Saturday, 23 June 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Gobbies and Guzzle-guts

As someone who now only has to look at a packet of pork scratching to put on weight I’m always on the lookout for the perfect snackette to accompany a pint of ale. Now I like nothing more than a hairy crispy and soft fatty scratching for one of life's simple pleasures, but out of the blue whilst in one of the local shops on one end of the aisle were some packets of Mr Porky Crispy Strips with some bumph on the front about a ‘lighter pork snack’

Many moons ago I used to make my own you see, which looking back maybe wasn’t a good thing as I was nearly a stone and half more than what I weigh now and probably heading for heart attack. My favourite way to make scratchings was to salt some freshly butchered pork shin, roast at a high heat and then toss the crackled pieces of rind in a roasted pounded spice mix of paprika, cumin and fennel seeds.

The spices used to stick gloriously well and the paprika gave the scratchings a rusty glow. Cooled and wrapped in greaseproof paper I used to make a job lot that used to last ages and was enjoyed by others too.

Now I enjoy eating out like most people but I don’t partake nearly as much as I used to having tried to reign in my guzzle-gut to get back down to my fighting weight.

So with a new found snack to try it was over the road for a pint of Goats Milk and to be honest for the relatively low fat content for a scratching, so similar to a packet of crisps, I was pleasantly surprised.

The problem was, they were so nice and moorish with a nice beer, I bought another 3 packets, which somehow disappeared over the weekend whilst watching the playacting in the footy world cup.

Hmmmm maybe not a good idea after all, but then damage limitation I suppose because they are somewhat low in calories….

Talking of simple pleasures, gratification can be had from catching even the smallest of fish it's not all about the biggest in my book, you just need to tackle up appropriately for your quarry. For this morning session Sam would be tagging along and we would be targeting a couple or three swims on the Warwickshire Avon where gudgeon usually reside. Gudgeon are not hard to catch once you find them, however that appears to be the biggest issue because they are not widespread in the areas I fish.

They appear very localised indeed but once found they can provide good sport, especially for a 7 year old with a limited attention span.

Sam was manning the float rod with maggot as bait, and I'd be fishing a lobworm to try and tempt something a little bigger. We'd fish a few swims to see if we could tempt a gonk or two. Now the Cocoon polarised sunglasses would be worn for this session because with the rivers low it’s a great place to fish spot this place. This stretch is probably up there with one of my favourite bits of river despite the predation problem that seemed to affect it last season.

The cormorants were here in numbers sadly as were otters who were bold as brass and didn’t mind the presence of a hairy human sharing their waters. The big chub and barbel that used to reside here however were suspicious in their absence, the fishing was proper tough in this usually productive area but eventually I did manage to catch the odd fish with sheer persistence over a number of sessions, but it was nothing like what it used to be.

One of the first Chub to be caught had a fresh war wound to show off and a tale to tell his kids about his escape from the jaw and clutches of an apex predator.

The wise older fish seemed to have jumped ship to areas where their sanctuary wouldn’t be under threat. In its heyday the specimen chub that used to reside here were plentiful and in the winter with the waters cold and crisp underfoot, you could almost always guarantee that a 4lber would grace the net and maybe even 4 or 5 fish that size in a short morning session.

So back to the Gobi Gobi, did we manage to catch any ?

Well the river is low, very low indeed and I knew the fishing would be tough, now it didn't help that the first gudgeon banker swim wasn't fishable, you see a huge tree had fallen it to the water during the closed season.

A damn shame too as the fish always produced some nice Chub. The next swim down was pacey so the float was out, but a few perch were forthcoming albeit small ones.

The bleak swim, produced just that, bleak so it was on to another swim where I know gonks reside. Fish close in over some gravel and they are usually there. They were as well, but only after catching a few chublets, roach and so more Perch.

Eventually after one dropped off we found some and managed to land five or six with Sam revelling in the amount of species we'd managed in a short morning session. It's not all about the bigun's.

Considering he go bored quickly on the cut, for this session he was we behaved and he enjoyed in immensely.

Like me the river is more his thing.

What was encouraging was not only did we see plenty of Chub on the shallows and also a few nervous ones among streamer weed, no cormorants were spotted and some small juvenile fish is always nice to see. 


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