Sunday, 14 July 2019

Small Brook Fishing Pt.8 – Bobbleheads and Bone Boxes

The prehistoric looking fish the big headed bullhead has remained elusive over the last couple of trips to this small Warwickshire stream. I stumbled upon this tiny waterway by chance when I was chasing canal Zander and subsequently once I started to fish it, I realised there are some surprises to be had. Apart from catching bullheads for the first time in a while the dace certainly in the winter have been disproportionate to the size of the tiny forgotten brook they frequent.

Proper chunky fish, my best up till now 8 ounces, that’s bigger than the dace I catch on the Warwickshire Avon.

And trout, yes wild brownies in Bard’s country, who’d have thought it !!!!

So post sloppy burger made by my fair hands, me and Sam discussed tactics and bullhead were the intended quarry. They have been a little elusive of late but with the streams crystal clear and badly in need of some water, the shy bullhead probably want leave the sanctuary of it's rock till dusk or in to dark. When the water is coloured that's when we have faired better.

Now I know for a fact bullheads can be caught on rod and line because me and the tangelator Sam who was with me for this session have done exactly that.

My little wand rod with the finest of tips registers bites from this fascinating fish, and they even have enough power to submerge a small float which is how Sam caught his, and the biggest we have had up till now, 25% of the British record apparently.

They appear to like clear rocky swims, because after all, they spend most of their time hiding under them.

One swim progressed on to another discovery, then a little more, then a more again, then a whole different stretch altogether and there is still lots to explore, in-fact probably too much to go at.

Winter is obviously the best time because not only are the fish fatter and hungrier particularly the dace, but also it is easier to rove to likely holding spots because the stingers and the like have died back, allowing freedom of passage from one stretch to another. Not only that but with the water a little coloured the fish feel more confident to move around.

Before lunch with the Wife I managed a reccy to another small stream not far from me that looks like might offer some potential when there is more water in it. Ridiculously clear and only small minnow spotted in some characterful swims.

We'll be back to fish it though, potential for sure, I love these tiny waterways.

This session the plan was to start on the first swim I actually fished because it’s a holding area in low water conditions and also it is the swim I’d caught the most bullheads from.

There is probably a reason for that mind you as we have fished it more than any other spot. We’d also try another bit with easy access and then progress to the newly discovered section of it that not only a manmade weir, but also more wild brownies that frequent these unfished dribbles.

A pocket full of maggots a small float rod and an even daintier quiver wand rod, what could we winkle out?

It was quite a mild day and it was clear the bullheads were not up for feeding. Despite fishing some shady deeper swims all we managed to catch were minnow, dace, perch and a few trout. The dace though were getting bigger and despite the biggest falling off that looked 7 or 8 ounces, the biggest went nearly 5. Sam was gutted it dropped off, but then he is beginning to understand more about fishing, that is part and parcel of the pastime.

We roved around quite a bit but bites were a little harder to come by for this session.

So we need to fish it again when the levels have been topped up little. The bullheads particularly seem to prefer it and to be honest that is the target to try and register a score on the challenge scoreboard.

An enjoyable session though,  and again these forgotten waterways throw up to lovely fish, all in excellent condition too. The most productive swim was under a bridge, less than a foot deep and contained dace and the biggest trout that took the maggot on the drop.

We'll be back !!!!


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