Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Saturday 25 May 2024

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.112 (Maggots and Bread)

I must admit the closed season is getting to me now. There is something about fishing rivers isn't there that the canals and stillwaters cannot match. Just having to trudge another canal towpath to try and get a few bites and get that fishing fix is starting to grind a little I must admit.

It didn't get off to a good start when a dog walker thought it was ok that his out of control dog wasn't doing anything wrong when it decided to leg it up to me with hackles showing and barking like something possessed whilst frothing at the mouth in biting distance from me. Let's just say he got a piece of my mind, however if Ben was with me who has an irrational fear of dogs my actions might have been different. 


I arrived at around 6.30am and the canal looked a lovely colour for a bite or two. I decided to fish a two rod approach with maggot under a sensitive float the main attack with a crude pellet waggler set-up as a back-up which I'd fish from time to time.

The swim was primed with a couple of tennis ball sized groundbait balls laced with some hemp and also some small micro pellets to try and draw in a few fish.
 
The session started off like it usually does with a good wait till the first bite, which in this case was probably about half an hour.

If I'd not experienced this before I'd have probably moved swims but I knew one's fortunes would change once that float rose for the first time.

I was using the lift method on the sensitive set-up and it seemed to work quite well for most of the bites with the odd one going under instead.

The smaller fish arrived first but then they started to get bigger when I started to introduce a little more maggots in to the swim.  

Not the biggest of fish admittedly but hybrids pull back rather nicely and a decent slab is always a novelty to catch just because how ungainly they are.

I didn't lose any fish this session which has been causing me a nightmare of late because I've lost quite a few fish not taking my time basically and bullying the fish rather than letting the rod do the work.

The bread rod had not interest whatsoever it was maggots all the way.

The first boat came through at 8.30am and that basically killed the swim, so much so I decided to head to another canal altogether where I'd rove around with the bread rod tight to the reeds to see if I could find any decent roach. This is more my thing really rather than being nailed to the spot.



 I decided to head up just past the knackered lock which is out of action till the 17th of June (apparently). That has meant limited movement on the canal for around 3 miles where there is a winding hole above and below. It has already been closed for a few weeks so in desperation those boats that found themselves stranded on this length of canal facing the wrong way have had to reverse the whole way if they needed a pump out / fuel and water etc.

For the angler though it has meant the stretch has been rather quiet indeed which is perfect when you are doing some float fishing at 10.00am because usually it would be a boat every 10 minutes or so.


Anyway Jon Arthur look away now, no size 22 hooks with 3mm bread punch, this is my overdepth reed rig I used to catch the larger fish on the canal. An SSG anchors the size 12 hook on the bottom and the very sensitive foam pellet wagglers amplifies every bite.

The fact that the shot is so tight to the reeds means you can also fish tight to them and it didn't take long to get a bite when I fished the first swim. I baited with some bread slop and the bite came after 10 minutes where the float all of a sudden woke up and was carting to my left down the canal where it eventually disappeared from view. 


The fish had already hooked itself so I only had to lift the rod and the fish was already on. I thought it was a nice bream initially but then the fight kicked up a notch and it was taking me all over the canal. Yup a hybrid most likely because they fight really well as this one was and sure enough when it surfaces an unmistakable hybrid. My biggest from the canal is 4lb on the nose and after netting it this one went 2lb and 12 ounces on the scales, so a very nice fish indeed, it's just a shame it wasn't a roach 😀

So after the dog incident spoiling matters at the start of the session this made up for it thankfully. I fished a couple more swims but that was it. An enjoyable trip out though and plenty of walking that often is only what is needed really, catching a fish or three is a bonus. 

Friday 24 May 2024

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.111 (Canal Zander)

On-route to visiting my Mum from working from MIRA for the day, I drove past the 'THE LAND OF GIANTS' which is Europe’s newest and only, Jurassic & Ice Age themed event touring the UK for 2024! (This was the grounds of Maxstoke Castle' Apparently the experience is the only one of its kind to showcase giant beasts from both periods of time, the Jurassic / Triassic era and the Ice Age  Era'.

'THE LAND OF GIANTS is a must-see family edutainment attraction, a highly educational and entertaining Jurassic and Ice age walk-through experience, aimed at family audiences. 

Featuring over 50 impressive installations of animatronic dinosaurs and Ice Age beasts with moving parts. 

Visitors will explore the gardens and parklands and uncover epic life-sized replica dinosaurs and Ice Age beasts, including everybody’s favourites such as T-Rex, Triceratops, Woolly Mammoths and Smilodons. Each beast has robotic moving body parts, which includes heads moving, bodies breathing, arms and tails moving, eyes blinking and jaws opening wide with realistic roaring sound effects. Making for a truly awesome walk-through experience!'



Well, errrr ok I saw the dinosaurs from the road (in-fact I did the previous week and wondered what the heck was going on), but the rain had caused havoc during the day with many of the local roads flooded (The Alne put an extra 2m of water on in 24 hours) which had clearly put the public from visiting. There was a few cars in the car-park which to be honest could have been from the street vendors that all appeared to be closed. 

There was a guy that looked slumped in his chair sheltering under his gazebo who presumingly was meant to be checking bags and tickets from the crowds that were expected. Rain puts people off, and thankfully even the lycra clad middle aged tyre distressers were non existent this journey but this rain had been biblical to be fair, even the T-Rex was holding an umbrella FFS. 



Anyway after seeing my mum for a while I did think about going fishing because it had eased off but to be honest I'm lacking a little motivation at the minute, so I decided to go out a couple of days later after watching Luke Litter win the PDC (where it was £9 a pint apparently 😲) instead where hopefully I'd try and winkle out a Zander from this usually productive stretch. This area is harbouring some decent Zander currently would a decent one turn up ? 

Well to be honest a good hour and half nothing whatsoever which could mean that the fish have dispersed post spawning, or as it was in the middle of the day they might not have been in a feeding mood.


In the end I decided to upsticks and take a look at an area where blog reader Nick had spotted some carp. It was a reasonably humid with the sun coming out intermittently so a good time to see if there was any mooching about to be fair.

After a natter to a couple of anglers who were struggling for bites on worm and maggot with only a couple of perch caught I was bankside by the rather feature filled area. I tried two swims with the Zander baits but nothing and I didn't see any carp either, but they don't show themselves that easily on the canal so not unexpected. It looked a little like 'carp corner', so no reason why they wouldn't like it here, it's the sort of place that just looks good for them to be harbouring up.


In the end I retraced my steps on the way back to the car and leapfrogged cover after cover where eventually after 3 hours or so I must have dropped the bait on a Zanders nose as I had a bite within a few minutes of it going out.

Only a schoolie though sadly but at least I didn't blank, anyway I was hoping that wouldn't be alone down there but that was the only bite I had from that swim, and another 3 or so after that. Hard going I must admit but that's Zander fishing for you, fortunes can change with the flick of a finger.  

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Warwickshire Trout - River Alne Pt.12

Since Lanzarote back in February it seems an age to my next holiday but having booked the days off work yesterday August onwards I'm staking them up. Nothing too exciting I might add, with a week in Northumberland in the aforementioned month, then a week in Devon to see my brother and his family in October, soon after a lads 6 nights in Spain in a mates Villa, again in October, there is a light at the end of the daily drudgery. 

November brings the Fat Boy Slim weekender which is always a good do with the old ravers like me descending to Minehead for some repetitive beats. Hopefully I'll get some sea fishing in during those trips, we will see. I quite fancy trying to catch a smoothhound rather than the dogfish I usually catch.

This year there seems to be even more takers out of the social group with 12 going I believe which is great, because for me, do what you enjoy doing I say, and ignore the finger pointers, you've a weekend with the like-minded. It's a great bunch that go there and many older than Big Beat Basher Norm himself, and unlike the crowded Creamfields kidfest at least you won't stand out like a sore thumb and asked for a selfie every ten minutes with the coffin dodger. 

My love of repetitive beats is still there since the 90's and long may it continue, because very much like fishing it gets me in the right frame of mind.

Talking of the right frame of mind, I needed to install a sign down a the River Alne because a few times now the village frequenters have taken it up upon themselves to block access to the gate, when I needed to access it, so I could have a dangle whilst I was down here. 

At least this sign is nice and clear and hopefully it won't mean I'm having to knock on doors to try and find out who is preventing access. The last time was a guy in a brand new Range Rover who was at the pub for a wake (I think) and couldn't find anywhere to park his car (Errrr because it's mahoosive) so decided blocking a gate was perfectly acceptable. 


Anyway with the weather being rather nice indeed I decided to see how many trout I could catch in an hour and a half or so. Simple tactics with a Salmo minnow lure with polarised sunglasses to spot the fish on the frab. A couple of swims down nada, however the weir swim usually comes up trumps.

The river is obviously very low and clear but this is often a hotspot to get a few bites. With a tree that had fallen blocking much of the weir lucky the water could flow under it. When there is a metre and half of extra of water on it maybe a different story !!!

Anyway to cut a long story short, the fish didn't seem to be on it despite their being mayfly around. I only saw one rise from a baby trout about 2 inches long and in around 5 swims I fished I managed 4 trout, one that was foul hooked all of a similar stamp.

Nothing big showed at all really and with the grass almost waist deep in places it was hard going just to get to the swims. If we get some rain to oxygenate the water a bit I might give it another go, but we will see, at least I didn't blank. 

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