt lakes, has done a great job clearing back the trees over the past two winters, but you really do need to get your feet wet.

The bottom half is deep; think in terms of up to your waist with a couple of pools you will have to crab around. At the mid-point there is a huge hatch pool where you can really let rip and then upper half is shallower, more knee depth. In terms of fish this is both stocked and wild, plus you will regularly see salmon and sea trout.

With the addition of these two this brings our roster for this season to 35 fisheries on sixteen rivers across seven counties. I think I am going to have a fair bit of walking to do in preparation to the start of the new season!





On Christmas Eve we logged our 10,000th on-line booking. I must admit this landmark rather crept up on me over the busy run up to the holidays as I had meant to offer some reward to whoever made the click. However, all I can now say is thank you to Julian Woolgar for notching up this small landmark in Fishing Breaks history.

The diaries are now live for the 2018 season, so to search for dates and book on-line just click away. That said I know that plenty of you, for a whole multiplicity of good reasons, prefer email or phone and that is just fine with us.


We will be back in the office as of Tuesday (2/January) and I will reply to any emails prior to that.



All the diaries, bar one or two, are live including much sought after Mayfly dates.


We open April 1st for private tuition, Foundation Courses and the Half Day Tasters


I have set aside dates for both Father & Son and Family Days over the Easter holidays and half terms.


Back for a third year over the summer holidays. Five days of fishing for 8-15 year olds. July 16-20.


This is now a highlight in the calendar; two days on the river with a night under canvas. In broad terms June 11-25, July 16-26 and August 20-30 to march with the River Test weed cuts. July 1- August 31 on the Allen, Avon and Frome.


I have held back a couple of choice Mayfly dates and Nether Wallop Mill is an increasingly popular choice for a fish fest.





I must admit this video from Captain Quinn (who I assume is Canadian) makes me blush because, as a fishing guide, I am guilty of uttering nearly all of these phrases,

nearly all of the time






An algorithm walks into a bar.  ‘What are you having?’ asks the barman.  Surveying the other drinkers the algorithm answers,  ‘What are they drinking?’



As the winter solstice is already a week past I think we can now consider the start of a new season a better prospect that memories of the old. So, three questions with thoughts of warmer times. As ever it is just for fun and the answers are at the bottom on the Newsletter.


1)    What time will sunset be exactly six months from today?

2)    What date was the hottest day of 2017?

3)    What is civil twilight?



Simon Cooper of Fishing Breaks


Simon Cooper

Founder & Managing Director



Quiz answers:


1)    9.25pm BST in Nether Wallop. It will be 4.06pm today.

2)    June 21st at 34.5C/94.1F. The hottest since June 1976 and marked five consecutive days over 90F.

3)    This is the limit at which twilight illumination is sufficient, under good weather conditions, for terrestrial objects to be clearly distinguished.

Sunday, December 31st, 2017