Monday, 21 October 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Murphies and Mulligrubs

Sam can cast indpendantly now without issue so lure fishing sessions can be quite enjoyable, rather than being a few hours of verbal diarrhea and frustration where I question will it ever come good. In-fact the session down at Stratford-Upon-Avon he was complemented twice on his casting which gave him a proper confidence boost.

Now there are bait fish here in numbers and therefore predators not far behind so Sam had a light lure rod with a small lure after the Perch and I was geared up for something bigger, Pike or Zander.


The day started cold but soon the sun meant that the walkways became busier and busier, the waterway too. It was nice to see the rowers out though enjoying the water like we were.

The water was on the wrong side of coloured though, after speaking with Thad the bailiff the water had come overnight and could well have put the fish off.

Working the margins meant the odd tap and bang but I would think they were small perch or zedlets.


We started at the RSC and ended up at Sausage Island, the weir was covered as well which looked good for a bite but the two anglers there fishing for Barbel and bits were biteless as well.

There were fish moving around though in-fact a big Perch hit a shoal of bleak completely out of nowhere sadly not interested in our lures though.

Conditions just not conducive for a bite it seems, but we persevered with cast after cast.


Sometimes it's just nice for a father and son bonding session though and he is becoming a great little angler, not only do we enjoy out fishing trips together he is beginning to think like an angler and where fish are likely to be hanging out what species will likely to be where.

After 3 hours though we called it a day as the area was getting busy and we vowed to return when conditions are more favorable. In-fact we returned a couple of hours later with the Wife and Ben for a stroll and a bite to eat in the town centre, with the sun out it was pleasant enough for a pint.


Saturday, 19 October 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Sad Update)

With 13 species down on the 2019 bloggers challenge I'm not at the top of the table, well apart from the river leaderboard where I've got over that 1000 point barrier. George Burton is leading and I can see him being rather difficult to catch, not only does he fish still, canal and running waters he gets out a fair bit as well.

The Grayling is sorted with a trip planned in December but I still want to catch a river carp and also a roach bream hybrid to keep my end up so to speak.


Got to keep the momentum going haven't I, now I've caught carp to a gnats nadger over 20lb without targeting them in anger and that capture was because it was a known area where the mud sifters patrol.

This mornings session was to a specific peg where a couple of carp had come out in a recent match, it's a relatively deep area and with the river up and motoring downstream you can still fish here without issue.


A dawn start with a bed of bait put down where I'd fish over with a couple of baits, one a 18mm boilie and the other a chunk of spam.

What self respecting carp doesn't like spam !!!

Now as I hotfooted to the swim my I stumbled upon something me as an angler doesn't want to see....


....an injured kingfisher

It was visibly struggling in the thick grass and its left wing looked like it wasn't functioning correctly, it looked distressed when I went near it so I decided to walk on by and when I returned after the session I'd retrace my steps and see if it was still there.

It's only when you get close to a kingfisher you realise just how stunning they are to look at.


What I was amazed at too and didn't know they did it, they can almost tuned their heads through 360 degrees, visually they look like their head is detached from their body, a really odd visual spectacle. I move it away from view because it wouldn't take long for a bird of prey notice the predicament it was in.

So I baited up, put a load of bait down and unlike me sat out to see if a carp was milling around to hopefully trump the fact that I'd ignored the Barbel and Chub on the way.

But in the back of my mind there were pressing matters and ones I needed to attend to.


So after a three or so biteless hours on a nice looking river I retraced my steps and yeap the kingfisher was still there.

Now we planned to see my Mum and Dad later in the day and on route we'd go past Heronfield Small Breeds Farm and Animal Rescue Centre in Knowle which had been their donkeys years.

They even had a Tiger there many moons ago when the 80's was all about exotic pets. So my bait was transferred to my rucksack and I retrieved the injured bird and placed it safely in my bait storage bag.

It was a sitting duck excuse the pun so couldn't just walk on by and ignore the fact this bird needed help.

As soon as I got back home I put it in a tissue lined box to hopefully reduce the stress he was in. It was very well behaved to be fair and it almost seemed he wanted people to look, but then why wouldn't he, what a magnificent creature.


After arriving at Heronfield which could be mistaken for Steptoes Yard at first glance but ignore first impressions, it's a thankless task what these people do. Countless animals, big or small, nursed if possible back to full health and returned to the wild or rehoused to a family that want a pet, not one where the novelty has worn off.

A problem though, on inspection of the bird its right wing looked fully functional as it sprang back pretty quickly but its left wing was lame as anything. The owner couldn't feel any breaks on the functioning wing so it could be ligament damage or even paralysis. Another issue was that they couldn't really take it in, as it needs more specialist care, fish based syringe feeding for example.


So after some advice and where would be best for it now after having a quick whistle stop at my parents we back on the road again. Me and Sam would take over this time and we'd rope in the Jimny to get cross country and take it to more specialist care. Almost a 80 round trip after first heading out but needs must in these situations, two fingers up to the XR misguided, you really going to tell me I'm burning too much carbon.

So after returning home and switching cars with Sam keeping the bird from any harm we were back on the road and headed over to Vale Wildlife Hospital & Rehabilitation Centre near Tewksbury. And wow, what a place it is. Take a look at the link above to see what kind of work they do and the animals they take in.


So that's it for now, we did our best and now it's in the hands of those that know what they are doing. Fingers crossed that it's still with us in the morning, it's certainly had an ordeal I just hope we can get it back to where it belongs, back to the stretch of river where I see it bombing close to the water up and down, up and down, or one particular peg, perched nicely hunting minnows.

So fingers and toes crossed please, I think it needs all the help it can get, watch this space !!

Update 20/10/2019

After receiving pain relief overnight it was X-rayed in the morning where it was discovered that the break was severe and exactly where you wouldn't want a break so sadly I'm sorry to say there is one less kingfisher in the world. As Sam says he is now in bird heaven, the best place for it. A glancing blow from a branch or injured when diving in to the water, who knows but it was pretty severe trauma. I've donated to Vale Wildlife Hospital, they were brilliant. 

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Breast Fleets and Brisket Beaters

Many moons ago when I lived in Birmingham I could consume a ridiculous amount of food, a visit to the all you can eat chinese buffet that was an artificial crabs clam throw away from Solihull ice rink, was often a weekends pursuit and was a scene of utter greed. Countless plates of food I didn't really want to eat was consumed just to get one's money's worth and and the end of every visit I was questioning just what rubbish I'm putting in my mouth.

Having visited China a few times now the food served up even the Chinese would be asking, what is this you are putting in-front of me ?

It was basically cheap junk to appease the gluttonous partakers and bill payers who like me at the time, were after a belly fix and a MSG induced facial flush, fried seaweed flatulence and a red meat overloading acid trip.

No ducks tongues, Shanghai hairy crabs and spicy szechuan hotpots to be seen here.

Luckily 15 years ago or something like that, I escaped from a place I felt I didn't belong and I've never looked back and the knock-on effect is that my waistline is now kept in check.

Now gluttony is fine as it can trigger those feel-good hormones such as serotonin all like tweaking once in a while but the feeding cannot continue on that rate otherwise, roving a river will be out and my mobility reduced and that really would unsettle ones system.

These Barbel I'd be targeting seemingly when up for a feed really do get their head down and after finishing the first place are ready to load up the next. My single large bait ignored which did so well in the past not doing the business, these fish wouldn't settle for anything but a Smörgåsbord.

A big feeder full of pellets and groundbait cast in the same place every 10 or fifteen minutes to get a bed of bait down and then for the last hour, if a fish wasn't forthcoming the last hour would be to sit on ones hands an wait.

A single rod only, so the hair rigged bait was always in and amongst the tablecloth that was covered in niceties and plenty of food still to go at. A 15mm fishmeal based spicy boilie was the bait of choice the last two barbel sessions where I'd banked a double figure fish the first session and a 6 or 7 lber the second.

Now Hinders were kind enough to send me some bait to try after they stumbled upon my blog where I'd used some of their ramiz paste to good effect.

Now the ramiz range I likened to the sausage sizzle baits now kaput Lone Angler used to supply, you just knew it would attract fish at the first open of the tub. A spicy meaty pungency with garlic being a notable addition. Now a 3rd of a tin of garlic spam was the bait that was hovered up by my PB Barbel of 12lb and 14oz's . Garlic certainly is an attraction so this was a welcome addition. The paste ideal for plugging a lead or wrapping over a pellet or boilie to add extra attraction in to the swim.


You cannot catch fish that are not in-front of you but if you've confidence in a bait that can work, it often wonders for your mindfulness and sessions can often be made on just staying in that swim 10 minutes longer 'just in-case' a fish comes along, often it usually does you see. make or break. Now I'm sure the long list of blanks I had recently before Barbel were caught were because the fish were just not there despite it being a productive area in the past. 

This new short section a hop, skip and a jump away, and two short sessions, two fish and the method was the same both times, there are Barbel here still after all. 

Phew !!!!


So this short afterwork session in to dusk would be to employ similar tactics with a slight addition. 
You see for even more added attraction I'd glug the 15mm contraband boilies that did the business last time and also add some liquid to the dark groundbait mix that also has some small pellets added that keep the fish grubbing around. 

Now the river was on the drop after being up for a while even over its banks in places but I'm sure a Barbel would now be up for feed after trying to avoid the debris from clouting their noggins. A large feeder to carry the bait down to the bed, the flow distributing its contents, the hookbait hopefully to be picked up by a hard fighting thing with whiskers.


So anyway, enough of the preamble better get fishing....

Despite a friend Dave Roberts battling with the Eels and Barbel on luncheon meat not far away I wanted to go to an area where Barbel are not in numbers but hook one it could be a PB beater. The problem is there could be session after session without much success and then BANG, a proper rod bender. The river had been over the banks and much of it was still sitting on the adjacent field. I found a fishable swim though and not far away from a swim that had produced two doubles in the past.

With two hours to go before dusk I cast out and unusual for me, I had a chair with me. After casting the feeder a few times without a touch I received my first positive bite, it never materialised into anything Barbel like though so I assume it might be small chublets taking an interest in the bait. Every so often I had recast because of the debris coming down and I started to question my location decision.


Ok Barbel can be very much cast out and hope for the best but as dusk was approaching I just didn't get that feeling like I have had of late, that feeling where I knew I'd get a bite. So with the light now gone I headed back to the car with ones tail between ones legs, luckily the tackle will remain in the car as I've another after work session tomorrow, this time as the swim justifies it, it's out with the Spam, and what swimming thing would refuse that.

So a blank, oh well, sometimes fishing is secondary to the sights, sounds and scenery. 

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Whappers and Westminster Weddings

I arrived at sunrise at this predator haven of the Warwickshire Avon. Where pike are in numbers, and the bait fish ready to be plundered. There are some nice Perch here as well so the plan was to fish for Pike first and then move on to the Perch for the second half of the session.

I've been outgunned by Pike before so I invested in a 3lb TC rod with a big reel with a decent drag. I find Pike give you a good doing over for the first initial two or three runs and then they come to the net in the end rather than doing a Barbus and giving it everything.


Smelt is a default bait for me where Zander and Pike are concerned, and as the water had been in the fields a week before as the water now dropping out a medium smelt offering on a single hook would be offered out.

As I was setting up and Otter was meandering down the river without a care in the world till it saw me and then it submerged and popped its head out just downstream of me.

They are everywhere now it seems, not that long ago there were only 10 or 12 in Warwickshire and yet now I'd love to know who many of them are around, as I see them literally in every water I fish. Probably ten times now I'm sure.

From canals to small rivers and streams, they don't appear to be scared of being sited either, most of them I see are in broad daylight.

I suppose we have to put up with it despite being an apex predator taking whatever it seems fit.

I prefer float fishing for Pike and Zander because there is nothing more visual when fishing when watching a float bob and move and then head under the surface.

It didn't take long either a Jack hovering up the smelt within minute of putting the float out. With that returned I could use the same smelt and in the same spot again, within 15 minutes or so the float goes again. This time it was giving me a decent fight so a proper'un this time, 7lb 8oz.

The same smelt offering was again put out and they were on it this morning as the float had some interest not long after putting the fish back, this time though it came off, I assume the fish pulled from its mouth. Pike are not the most intelligent of species though so out went the bait again and this time the bite was more confident and I tightened up in to a decent fish.


It gave me a bit of a run around to be honest and gave two powerful runs that I could just hold on and let it take some line. I eventually netted it though and looked not far off a PB and yeap I was right. 11lb 10oz it was a PB Pike. I don't fish for Pike that often to not a monster but looking at the size of its head I'm sure it's got plenty of growing to do. That net is a 30" Barbel  Latex Spool, so a long fish as well.

On to the second half of the session, the Perch, well less said about that the better, a follow from a large Perch hovered up the bait but it spat it out and returned to the depths of where it came from.


Another 7lb Pike was caught so a cracking session really. A rove around the more secluded and sheltered swims sadly didn't bring any perch out to investigate but there is plenty to go at here and I've not really explored it properly apart from fishing certain swims that scream Pike.

Oddly the Zander don't seem to like it here, I'm sure it's because the amount of Pike here which might put them off. An enjoyable session all the same though, I'll be back, maybe in the depths of winter when they are even hungrier, if that is possible.

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