Monday, 20 February 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Enbarbelment

I was bankside just prior to dusk and it was a lovely brisk walk over the fields towards the end of the club stretch. I caught Barbel the morning before further upstream but I wanted to fish one particular swim where I suspect there are bigger fish lurking.

The first day of the season I lost a decent fish in this area and despite fishing it again a few times I’d only banked a couple of splashers.

I only had 3 hours before I had to head back so everything was prepared before the session, the PVA bags tied, the hair rigs equipped.

The river had dropped considerably in 24 hours and even the colour was starting to go, to be honest looked more Chubby than Barbelly but heck got to give it a go.

The river was still carrying some pace and in the usually shallower areas it was motoring through. Luckily this swim has some deeper features which slows the pace somewhat and it’s here where I suspect the large fish may be seeking sanctuary.

As I’ve said before, I don’t particularly enjoy sitting behind ones rods but this swim needed the dedication.

So with two rods out it was sit back and try and watch the rod tips. Barbel don’t mess around though so as long as they are ones peripheral vision, it’s not an issue.

Lots of distractions here you see as the neighbouring fields are full of wildlife.

Just over this short session there were hundreds of Starlings in an acrobatic mass swapping between tree to tree, two hunting hawks,woodpeckers,a barn owl and even a buzzard with wings in a shallow ‘V’, tail fanned with its catlike mewing, an awesome sight.

Oh and the resident Kingfishers which seemed more active than ever….

Then Bang, Bang, Bounce & Bang….

A bite, an hour in, a small but plump fish but some right good whiskers on it so and it would be nice to catch in a few year when it's grown to its frame.

It gave a pretty good fight so maybe that disturbed the swim as no more bites came before I had to up sticks and head homeward bound. At least they are biting, and at the time they are at their fattest too.I need to squeeze another session or two in before the season ends.

Monday would have been ideal, an unseasonal 14 degrees.

Sadly I've got bills to pay, so work it is.

Canal Zander – On Death Row !!!!

Yeap the message is still as confusing as ever. After some communication via Twitter sometime ago and wanted to get clarification again as in March I’ll be starting my double figure canal Zander quest again come the close season.

Anyway an email was received back very promptly last Friday from John Ellis who is the National Fisheries and Angling Manager for the Canal and Rivers Trust.

Pay particular attention to the last bullet….

Thank you for your enquiry via John Harding. My answer is slightly ‘long winded’ but I think it’s important that people understand the background and where the Canal & River Trust currently finds itself.
  • Ultimately the rules (law) regarding zander and other non-native fish species is not set by the Canal & River Trust, it is the police, Natural England and the Environment Agency who regulate the various components of fisheries law. The Trust naturally has to work within the law.
  • When we applied for KIFR site permits, we did suggest to the regulator that a Midlands canal zander zone be set up where this non-native invasive species could be permanently kept. This suggestion was not accepted by the regulator.
  • So as the law stands, the Trust can’t tell an angler that it is legal to return a zander, for on the canal network it is not legal whereas on a river it may well be lawful to return. For what it’s worth the same would apply to all other non-native fish .
John W Ellis BSc(Hons) MIFM C Biol MRSB
National Fisheries and Angling Manager

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Trump Card

The trump card had to be played, I had to get out fishing you see, the river was up and on the rise, weather mild, wind low so there was a chance for a Barbel.

Dave Roberts had already been relaying by text the Barbel he was catching so I needed to get out.

The weekend was already ‘organised’ for me though so the window of opportunity for two fishing sessions was going to need reaching for the pack of cards.

Two you say, well yes, because I had my eye on fishing for Chub too at an altogether different stretch of the Avon but it meant we’d have to leave a little later than expected on the Sunday morning otherwise I’d have a session so short it probably wouldn’t be worth bothering with.

I know my Wife too well though, she can be bought…

To be honest it wasn’t that hard, I finish at lunchtime on Friday you see so often go for lunch, “hey fancy a bite to eat” before we pick the kids up.

“Go Greek if you want, and can get that nice bottle of Makedonikos you like”

“sounds like a great idea, not been there for a while have we”

So mid sharing mezedakias of spanacopita, keftedes, stifdo, sluvlaki and moussaka, oh and a glass down, I was out with it.

“you know Sunday, what time do we have to leave again ?”

“9.30, 10.00’ish”

“Bugger, was hoping to get out again, oh well” “I felt the fresh air helped with my lurgy last week” “sitting on ones backside all week working doesn’t really help does it” “oh forgot to ask” “what did you do in your free time this week ?”

“Just get to the point !!!”

“Conditions are idea are ideal for fishing and the season ends soon, ok if we leave a little later so I can fish Sunday morning.”

“Yes I’m sure that would be ok, you didn’t need to take me out for lunch you know, you only had to ask”

She’s not stupid my missus….

Anyway to the session, 5 degree outside temperature so fairly pleasent for two hours a couple of taps on spicy meat and boilie and then Martin Roberts turned up who was planning to fish for Barbel also, suggested to shorten the hair and chop down the boilie, even suggesting where to cast, and he certainly knows his stuff down here, so it was exactly what I did.

Weirdly the first fish was a small Zander on a Roach section after swapping hook links but after another angler downstream of me had managed a Barbel I was out all with two chopped down 18mm spicy squids.

About half an hour in the left hand rod goes mental and a Barbel is on.

These small Barbel give a spirited fight even in these cold conditions and as soon as it surfaced it was confirmed.

I didn't weight it but looked about 4lb - 4.5lb.

The next Barbel came pretty quickly afterwards and again on the left hand rod. Slightly larger, but a nice mint fish like they all appear to be down here.

Anglers upstream of me were biteless with Martin having my peg when I packed up to get back to family duties. The two anglers downstream were faring better with a couple of fish banked the biggest 9lb.

Certainly despite being cold, the coloured conditions meant they were happily feeding in spells.

So a few hours in the morning and with the river dropping I'm off chubbing. Barbel would be on the feed but there are a couple of swims I want to try, otherwise I'd not forgive myself.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Warwickshire Avon - Lucid Dreams

Overboard, I’m now in the relatively shallow, blue clear water.

The coral is vibrant, fish life in abundance, I feel at home taking in the visual spectacle that is before me.

I begin to explore, the mask and snorkel unobtrusive.

A couple of small leopard sharks and a few rays meander past but then further in the distance they about turn, hmmm not sure what’s spooked them.

My vision goes blurry, Whoooooooooooshhhhhhhhhh !!!!!!!!!! I’m being pulled up, the G powerful.

Then I’m above quickly above the surface, looking at myself swimming in these South Pacific waters but I can still feel a connection like an umbilical cord.

Not visual but by mind.

My eyes focus on something dark, it’s a slow moving shadow with the silhouette of the sinister.

It’s a large shark, a Great White if I’m not mistaken. I can see myself facing the other way, I need to do something.

In a flash, I’m dropping through the sky at pace. The waters coming closer as is the shadow.

Spllllllllllllasssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!!!!!!!!! I’m now in the water, returned to one’s body and my arms and feet flailing in all directions, I’m panicking, I’m shouting. I cannot hear properly.

It’s a dream, I know it is, so let’s wake up. NOW !!!

Back in the room, my heart is beating ten to the dozen, the Wife wondering what’s going on.

I woke up at the right time, though.

Time to get my fishing gear together and get after those Zander.

Now Lucidity occurs during altered states of consciousness and when you realise you are dreaming your brain switches to waking mode in your dreams.

You see in normal dreams, your self awareness is shut down. That’s why they often feel distance and cloudy, but when lucid, the brain wakes up during sleep and your senses become alive, leaving you to explore the inner workings of one’s unconscious mind with total freedom.

It’s scientifically proven too, Keith Hearne a British parapsychologist used a grass polygraph to record sequences of ocular signals and therefore catching pre-determined conscious eye movements from a lucid dreaming volunteer.

I don’t have them ‘that’ often but the ability to control the dream once you have twigged that you are actually in a dream is something to enjoy not be scared of. With lucid dreams, you are always asleep in bed.

Anyone can have a lucid dream too, recognising the dreamstate is the biggest hurdle and habitual recognition is the key to achieving it. Meditation for starters, to focus your mind on demand. Visualisation which is to enter the lucid dream state from waking, dream journaling which is to cement dream memories in the waking world or mnemonic techniques to try and produce spontaneous lucidity in dreams.

I’ve taken an interest you can see such are some of the dreams I’ve experienced. I’m sure it helps me being a relatively light sleeper as being in and out of consciousness is often my usual pattern of sleep.

Now I don’t do any of that or take a herbal concoction of Mugwort and 5-HTP but I do often eat food rich in vitamin B6 and tryptophan which gives dream production a kick start. Chicken, prawns, eggs, brown rice and porridge oats, oh and blue cheese in moderation which does give me some of the most bizarre dreams but those are left for special occasions, I’ve my athletic figure to maintain after all.

So the session well back to the Avon, back out with deadbaits and also the remainder of the fillet steak. To be honest when I looked out of the window I was in two minds to go or not, it was miserable. Cold, with lots of drizzle so not particularly appealing, but with the Poncho donned and all the winter gear on, I was dressed for it.

I settled in the first swim with dead positioned and steak out. It didn't take too long either as the tip was pulled round and I was in to a fish. It was giving a good account for itself too and doing what Chub do. Eventually netted it went 4lb 8oz on the scales. A longish fish too at 54cm's, shame it hadn't got it's winter coat on as might even have made 5lb.

Dave turned up not long after and settled in a swim upstream to do some double dipping as well, with Zander and Chub being his target.

Back to my swim the deadbait rod now springs in to action and I'm in  to a fish. A small Pike took a liking to the Roach section.

Then all went dead....

Two more swims not a sausage, well apart from a pull and a nibble on the steak which didn't result in anything.

So back to one down where I started, with rods out again. Two anglers turn up complete with fancy umbrella and trolley and get their deadbaits out.

By this time I had enough so I decided to call it a day. Dave was on the move too being relatively biteless in the first swim.

A text later from him, looks like it was a tough day for all. A Barbel angler who was downstream blanked as did Dave and the two other anglers who sat it out in my original swim.

Cannot have good session all the time can we. Now there is some milder weather on the way again, so who knows, might give the Barbel a go again.

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