Friday, 25 September 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Hedonism and Hebdomadally

Now back in the acid house era, an era to never to be repeated Wobble was probably my favourite ever local nightclub.

It was a Birmingham institution that lasted many years and still had a loyal following who still attend the yearly reunion and other small events when sadly a little like my DJ'ing it eventually it fizzled out.

My DJ'ing set-up complete with terracotta walls and paper thin curtains !!!!

Still brilliant memories of those clubbing years and some great shared experiences with the likeminded.

Now wobble had the same kind of values as many ravers of that generation, they weren't afraid to take risks, they were hedonistic and lived life to the full, acid junkies who didn't play by the rules, house music was played downstairs and techno upstairs, it really was a one off club. 

'WOBBLE'  you see a very surreal experience and very unique in it's make-up, no other club could offer the same attribute despite others trying to put their own heads above that rave parapet.

It was called Wobble for a good reason the dance floor used to 'Wobble' you see.

Now the opening hours of 11pm through to 7am gave the DJ's a lot of time to span musical genres where the resident DJ's played the majority of the night with guests normally taking up 90 mins or 2 hours of the near 8 hour marathon weekly event for over 10 Years.

Josh Wink, Nick Warren, Andy Weatherall, Jon Pleased Wimmin,  Dave Seaman, Tall Paul, Alex P. Brandon Block, Jeremy Healy they all played there.

When it shut at 7am, where to go, what to do ? well Sundissential stupid, the event started as an after normal club hours event and exploited loopholes in licensing laws to allow alcohol to be sold on a Sunday morning to clubbers at this time.

Tony De Vit did the opening night at Sundissential and it grew very quickly. It was very colourful, clubbers dressed up as ballerinas or Elton John certainly an eyeopener in Brum as on route they were rubbing shoulders with church frequenters.

DJ's Andy Farley, Lisa Lashes and Fergie as well as Tony De Vit responsible for making made hard house as popular as it is today.

My genre changed to music a little more progressive with sound systems more to my ear and DJ more sophisticated, Digweed and Lawler the mainstay , still, the love of repetitive beats remains to this day.

Only those who was there during those years and know the true magic and harmony shared by a elite set of people from every conceivable walk of life, the change in society back then compared to now really is quite staggering.

A decent fish caught here at the start of the season.
The Instagram generation really would struggle with the overall concept and experience now I'm sure.

Anyway back to fishing a chance conversation with an elderly Gentleman at a local club stretch this week he shared some experiences over the 30 years he'd been a member and it was a bit of an eye opener to tell you the truth.

80lb bags of Chub and Barbel a frequent experience in the matches, his best Barbel heading towards 17lb and it wasn't uncommon to catch 5-10 barbel a session such the biomass of the river at that time, like the rave days, an era never to be forgotten, it was called Barbel Alley for a good reason,

However over the years the decline in Barbel numbers is quite clear to see, catch rates well down from what they were. Will they return who knows, ever increasing water extraction, farmland run off and introduced predation certainly didn't help matters, the only saving grace there are still fish to be caught, some good'uns too. 

Then again maybe it isn't all bad you see, fishing shouldn't be easy should it, I question those overstocked commercial venue anglers, fishing in what is effectively a fish tank, a keepnet full of barbel (yes really) and carp commonplace it seems, yeap fill you're boots, slap your poles, you're welcome to it.

Now talking of boots, it's been tough as old boots at the syndicate stretch of late, despite catching a double figure Barbel and Carp a couple or three trips in, since then try as I might it's been very hard fishing indeed. Some small Chub have succumbed to the bait but no more Barbel and even a try of a deadbait a couple of times in to dusk and beyond, nothing on that line of attack.

Ok the conditions are not brilliant for Barbel certainly but come dusk I did expect a little more reward for ones effort. So for this session post a sprinkling of rain and a temperature drop I would see what I could winkle out.

Garlic infused spam on one rod, a paste wrapped boilie and a groundbait feeder on the other rod. 10.00pm was the curfew I set myself, so at least an hour and a half of proper dark, enough time to catch something decent surely Shirley ? Well only one way to find out, better get the rods out.

Before I got the mainline of attack out I like using the lure rod for half an hour or so to see what I could pick up and some perch were up for a scrap again, 4 or 5 caught from one particular deeper swim to avoid the blank.

Dusk and beyond though again was an odd'un here. Within a few minutes of having the meat rod out quite a powerful bite ensued that I assume was a chub, but then that was basically it. No fish topping of note, no pulls or taps on the boilie rod, in complete contrast to a stretch not far away from here.

Still, the sky was clear, the satellites, shooting stars and the odd bolt of lightning on the horizon kept me entertained.

It was a cold one too, 7 degrees when I left but with the light winter gear on I was perfectly fine. The air so cold it felt the predator rods could well be dusted off soon. I've not given up on the Barbel totally yet because the majority of doubles I've caught have been in January when the banks are quieter and the fish hungrier.

So the weekend not far away, where to go ? what to do ?

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Yobbery and Yogibogeyboxes

So NASA'S perseverance rover is currently on its 40 million mile journey through space, and is expected to land on Mars by February, 2021.

Once it does, the robotic explorer will hunt for clues of ancient microbial life on the Martian landscape. The Perseverance rover launched on July 30 from the Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The robot will land on the Jezero Crater, a 28-mile wide, 500-meter-deep crater located in a basin slightly north of the Martian equator.Once it lands on Mars, Perseverance will begin hunting for clues of past microbial life that may have existed during the Red Planet's early history.

The mission will also test out conditions for possible human exploration of Mars by trialling a method of producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, characterizing environmental conditions such as water and dust on Mars, and looking for resources.

Now In order to scan the rocks on Mars for the tiniest hints of life that existed billions of years ago,

Perseverance will use a precision X-ray device powered by artificial intelligence dubbed as PIXL.PIXL, short for Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry, is about the size of a sarnie box and located at the end of Perseverance's 7-foot long robotic arm.

The rover will collect at least 20 samples from Mars using a handy drill, literally attached to the robot's arm. The rock samples will be stored away in tubes in a well-identified place on the Martian surface, and left there to be returned to Earth by a future sample return mission to the Red Planet.

But first, Perseverance will use PIXL to scan the rocks using the powerful X-ray beam in order to see where and how much the chemicals are distributed across the rocks' surface. PIXL's X-ray beam is so narrow that it can pinpoint features as small as a grain of salt.

Once it has scanned the rocks, the results from PIXL will inform the science team behind Perseverance over which rocks show potential for housing ancient microbial life and are therefore worth returning to Earth for further investigation.

Now NASA haven't got back to me yet because maybe when the device is done with it can be re-located down to the Warwickshire Avon to try and discover where the heck the Barbel are. 

Now to be fair this stupidly quick dusk session I may well have been visited by a Barbel, because whilst the meat rod was out doing it's thing, out of nowhere a huge bite took the centrepins ratchet off guard and nearly took the rod off the rest.

I struck in to nothing though and usually Barbel hook themselves, so I'm thinking a gluttonous Chevin may well have been the fish giving the rod some gyp.  

I did manage to bank a Chub on the other rod after pull after pull after pull eventually a fish hooked itself. Not a huge fish, probably a nadger over 3lb but when the light goes they really do seem to let their guard down.

The water is gin clear but still come dusk I've never had a problem catching Barbel, especially at this stretch where there are usually barbel in numbers. Still I might have another dangle tomorrow as I'm sure there are some about to be caught, I just them in-front of me this time.

Monday, 21 September 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Clock-watchers and Clyster Pipes

Having multiple venues at your disposal locally really is very handy indeed, you see within five or ten minutes by car I can be bankside at a stream, brook, small river, large river and two canal networks.

I was in two minds whether to go post Sunday dinner but with Sam pestering me to go, whilst he was finishing off the remainder of his I was cobbling together some bait and tackle to head down to the Warwickshire Avon.

This, the end of one of my club waters is very handy indeed, no locked gates to get through just a winding undulated and bumpy path to negotiate, which to be fair is fair game for the little Jimny.

The only stipulation here is that you have to be off half an hour after official dusk (19:40) which to be fair was ideal as Sam had school in the morning so we'd need to be off by 8.00pm anyway.

We arrived at 18.40pm so there would be no messing around, which not much more than an hour fishing we had to make haste. With the Avon tough as old boots during the day because it is obscenely low and clear and the fish just seem to disappear , this is the time to be bankside.

"Four steps to the car from the swim, 6 to the passenger door" (Sam Newey) we couldn't really get any closer to the river. Ideal when the session is a long as a match fisherman takes to set up his top kits prior to a match.

With the weather still mild and the water following suit I tend to fish the same way in big open swims for the Chub and Barbel. I use a large bait dropper an deposit a maggot container full of hemp and mixed pellets an hour before dusk and then sort the rods out to fish one bait over the top and then another bait away from the Smörgåsbord.

For this session it was a piece of meat secured using a cat bait screw which would be fished downstream and then a paste wrapped boilie over the carpet of bait. It's amazing just how the fishing can transform when the light goes and this session was no exception.

With dusk approaching the first knocks and pulls started, some decent ones too especially on the meat rod where a couple of times we had to check the bait was still on the bait screw such the ferocity of some of the bites. The screw doing an excellent job of retention we need not worry.

I always use air dried boilies now because you can just leave the bait out despite any attention it may receive from even the most determined of gluttonous chub. If a Chevin eventually hooks itself you will certainly know about it, Barbel well, stupid question, they tend to hook themselves anyway.

I was worried we might be fishless when we had to go but despite the missed bites eventually a proper bite on the boilie rod Sam was reaching for the rod and centrepin. The staging was a little way down from the bank but Sam was down there like a shot playing the fish.

A decent bend in the rod too but I knew it was a Chub rather than a Barbel. He was doing well till the Chub went on one last run towards a thick reed bed and I had to take over to avoid the inevitable.

Sam switched to landing duties and we had a decent Chub in the net. Now I was a little worried if there would still be big fish in the area because since I was here last the lovely section of really thick overhanging cover that existed here since I've been a member for some reason had been hacked back to an inch of it's life.

So much so you wouldn't even know it existed if you hadn't cast eyes on it before.  It was an area fish took sanctuary, where Barbel used to call their home during the daylight hours.

Just goes to show get your timings right you can still get amongst the bigger fish where fish during the day you'd have a bag of bits if you were lucky. It was Sam's fish to be fair and a new PB for him, 4lb 10 ounces of Warwickshire Avon Chub.

It was now time to go, so as quickly as we arrived we were headed home again, this time though a talk of all things Chub, rather than where did we go wrong.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

The Tiny River Alne - Dew Beaters and Dial Plates

Sunday just gone water on the table not wine, in-fact as I type this 19 days without an alcoholic beverage whatsoever. Lockdown and the weeks break to North Devon ones intake had increased to plainly eyebrow rising levels, so the Wife and I decided to take September off the booze to not only give the liver a bit of a rest, but ones bank balance too.

I'm sleeping better, the resting heart rate lower and already I've lost a few pounds. Fishing can help with that though because for this session I was roving a little river 5 mins from ones abode. 13,000 steps in four and a bit hours where with the river, well almost a brook really in places being that low it needs some bank to be covered just to find some fishable deeper areas.

Now the word brook is used to describe a large number of the thousands of streams which are to be found in these islands. They vary enormously in character, the extremes being brooks of the chalk stream district and those of the hill and moorland country which, in many respects, have only their name in common.

The chalk stream brook, with its comparatively quiet waters and better food supply, is able to support larger trout than the brook of the wilder country. This does not mean that large trout are not caught in these more vigorous brooks, glass-case specimens are taken every year but, generally, the emphasis is on numbers, not size.

Food is often difficult to come by and in such places life is a ceaseless fight to get enough to survive. Between these extremes come the rest of the brooks, parts of which may show some of the characteristics of both the chalk and hill brooks and require the appropriate techniques if we are to make the most of the sport they have to offer.

One of the advantages of brook fishing for trout is that, even today, much of it can still be obtained simply for the asking, or the outlay of a very modest fee. This is a great consideration when we realise that the present-day trend in fishing costs is ever upward and that game fishing on many of our rivers is a sport in which only the richer clubs or private owners can indulge.

I stumbled upon this stretch when we were out in the car one day and I noticed a signed nailed to a tree with the syndicate details. I've been a member now for a few years and managed some nice fish mainly in the winter when I target the chub. When it's very low like it was for this session trout and chublets are the target. I've yet to see another fisherman and most of the time it's just me enjoying this area of the Warwickshire countryside.

Now the opening up of new water and the reclaiming and restocking of polluted stretches does not keep pace with the needs of the growing numbers of anglers who find it increasingly difficult to obtain fishing which is not costly and overcrowded.

The solution is to turn to the smaller streams and hill brooks and it is surprising how many hold trout and are worth fishing. The better brooks inevitably cost more to fish but this is only to be expected and the extra cost must be balanced against heavier fish and possibly easier fishing.

One thing is certain, there is fishing to satisfy all tastes and all pockets. The brooks have something to offer which no other kind of fishing is able to reproduce.

Perhaps it is the variety of scenery and endlessly changing character of the water or the fact that they can provide almost every problem a trout fisherman has to learn to overcome.

To consistently catch fish under such conditions you must treat each type of water separately and once you have learned to vary your methods according to the needs of the moment you are well on the way to becoming an all-round trout fisherman.

The reason why brook fishing is still largely uncommercialised is, undoubtedly, that much of it is off the beaten track and it is in these very places that we will get some of our best sport. Also, because of the limitations imposed by their size on the number of rods that can be used at any one time, brook fishing will, fortunately, never be as expensive as the best river fishing.

The size of the fish rarely compares with that of the larger rivers and there is no doubt that many brooks could be greatly 'improved' as fisheries. But it will be a sorry day for brook lovers if the great improvement ever begins. Gone will be that wonderful feeling that you are a privileged visitor in an excitingly unspoilt and natural little world, a feeling which means so much to the people who fish there.

The fascination of the brooks and I suppose small rivers also is a very difficult thing to try and describe but it is always there waiting to soothe or excite you, in whichever mood you happen to be. Men who did their first fishing as children in these tiny waters and have later experienced the thrills of the finest salmon and trout fishing the country has to offer, return to the brooks and still find pleasure in their untouched freshness and vitality.

Sam has taken to them as I have, given the choice of Tunnel Barn or bullheads at the brook, Im lucky that I already know the answer. Now once he has mastered the techniques he will have more time to spare to study the countryside around him and I should like to think that he will eventually feel, as I do, that a day on a good brook is first-class sport and a branch of fishing which will take some beating.

Anyway back to the fishing, fishing a small Salmo Rattlin Hornet I managed 4 brook trout, the last fish a proper scraper launching itself clear of the water and if I was in to that sort of thing almost fit for the pot, probably getting on for a couple of pound. The Chub I lost well over 4lb I'd say, sadly it did me over good and proper. The small weir oddly didn't produce anything, but as I said it'd very low and shallow at the minute.

With the kingfisher keeping my company and birds of prey patrolling the area like drones, what's not to like. I love this sort of fishing especially as it's so convenient. So why not go and have a look at those neglected brooks and small rivers yourself. In these bust times it's a tonic for the mind, it really is. The fish many not be big, but who cares, it you don't get this sort of fishing you never will.

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