Monday, 10 December 2018

The Tiny River Alne – Widow’s Weeds and WTF’ables

If only the Alne contained as many fish as the video views on the YouTube channel RyanToysReview channel. As I’m writing this, the total amount of views since channel conception was 25,950,982,288 views, I'll repeat that 25,950,982,288. Now Ryan an eight year old boy who reviews toys has been revealed in the press this week as YouTube's highest-earning star this, raking in £17.3m quid.

Yes £17.3m quid !!!!

When he was asked by NBC News why kids liked watching his videos, Ryan replied: "Because I'm entertaining and I'm funny." Since the channel was set up by Ryan's parents in March 2015, the videos have had almost 26 billion views and amassed 17 million followers.

I despair for humanity I really do, what kind of world I have brought my kids in to if that puts the food on the table and a mansion to rival the Queens. Don't watch, you ain't missing much.

But, But, BUT !!!! No, not’ why didn’t I think of it’, many have and tried to duplicate it, all but the few fail, because there may be an issue, you see, it could all go tits up, the money n'all, just like that.

There was a change to copyright legislation passed by the European Parliament in September which would oblige Google who bought YouTube in 2016 for US$1.65 billion to consider using technical measures to ensure copyright takedown requests are respected, and clips "stay down" as under the legislation they would make the platform liable for copyrighted material, where previously it was the user that had to ensure nothing was used.

Google enjoys special privileges under UGC (user-generated content) provisions not granted to rival music services like Apple and Spotify, which must license music first before distributing it. Copyright groups argue that loophole depresses the market price of music. YouTube pays around 1/20th of the rates Spotify the music streaming site does.

Now I urge you before YouTube disappears for good (sarcastic wink) to have a look a George Burton and Co’s - Big Canal Roach in Winter video which has been up for a few weeks now, there are still some gems among the WTF’ables.

I think I need to find peace away from the modern world, luckily I know just the place !!!!

I’d been watching the levels of the little river Alne for a while now, you see after a few trips down here now where results have been very mediocre indeed, I was hoping a bit of water on would change the conditions for the better.

A half decent spell of rain had topped it up nicely, so not only would more swims become available for me to fish but the nature of the rivers watercourse meant shallow areas would now be passable by bigger fish.

Now when I say medicore, well certainly plenty of fish were caught, but if I recall over the sessions I’ve fished it only a couple or three fish have topped the pound. But there was a good reason for that probably, for one, yes the levels have been low, extremely low, but also I’ve fished it when conditions have been less favourable.

“Yes but Mick, it’s not all about the fishing surely”; “True, but even I like a bend in ones rod from time to time”

And that is very true, most of the waterways I fish thinking about it are off the beaten track, mostly smack bang in the middle of the countryside, away from traffic, largely sheltered from noise , away from the dreaded space evaders. Venues such as this, where sheep and cows share the space, I’m always on the hunt for, they are becoming hard to find these days, certainly in my stomping ground anyway.

It’s fishing on my terms, just how I like it. Although the statue of the fish is probably nothing to write home about, it’s the potential of a big fish from small waters that sparks ones interest. The roach particularly, where according to some forum posts I spotted the river not far from where I'd been fishing had fish bigger than 2lb swimming in its waters.

Could I fish the Alne exclusively, maybe not, but I love these little watercourses that are often overlooked by the masses and the commercial fishery fishing pole slappers, because they offer the much needed solitude I seek. A couple or three hours is all I need to help with one’s mindfulness.

The senses, the smells, the abundance of nature and the immersiveness within the environment fishing provides. It all helps one’s well-being that a PS4 cannot provide in the same way.

Waters such as this restores the balance back to the enjoyable side of the seesaw again and away from the stranglehold, which is about to be unleashed on that doddering old duffer blocking the aisle in the supermarket.

You know the one, the one who is determined to bag the last lot of marked-down sprouts, and couldn’t give two monkeys about anyone else who just wants to get past.

Over 630 odd posts now apparently, you’ve probably worked out I’m not a people person !!!!

So one quiver rod fitted with a 2oz tip, a link ledger set-up, a load of lobworms and a few slices of bread, could I bag something half decent?

Arriving just before dawn the day started overcast, dull and drizzly for the first hour and a half or so I was debating to go home or not, it's only 5 minutes away after all, but after sheltering under a tree for a good half an hour away from the wind and rain it gave me some good thinking time.

So I got in to robot mode and began by baiting up some swims with mashed bread and let them to rest before fishing them on the way back to the car. Whilst the swims were resting I went downstream to fish some rafts with lobworm, despite some pace in many of the swims, a 2SSG link ledger was all that was required.

A tentative pluck turned in to a proper pull that continued a good foot and a half but I was mid coffee so struck at the wrong time and I didn't connect to anything. A couple more swims fished, not a jot.

So heading back upstream to the baited swims I also fished a couple of nice looking slacks with bread flake but again no bites.

Hmmmm this is tough going....

Last gasp efforts then, the pre-baited swims, and luckily it was well worth doing, because all but one of the swims produced Chub. Not the biggest of fish but on light tackle they gave a good account for themselves, the weather had cleared up nicely by now and I could have easily stayed all day, but with my Mum's 80th birthday lunch to go to, 3 and a half hours will have to do.

The more I fish rivers like this, the move I enjoy them, obviously the size of the fish are not likely to be high, but I'm sure there are some gems to be had.

Just look at that little tiny brook me and Sam have been fishing, home to my dace PB, and we've only fished a couple of swims a handful of time. I'm sure there are fish to top, a pound there, I'm sure of it. With the Xmas break around the corner I'll hopefully have another one or two sessions here, lets just hope the levels stay as they are.

There are a couple of nice trotting swims here also with some water on, so I might bring my trotting gear as well and fish and feed maggot maybe.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Cougars and Cunny Thumpers

A mile and a half of flowing virgin water with its unsullied footpaths has always captured ones interest. The potential to fish for undiscovered monsters given far too much sanctuary and freedom to thrive is at the top of the Santa list of any specialist angler.

Some of the WBAS like-minded that had already fished this forgotten and seemingly uncharted waterway had showed some promising results for those fish that possess teeth, and I wanted a piece of the action.
Not only that but being part of a syndicate means bums on seats and I’ve been stood at the back far to long.

The Zander pics in-particular got ones ears pricked up, because to be honest I’ve not really given the river Zeds a proper go, the canals being my bread and butter after all. Despite losing 2 bigger fish in the past my river PB of 8lb 3oz is entirely beatable considering the size and statue of the fish that now frequent the Warwickshire Avon.

So an area that allows the bigger fish to go about their business without fear of becoming dethroned could well be harbouring something special. I just need to fish flowing water in anger for them, well at least have a bait in the water !!!!

Now talking about harbouring special Vegans look away now, then again probably to late. A new local butchers has a beef dry ager now, so after choosing ours for Xmas, the piece on the top right will be ready to pick up Christmas Eve and I cannot wait to try it. Not bad value too considering the look and quality of the meat.

And thats the issue, good things come to those that wait, but I don't wait enough, so it's always good that others share their captures so at least I know there are fish there to be caught.

All very well I suppose but in my limited experience though, river Zander like their mucky water brothers are difficult to work out, just when you think you have they throw in a curve ball and you’re back to square one.

Fishing for them from dusk and beyond gives the best chance but I’ve had multi runs in bright sunshine on one particular session when a pack went through on the hunt, all very eye opening. Livebaits work no doubt about that and as the light goes probably better than using a dead on the bottom.

The problem with livebaits though, especially when used in clear water conditions is that the Jacks can be problematic, which is fine if just want to get a few bites but with time at a premium they can be a pain in the proverbials.

Colour in the water, or lack of it, really does make a difference as it does on the canal where I actively seek turbid water, they know they have an advantage with their superior eyesight and they actively go on the hunt, rather than wait for the infrequent dinner bell.

So ideally fish in to dark or when it’s coloured, errrr so that’s most of the nearby available venues on the Warks Avon out for me, well the ones I’d want to fish anyway, being a solitude seeker. Also out as well, is the majority of the fishing season, as its usually clear, very clear.

During my search for a canal 10 pounder and my ad hoc sessions on the river, lures and live bait would certainly pick up more fish, but the deads are a little more size selective, maybe the larger fish are lazy in their old age, and are happy watching the schoolies act on their predatory instinct and are happy with easy pickings.

Obviously there are big female Cougars around still chasing young whippersnappers to buck the trend, but I’m confident in using methods that I know work for decent sized fish.

I’ve blanked plenty of times on the river to know that conditions really need to be right otherwise it is very hot and miss, sadly my fishing opportunities are short and dictated largely by others. I’ve got to try and maximize catch potential, and that means fishing when I’m likely to catch, not a finger in the air, toes and fingers crossed.

There may well be light at the end of the ever lengthening tunnel however, you see Nic from Avon Angling Uk who I’ve fished with a few times now has seen the predicament I’m in, and has kindly offered me to join him on a private bit of water he has access to where fishing in to dark isn’t an issue. So I’m looking forward to taking him up on that offer as soon as we can work something out and he is back to 100% fit after being knocked for six by pneumonia.

Anyway back to the task in hand,I was in two minds how to approach this session but the decision was made to make it a bit of a reccy mission. Some small roach and smelt deads I had to use up dictated the session to be honest. So a 3 rod quiver equipped with two dead bait rods and a lure rod was bundled in the car and I was all set to go.

The plan, (because I always have one) was to travel light and rove around to try and find some Pike or Zed’s laid up and and around some features and then whilst the deads were doing their thing, the lure would be used from time to time, to not only try and winkle out a least a fish or two, but also to gauge some of the depth in-front of me.

The deeper castable sonar fish finder would have been ideal I suppose to map it out properly and try and find the deeper areas and troughs, but with time at a premium to be honest a lure chucked here and there can be just as effective. By watching the braided line as it enters the water you can tell visually by the bow in the line that stops dead when it touches bottom, but and also by feel, just how much water is in-front of you.

Now the weather was against me a little, very windy indeed and a clear blue sky. After a couple of hours without even a nudge, bite or an enquiry in four or so swims I headed further downstream. This proved worthwhile doing as not only was it deeper but many of the swims had some good features and it didn't take long for the first bite.

A tiny jack decided that it like the look of the lure I was throwing around so at least it wasn't a blank. Not long after putting it back the bobbin on the left hand rod jumped in to life and actually hit the butt of the rod, I let it take some line on the baitrunner and then struck in the fish.

It felt reasonable at first but then I can usually tell with Zander if it's hooked properly or not, and sadly this one wasn't. A few bends of the rod and it was off, hmmmm, not good.

After another 3 swims without a bite they were obviously not in a feeding mood, and if I'm honest it probably wasn't the right time to fish my first trip to this stretch. Not all lost though, fishing it in the morning gave me the opportunity for a proper reccy, and that's exactly what I wanted to get out of the session.

I'll be back....

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Gotch-Gutters and Gullgropers

This wine I was bought from Aldi came in a heavy, premium looking bottle. Unfortunately I found that the liquid inside couldn't quite live up to this. Leafy aromas of cranberry and hedgerow fruit with a waft of tar and chocolate lead into slightly tart flavours of sloe and elderberry. A herbal, minty character and liquorice and tar notes lurk in the background.

Suggestions of unripeness, and lacking much in the way of what you would expect from these two grape varieties. Now 20 minutes in to the mix and mid slurp I’m thinking, I’ve got another 5 hours of this. The right pace, surprisingly musical, and within a short while, oh yes, my mind elsewhere, It’s not all about repetitive beats I tell thee, it's just a shame the wine didn't live up to expectations, luckily then I didn't pay for it.

Now for those not on the same wavelength, Psychill is a downtempo genre that often seeks to reach a state of deep relaxation, close to meditation and lucid dreaming, it utilises various elements of Goa Trance and Psychedelic music in general and typically has a classic Goa kick drum, 303’s sounds, and lush atmospheric pads.

Over your head yet….?

Psychill and much of psychedelic electronica is often created to ingesting of acid, but that’s difficult to achieve when you’re in a 9 to 5.

Taking LSD to transform our brains from a cubicle-laden office of sorts to an open-concept plan where the walls have disappeared, and where users experience strange visions and odd revelations stereotypical hallmarks of a drug trip, probably ain’t a good idea in work is it, however there may be an answer….

….there is a culture happening of late you see, the microdosers. This is where small amount of LSD is consumed to improve work output and alleviate all manner of ills. It is done at doses so low that users experience not hallucinations but instead very subtle changes. 

A hundred or two hundred micrograms of LSD will have people tripping brains, but users generally taking only between five and 20 micrograms, and are able to go about their daily business unimpaired.

Typically, individuals integrate sub-perceptual doses into their weekly routine and often report higher levels of creativity, more energy, increased focus, and improved relational skills.

Many people microdose in order to treat depression or anxiety, with often remarkable results, with some enthusiasts reporting that it helps to heighten spiritual awareness and enhance all five senses.

The research is all there to be seen, it's of benefit….

Now, no assistance to be seen here, as one’s brain is properly tuned in to electronic music and the ‘away from it all’ experience that goes with it. Quite easily I can feel like I’m in a parallel universe with a proper out of body experience, but then lucid dreaming also come naturally, in some way’s I’m very lucky indeed, it’s just the way I’m wired.

Don ones comforting Plantronics, switch the noise cancelling on, very unsociable I know, but I've work to do a job, zone out, boxed ticked….

Talking of zoning out, this stretch of the Warwick Avon I’ve been fishing, seemingly is also a parallel universe. Now a parallel universe is a hypothetical self-contained reality co-existing with one's own, and that’s very much how I see it. Away from civilisation, a community of its own, fishing on my terms, a departure from the railway tracks that is family life. I could probably fish it exclusively for a whole season as I'm sure there are some proper big fish hiding I'm sure of it.

There are some nice holding areas quite close in that I'm sure must hold some decent fish. Now the weather was damp and very wet, so unusual for me but I decided to sit it out most the session under an umbrella, and cannot remember the last time I did that. Having caught Zander here and some good ones in the past, maybe waiting and contemplating would give me a bit of chill-out time which is a rare thing for me these days, especially with ones restless legs.

I had to get out though, so what if there was a bit of rain. So the fishing well, the roach deadbaits went out and within minutes the left hand rod had a tentative take, but either the fish dropped it as it was too big, or if felt something was wrong. Another hour went by and still rain coming down, again another take, this time though the baitrunner was activated and the fish was taking line.

Now Zander bite like that and most of the time after lifting the rod up and feeling the pull of the fish through the line, a mere pull in to the fish is required. I lifted up the rod though, line between thumb and forefinger and nothing happened, the fish was gone.

Hmmmm, not a good session, the rain eased up so after packing up the umbrella I fish four more swim a half hour each without anymore bites. The water was still much clearer than I thought, and for Zander despite fishing quite deep swims probably wasn't ideal conditions. I'm sure live baits or lobs for Perch at another stretch altogether would have been the better choice.

So a blank, and a couple of mediocre visits to the river which isn't good, I need to start making better decisions me thinks....

Friday, 30 November 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Gobblers and Gormandisers

The chub is no easy antagonist and it has always occupied a position high in the angler’s estimation for the sport it gives, it’s a bold biter and an even better fighter. Though in olden days, when a good many fisherman were almost as much interested in the meals their captures might provide as in the sport of caching them, chub were eclipsed by more edible fish.

In these days though, sport is the only thing that counts and the chub provides it in good measure. It demands the utmost caution on the part of an angler in the approach, its habit of living near its holt and diving towards it immediately it is hooked, calls for dexterity and instantaneous timing by the angler.

The fact that it will accept so many baits presented by so many methods makes it the quarry at times of almost every type of freshwater angler.

They are oddly though “The fearfullest of fishes”….

A chink in the Chub armour though, you see cheese paste was King down the river last time, meat didn’t get a look in. Some nice chub were eventually caught in a frantic two hour session in to dusk where the rod tips were bouncing, banging and clattering as the Chevin were properly on it, as active as they’ve even been, they couldn’t get enough of it, they dropped their guard was down, big time.

Now as per the previous few years of bulk making my own chub attractor, I’m sure the addition of Roquefort cheese helped no end. You see with its characteristic odour and notable pungency of the naturally occurring butyric acid due to anaerobic fermentation it’s a smell like no other. Butyric acid has an acrid taste, with a sweetish aftertaste similar to ether, an unpleasant odour and is present in rancid butter and human vomit.

I remember the smell as a youth after consuming a case of K cider and chundering ones guts up, yeap, not pleasant and luckily there are easier ways to achieve the retched thankfully. Now Mammals with good scent detection abilities, such as dogs, can detect it at 10 parts per billion, whereas humans can only detect it in concentrations above 10 parts per million.

Chub I’m sure are a switched on to it like no other fish, then again Chub will just about eat anything you put in front of them, and maybe as a species they’ve evolved and could well be suffering the fishy equivalent of Prader-Willi syndrome, caused by a chromosomal flaw. All I know is that they need their food fix, their stomachs filled, they really do enjoy the feeling of their bulging bellies.

For this after work afternoon in to dusk session the only bait I had to fish with was cheesepaste, not only that but I’d only be fishing one swim for the main. Now that is not like me at all, I’m a roving angler at heart, but this swim in particular has form, as it’s not only home to my PB but I’d lost a fish here to a hook pull that looked a scale above again, a 6lber ? Quite possibly, but then unlike many I’ll have my scales with me just in-case something good turned up.

Luckily though on route there were two other swims that also produce fish, so I’d drop a bait in on route as well before settling down for the remainder of the session.

And what a weird session it was, the river was nicely up and a foot and a half of visibility but it took ages to get the first bite. I disturbed a cormorant quite early on that was on the hunt and the area didn't really recover whilst I was there. A couple or three swims fished without hardly a nibble, the last swim had to come up with the goods.

With an hour left of light and the sun setting eventually I had a few plucks and taps and then some big bites but didn't connect to anything. Very frustrating but eventually after leaving some slack line and letting the bite develop I was in to a fish, only a small fish though and a spirited fight it managed to get off the hook when he was due to be netted.

I was getting desperate now, with the light more or less gone and the session coming to a close, my left hand rod started to nod and knock and then luckily for me I eventually hooked a fish. I knew it wasn't very big straight away, but it was a fish after all.

Blank avoided, and a tough session....
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