Saturday, 22 July 2017

Warwickshire Avon - Barbel and Badonkadonks

It was a head turner that for sure, to be honest a freak of nature, a proper badonkadonk, so much so, I forgot to buy the very item I went in for.

Even the Wife was impressed, "wow, I wished I had that backside."

"Yours is fine, my Dear" as I take a sneaky second look....

So being spam'less with the river a nice colour, I cobbled together a set-up....

This morning session with Sam we were fishing an area of that is often fishable in even flood conditions, you see the nature and flow of the river means this small stretch is pedestrian in any given weather conditions.

We didn't really have a target in mind, set-ups were a link ledgered couple or three maggots, a Barbel set-up with a couple of krill boilies and from time to time a shallow float set-up.

It didn't take long for the first fish either, a small perch, then a small rare Ruffe to add a few points to the bloggers challenge.

All 0.96oz of it....

Soon after a chub that I didn't weigh but looked like it wouldn't make 3lb, this slow section of the Avon was fishing rather well.

Now when a decent bite was received not long after putting the Chub back, I thought, what the heck was this, it was stripping line off the drag for a start so I had to tighten the clutch, at first I thought it was a monster Chub or maybe even a carp but when it surfaced after an arm aching battle, it was a Barbel of all things.

Sam was amazed it was the first Barbel he had seen in the flesh and wanted to give it like I do the care it deserves, rested in the net, then weighed, rested in the net and released it went 7lb 14oz's.

It had a mark on it's mouth, so should be easy identified in the future. Not a bad morning, and we luckily left before the heavens opened.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Hard Body and Rubber Legs

Don’t ask how much I paid for this lure, you don’t want to know.

Manufactures blurb….

The Realis Shinmushi has incorporated the actions of a “hard” body and “soft” rubber legs, creating a 3 dimensional pulsation that predator scant resist.

The most important factor for the “Bug” lure is the “sound” the bug makes when falling on the surface of the water. The hard body of the Shinmushi will enable any angler to create this effect. In addition, the rubber legs and feather on the tail hook will also induce bites from the bass.

The wings works as a “stopper”, limiting the lure from traveling too far, while staging a “freestyle” swimming action when retrieving. Anglers will be able to approach the fish in a versatile manner.

This ultimate “bug” lure will automatically induce bites from the bass while “stopping” it or “moving” it.

Separate body structure: The body of the Shinmushi is a two piece structure separating from the belly and the back section. By removing the belly hook eye, anglers will be able to separate the body to customize the lure depending on the given situation.

Wing: We made it a point to design the wings as a fixed feature instead of a free moving wing, for its function as a stopper. It was also carefully designed to enable to the lure stage a ”freestyle” action while retrieving. We have employed elastomer as its material minimizing any drag while casting.

Rubber legs: The length of the legs are 70mm and are so soft that it will continue shimmering even when holding it still in your hand.

So enough of that….

I wanted to try this unusual surface lure for Chub on this nice stretch of the Warwickshire Avon, come dusk you see, I’ve seen some big fish surface and yet a static bait and trotting maggots has been ignored.

Barbel won’t be on my radar till much later on in the season and to be honest as I do like variety in my fishing, apart from the dedication I give the Zander challenge I need much needed multifariousness otherwise I’d get bored.

However after the capture of one last weekend for a little double dipping, a bait dropper of hemp, small pellets and dead maggots went next to a overhanging tree and half and hour before dusk I'd put a boilie bait over the top.

Enough of the preamble, how did it go....?

The first chub came pretty quick, properly nailed the lure and on light gear gave a pretty goo scrap too.

Wow what a great way to fish, the swim has reasonable depth and flow so it was a matter of casting upstream and allowing the lure to drift down on the surface, giving it a quick, flick now and again to make it look like an injured insect.

Reeling it in like a normal lure it's wings rotate causing a surface disturbance with added noise.

As the light goes, the bigger fish start moving about, but not long after the first fish, the second one comes along. This feels like a much better fish and after it got stuck in some marginal reeds I managed to get it out.

3lb 14oz's, a mint fish with a bronze back.

I know a bigger fish will come winter, but a nice fish all the same.

With the sun now setting it was time to sit behind the barbel rod....

The odd sharp tug and twang it was uneventful but having to leave at dusk, I know for well, that stay an hour in to dark, a Barbel would likely be forthcoming.

The weekend, well, I'm in two minds what to do as weather don't look the best and Sam coming with me.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Slacks, Sabbaths and Snollygosters

Got to love a weir pool, all manner of fish present and more often than not, something special turns up. I’d not actually fished this weir before, not sure why either as having walked past it a few times it was certainly inviting and just looked fishy.

Now not being one to worship a high and mighty, Sunday for me is about rest and recuperation, however more often than not, that goes out the window. You see I reckon I suffer from Willis-Ekbom disease or restless syndrome, where I have an overwhelming, irresistible urge to move ones legs. So even If I have a chance to lie in or put my feet up, I just cannot manage it.

Half the problem however is as someone who has started work at 6.00am for nearly 20 years now, I’m often so knackered come the weekend I struggle staying awake. The plus point as an hourly paid contractor I’m one of those that can be relied on, take note those congressional snollygosters and politicians, I’m a man of principles.

Take note Nadhim Zahawi….

Net results, I’m rarely out of work, but one big problem, the regular Sunday roast for example, if I had that at lunchtime, I’d asleep by 2.00pm.

What at knackered body clock does give me though is not only to I rarely use an alarm, as an angler I have a slight advantage over the other maggot downers is that often I’ve the pick of the swims as the majority are still tucked up in bed, whilst I’m swim bound as I’m awake and twiddling my thumbs at 5.00am Sunday morning.

ShhhhhShhh it’s also free parking in some places on a Sunday, what’s not to like.

Start work at 6.00am, it’s the way forward.

So this weir pool….

I wanted to fish the slacker and calmer water to see what I could pick up, a running feeder set-up with maggot on the hook, one fake, one real.

The feeder filled with small 4mm pellets, hemp and dead maggots.

I didn’t really have a target either, just happy to see what would turn up.

Perch, Bream, Roach, you name it, more or less a bite a chuck. Nothing outstanding and after a quick natter with the Bailiff who has a right job on his hands patrolling and dishing out day tickets, evicting people maybe the tactics were a little wrong.

But hey, that's fishing for you....

Anyway after a few hours with nothing of note the tip wraps round and a Barbel is on, the unmistakable fight a fit and powerful Barbel can only give the light set-up was being tested especially as it went straight in to the heart of the weir. Eventually I turned it and I was getting control, certainly arm aching mind you, as someone that doesn't fish for Barbel that often, you can see why people like catching them.

I wouldn't say I was disappointed when it surfaced as it gave a good scrap but I thought it was bigger than it actually was.

Sometimes though, those smaller fish fight harder than a double figure fish.

5lb 4oz's on the nose...

Maybe I should give them a proper go soon, as I know where some bigger ones reside.

So I learnt lots today and I'll definitely be back, next time however, different tactics all together.

Back home, out for some lunch with the family, all before midday.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Hemp, Halieutics and Hedonism

The simple pleasures in life are to be treasured, last Sunday after an afternoon of cracking food, good company, bladderation in moderation, I wasn’t ready to go to bed.

It was warm after all, so with the kids conked out asleep, the Wife watching another dross American show on Sky Atlantic I wanted a little solitude.

Viken Arman, Live at Belvédère des Caillettes on the Bluetooth speaker, a nice bottle of Red and a big fat cigar that I enjoy from time to time.


Port and Stilton, another one of my hedonistic pleasures.

Oh yes….can life get any better….?

Even the bats seem to be more prevalent than ever, as if they came to watch.

Fishing for many, and for me can offer so much pleasure in some may ways, for instance one scenario after watching motionless rod tips for a couple of hours completely out of the blue, a Barbel has finally moved in to the baited area picked up the hookbait bait, felt something isn’t right with it, and bolted downstream.

Silence to Violence in a split second….

where if the baitrunner wasn’t activated, or the clutch set properly, the rod if you weren’t quick enough would end up being ripped out of the rest and would be river bound never to be seen again.

It’s something unless you have experienced it firsthand you wouldn’t think a fish could do that.

I take that a little further but using a centepin reel with a ratchet, not only does it offer, for me anyway more control over a powerful Barbel run but it also offer an audible bite indication that is a sensory overload in itself.

It must be seen to be believed….dare I say it the ‘Three foot Twitch’.

For this session Barbel would be the target. I didn’t have much time either, this was a stupidly short session.

The swim I wanted to fish has a large canopy that hangs over this relatively narrow stretch of the Warwickshire Avon. When it’s low and clear as it is now, the fish tuck themselves out of the way under this overly large parasol and venture out when the light goes. You can catch them if you can get a bait underneath by casting upstream and rolling some meat but a recent snag that has appeared recently has made that nigh on impossible.

Bait and wait is the way to go….

So with half a pint of casters I had to use up I bait dropped a Smörgåsbord consisting of about a pint of hemp, small pellets and some broken boilies to match the one I’d use on the hair.

Boy they love hemp, doesn’t everyone.

The rig, well an adaptation of the Gluttonous Chub – Poka-Yoke Rig

So a large spicy squid boilie rather than an overly large pellet. The problem is Chub are always around so meat is a no go because I when they move in I want to know that the bait is still intact after they go on their bait stripping mission.

Ok sometimes the Chub will eventually hang itself but it’s surprising just how many powerful pulls and tugs the rig can tolerate and the hookbait is still staying put where it needs to be. Meat you are in two minds whether the bait is still there and the last thing you want to do is keep on recasting.

So a tough skinned boilie, large stop, long hair is the way to go for this approach.

So best laid plans and all that....

A bed of bait down, leave for an hour, whilst I had a small quiver rod with link ledger set-up to try and catch a few Gonks, and a few Gonks I did.

A bite a chuck, the best went 1.35oz so 0.09 more than I managed before.

Rods went out, sit back and bait....

After 10 minutes the first indication, a smash and grab chub bite, bang, rattle, pull, tug till eventually I got bored and struck.

Yeap a small Chub the culprit.

Rod out again, dusk upon us, the right rod goes this time, bang, rattle, pull, tug. bang, rattle, pull, tug, yeap, this one has hooked itself.

Damn Chub, sadly with the light about to go and club rules and all that, I'm off.

Btw if the Focus estate driver is reading this, yes I had a tyre inflator, 

Monday, 10 July 2017

Warwickshire Stour – Boobs and Babblement

“Dad, Dad, Dad, DAD !!!….”


“Can I have a go at casting again”

“Yes if you want, just give me a sec”

I was sidetracked….

Sat in a field with young Sam on another fishing trip, my mind was elsewhere. A stunning morning again it was, sun beating down, sky blue, then out of nowhere a jogger of the bouncing kind.

Black shorts, white vest top, barely contained Mitchell Brothers.

The red support bra, working overtime….

Jaw dropped, fair play, got to be uncomfortable….an exchange of pleasantries.

The Stour at the moment is very low indeed but a stretch just outside Stratford-Upon-Avon is deep, very deep indeed so lots of swims perfectly fishable.

Sam with his float rod, me with a piece of bread on a link ledger.

There is no doubt the Stour fishes better when there is a little water in it, but we still caught fish.

Roach, little chublets, dace and a few Perch.

Not big fish, but that’s not the point, trampling over fields, watching the bulls in the neighbouring fields, appreciating the countryside, dirt under nails. That’s what it is all about.

One with nature.

The last swim Sam also witnessed his first Pike attack first hand as when I’d hooked a small chub from underneath an overhanging bush, on the retrieval one not much bigger than the chub itself grabbed it on its flanks and proceeded to shake its head.

“Dad, that was awesome, thanks for taking me fishing again”

Despite the constant babble and chatter which gets in the way of a solitude seeker, that’s all that I need, a sentence like that.

Next stop, I might take him to the Avon to track down a Ruffe.

"Can I put some maggots on that scab of mine now"

Maybe after the Barbi, Son

Luckily forgotten about....

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Ebullience and Epulation

The late ‘Ruddles’ the Golden Lab was such a character, so obedient, quiet, slept well and was a joy to take to the pub and on holiday.

Even the malting of hair was largely forgotten about, he was that easy to look after.

He had to have his feeding time like clockwork, bit like the dawn and dusk Tench, that appear in the summer and then become elusive.

Certainly this time of year, no better time to catch them.

However I remember a New Years Eve party we hosted at the Father-In-Laws he even wasn’t fazed by the loud fireworks we were setting off. Then again as we were otherwise occupied with rockets, single ignitions and alcohol, he’d helped himself to half the buffet which consisted of pork pies, sausage and pizza.

His stomach swelled to such a size he couldn’t even get up the stairs….

The morning, don’t remind me, I can still see the resulting mess now, not pleasant.

Would the Tench be getting their heads down feeding properly again, I need to find that feeding spell because at the minute my results for this Bloggers Challenge have been mediocre.

Last time I tried for them on this lily riddled stretch of the Warwickshire Avon I blanked, what was encouraging though was eventually after feeding a second swim for a couple of hours eventually some tell-tale pinhead bubbles started to appear.

Sadly family duties took priority and I had to leave….

Either they were feasting on the bed of bait I put down or they were grubbing around for bloodworm as in my mind no question, there were Tinca in the swim.

Again I had a small window to fish, so it was no messing around….

Early start….

Rod made up, Drennan Insert, lift method.

Some dark groundbait, hemp, small pellets and the odd grain of corn, a sprinking of dead red maggots.

Sleeper rod for any passing Bream or Carp, PVA Bag, halibut pellet.

No time to waste, let’s get fishing….

What a stunning morning and a nice time to be out. On route, stop at the bridge, peer overhead a double plus carp spotted sunning itself, river clear as gin.

It's weedy down here but because it is match fished some of the swims are often raked so I set station in the swim I fished the previous time and also fed the swim adjacent to it that had a gap between the lilies. I'd pop to that swim from time to time to see if I could see any bubbles.

After feeding the swim, eventually signs of movement on the float, the float dotted down to a small bit of red showing, oh and what a great way to fish, centrepin, lift method, as a visual indication, when a bite is received nothing better.

Float pops up 3 to 4 inches, strike, a fish is on....

So the first fish a bream, not a bad one either, just over 3lb.

I fully expected the Tench to move in eventually if they were around but throughout the morning session it was clear it was a bream day.

There are huge quantities of small fish here, ground bait is a waste of time, as the shoal hits it and then Perch hit the shoal, lots of commotion.

Now talking of commotion, the method feeder on the sleeper worked brilliantly, so much so I could have fished another rod more effectively than the float.

As after an initial small Chub, after the 3 or 4th bream they were getting bigger, biggest 4lb 8oz. Considering I don't really fish for them I'm sure some 6, 7 and above must be about. You can see why they have matches here, I amassed well over 30lb without even trying.

No bubbles appeared in the neighbouring swim, and another bream caught I called it at day.

Highlight of the day, a nice bream to register on the score board, lowlight, bust my bleeding landing net thread, the rest of it, is still in the handle. Hopefully that is salvageable, we'll see.

I'll get one of the handy clay modellers on it.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Cankles, Collops, and Collywobbles

Butterflies in ones stomach, is a fantastic feeling isn't it. A while back something I hooked in the weir really did do me over like nothing has ever done before. The roach deadbait came back a sliver of meat, the razor sharp teeth leaving it unrecognizable the thin gauge hook that has caught many a thick jawed Zander, pulled straight out such was the resistance, the Zander set-up, like a fine bungee cord trying to stop a rampaging Eddie Hall.

This was a huge predator no question, I'd never had a rod bent like that before….

Now talking of huge predators, it reminded me of a friend Zouchy who was befriended by a large cankle equipped predator with a Billy Ray Cyrus haircut at a lad’s night out at the infamous Fatty Arbuckles in Coventry.

Any resistance was futile, she was the boss, he the prey….

At the end of the night, he even had to buy her a burger from the chuck wagon, his arm lifted behind his back, her other arm round his shoulder.

We stood and watched, such was the doing over he received, they wander away in the distance, the night never spoken about.

The stuff of legends.

As Zouchy did, I'm sure of it, I was back at the hallowed waters for a couple or three goes….

It’s low and clear you see and the meat eaters love these conditions. They are prey fish after all, so it's all about the sight.

A little like the clap, being clear is good.

Apart from the Pike set-up I also had a lure rod to see if I could tempt a Perch from the depths, I must admit I don’t lure fish enough, especially whenever I catch a fish using the method it gets ones heart going ten to the dozen.

Best laid plans and all that because, sadly more unfinished business.

You see some bank clearers were there hacking a load of stuff down which ended up coming downstream, also when they eventually went a late comer which I failed to see had taken up residence in the swim I wanted to fish.

Who brings their missus fishing FFS, well apart from Russ Hilton  (Hi Russ)

So only option was to explore some of the other swims, now the river is low, very low in fact, and donning ones cocoons I tried to spot any decent fish lurking for future sessions. They were obviously tucked up under the canopy cover as apart from bleak and little chublets, there was nothing of note.

Eventually I managed a little Jack from using a little shad in the margins.

One swim looked very perchy though, canopy cover, very dark and a gap in-between looked the perfect sanctuary for a stripy.

I changed the wire hook link to fluro and fitted it with a rubber replicant worm.

Perfect cast....

Float settles, flow starts to get hold, float bobs, float goes under....

Fish is on, the rod was a 2.25lb TC, so not ideal as my 1.5lb rods would be more suited but I turn it out in to the main flow and it's out in all its glory.

This is a BIG Perch, it's head now out of the water, shaking vigorously to shed the hook.

It then does one last fast lunge and it's cover bound again, and then....

Stuck Fast, all goes tight. I let some slack out, no good, fish gone, hook buried in a thick branch.

Arrrrrrrrhhhhhhhh !!!! Rod thrown down in anger.

So that's two decent fish I've lost here.

At least I know where it lives.

Gets home peed off, decided to order myself a new car to replace my similar steed albeit in hatchback form, at least that's something to look forward to as, as always the start of the season I find very tough indeed. Much bigger boot too and at least my rubber net will fit with the seats up.

Back out Saturday early, Tench me thinks.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Sialoquents and Strategic Stratagems

Here we go again….

A slingshot with a giant rubber band, a large round rock dropped from a cliff, a rocket sled, bird seed laced with iron pellets, a bowling ball dropped down a tube and finally the Acme indestructo steel ball with no directional control.

Yeap, still got away.

If you hadn’t worked that out yet, it was the story line from a Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner cartoon from 1959, titled

'Wild about Hurry'

Now it does make me laugh, the first couple or three months of the river season, you’ll see faces you will never see again come the winter. They will seemingly disappear from the face of the planet. Barbel or the Whiskers as they are often referred as have captured the imagination of many a angler. Thing is there is no denying they are great to catch and pound for pound up there as the hardest fighting fish in our rivers.

Thing is the mad rush at the start of the season is often fruitless because, not only to the fish wise up but they are not feeding like they will do come September onwards when they are hungry and the waters have a little more colour. Now for me this season, having now got a venue I can fish in to dark any clear water days Barbel won’t feature until dusk and beyond as I’ve had those baron spells too where I’m left wondering where have they gone. I don’t want to catch any old Barbel either, it needs to be a PB beater which I know exist in the areas I fish.

So the session....

No sooner had I’d parked up a van draws alongside. We both unpack at the same time, my kit sparse, his, everything but the kitchen sink and he appears to be in a rush.

“After barbel are you (Roy Hattersley)”

“Anything really, a nice bream would be nice though, I’ll see what comes along”

“Bream, really, you fish for bream”

“Sometimes yes, lots of other species too”

“I only fish for Barbel now, this is my first season for them, I’m a carper at heart”

“Had many so far this season”

“Loads, a few doubles too”

“Really, oh ok then, good for you, see ya around, nice trolley btw”

He went straight on, thankfully, I went left….

The session was at an area I'd not really fished much before, pedestrian pace, lilies, plenty of character. I'd cobbled together my static barbel set-up so intended to watch the tips, small fishmeal boilies as bait. The inside rod I'd bait dropped some hemp, pellets and chopped boilies, the other a PVA bag of freebies.

As per the norm on the Avon when it's clear, nothing really started to move till just before dusk where the chub moved in.

It didn't take long for one to eventually hook itself either, I didn't weigh it for the blogger challenge no point, but looked a nadger over 2lb.

Prior to starting the session I'd catapulted some oily floater amongst the pads, but no carp were visible throughout the near 3 hour session.

A little rain would be nice awfully low and clear.

I'm in two minds what to do next, maybe predators again, maybe some meat in the fast section, decisions decisions.

Then again, need to give try for a River Tench again, maybe that's the biscuit. Also with Sam pestering me to take him again, I might try for a Silver Bream, he for the Gudgeon. 

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Warwickshire Avon - Nuts and Bolts

I'm not a match fisherman that's for sure but from time to time I partake in these Shanghai work social matches with fellow automotive jobbers.

Now this match was at Packington Somers Little Geary's pool, a pool we'd fished before and looking back at the results I ended up winning.

I wanted to try the lift method though as I intended to fish for Tench on the Avon again as the last try for them sadly time was against me and despite them feeding heavily in the swim just before I had to go, I failed to catch one.

So with centre-pin reel and my trusty TFG river and stream rod, I drew peg 13.

Float secured by line stops, a couple of SSG shot on a swivel which runs up the line and another stop 3"'s before the hook link.

Bait, cubes of meat.

The method worked really well and to be honest the centre-pin was a joy to use also. Float very sensitive, a tiny turn of the reel, float dotted down.

No elastic to be seen here....

I had a little baron spell where I'm sure I nodded off, but it was clear from the first weigh in I had done that well. Even Simon Champion beat me which is unheard of :)

I had one proper carp, the rest F1's which were in great condition to be fair.

There were only 5 of us fishing, today. Numbers do seem a bit hit and miss these days as often in the early days 10 was the norm.

The more I fish places like this, even though they are set-up to catch fish and Packington is a well cared for venue, I didn't particularly enjoy the session.

So much so I'm questioning wether my time is better spent else where.

Luckily the river is going to be the next port of call, so I've not decided yet.

The social and networking I enjoy, commercials I don't.

If that's your thing then fair enough but given the chance of catching 100lb of fish in 5 hours or a specimen gudgeon on the river Stour, it would be the gonks, no question.

So not sure what to fish for next, but at least the modus operandi for River Tench is sorted.
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