Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Wednesday 6 March 2019

Warwickshire Avon – Smelt and Snot Rockets Pt.12

A rare opportunity, a whole days fishing, well not quite, but I’d have a morning and most of the afternoon, decisions decisions….

Given the choice I’d been roving a small river, but the time allowed and mulling it over, again and again, and once more, I decided on a bit of double dipping. The extra time meant I could build up a swim on this bigger stretch of river, whilst fishing a deadbait right where I’d caught Pike before. I’ve not really fished down here in anger, the problem is, and I’ve left myself with too many places to fish, so I tend to stick with convenience to maximize fishing time.

Others have been doing well down this stretch though, not just for the Chub which I like fishing for in the winter, but the roach and the bream too.

A good stamp of fish, that I’ve yet to plunder….

Now a method that has been doing well down this syndicate water is the maggot or caster approach, feed little and often and then when the fish turn up, which could be after an hour or so of trotting a float down, but stick with it, excuse the pun and the rewards appear to be there. 

I love fishing the float on small rivers but bigger rivers, nah not for me. I sometimes fish for Barbel on the float with chunks of meat in waters like this, but I fancied sticking to what I prefer and that’s fishing a feeder.

Simple tactics, aniseed tainted liquidised bread and maggots in the feeder, clip up the line and cast to a far bank marker every 5 or 10 minutes initially to get a bit of bait down and hopefully attract some fish in to the area. Bait would be breadflake in the main, a little smaller than I usually use for Chub, but a decent 2 pence sized piece all the same. 

I used this tactic down an area of the Avon that is chock full of roach and the method worked really well, bites, when they do come, can be hard to connect to fish initially, especially when the small roach get in on the act, however I add a small float stop above the free running feeder though, like a mini bolt rig I suppose, and the position on the line can be adjusted to help with the self-hooking ability of the set-up.

And what fish doesn’t like bread, they can lose their inhibitions and let their guard down, flour power my friends !!!! 

Anyway back to the session, my river and stream rod, a carbon tip and then I’d fish a sleeper for a Pike.

The thought was attract the bait fish, the Pike will come…

Now when I started this Pike quest, I thought it would be a little easier than I’ve found it. They are Pike after-all, not exactly the hardest fish to catch, but the problem is, you need to find them first. Now luckily here, I’d caught them to not far off double figures before, and there was a good reason for that, one particular swim was a holding spot, an area of interest, an area of varying flow change that attracts the Pike in to the area, it’s a bait fishing holder as well you see. 

Now to try and attract something a little bigger this time, it was out with the caviar, a palate quencher, yes a little joey mackerel rather than the smelt I’ve been using, to try and stand out from what’s usually laid on the buffet table. This time the usual single hook rig was boosted with a small stinger treble as it’s a slightly larger bait than I usually use.

It would be fishing under a float set-up, so I’d also fish a lively from time to time if I was getting desperate to catch a least one Pike, no matter the size.

So enough of the pre-planning ramblings, did I do any good ? 

Talk about peaking to soon, within fifteen minutes of putting the joey out, the float was on the move and good scrap ensued. After a few good bends of the rod and the fish taking some line a pike was in the net. After quickly unhooking it I put the float back out in the water because the bait was still intact within seconds it’s on the move again.

I’ve still got the first Pike resting in the net in the water ready to photograph so I’ve got no choice but to land both fish. This felt bigger again and after another decent scrap it was joining his mate in the landing net. This one a double, going 10lb 2oz on the scales. 

With all this commotion quite early on it was quite nice settling in to something more sedate, watching the tip on the quiver rod. Now after trying to build up a swim casting to the same area with the bread and maggot mix I thought after an hour I’d at least catch something. That didn’t materialise though and after another hour I packed the quiver gear up and knew I was wasting my time, the wind didn’t help either, the rod tip was all over the shop.

A cormorant feeding upstream, the water with a metre and half of visibility, clear blue skies, I knew it could go either of two ways, and it went the way I didn’t want it to go. I roved around with a roach deadbait to a couple of swims with outcrops where I’d caught a jack and lost a Zander before, but nothing doing, so returned to the original swim. 

Not long after a small bob on the float turned it to it going straight under. When it was being talking confidently I struck in to the fish and it was on. I thought it was a nodding Zander at first but when it surfaced it was a decent Perch, a lovely dark green colour with vibrant black stripes. It saw me though and left the water and shook its head which dislodged the big roach bait. It looked a good two which put a dampener on the session really.

Another hour went by, with no further bites so I packed up early and met the Wife in the pub for a late lunch.

I could get used to these midweek sessions I really could. What this long session brought home though, is how much happier I am on smaller waters, they are what properly float my boat, even though the fish are likely to match their territory.


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