Sunday, 18 October 2020

The River Leam - Dingbats and Defecators

A post of disgust, a post of defecation....

To give his new wellies a decent outing Sam and I were enjoying a short session on the float down the river Leam when I noticed a man in a bright orange t-shirt trying to negotiate the fallen tree that leads to the large swim we were fishing. He saw us, we saw him so he double backed on himself and I was going back to where he came.

I didn't think much of it, was probably a jogger wanting a look at the river but then Sam piped up...

"Daddy, what's that man doing ?"

I look behind me and cannot believe what I was seeing, he had removed his t-shirt, and was squatting with his trousers round his ankles and was yes, you've guessed it taking a sh*t

Literally in plain sight of Sam and I and he clearly couldn't give two hoots that we were in the vicinity.

"OYE !!!!, what the hell are you doing ? "

"Sorry, really needed to go"

"There is a pub there FFS, they've a toilet you know" "Disgusting , right in front of us, I hope you're going to clean it up.

"Yeah I've got a plastic bag"

A few more choice words went his way, as he was outed and embarrassed hopefully so there was nothing in return, well how could he respond to his actions. Luckily with Sam there I was quite reserved because there might have been a different outcome altogether. 

His mess removed thankfully, I can only assume it's a regular occurrence as he goes jogging equipped knowing that he will need to poo. It was the fact he knew we were there and still carried on with his act, just typing it now it's got me wound up, what kind of person thinks that is acceptable, doesn't bare thinking about.

On a more positive note it was almost a bite a chuck over the 4 swims with fished. Simple tactics a light float set-up and a pint of maggots. Nothing big, roach and dace the main quarry and some of the fattest minnows we'd ever seen.

The river is clearing so the larger fish didn't show, but to keep Sam entertained a bite a chuck is most welcome especially as I was worried we'd need to venture in to the field with the bull in residence and after a scary encounter down the river Leam, that wouldn't have been a good idea.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

The Tiny River Alne - Rattlin' Hornets and Retromorphosis

I love the little Alne, it's the closest bit of river to me and I could walk there is need be. I've been a member of this small syndicate for a few years now and only ever seen two other anglers who were there on the same day.

I've got the stretch to myself basically and I've got to know it pretty well now and unlike the BAA stretch where I know from the land owner trout have been taken from outsiders to the area, these fish go back.

It's amazing how things can change here though, the recent flood water bringing down a couple of big trees, the watercourse hindered forever you would think. The farmer though to give him credit is on top of it all so I bet before the next flood they would have gone, no doubt chopped up for firewood.

The fish too, one day you can catch chub after chub, the next it's a trout day, but then it can be combination of the two. 

I've fished for the smaller species and fish a link ledger or float, maggots can bring dace, gudgeon and small roach. The perch don't show themselves oddly but then it's not a river stuffed full of fish.

Imagine having your home taken away from under your feet after a bout of heavy rain because that's what generally happens here. The water can rise and fall at a ridiculous rate, one minute the village is cut off because the road is flooded, 24 hours later, you wouldn't know there was a flood at all.

That's always been the issue here, it's not always fishable, last season it was almost out of bounds. There was the odd window of opportunity and I tried to fish it when I could.

It offers unbeatable solitude for me as an angler and like most of my short sessions here I didn't see another soul. Traffic noise minimal, kingfishers active, deer in the field opposite leaping in plain sight, sheep with their eyes fixated to me the imposter, like train passengers with Margaret Ferrier onboard. 

Now I've been loving the lure fishing here of late. In-fact I've not used actual bait for a while here because it's a great method to use. The lures I use are not big, the floating 3.5cm Salmo Rattlin' Hornets the mainstay. There is so much debris on the bottom here that using a Ned rig for example you'd get snagged up on all manner of stuff and you'd lose lures on nearly every session.

The lure floats on the cast but then dives on the retrieve, so it's great to leave the lure float downstream to where it would be difficult to cast.

It was a tougher session than I thought to honest. There was some colour in the deeper swims and gin clear in the shallows but it took a good while to get the first fish which was a trout. The chub didn't show at all and yet the last trip here the trout didn't get a look in as the chevin were well up for a feed. Well to be fair, not many fish landed but numerous aborted hits on the lure.

I caught another 5 in the banker swim the nadger of extra water helping I'm sure because those couple of extra inches on made all the difference. 

A love these sessions, the fish are not big, but it does wonders for my wellbeing and that's all I can ask for.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Cockles and Consequentialism

Some of the chub that frequent this section of the Avon are colossal, so colossal in-fact I've never got them out of my mind. 

In one particular session when feeding some freebie surface bread to the waiting Chevin in the swim to try and get them to be readily accepting of bait before a hook went on, a group of three appeared from nowhere and from under ones polarised sunglasses I could see the stature of them.

The were huge, proper jaw dropping Chub, 5lbers you say ? nope these were 6 plus'ers all day long, hell, maybe getting on to 7lb such their ponderous paunchy. 

Could I catch them, errrr no, in-fact I've seen them again a few times now but just cannot get one on the end of my hook.

I even had one of the big'uns come up in the water to inspect the floating crust for what seem like an age, but having been literally millimetres away from the bait with its nose it pulled away at the last second and returned to where it whence came. 

The smaller fish like it here too though that's one of the issues and once one of the humdrum is caught after the disturbance the swim is dead, the fish just vanish. Now tell a lie, I did have one of the fish eject the bait before the hook could be set but that's as close as I have been to getting on the six list.

So I was back for a slight change of tactic for this session, it was out with the speci waggler where I'd trot down a bread disk or lobworm 

The problem was work finished far later than expected and with the Wife off to Yoga I only had about an hour and a half to fish. Still I was only planning to fish this one swim really anyway so not a huge problem. 

Further downstream are some nice elevated swims where you can trot big baits and I could have ended up down there I suppose if things were not going well. The river is back to clear again however it's still up a little so when I got to the river it was very oxygenated indeed but I've seen some big Barbel and the big Chub here and they don't seem to mind it to be fair.

Some floating pieces of bread usually bring some fish up from the depths but not this time. In-fact under the polarised sunglasses I couldn't spot any fish at all apart from the odd minnow. Hmmmmm, anyway I alternated between lobworm and bread trot after trot, pass after pass but nothing for an hour or so.

More floating bread again, nothing, where were the fish ?

I went for a wander downstream and a couple of Barbel anglers were biteless, the only other angler on the stretch I walked was catching small dace on maggots but even for him it was quiet. I returned back to the swim for the final fifteen or so minutes but this time spotted a huge dark silhouette, one of them was in situ. 

Could I tempt it though, nope, bread and lobworm spooked it and even after managing to get a bait right in front of it's mouth it did an about-turn and disappeared out of sight. I could have stayed there for hours and hours and the same outcome me thinks, a blank. Still not all lost they've not been washed away in the floods, at least that's something.

I'll catch one some day, watch this space....

Thursday, 15 October 2020

The River Leam - Circuit Breakers and Crinkum Crankums

With the Piscatorial Quagswagging hit tally about to hit the one million mark with this 915th blog post, I did wonder where should I go fishing before the extra digit appeared, then out the blue this week fellow syndicate member George Burton had shared some pictures of some lovely plump Roach he'd be catching on the Tiny River Leam and it answered the question for me.

To the River Leam forthwith, chop chop !!!!

I love this diminutive little river we have access to, not because of the size of the fish it contains, but it's such a lovely roving stretch with features aplenty, and generally a nice place to be.

I've said before I'm not that bothered about fish size these days, the venue and its peace and solitude it offers are way more of a priority. Angling in this sort of waterway though offers something its bigger brother cannot offer and that is surprise and delight. 

A 3.5lb Chub wow, a cracker, a 10oz Roach, what a stunner, an 8oz dace, awesome. You wouldn't say that on the Warwickshire Avon now would you. 

The potential of a big fish from small waters is enough to get the bread liquidised and the womery raided though. Now I don't think I'd fished this stretch in to dusk, well I cannot recall anyway, however that was the plan for this session.

I'd only have a couple of hours post work but these days that's sufficient enough to get ones mind in a good place. Now the river had been over its banks of late sadly carrying a load of picnic benches from a neighbouring public house with it during the spate conditions and dumped a load of then in the watercourse.

Now George had run out of fingers and thumbs and had to start counting his toes such the amount of jetsum that was now in the watercourse but I wanted to have a butchers myself to see what could be done about it. 

COVID-19, what COVID-19, I forget everything when I go fishing, ones mind goes blank when I'm waterside, the tonic is like no other legal or illegal. A return with waders may be in order and there is also talk of a syndicate work visit to create some more swims and also some water management needing some man power. 

Some of the debris is not only causing an eyesore, but could well effect the fishing too. Lets just hope we don't get the Government of Singapore'esk circuit breaker lockdown to mirror that is being threatened to out the kybosh on proceedings as we've fish to catch, benches to retrieve. 

Anyway simple roving tactics for this session, ones ultralite quiver rod donned with a pin with a simple link ledger , a small landing net, a small shoulder bag with liquidised bread, a few worms and bread discs as bait. 

All being well I'll pop here the weekend too as Sam wants to fish the little Leam as it's his kind of river too.

Oh and as a back-up, as the light was fading I wanted to try the surface lure here, Chub you see, especially the big ones in and around dusk there is a definite change in their whereabouts because all of sudden then can start to reveal themselves and start to investigate anything that could be a potential meal on the surface. 

It thought this sort of activity was limited to one small area but the more I spend time on the bank in to dusk and beyond it can be common place. I'd hooked and lost a right lump here and sadly not got to see the fish, but it certainly was a good'un as it did me over good and proper.

Now the Salmo Lil'Bug is a surface wobbler so called tracer. As you can derive from the name, it tempts the fish by disturbing the water surface and creating a trace or wave. This lets the predator to register the lure even when the water is a less than clear, the trout pattern I was using has a highly visible belly.
Surface lures really work well on the Warwickshire Avon on certain large bay swims where the Chub are cautious particularly and as mentioned before as the light is fading you can cast the lure out, and allow the current to take the lure wherever it wants exploring as much of the water as possible.  

A slight nudge of the lure to disturb the water is a good tip and also a really slow retrieve of the lure across the surface of the water too. 

Time it right just as it's going over a Chevin's noggin all of a sudden you can have an explosion on the surface. The takes can be savage and great fun on light lure gear but depending on the lure you buy the problem is some of them really do show damage rather quickly. A good introduction is the Lil'bug as it's fairly robust, it's also very easy to cast with its internal weight. 

Anyway better get fishing hadn't I....

George was having a dangle further downstream as well and I was kept in the loop throughout his short session. I fed 4 swims with some liquidised bread and the proceeded to fish each swim in turn. The water was clearer than I thought and after the third swim without a nibble I decided to stick it out in the last swims where I could set the stall out a little better.

So after passing the 5 picnic benches on the return I settled in to the swim and as soon as the bread hit the bottom I started to get bites. Only small fish mind you but enough to unsettle the quiver. After I reeled in a minnow I was wondering where there any big fish moving, but with a clear sky not exactly ideal conditions. 

George had already landed a couple of chublets so I wanted some of the action so I switched to a large lobworm just as the sun was setting and within a few minutes the first proper bite came, almost unmissable and guess what, yeap I missed it. 

After getting stuck in a snag and having to re-rig I was running out of my allotted time to catch a fish. 

Before a worm went out for the last half an hour I used the lure a few times in the large bay swim where after 40 or so casts eventually I had an aborted take from a Chub. A decent wake too so it must have been a decent fish. A few more casts without a touch I swapped rods and the bait went out as dusk had hit the tip just about visible as the light was going.

It didn't take long to get a bite either and the quiver after an initial tap and pull all of a sudden it went in to melt down and a fish was on. After a decent scrap on light tackle there was a nice river Leam chub sat in the net.

Now I know there are bigger chub here to catch but this one was most welcome indeed the flash of the camera doing a grand job of highlighting its features.

Not a huge fish estimated at around 3lb but still a welcome bend in the rod after a busy week in the office. I do love it down here, and relatively untapped too, I'll be back. I'm sure there will be some nice gems to had, these sort so small rivers always throw up surprises....

....I cannot wait to see what I can winkle out next....

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