Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Thursday 14 July 2016

Warwickshire Avon – Back to the Smörgåsbord

After popping in to see Martyn the owner of Stratford on Avon Fishing and Outdoors apart from the usual friendly chat and fishing banter I’d somehow come out with a bucket load of casters for little more than the cost of a measly half pint of one of Purity’s finest. (Saddle Back 5.8%, lovely stuff)

…and they had to be used.

Now Martyn is very passionate about his business and has been extremely busy since opening, in the past he’s worked with local schools to hatch Salmon eggs and he also hatched and released Brown Trout in to the River Alne as well as being in the fishing game for some time. We need more people like him in the industry which seems heavily internet based these days.

Anyway a thumbs up from me, keep up the good work and for those that haven’t been, it’s been open a year and his shop is well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

The idea of baiting and waiting goes against my method and style of fishing but maybe there was a need to change tactics. I also know it’s a proven method that catches the weariest of fish, the river is low and gin clear after all and I’m finding it tough going at the moment, I couldn’t do any worse than my current maggot dangling mediocrity.

So might as well give it a bash….

Now the Smörgåsbord for my youngest son would be crisps, Kinder egg and chips, my eldest, melon, strawberries and grapes, Martin Roberts, meat and two ‘proper’ veg. There are no hard and set rules for ones chosen buffet….

….but everyone knows what a Barbus would like to dine on. Remind me what one looks like again, I’d like to know.

So for this session I planned to use a bait dropper and add a large carpet of hemp, small pellets and the casters to a swim, leave for forty five minutes, add a few more droppers to top it up, leave for another forty five minutes or so and then for the remainder of the session headed towards dusk do one last carpet bombing and fish 4 fake casters on a hair over the Smörgåsbord.

A couple of tungsten sinkers would nail the light and long hooklengh to the river bed….

The baited area was to my left under an overhanging tree and it was slightly deeper and darker than its immediate surroundings, giving a little more cover and sanctuary for feeding fish. I’d seen a couple of fish roll here, not the biggest but at least I knew the swim held the intended quarry.

Hopefully the ‘wafer thin mint’ to finish their feast off would be my fake offerings and I’d feel that powerful bend in the rod again only a Barbel can give….

Now I’m not one to twiddle my thumbs so I’d also trot some pieces of Warburtons Blue to try and pick up a Chub or two that I know reside here. I get less bothered about disturbing the swim these days having caught Barbel minutes after landing a ‘swim wrecking Chevin” and even a passing Otter but the plan was if anything decent was caught I’d add another few droppers of feed and allow the swim to settle again before introducing the fake bait.

Can you tell I plan my session beforehand? Bit like when I’m planning a holiday, meticulously, maybe that’s where I’m going wrong.

So how did it go?

Well a disaster.

The swim I intended to fish was occupied, so I walked to my 2nd choice swim and it's full of tackle but no one is home, hmmm

I walked upstream and spoke to an angler who was playing a fish to see if he knew who's it was he had been trotting, lost a barbel to a hook pool and now was playing what he thought was another Barbel but it turned out to be a foul hooked Chub that didn't like to be hooked in the tail. I landed it for 'Morris' and after a chat it seemed the swim was used by his mate who was roving around.

He rang his friend to see if I could fish it, 'yes, no problem'

So back to the swim I started baiting up, there were tall reeds in the nearside margin and a nice trot through with the float, I baited up the downstream margin not much more than a rod length out.

After an hour or so I had caught quite a few chublets but then a couple of Pike appeared in the swim, after the second dropper of bait, it's still very clear so there were clearly visible in the margin hanging around being a nuisance.

I kept on trotting for another hour and although the swim went quiet, I still managed a few small dace and chublets despite using a large hook and a large piece of bread.

The float rod went away and the last dropper went in a 9.00pm and I cast the caster rig in at 9.15pm. Two swans were active in the swim and for some reason were happy to hang around maybe feeding them so bring wasn't a wide idea. After half an hour and not long left of the session there were movements on the rod tip, there were fish(es) in the swim and sure enough, a few taps on the tip then.


A proper 4ft wrap over and the centerpins ratchet was singing, a Barbel was on.

I lifted the rod and leant in to what felt a very powerful fish, having caught quite a few doubles now this was a large, it powered off downstream with me not being able to do much but then leaning in to it again the rod was bent double and I had turned it to try and get it upstream, then after a 6 or 7 seconds whilst playing the fish.....

IT'S OFF !!!!!!, everything goes limp and I've lost the fish, WTF happened there.....

At first I thought I had a hook pull, maybe due to the smallish hook I was using but no the line had snapped between the first tungsten sinker and the second, more or less half way up the hooklink.

Now I usually use a braided hooklink but I haven't got that option here, the club doesn't like it for some reason. The hook link was Stroft ABR which I thought was the bees-knees but a failure like that I've already lost confidence in it.

Maybe the line under tension was severed by a reed ? who knows but I'm not likely to use it again.

Another one of those Arrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhh !!!!!! sessions us anglers hate, at least the bait and wait method worked well.

I've come casters left too so hopefully I'll be able to go back to the Smörgåsbord and give the method another bash.


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