Sunday, 26 June 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Roadkill and Rodomontade

A rather grim discovery heading over to the river for a morning session, yeap not the usual roadkill I usual stumble upon, and probably why I thought it was a badger at first.

I've seen plenty of otters over the years and some very close up indeed but its only when you get as close as this you realise just what an impressive animal it is, and no denying it is the apex predator in these flowing waters. 

The river is back to its summer best, low and crystal clear where in the daylight hours you can often be scratching around for bites, especially for the bigger fish.

The smaller fish are in numbers though and fish maggots bites can be forthcoming. I was after gudgeon though and this section of the Warwickshire Avon has had them year and year. Despite the size these little fish are bold biters and can offer some fun when the fishing is tough.

In one of the swims I could see a small shoal of them in the margins, almost sunning themselves in the morning sun, where initially I was wearing a fleece, and then come the end of the three hour session I was just in my shirt.

It was breezy with this couple or three days of low air pressure we are having and almost felt a spring morning despite it being summer. Maggots were doing the business and it really was a bite a chuck, however no proper gonks gave themselves up but plenty of the smaller fish were up for a feed.

Their blue sheen almost looked psychedelic when highlighted by the suns rays. I fished quite a few swims with bites in most but the chub were suspicious in their absence. 

Bits of bread were unhindered in the low and clear illuminated swims however there is one swim that is deeper than the rest and it is also largely in shade and can offer a bite when others don't.

And I wasn't wrong, a chunk of bread on the size six hook was cast underarm into a rather compact swim and within a split second, out from the far bank gloom came a chub and hovered up the bread with not a care in the world. 

A nice fish as well and gave me a merry dance initially but after bullying it away from the overhanging tree it knew who was boss and almost decided the game was up there and then, and I teased it to the waiting net. 

Small dace, perch, bleak and tiny chub were in most of the swims but the gudgeon were only in two swims. With the sun now high in the sky even the small fish seemed to be off feeding.

So it was back home early for some beans on tiger toast with, cheese and coriander, a flavour combination that everyone needs to give a go a some point. A Hindu mate of mines Wife put me on to it when we used to take an extended working lunch back in my apprentice days, when often the beans on toast was swapped for a plate full of chilli heavy vegetable samosas and tamarind sauce.

Fond memories !!!

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Cenobites and Ceraunomancy

These opportunities don't come up very often, you see over a mile of Warwickshire Avon I can drive right next to the river and fish in to dusk and beyond is very rare indeed. I can park right behind my peg as well which for fishing in the dark is ideal especially when most sessions will be short and for barbel. 7 miles door to door, what's not to like. 

Last season here some PB breaking barbel were banked from the other members of this small syndicate and I wanted in on it. This area like much of the Warwickshire Avon holds some right old lumps but it was the fact that the old smaller barbel had been showing up got me interested, as well as the potential to beat my 12lb and 14 ounces. 

Now Sam who had just received his first phone as he is off to secondary school in September was up for a reccy too and as we drove up the stretch he got familiar with some the Apps his Mum had installed with him.

The access is ideal the Jimny making light work of the terrain and apart from the odd large depression not an issue at all, and as we stopped ever so often to check the swims out the further we drove up the stretch the better it seemed to get. 

The top of the stretch has it all to hold a decent barbel as there was some much deeper areas but mixed with gravel and streamer weed. 

I didn't spot any barbel though but I suspect if I baited a few areas eventually some fish would turn up. The Avon always fishes better with water on because it is crystal clear now being summer and low and can often look like it devoid of life. In-fact the smaller shoals of roach and bleak were suspicious in their absence. 

Extra water seems to switch the fish on but obviously in these conditions dusk and beyond is when the larger fish are likely to start to mooch about for food.

So I'll be back in the week I think and see if I could winkle anything out. Locating barbel is the hardest part in these quarters but find where they are holding up, I've found them not exactly hard to catch. The problem is blanks are inevitable because even if you stumble upon some, they have plenty of river to explore before the return to familiar areas where they can slip up. 

Chub on the other hand are in good numbers on the Avon and it didn't take long to find some fish. To be fair it took 3 or 4 swims to find any fish drifting the bread down on the surface.

But the tell-tale swirls in one swim they were in situ. Not a huge number of fish but the odd one, and after the baited piece of bread was picked up first drift down, Sam was up for having a go first off and wanted the rod off me without me getting a look in. 

A 3lber gave him a right run around after it tried to get in to some far side reed but the drag was set perfectly and some bullying from Sam the fish was eventually in the net.

I managed a 4lber in the next couple of casts and that was that, despite the first fish being retained the other fish in the swim disappeared completely. So I'll be back one evening and will fish in to dusk and then in to dark to try and temp a barbel. I think I will like this stretch and looking forward to seeing what I can catch. 

Friday, 24 June 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Kettles and Kephalonomancy

Now ones Webber Kettle has been a trusty servant over the 12 years we have had it, from slow cooked briskets and pork shoulder to the usual burger and sausage affair it's been well worth the initial monetary outlay. 

Despite everything else in the garden of similar age showing signs of wear and tear to be honest a squint and a look, you'd think it was straight out of the box. That is not the case of cause, as the grills have seen better days and the moving vent underneath had rusted till it snapped off, oh and that handle, that handle. Luckily the main kettle is still good for another 12 years I'd imagine.

Certainly not Triggers Broom lets put it that way !!!! it has stood the test of time. 

Now the main 57cm grille though, needed to be replaced after the first BBQ of the year resulted in the marinated chicken thighs sticking like baby poo to a blanket. Ok a sharp shove up the jacksie got them shifted but it left behind chicken I'd rather have stuck in my mouth not on the grille. It had basically come to the end of its life like we all do eventually I suppose. 

So a replacement sourced, an official Webber one too , at £34.91 including P&P which to be honest I thought was a bargain especially when unofficial most likely inferior offerings weren't much cheaper.  

Now bread, yeap it seems you get what you pay for it you want to fish for chub off the top. You see I've been through all manner of budget breads and I always return back to the tried and trusted. 

The more expensive breads just seem to be that little bit stodgier, the crusts more robust so even after freezing and freezing once more they are still good to go. The budget brands just seem to crumble which leads to wastage and also frustration.

The Nash silicon bread bomb can often be a solution to the problem but like me when you prefer to use bread straight on the hook, those hard earned pennies sadly must come to the rescue.

For this session I'd fish for chub off the top initially with bread and from time to time a surface lure and after bait dropping in some pellets and hemp I'd fish over the buffet table headed in to dusk to try and tempt a barbel.

I have caught barbel in this area, the syndicate stretch not a million mile away and I'd also lost one when fishing for bream for in one of the Blogger Fishing Challenge years. Streamer weed, gravel and also some deeper areas it looks the ideal environment for a barbus to live its life quietly with all the habitat niceties' it needs without having to slum it.

Nic was also with me for this session as we both had this venue in mind for a dangle and both being members and local, these handy venues can offer short and frequent sessions without all the planning that is needed on stretches of river further afield. 

Nic despite happy to sit behind motionless Tench rods for 24 hours on Linear Fisheries would be trotting meat and the like and not sitting behind soul-destroying motionless barbel rods !! (His words not mine 😀)

But he has a point, as this section of the river the barbel numbers are few and far between like much of the Warwickshire Avon. 

They are there to be caught though you just need to be in the right time and the right place and be prepared for more blanks than the River Wye and the River Severn for example where populations are healthy(ish). There is always a chance of a lump on the Warks Avon though, as track one down, it can often be a double.

There were a few likeminded anglers already bankside when we got there but plenty of swims to go at, in-fact I didn't realise I could fish the next field too, happy days.

Now after going on the rove to try and find some chub it didn't take long to find some, the problem was it was a bit of a suicidal swim and after missing 4 takes on the bread eventually I managed to hook one. The problem was it carted off right in to some reeds and the hook pulled within seconds of being hooked.

To cut a long story short the Warwickshire Avon was back to its moody best as apart from Nic catching a few bits on his float set-up I and the others anglers blanked. Where were the fish ? they were just not interested. 

Even at dusk where usually the chub turn up and at least give the tip a good going over, nope they didn't appear let alone the barbel which were as elusive as ever.  A nice evening in good company though, so not all lost, especially when there are patrolling owls to watch in the adjacent field. 

So on to the next one !!!

Thursday, 23 June 2022

The Tiny River Alne - Campanologists and Campaniforms

This usual quiet stretch of the river Alne where solitude can be found in abundence was sadly blighted, not by loud repetitive beats from a party nearby I might add, or a garden gathering where the odd'uns had consumed too much gin , but no 

Clanging campanologists....

Obviously a practice going on but I arrived at 7.00pm and they were still going hammer and tongs till thankfully it stopped at 9.00pm. 

They were loud, very loud !!!!

So not a great start, and to be honest the session wasn't much better....

I'd sourced a replacement lure rod that I broke here last time and after getting the Salmo Hornet stuck on the forth cast, I thought what the heck am I doing. Luckily that got stuck in the tree with the line snapping but a £6.99 mistake, but at least the rod survived this time. 

Not going well is it, anyway back to the fishing, the river was low very low despite the recent weekend rain but the trout were up for a predatory reaction or two. 

Just 4 trout caught during the 2.5 hour session where quite a few others grabbed the lure but managed to wriggle themselves free. The best shown above caught from the banker weir swim. 

The knack is try and set the drag so the fish can just about take some line, but then offer enough resistance to set the hooks. In one of the swims I chub of around 3 pound or so came out of nowhere and snatched the lure almost by my feet.

It bolted off downstream right under an overhanging tree and was on for a few seconds before somehow losing the hooks.

After losing another lure in a tree after the next cast after a nice trout also felt the hooks it was time for the off. An expensive trip again where as I type this I've still got bells ringing in my head, lets hope they have gone before the next session. 
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