Sunday 24 January 2016

Warwickshire Avon – The Chubby Dace Chase

I’d fished this stretch a few times last winter and discovered a swim full of roach and dace that were tightly shoaled up as either side of the swim was baron and fishless. There were encouraging specimen potential signs and in particular the dace, which were by far bigger than the usual stamp of Avon fish I regularly catch. Previous sessions (a year or so ago) I’d sat behind a quivertip and ledgered a worm or bread disc but for this morning trip I decided to trot a float with either bread disc or a couple of maggots as hookbait. It’s pretty deep here around 7 to 11ft and with it being reasonably wide with long runs you can give the float a proper run through.

Feed a few maggots each trot, jobs a good’s….

A nice plump Warwickshire Avon Roach
Before the first frosts the largely untapped upper reaches are out of bounds because of the huge and dense herbaceous pain in the arse perennials but there is still plenty to go at. I’m not planning to renew this book for next season having decided to fish pastures new but before I confine it to the bin for a future session I’m planning to go past the bridge to the end of the stretch and work my way down.

I’m sure there are some surprises to be had….anyone fancy a trip?

Dace shoals generally hold a variety of sizes so it pays to keep fishing a swim even if you’re catching only small dace to start with, I’ve made that mistake before, persevere and get through the plebeians and eventually the bigger fish will appear. The smash and grabbers are notorious for giving quick sharp bites and unless you are in direct contact with the float then bites can be missed.

Another issue I’ve found when trotting a float, is that even the Lilliputian fish can dunk a float and more often you are striking in to thin air. Using a 2oz quiver you get the knocks and taps but it’s only when you get a proper pull round that you need to lift the rod, they register properly too, like a Barbel bite in miniature, I’m a rover though, it’s more my thing, I also need to do more trotting, I’m sure I’ve been missing a trick.

The usual set-up for dace is as light as possible but I prefer the opposite, these days I like to use a fairly hefty self cocking and highly visible Righyni float as I’ve found even with a bow in the line leave the float can act as a self-hooking mechanism, a bolt rig in effect, you just need to be patient...

.…and get in to the mindset of the bladderated, and the delayed reaction time that goes with it….

Hey, maybe that’s why our Eastern European guests like a drink when they are fishing, maybe a couple of cans of tramp juice prior to commencing battle is the way forward. I wait till the float goes properly under and then just lift the 14ft rod to pick up the line, 9 out of 10 times a fish is hooked.

For my inaugural Grayling session at the Itchen I used a Guru QM1 hook and they impressed me so much they will feature in nearly all my trotting now. The smaller sizes particularly, the circle type pattern just seems to give fantastic hook-ups, being barbless they are also very easy to remove. Before fitting one of the Righyni floats a Drennan Avon was already rigged up so I'd persevere with that and only change if necessary and I was missing bites. 

Now the session was weird, I couldn't for the life of me catch a Dace. I started at the top of the stretch and trotted in more or less every swim without a touch, there were hardly any signs of fish either, the odd fish topped that was it.

When I arrived at the familiar banker I had to battle through the bone dry thicket and eventually had a fishable swim. I fed maggots with each trot and after about fifteen minutes or so eventually I managed a Roach...

..and another Roach, and another, and ....., and it went on like that till I ran out of maggots, I could have built up a reasonable weight if I had a keepnet. I had a few lobworms with me so I upped the hook size and fished a slack a little over depth, again, fish after fish, till the bait ran out.

The fish were not the biggest, but the average stamp of fish was high with most fish over 7 or 8 oz's up to 13 or so.

When I returned home the Salter scales were nowhere to be seen (must have left them), so I might sneak in short session after work and return to the same swim, next time though, I'll fish the quiver and go 'bread' handed....


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