Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Warwickshire Avon - Beginning to bug Me

I didn’t expect much from this session but with my busy family life if I didn’t get out today then I’d be scuppered till the weekend. I did consider fishing the cut for carp or to go and try and find some surface feeding carp on the river but in the end for this short evening session it was groundhog day.

On one of the canal sessions and the quest for a cut double I made the mistake of wearing a T-shirt and a pair of crocs, it was very warm after all but boy, did I suffer the next day and for the rest of the week.

I came out with some of the largest and nastiest insect bites I’ve ever experienced and, itchy wasn’t the word, these were unbearable and as some of the larger ones were on my ankle, wearing shoes the next day aggravated them something chronic so walking was uncomfortable to the extreme and eventually blood was drawn.

I’m sure these must have been from mutant midges on chemical highs as these bites were stepped up a notch from the usual bites I get. The problem is giving a good scratch is one of the most satisfying sensations one can feel but it actually stimulates serotonin in the brain that intensifies the itchy feeling. As the serotonin spreads from the brain to the spinal cord, apparently the chemical can ‘jump the tracks’, moving from pain-sensing neurons to nerve cells that influence itch intensity.

Because of the short mouthparts, biting on man is generally confined to exposed skin. Midges cannot bite through cloth, although they will climb under clothes to bite.

However I’ve noticed a few more annoying buzzing mosquitoes over the past couple of days and they can bite though thin clothes so one must take extra precautions.

Out with the Gin….?

Now although I love a G&T (Rock Rose Navy Strength please) particularly in this weather the gnats piss quinine in tonic these days is about as strong as the water down Rum in an all-inclusive hotel bar in Sharm El Sheikh. The 1850’s colonial troops had it in powdered form and mixed it with carbonated water and sugar to mask the bitter taste, but in these large doses the quinine worked well as a prophylactic against malaria. The gin was just there to help the medicine go down more palatably. Well that’s what the history books reckon anyway.

I’m sure they liked to get bladderated like the rest of us….

Pre kids, my Wife and I and two other couples had two weeks sailing a Catamaran in the British Virgin Islands and my mate Deano used to react to mosquitoes bites horrifically, he got huge blistering lesions and hives that looked like somebody had just injected air under his skin. It looked something out of a horror film or a torture scene, gin and tonic even when consumed in obscene quantities was about as much use as tits on a fish. The lesions used to go up and down in size like Kelly Brooks chest over the years but when they were the fullest they really were impressive, they deserved to be preserved or replicated in a museum of medical history.

So you need to give them a bit hit of Diethyltoluamide. Proper 97% stuff, not of the rubbish you get in the supermarket.

I had tired the odd cigar when fishing in to dusk but the problem was as soon as the cigar smoke abated the insects came back and after the second or third cigar the back of one’s mouth tasted like I’d be chewing on one of Gandhi’s sandals.

So covering up is the only way to go really especially as us anglers are next to the water for our hobby, and that’s when I stumbled upon Craghoppers Nosilife clothing range which has insect-repellent treatment permanently woven into the fabric, which should help protect against biting insects. I ended up buying a long sleeve shirt which is nice and lightweight and also provides some ventilation so despite it being nearly 32 degrees today I was more than comfortable. The crocs were dumped for proper shoes and I had some insect repellent at hand if the blighters still wanted a go.

So the evening session....

Carpet bombing droppers of hemp, caster and pellet, the swim left to rest then a rig with artificial casters on a hair was placed over the buffet and hopefully heading towards dusk the bigger fish would find their feet and go gorging themselves on the bed of bait. The nature of the way barbel feed they tend to hook themselves and by using relatively buoyant fake casters if there is one in the swim it will eventually get hooked.

Despite the stupidly hot day the swim was in the shade and I soon had the fish feeding, weirdly all small chublets and nothing of size, I’d have amassed a decent weight mind you but not exactly what I was after. Double caster was generally ignored it was a single caster that produced the most fish.

I travelled light and after packing up most of the gear and with an hour to go before dusk I finally positioned the bait over the bed of bait. In the margins a Pike was still milling around, only 5 or 6lb or so but even a few jabs of the rod tip he was still back in the swim, but it did get me thinking. Even the large Seymo bait dropper I use I’m sure I’m not putting in enough bait, I accidently had one dropper fall in the margin before it was cast out and as it’s clear I could see the bait settle on the bottom. A large dropper doesn’t go far and certainly not the carpet of bait I expected. A note to oneself bring more bait next time.

Anyway eventually fish were in the swim, the rod was showing me, brushes on the line, grabs of the fake caster, these were Chub though. Some proper 2ft pulls too and some outrageous twangs and bangs. Although I like catching Chub they were not my target species but I’m sure if I shortened the hair then I’d have banked one. 

I bailed at 10.15pm and had a nice walk back to the car with the full moon on show. I’m sure if I stayed for another hour the Barbel would have ventured out to play but got to stick to the rules.

I stayed outside till late last night to enjoy the breeze as the house was like a sauna, the moon was stunning.

I’m running out of ideas, but I’ve a much deeper swim in mind and a load of bait to use up but I do fancy a decent pull on the rod. Maybe roving to try and spot some carp the weekend and another in to dusk bait and wait session is the way forward.

Can we have some rain please….


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