Friday 25 January 2019

Warwickshire Avon – Ox Houses and Omnivores

An unreachable swim harbouring some suspected BIG Chub within its confinement got my mind working overtime to trojan horse levels of subterfuge. The large overhanging tree with branches drooping beyond the waterline causing a tangled mess and a huge stranglehold beneath. With no obvious secret knock to get through the backdoor, and no obvious way to bypass the bolted and padlocked entrance-way emblazoned with Fortress Chevin, this short session needed some thought to try and penetrate its inhabitants.

They needed to be teased away from beyond the snag fest like a guard dog can be coaxed and cajoled away from his position with a massive marrow ambrosial.

A plan was hatched….

Under the dense cloud cover and headed up to dusk and a 'tad' beyond some chunks of raw braising steak with its stale sock pungency would be strategically placed upstream away from the fortress in a circular pattern, and  to provide a scent trail to try and get those pharyngeal teeth chattering.

Positioned slap bang in the middle of the orbicular inveiglement would be a large piece of the bloodiest of the cheap onglet impersonator buried in a size 6. Now when fishing for Chub of this scale and statue I've found that if you tighten up to the bait and the line is to tight then they can tear off the meat from the hook in spectacular fashion, some of the bites are plain ridiculous.

I've found the way to approach them is to fish a link ledger to just hold bottom and leave a bow in the line. Bites are still forthcoming but as there is less resistance the feedback received through their blunt heads is minimal and they are happy to take the bait confidently rather than a smash and grab manner.

The weather had been bitter up to this session so much so the mornings icy patterns on my cars roof were something to behold and also a smattering of snow the day before. The knock on effect of that being that the frigid waters of the Warwickshire Avon were seemingly cold enough to freeze the Chevin’s chuff, maybe I was mad.

But these are hardy fish remember, they have evolved to deal with these conditions a little like the cropped topped weather braving clubbers of Newcastle. The antifreeze proteins within their piscine makeup disturb the water molecules in such a way that they cannot bond together and form ice crystals. 

Now chumming or the use of berley trail is nothing new and essential to catching fish such as sharks so why not a Chub.

The aim of a berley trail is to draw fish from the surrounding area to as close to your bait as possible. There is a key to successful fishing here, a good trail should concentrate fish around your bait. If the trail is going anywhere but where your bait is likely to be, then fish will be drawn away from your bait.

So “Mick why not use a feeder stuffed with mince?” Well to be honest, I like as little on the line as possible and the fact is, despite the bait being in open water once the Chub realises he is hooked, once he is snagged bound, less ‘sticky-outie’ bits the better. So the set-up well, a light link ledger on a running bead, a grippa stop on the line as the stop, and straight through to the hook, this gives a relatively undisturbed entrance in the water, not Peter Kay reliving his John Smith’s advert (Anyone still drink the stuff ?)

It’s a small stretch of river this a 5lber my best, but there were much bigger fish to be had as I've seen them, so anything to avoid detection is the key to success, these are cagey and easily spookable fish remember despite their bold biting and fighting capabilities.

I didn’t have long either, from hookbait in water I’d have an hour and a half maximum before calling time and back to the chaos. Some much needed midweek mindfulness, nothing better.

So Operation Tartare which was meticulous in the planning (well 10 minutes), a successful mission or just brass monkeys?

Errrr, well lets just say it didn't go that well, before getting to the chosen swim after putting a bait in two productive swims to try and net one quickly, but without a nibble I proceeded to the swim for the rest of the session.

The water temperature was cold at 5.6 degrees but I've caught Chub in colder waters than that, but here was the problem, I'm not sure what was going on upstream but the amount of debris coming down was boarding on the ridiculous. So much so I couldn't really fish in open water, as within seconds the rubbish collected round the line and the rod was off its rest.

As the light went the first indication came but with the countdown to home time up I had to make it count. A few tentative pulls turned in to a proper'un and stupidly I struck rather than let the bite develop further. That's typical of impatient me and despite recasting which usually means another bite is forthcoming time was called and I had to go with the tail between my legs.

So a blank !!!!

I've another couple of sessions planned though, canal Zander and also back to the Leam for some Chub, hopefully I'll have a bit more success. Oh and plans have been made to fish a tributary of the Warwickshire Avon I've not fished before, I just need to wait till there is some more water on it.


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