Monday, 10 December 2018

The Tiny River Alne – Widow’s Weeds and WTF’ables

If only the Alne contained as many fish as the video views on the YouTube channel RyanToysReview channel. As I’m writing this, the total amount of views since channel conception was 25,950,982,288 views, I'll repeat that 25,950,982,288. Now Ryan an eight year old boy who reviews toys has been revealed in the press this week as YouTube's highest-earning star this, raking in £17.3m quid.

Yes £17.3m quid !!!!

When he was asked by NBC News why kids liked watching his videos, Ryan replied: "Because I'm entertaining and I'm funny." Since the channel was set up by Ryan's parents in March 2015, the videos have had almost 26 billion views and amassed 17 million followers.

I despair for humanity I really do, what kind of world I have brought my kids in to if that puts the food on the table and a mansion to rival the Queens. Don't watch, you ain't missing much.

But, But, BUT !!!! No, not’ why didn’t I think of it’, many have and tried to duplicate it, all but the few fail, because there may be an issue, you see, it could all go tits up, the money n'all, just like that.

There was a change to copyright legislation passed by the European Parliament in September which would oblige Google who bought YouTube in 2016 for US$1.65 billion to consider using technical measures to ensure copyright takedown requests are respected, and clips "stay down" as under the legislation they would make the platform liable for copyrighted material, where previously it was the user that had to ensure nothing was used.

Google enjoys special privileges under UGC (user-generated content) provisions not granted to rival music services like Apple and Spotify, which must license music first before distributing it. Copyright groups argue that loophole depresses the market price of music. YouTube pays around 1/20th of the rates Spotify the music streaming site does.

Now I urge you before YouTube disappears for good (sarcastic wink) to have a look a George Burton and Co’s - Big Canal Roach in Winter video which has been up for a few weeks now, there are still some gems among the WTF’ables.

I think I need to find peace away from the modern world, luckily I know just the place !!!!

I’d been watching the levels of the little river Alne for a while now, you see after a few trips down here now where results have been very mediocre indeed, I was hoping a bit of water on would change the conditions for the better.

A half decent spell of rain had topped it up nicely, so not only would more swims become available for me to fish but the nature of the rivers watercourse meant shallow areas would now be passable by bigger fish.

Now when I say medicore, well certainly plenty of fish were caught, but if I recall over the sessions I’ve fished it only a couple or three fish have topped the pound. But there was a good reason for that probably, for one, yes the levels have been low, extremely low, but also I’ve fished it when conditions have been less favourable.

“Yes but Mick, it’s not all about the fishing surely”; “True, but even I like a bend in ones rod from time to time”

And that is very true, most of the waterways I fish thinking about it are off the beaten track, mostly smack bang in the middle of the countryside, away from traffic, largely sheltered from noise , away from the dreaded space evaders. Venues such as this, where sheep and cows share the space, I’m always on the hunt for, they are becoming hard to find these days, certainly in my stomping ground anyway.

It’s fishing on my terms, just how I like it. Although the statue of the fish is probably nothing to write home about, it’s the potential of a big fish from small waters that sparks ones interest. The roach particularly, where according to some forum posts I spotted the river not far from where I'd been fishing had fish bigger than 2lb swimming in its waters.

Could I fish the Alne exclusively, maybe not, but I love these little watercourses that are often overlooked by the masses and the commercial fishery fishing pole slappers, because they offer the much needed solitude I seek. A couple or three hours is all I need to help with one’s mindfulness.

The senses, the smells, the abundance of nature and the immersiveness within the environment fishing provides. It all helps one’s well-being that a PS4 cannot provide in the same way.

Waters such as this restores the balance back to the enjoyable side of the seesaw again and away from the stranglehold, which is about to be unleashed on that doddering old duffer blocking the aisle in the supermarket.

You know the one, the one who is determined to bag the last lot of marked-down sprouts, and couldn’t give two monkeys about anyone else who just wants to get past.

Over 630 odd posts now apparently, you’ve probably worked out I’m not a people person !!!!

So one quiver rod fitted with a 2oz tip, a link ledger set-up, a load of lobworms and a few slices of bread, could I bag something half decent?

Arriving just before dawn the day started overcast, dull and drizzly for the first hour and a half or so I was debating to go home or not, it's only 5 minutes away after all, but after sheltering under a tree for a good half an hour away from the wind and rain it gave me some good thinking time.

So I got in to robot mode and began by baiting up some swims with mashed bread and let them to rest before fishing them on the way back to the car. Whilst the swims were resting I went downstream to fish some rafts with lobworm, despite some pace in many of the swims, a 2SSG link ledger was all that was required.

A tentative pluck turned in to a proper pull that continued a good foot and a half but I was mid coffee so struck at the wrong time and I didn't connect to anything. A couple more swims fished, not a jot.

So heading back upstream to the baited swims I also fished a couple of nice looking slacks with bread flake but again no bites.

Hmmmm this is tough going....

Last gasp efforts then, the pre-baited swims, and luckily it was well worth doing, because all but one of the swims produced Chub. Not the biggest of fish but on light tackle they gave a good account for themselves, the weather had cleared up nicely by now and I could have easily stayed all day, but with my Mum's 80th birthday lunch to go to, 3 and a half hours will have to do.

The more I fish rivers like this, the move I enjoy them, obviously the size of the fish are not likely to be high, but I'm sure there are some gems to be had.

Just look at that little tiny brook me and Sam have been fishing, home to my dace PB, and we've only fished a couple of swims a handful of time. I'm sure there are fish to top, a pound there, I'm sure of it. With the Xmas break around the corner I'll hopefully have another one or two sessions here, lets just hope the levels stay as they are.

There are a couple of nice trotting swims here also with some water on, so I might bring my trotting gear as well and fish and feed maggot maybe.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Cougars and Cunny Thumpers

A mile and a half of flowing virgin water with its unsullied footpaths has always captured ones interest. The potential to fish for undiscovered monsters given far too much sanctuary and freedom to thrive is at the top of the Santa list of any specialist angler.

Some of the WBAS like-minded that had already fished this forgotten and seemingly uncharted waterway had showed some promising results for those fish that possess teeth, and I wanted a piece of the action.
Not only that but being part of a syndicate means bums on seats and I’ve been stood at the back far to long.

The Zander pics in-particular got ones ears pricked up, because to be honest I’ve not really given the river Zeds a proper go, the canals being my bread and butter after all. Despite losing 2 bigger fish in the past my river PB of 8lb 3oz is entirely beatable considering the size and statue of the fish that now frequent the Warwickshire Avon.

So an area that allows the bigger fish to go about their business without fear of becoming dethroned could well be harbouring something special. I just need to fish flowing water in anger for them, well at least have a bait in the water !!!!

Now talking about harbouring special Vegans look away now, then again probably to late. A new local butchers has a beef dry ager now, so after choosing ours for Xmas, the piece on the top right will be ready to pick up Christmas Eve and I cannot wait to try it. Not bad value too considering the look and quality of the meat.

And thats the issue, good things come to those that wait, but I don't wait enough, so it's always good that others share their captures so at least I know there are fish there to be caught.

All very well I suppose but in my limited experience though, river Zander like their mucky water brothers are difficult to work out, just when you think you have they throw in a curve ball and you’re back to square one.

Fishing for them from dusk and beyond gives the best chance but I’ve had multi runs in bright sunshine on one particular session when a pack went through on the hunt, all very eye opening. Livebaits work no doubt about that and as the light goes probably better than using a dead on the bottom.

The problem with livebaits though, especially when used in clear water conditions is that the Jacks can be problematic, which is fine if just want to get a few bites but with time at a premium they can be a pain in the proverbials.

Colour in the water, or lack of it, really does make a difference as it does on the canal where I actively seek turbid water, they know they have an advantage with their superior eyesight and they actively go on the hunt, rather than wait for the infrequent dinner bell.

So ideally fish in to dark or when it’s coloured, errrr so that’s most of the nearby available venues on the Warks Avon out for me, well the ones I’d want to fish anyway, being a solitude seeker. Also out as well, is the majority of the fishing season, as its usually clear, very clear.

During my search for a canal 10 pounder and my ad hoc sessions on the river, lures and live bait would certainly pick up more fish, but the deads are a little more size selective, maybe the larger fish are lazy in their old age, and are happy watching the schoolies act on their predatory instinct and are happy with easy pickings.

Obviously there are big female Cougars around still chasing young whippersnappers to buck the trend, but I’m confident in using methods that I know work for decent sized fish.

I’ve blanked plenty of times on the river to know that conditions really need to be right otherwise it is very hot and miss, sadly my fishing opportunities are short and dictated largely by others. I’ve got to try and maximize catch potential, and that means fishing when I’m likely to catch, not a finger in the air, toes and fingers crossed.

There may well be light at the end of the ever lengthening tunnel however, you see Nic from Avon Angling Uk who I’ve fished with a few times now has seen the predicament I’m in, and has kindly offered me to join him on a private bit of water he has access to where fishing in to dark isn’t an issue. So I’m looking forward to taking him up on that offer as soon as we can work something out and he is back to 100% fit after being knocked for six by pneumonia.

Anyway back to the task in hand,I was in two minds how to approach this session but the decision was made to make it a bit of a reccy mission. Some small roach and smelt deads I had to use up dictated the session to be honest. So a 3 rod quiver equipped with two dead bait rods and a lure rod was bundled in the car and I was all set to go.

The plan, (because I always have one) was to travel light and rove around to try and find some Pike or Zed’s laid up and and around some features and then whilst the deads were doing their thing, the lure would be used from time to time, to not only try and winkle out a least a fish or two, but also to gauge some of the depth in-front of me.

The deeper castable sonar fish finder would have been ideal I suppose to map it out properly and try and find the deeper areas and troughs, but with time at a premium to be honest a lure chucked here and there can be just as effective. By watching the braided line as it enters the water you can tell visually by the bow in the line that stops dead when it touches bottom, but and also by feel, just how much water is in-front of you.

Now the weather was against me a little, very windy indeed and a clear blue sky. After a couple of hours without even a nudge, bite or an enquiry in four or so swims I headed further downstream. This proved worthwhile doing as not only was it deeper but many of the swims had some good features and it didn't take long for the first bite.

A tiny jack decided that it like the look of the lure I was throwing around so at least it wasn't a blank. Not long after putting it back the bobbin on the left hand rod jumped in to life and actually hit the butt of the rod, I let it take some line on the baitrunner and then struck in the fish.

It felt reasonable at first but then I can usually tell with Zander if it's hooked properly or not, and sadly this one wasn't. A few bends of the rod and it was off, hmmmm, not good.

After another 3 swims without a bite they were obviously not in a feeding mood, and if I'm honest it probably wasn't the right time to fish my first trip to this stretch. Not all lost though, fishing it in the morning gave me the opportunity for a proper reccy, and that's exactly what I wanted to get out of the session.

I'll be back....

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Gotch-Gutters and Gullgropers

This wine I was bought from Aldi came in a heavy, premium looking bottle. Unfortunately I found that the liquid inside couldn't quite live up to this. Leafy aromas of cranberry and hedgerow fruit with a waft of tar and chocolate lead into slightly tart flavours of sloe and elderberry. A herbal, minty character and liquorice and tar notes lurk in the background.

Suggestions of unripeness, and lacking much in the way of what you would expect from these two grape varieties. Now 20 minutes in to the mix and mid slurp I’m thinking, I’ve got another 5 hours of this. The right pace, surprisingly musical, and within a short while, oh yes, my mind elsewhere, It’s not all about repetitive beats I tell thee, it's just a shame the wine didn't live up to expectations, luckily then I didn't pay for it.

Now for those not on the same wavelength, Psychill is a downtempo genre that often seeks to reach a state of deep relaxation, close to meditation and lucid dreaming, it utilises various elements of Goa Trance and Psychedelic music in general and typically has a classic Goa kick drum, 303’s sounds, and lush atmospheric pads.

Over your head yet….?

Psychill and much of psychedelic electronica is often created to ingesting of acid, but that’s difficult to achieve when you’re in a 9 to 5.

Taking LSD to transform our brains from a cubicle-laden office of sorts to an open-concept plan where the walls have disappeared, and where users experience strange visions and odd revelations stereotypical hallmarks of a drug trip, probably ain’t a good idea in work is it, however there may be an answer….

….there is a culture happening of late you see, the microdosers. This is where small amount of LSD is consumed to improve work output and alleviate all manner of ills. It is done at doses so low that users experience not hallucinations but instead very subtle changes. 

A hundred or two hundred micrograms of LSD will have people tripping brains, but users generally taking only between five and 20 micrograms, and are able to go about their daily business unimpaired.

Typically, individuals integrate sub-perceptual doses into their weekly routine and often report higher levels of creativity, more energy, increased focus, and improved relational skills.

Many people microdose in order to treat depression or anxiety, with often remarkable results, with some enthusiasts reporting that it helps to heighten spiritual awareness and enhance all five senses.

The research is all there to be seen, it's of benefit….

Now, no assistance to be seen here, as one’s brain is properly tuned in to electronic music and the ‘away from it all’ experience that goes with it. Quite easily I can feel like I’m in a parallel universe with a proper out of body experience, but then lucid dreaming also come naturally, in some way’s I’m very lucky indeed, it’s just the way I’m wired.

Don ones comforting Plantronics, switch the noise cancelling on, very unsociable I know, but I've work to do a job, zone out, boxed ticked….

Talking of zoning out, this stretch of the Warwick Avon I’ve been fishing, seemingly is also a parallel universe. Now a parallel universe is a hypothetical self-contained reality co-existing with one's own, and that’s very much how I see it. Away from civilisation, a community of its own, fishing on my terms, a departure from the railway tracks that is family life. I could probably fish it exclusively for a whole season as I'm sure there are some proper big fish hiding I'm sure of it.

There are some nice holding areas quite close in that I'm sure must hold some decent fish. Now the weather was damp and very wet, so unusual for me but I decided to sit it out most the session under an umbrella, and cannot remember the last time I did that. Having caught Zander here and some good ones in the past, maybe waiting and contemplating would give me a bit of chill-out time which is a rare thing for me these days, especially with ones restless legs.

I had to get out though, so what if there was a bit of rain. So the fishing well, the roach deadbaits went out and within minutes the left hand rod had a tentative take, but either the fish dropped it as it was too big, or if felt something was wrong. Another hour went by and still rain coming down, again another take, this time though the baitrunner was activated and the fish was taking line.

Now Zander bite like that and most of the time after lifting the rod up and feeling the pull of the fish through the line, a mere pull in to the fish is required. I lifted up the rod though, line between thumb and forefinger and nothing happened, the fish was gone.

Hmmmm, not a good session, the rain eased up so after packing up the umbrella I fish four more swim a half hour each without anymore bites. The water was still much clearer than I thought, and for Zander despite fishing quite deep swims probably wasn't ideal conditions. I'm sure live baits or lobs for Perch at another stretch altogether would have been the better choice.

So a blank, and a couple of mediocre visits to the river which isn't good, I need to start making better decisions me thinks....

Friday, 30 November 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Gobblers and Gormandisers

The chub is no easy antagonist and it has always occupied a position high in the angler’s estimation for the sport it gives, it’s a bold biter and an even better fighter. Though in olden days, when a good many fisherman were almost as much interested in the meals their captures might provide as in the sport of caching them, chub were eclipsed by more edible fish.

In these days though, sport is the only thing that counts and the chub provides it in good measure. It demands the utmost caution on the part of an angler in the approach, its habit of living near its holt and diving towards it immediately it is hooked, calls for dexterity and instantaneous timing by the angler.

The fact that it will accept so many baits presented by so many methods makes it the quarry at times of almost every type of freshwater angler.

They are oddly though “The fearfullest of fishes”….

A chink in the Chub armour though, you see cheese paste was King down the river last time, meat didn’t get a look in. Some nice chub were eventually caught in a frantic two hour session in to dusk where the rod tips were bouncing, banging and clattering as the Chevin were properly on it, as active as they’ve even been, they couldn’t get enough of it, they dropped their guard was down, big time.

Now as per the previous few years of bulk making my own chub attractor, I’m sure the addition of Roquefort cheese helped no end. You see with its characteristic odour and notable pungency of the naturally occurring butyric acid due to anaerobic fermentation it’s a smell like no other. Butyric acid has an acrid taste, with a sweetish aftertaste similar to ether, an unpleasant odour and is present in rancid butter and human vomit.

I remember the smell as a youth after consuming a case of K cider and chundering ones guts up, yeap, not pleasant and luckily there are easier ways to achieve the retched thankfully. Now Mammals with good scent detection abilities, such as dogs, can detect it at 10 parts per billion, whereas humans can only detect it in concentrations above 10 parts per million.

Chub I’m sure are a switched on to it like no other fish, then again Chub will just about eat anything you put in front of them, and maybe as a species they’ve evolved and could well be suffering the fishy equivalent of Prader-Willi syndrome, caused by a chromosomal flaw. All I know is that they need their food fix, their stomachs filled, they really do enjoy the feeling of their bulging bellies.

For this after work afternoon in to dusk session the only bait I had to fish with was cheesepaste, not only that but I’d only be fishing one swim for the main. Now that is not like me at all, I’m a roving angler at heart, but this swim in particular has form, as it’s not only home to my PB but I’d lost a fish here to a hook pull that looked a scale above again, a 6lber ? Quite possibly, but then unlike many I’ll have my scales with me just in-case something good turned up.

Luckily though on route there were two other swims that also produce fish, so I’d drop a bait in on route as well before settling down for the remainder of the session.

And what a weird session it was, the river was nicely up and a foot and a half of visibility but it took ages to get the first bite. I disturbed a cormorant quite early on that was on the hunt and the area didn't really recover whilst I was there. A couple or three swims fished without hardly a nibble, the last swim had to come up with the goods.

With an hour left of light and the sun setting eventually I had a few plucks and taps and then some big bites but didn't connect to anything. Very frustrating but eventually after leaving some slack line and letting the bite develop I was in to a fish, only a small fish though and a spirited fight it managed to get off the hook when he was due to be netted.

I was getting desperate now, with the light more or less gone and the session coming to a close, my left hand rod started to nod and knock and then luckily for me I eventually hooked a fish. I knew it wasn't very big straight away, but it was a fish after all.

Blank avoided, and a tough session....

Monday, 26 November 2018

‘Not quite the’ Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.101 – Hind-legs and Hulver-heads

This canal double figure Zander quest of mine I’ve on the whole, limited myself to fishing in the closed season and that may well be a hindrance for me, if I’m ever to complete the challenge and close the chapter and book on the ever increasing autobiography.

With the rivers being out of bounds during that time, naturally that was going to happen I suppose. Around this time of year however with the rivers being a bit pants and the weather getting colder, my mind switches to other species to fish for. You see I’ve found when the temperature drops like it has done the last week or so, it’s well worth giving the canal Zeds a go, because not only have I missed fishing for them, but the larger fish really do start to show themselves to get their winter coat on.

Now to coincide with this short morning session, I also wanted to try some new inline dumpy slider floats I’d spotted from PikePro. They looked an idea size to replace the ever faithful Drennan Zepplers, but it was the size of the fluoro-orange colour top that sparked my interest, but not only that, the float is ridiculously light for its relative compact size.

I’ve explained before how I rig up my overdepth set-up for fishing the local canals and it goes like this…

A float stop, white bead, small inline float, coffin lead, quickchange buffer bead, 18lb fluorocarbon hooklink with a Size 1 offset Sakuma Manta with barb flattened. Bait well roach or smelt for me, in-fact smelt was a bit of a revelation this year I must admit.

Canal Zander despite what you read, don’t have an issue with resistance, far from it as they will happily drag a baited big hook and a float without any problem whatsoever. There are often missed bites when you start fishing for them and that is usually because either it’s a tiny schoolie with eyes bigger than its belly and it cannot quite get the bait down, or the hook which, took me sometime to be happy with, isn’t quite getting a good hold in their bony mouths.

If you experience missed bites or dropped takes, fish a tiny section of fish, no bigger than an inch and that might well bring a bend in the rod from the small fish and give you some confidence in the rig you’re using. Lures no doubt bring more fish to the net, but having fished lures exclusively, lures and deadbait, and just deadbait, all the bigger Zed’s I’ve caught >5lb have been on deadbaits.

Whether they get lazy in their old age, who knows, but an easy meal when you stumble upon them is hard for them to refuse, a lure they often would ignore more often than not. You see these bigger canal Zed’s and I’m talking proper fish, not ones weighed by the calibrated eye are more scarce than the digits on Scary Spice’s bank statement.

But they are there to be caught, because having them up to 9lb now and > 70cm's I’m sure one is just a deadbait cast away. The problem for my challenge is I had a purple patch quite early in the challenge and since then my results haven’t been anything to write home about.

There was a small glimmer of home last closed season though where I stumbled upon ‘the deep bit’ where some nice fish were caught, reinvigorating my interest in continuing with it, till that elusive double will eventually grace my net.

The Tactics I’ve written about before on how I approach it and it is, if you’re not getting bites within fifteen or twenty minutes or so it’s time to move. Leapfrog sections of cover, fish as much of the canal network as you can, and like me that has led me to fish short sections where I know I’m likely to stumble on to a bigger fish.

The issue is these bigger Zed’s especially don’t hang around, they are transient fish moving to where they feel comfortable, moving to where they can feed their bellies.

So the session then, how did I fair…. ?

Well I can usually tell how it would pan out by the colour of the water, and it wasn't good, at least a couple of feet or more of visibility which means a tough session is in the cards. I prefer chocolate brown given the choice. So after leapfrogging a section of cover without a bite I decided to upsticks to a shallower area but with thick cover.

The was a change with doing as within minutes I had the first bite, the problem was as soon as I struck in to the fish I could see that it was small by its flanks and also that it hadn't got its jaws round the big bait properly. The bait went back out but no more bites, hmmmm. Now 3 hours in to the session I did wonder if it was worth for the last hour going to another location altogether but the first narrowboat was on the way and that usually changes the water for the better.

It stirs the bottom up which not only can shift the fish up from laying up off the bottom but often can send them out on the hunt. I decided to follow the boat down to the original deeper swim and sit it out for the last hour. Sure enough after it went past the swim turned in to a brown swirly mess I put the baits out and within 10 minutes I had a bite.

This time though I connected properly to the fish and knew I'd land it, it was a small schoolie though and dragged the new float without an issue but I felt the new float set-up wasn't as finessed as my usual attack. It felt a little cumbersome, and over kill I suppose. So the float will be resigned for Pike I think.

So with the small fish in the net and unhooked the bait went back out and as can often happen another bite comes pretty quick. This time though it was the other rod that had the bite however this time I was a little premature on the strike and again, I felt a small fish but it quicky came off. I wasn't happy with the float to changed it to my usual zeppler float and the baits were left for another half an hour without any disturbance.

With time now up, it was a difficult session, but like many Zander sessions now and the experience I've gained that the way they can go, the conditions have to be favorable and they were not today.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Cinder Garblers and Cushion Thumpers

Thank God for that !!!!! Majestic Wine has said it is stockpiling ahead of Brexit in a bid to prevent supply disruption. The company, which is the UK’s largest specialist wines retailer, becomes the latest big-name brand to announce plans to hoard products. Businesses, including Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods and Cadbury, are worried about the prospect of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

They fear that leaving the EU without a transition on trade arrangements would result in chaos at ports and airports.

Anyway enough of that, I'm fed up of hearing about it too, anyway Majestic said it is planning to bring between £5,000,000 and £8,000,000 of extra inventory into the UK shortly before its financial year end in April.

Phhhhhhhhewwwwwwwww !!!!!

But then a kidney punch for the burger chain frequenters....

You see UK’s decision to leave the EU may have a surprising casualty according to the media, hipster hamburger joints apparently.yes really, Byron, a burger chain, may close four of its 70 or so locations, and there are signs of weakness among other gourmet burger restaurants, which have proliferated in London and other cities across the country in recent years.

Byron is shuttering some locations because the UK’s national living wage, increased food costs, and price inflation tied to weakness in the British pound, according to the Times , citing unidentified sources. Another chain called Handmade Burger Co. has put its assets up for sale and is closing nine of 29 sites.

No official reason was given by administrator Leonard Curtis, which is handling the sale and negotiations with creditors.

Errr, so nothing to do with charging an arm and a leg for mediocrity then, they are still yet to match my own bulging home creations.

Anyway, enough of the Brexit stuff, I like you are probably fed up of hearing it, so back on track, feet up, a bucket of wine in hand, the fire about to be lit, the previous night’s ashes still to be swept up, I’m perusing through another fishing book purchase and something caught my eye.

A floating worm, a FLOATing worm, love, a bleeding FLOATING WORM, why the heck didn’t I think of that !!!! ?

The late John Wilson did (RIP), and it featured as an illustration in his Angling Times book from 1991 I’d recently purchased.

Now I’d injected lobworms with air before to make them more buoyant when targeting Perch on the bottom and naturally a few departed the hook where they floated on the surface to be picked up by passing birds.

So why didn’t I put two and two together I wonder….!!!!

You see these Chub of late have been a little cagey with the floating bread I’ve been using.

Even a lure they were reluctant to take off the top, despite it being something visually different and me knowing that there were fish holding station in the flow actively ignoring it, and even bigger lunkers waiting in the wings.

The book gave quite a few other tips as well and it was such a good read with excellent illustrations I’ve bought another two from the series, hopefully they will be just as good.

In these still very clear conditions, the tip HAD to work !!!!

Now a month or so ago I fished this area to try for a lunker but there was a little more water on than I thought and the swims where the big fish I’d previously spotted were not around. 

The pace might have been a little too much for them and they were tucked up somewhere else and out of harms away plumping their cushions. 

Luckily fishing a static bait at dusk produced a blank avoider, so all was not lost. I didn’t have the luxury of fishing in to dusk for this short after work session, however I was back to see if they were still milling around, and If they were could I outwit them with something different.

The beauty of a big fat lobworm is that hooked correctly they are also more resistant to pinging off on the cast like a big chunk of bread is. Downstream of the big chub lovers dreamhole swim you see, was another swim I could now reach where I’d caught Chub on a floating insect lure in the past, but I’d also spotted some decent fish in the area as well. 

A plan was forming, in-fact the session dictated itself really since the discovery of the tip, so no real planning to be seen here, just get on with it.

Now the river is lower than I've seen it for a while and what a tough short session it was, the usual Chub haunts were devoid of fish but the worm was going down nicely, not quite floating entirely, not quite sinking, it certainly look enticing.

Mmmmm maybe a canal Zander session I'd planned to do next, wasn't a bad idea after all. Anyway I returned to the first swim for the last fifteen minutes before having to go and pick the eldest up from school and the third trot down a telltale swirl on the retrieve meant that there was a fish there. The next trot down it didn't take long and a fish nailed the worm.

I knew straight away it wasn't a big fish because it more or less launched itself out of the shallow water and I could see its flanks. At least the method works, I bet in summer when the fish are more up for it, it is deadly.

So not a blank, and the method worked eventually, so not all lost despite the river being out of sorts.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Milch Cows and Munster Plums

The first signs of winter came a while ago, well before the clocks went back, the sudden shortening of the long summer nights which we had come to expect in this balmy year, some combination of cold and colour imparting a feel of chill to the air, some tone change in ones mind’s middle-distance.

Then came the getting up in the dark, which the time change helped a bit, not that I really noticed it. Like many others, I was already reeling internally at the darkening of the afternoons and will feel myself in winter until mid-March, at least.

But for me, the temperature changes that late autumn and winter brings and the shortness of days means I need to seek natural daylight whenever possible. I don’t need much either, a lunchtime walk, a couple of hours at the weekend on deserted river banks, it restores order.

Now over the last few years I’ve been taking a vitamin D supplement, mainly because I felt it helped with one’s seasonal effect disorder. The reality of leaving and returning from work in the dark got on top of me quite quickly, it was my mood that changed quite considerably that needed to be sorted, and I found that it really helped.

Give it a go, it might work for you like it did for me....

Other signs of vitamin D deficiency can manifest themselves in common health conditions such as constant coughs and colds, tiredness and fatigue, poor bone and tooth health, also being some other side effects.

Obviously our main source of vitamin D is the sun, ultraviolet B radiation from sunlight can be synthesised by vitamin D3, the active form of Vitamin D, when exposed on the skin. That’s all very well, but with the need to put food on the table, to keep the bailiffs as bay those exposure times become limited at this time of year.

A weekend session is therefore most welcome, especially when it is accompanied with clear skies and bright sunlight.

But mood can be lifted in other ways, that open fire and a nice glass of red to finish the day off, a homemade meat pie and all the trimmings enjoyed by all, that zoned out psybient mix to tickle ones neurons.

That’s why I quite enjoy these very short sessions in to dusk, it’s just enough to give me the fix I need to sway the ever increasing hold of the diary makers. It’s something on my terms, and something that tips the balance back in my favour.

With the water cold like it is now, the bigger fish such as the Barbel will have limited feeding spells, but they will feed despite their feet up and donning of the extra layer, you just need to catch them off upstairs to bed. The Chub just get on with it, like they always do.

So for this session the abovementioned were the target....

I was in two minds to actually fish this session, a drop in temperature over night and some sleet and cold rain during the day, it was probably a stupid idea, but hey, I had planned it so needed to get out.

One swim only, contraband garlic spam for the Barbel and some cheesepaste from a batch I’d fashioned up the weekend for the Chub. Barbel you would think wouldn't be interested, but put a freshly made plate of buttery Colcannon in front of an already full Irishman, he would be reaching for the spoon again. The Barbel cannot turn their nose up at a hunking chunk of meat, they love the stuff.

With baits in the water prior to dusk on a clear bit of gravel, with fingers and toes crossed for rod bending anticipation soon after.

'On your Marks, Get Set.....'

Well it was a cheese paste hour or two that's for sure, I missed bites initially and some of the bites were utterly ridiculous but eventually the first chub was hooked and landed. Not a bad fish either at 4lb 4oz, whilst it was resting in the net I got the bait out straight away and within minutes had another decent bite, this was smaller at 3lb odd.

The beauty of a cage is that even after a Chub could well have stripped the paste from the cage, you always have a bit remaining in the cage itself, so after a really powerful bite doesn't materialise in to a fish, just give it another 5 or 10 minutes, you'll be surprised what can happen. It's a method I've used for a while now.

Now as the light was going a canoeist who thought he was in the Olympics ploughed through the swim and returned 10 minutes later to do the same. The old git was deaf too as he didn't hear me call out to him. So the swim went a little dead for a bit and with my hour and a half or so coming to an end eventually I got another decent bite. This time a decent fish of 4lb 9oz.

The meat was untouched throughout.....

The cheesepaste recipe I used for this session is simple.

The base (frozen then grated)
350G of Jus-Rol Shortcrust Block
350G of Extra Mature Cheddar
150G of Danish Blue
100G of Roquefort

Then add to a big mixing bowl
56G Garlic Granules
76G Instant Custard Mix
Half a cup of groundbait, this was Dynamite Big River Krill and Shrimp.

Then knead, fold, mix, punch, squeeze and knead and make in to a big ball.

I make a batch up and up and till this year, the stuff I used was over 2 years old. It gets a lovely green mouldy crust on it and becomes more pungent as it ages when kept in the fridge.

Give it a go, it certainly did the trick for this short session.
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