Friday, 11 January 2019

Warwickshire Avon – Humdurgeon’s and Hugotontheonbiquiffinarians

Yes it is a word, you've got to love the English language, however upon a bit of searching it appears the first rule about Hugotontheonbiquiffinarians is that you don’t talk about Hugotontheonbiquiffinarians, which apparently was a society existing in 1748. I’m thinking the mystery surrounding this evidently secret society is the whole point.

Talking about mystery’s in 1748 was the year that the forgotten fire of London happened. 1am on the 25th of March a small fire has started in a wig maker in the City and by lunchtime nearly 100 homes and two entire blocks in the heart of the city would lay in ruins. Quite what caused the fire is not known, but it is known to have started at Mr. Eldridge’s a Perriwig-Maker in Exchange-Alley, Cornhill, and would seem to have raced up the building, as a lodger living on the second floor leapt out of the building to escape.

Miraculously, no one else died in any of the other homes, and the spread of the fire was contained thanks to the wind direction blowing the flames towards some more solidly built buildings and a wide road that the flames couldn’t leap across.

Of course, some people took advantage of the fire to take possessions that didn’t belong to them, and a number of looters were arrested. Also arrested was a soldier who stabbed a man to death after, reportedly, the man refused to assist in containing the fire by carrying buckets of water.

That’s a pale shadow of the roughly 13,000 homes destroyed in 1666, which is probably why this fire of a mere hundred homes or so, which in any other city would be its founding myth, is in London, a forgotten footnote in its long history.

After the Cornhill fire, a series of building acts were passed to make buildings less susceptible to fire in the future, culminating in the act of 1774 which is often seen as a defining moment in building safety history.

Now if it wasn’t for me spending so much time down here waterside in all seasons, in all weathers you wouldn’t really know here is home to the headquarters of a secret society of Chunky Chevins. Year on year not only do they seem to be getting bigger and fatter but their habitat despite being at risk from all manner of hazards, meat eaters and back turners is tip top.

Their insurances payment have obviously been kept up to date as their abode seems to have been rebuilt back to a fortress like no other.

It’s one of a small amount of stretches of the Avon I fish where spotting Chub is possible in the summer months, however just when you think you’re getting on top of them, just when the topography is being mapped, a tree falls down, a bank collapses and you’re back to square one.

The loss of a big fish here last weekend that did me over good and proper only confirmed, that stout tackle is required if they are to be targeted. I’m sure the angle of dangle didn’t help prevent the hook pull, but without the high bank for cover these fish can easily see ones shadow cast over this very small waterway.

I’ve learnt that stealth and concealment is the key, these are shy creatures in their make-up after all. On one particular memorable morning a number of years ago now I witnessed the secret society 7 strong all around 5lb or over feeding up in the water with a big Barbel as minder. I watched for a good half an hour in amazement before getting anywhere near the water, where one broken branch sent them scarpering for cover. Despite the shy and cagey nature though, if you ever did get a hook in to one, they revel in conflict, shirt off, guns out,

"Come on Then !!!"

Now as a 'jobber' taking time off work cannot be taken lightly, no payroll imaginary illness to be seen here, however a Chub of that power and rod bending ability like the one of late that stuck two fingers up at me deserves a little more attention than the humdrum I usually catch. I’m sure my recent PB of 5LB (Yipppeeeeeeeee) could be bettered and after a bit of time juggling I had the whole of Friday morning back bankside for a second bite of the cherry.

So out went the 1.25TC River and Stream with centre-pin I used last time, and I dusted off my Prologic 10ft MP Detek Twin Tip. It would be fitted with the quiver section and conventional reel with drag wound-up to the max(ish) but still with some line taking ability. Now the rod has a nice parabolic action that gives power in the butt when required, but it still bends superbly well to resist the lunges of the snag bound noggin nodding Chub.

Remember I fish 6lb line straight through, these fish don’t mess around, you certainly know when you’ve got one on, they need to be bullied away from cover, you quickly need to get on top of them and to be fair usually I do, but despite having one at 5lb which ain’t bad for the Avon, there are bigger here, because I’ve hooked them and I’ve seen them.

I’m sure the two fish I’ve lost here were PB beaters for sure such their power so last time I’m not sure why I came so ill equipped, convenience I suppose because the rod was already made up for when I fished the Alne for its 3lbers. So bait, well bread flake again as hookbait and I’d have some whitebait if they were not playing ball, the river is very low and clear again you see, and sometimes something unnatural is the only way to get a bite. Whitebait I've used before and it certainly works for the gluttonous Chub

So 6 swims pre-baited with liquidised bread it is just a matter of fishing the swims in sequence once fed to at least try and catch a fish.

The first chuck of a whitebait I could see it drift and flutter down the swim and no sooner than the tip settled a Chub was right on to it, It was giving a decent fight as well although not the big fish I was after. After a spirited fight it was soon in the net and went just over 3lbs on the scales.

The swims dies once one is caught down here so you have to move on, to cut a long story short, another 4 fish I think, all but one on the whitebait, the last fish on the bread, All over 3lb but none over 3lb 8oz, they were certainly peas in a pod.

Once the sun came out the fishing went off altogether but certainly an enjoyable session despite no big ones showing, so whitebait give it a go.

I did manage to get some Chub feeding off the top but they wouldn't budge behind an overhanging tree and there was no way to reach them. Shame as looked like there were some good ones there as well, Oh well, at least I know they are still there.

The rod was probably a little overgunned but I'm sure if a 5lber took it then it would be ideal, it's not quite a Barbel rod stiffness which is what I didn't want but it doesn't bend as nicely as the TFG River and Stream which at the minute is still my preferred Chub rod. This will do for here though, when the fish need to be bullied. We desperately need some water and some colour, I'm surprised I caught  conditions were against me.


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