Friday, 12 July 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Adelphogamy and Addle-Plots

Some networking to be done first, a new long-term job I’ve won to be shared. A couple of well-kept light ales at country a pub, that despite the flagstone floors, battered dartboard and walls many stories to tell, offers the customer what they want. No not dancing girls and free Wi-Fi but indian food in a place people like me feel at home, feel part of the furniture.

Unpretentious and a place to feel at ease, what’s not to likes especially when the prices are so good as well….

Anyway mountains of poppadoms’ with all the pickles, piles of onion salad and sauces, a freshly cooked tiger prawn puri, and a well spiced and tender lamb dish to rival any of the good curry houses I frequent. A piping hot clay baked nan cooked and presented to perfection, and a mushroom basmati to share.

What it also has going for it for us maggot danglers is that not far off an onion bhaji throw away is an area where Barbel frequent. Dusk is the usual biting time for these creatures of habit so I’d dump ones gear off and try to winkle out a chub in one of the shallow oxygenated swims. They lay up in wait for food morsels to come their way but are cagey, very cagey indeed. These fish are fished for, the window of opportunity very small, very small indeed.

The problem is, the word on the ground is that, at the moment they could well be spawning, those that have more time than me who spend much of their time watching motionless tips, I said TIPS, have said they are very elusive at the moment. This is an area where over all the stretches I fish, if I wanted to catch a Barbel, here would be it.

Now Barbel spawn in wide ranging temperatures ranging from 14-20 degrees C, in late spring or early summer, between May and July after migrating upstream, often several miles, to their spawning grounds. Males will pursue the females that are ready to spawn to shallow riffles and splashing is common as the pursuit takes place.

From reading some boomph online males can exhibit interesting behaviour at the spawning sites. The courting males will follow a female to the spawning site and a single male will then swim with her and prior to her release eggs. The male will often court the female by swimming head to head with her at the spawning site, but when they start to release their eggs and milt.

Other males waiting at the spawning site will then swim upstream to join them and so release their milt in an attempt to fertilize her eggs, despite having played no part in the courtship at all !!! The females may spawn several times with approximately 14-days between each.

The females can produce 8-12,000 eggs/kg of body weight, depending upon their condition and health, the eggs themselves are a translucent yellow and are the largest eggs of the coarse fish in Britain. Apparently the roe of Barbel is poisonous to humans. As they develop into adults, the sexes reach sexual maturity at different times, with males first able to spawn at between 2-5 years and females at 5-8 years of age. Barbel are believed to live for up to 15 years.

I’ve said before I don’t fish for Barbel that often, I prefer to fish in the autumn and winter months when they are at their heaviest and hungriest. Times of flood when the water is coloured is another window of opportunity to catch these fantastic powerful fish, because it is about the only fish that bites in those conditions. They can venture out in to the murky waters without standing out like a sore thumb.

I was hoping they had now returned and were up for feeding, or would they spoil the party? !!!!

Anyway back to the session, where I’d hope to register some scores on the door for the Bloggers Challenge. A Krill wafter on one rod, a pungent meat boilie on the other, both with PVA bags of mixed pellets, an hour before dusk, wait for a proper bait. There are gluttonous chub here as well, meat can be snatched or dislodged from the hook and there is no time to check of the bait is still on,  a firmer boilie is more resistant to their persistence. ignore the pulls, plucks and knocks you will know exactly when a Barbel takes the bait.

Best laid plans and all that, the first part went very well indeed, with Chub in quite a few swims coming up to take the bread off the surface. One swim I could see a Barbel as well, certainly over 7lb by the look of it. Slow sinking bread took the biggest chub and when you're fishing water, not much more than a foot deep in pacey water, it gave a cracking account for itself. Maybe rolling meat might have tempted the Barbel but it looked very cagey indeed.

Three swims produced fish though, and I managed 5 Chub, the smallest around 3lb. Away from the pacey shallow swims though, the water looked dead. The water had dropped considerably so I didn't expect much action the last hour headed in to dusk.

The chub were still active though and there were quite a few chub rattles pulls here and there but no Barbel decided to bite. With rain not forecast I'm tempted to don the waders and fish not only floating bread, but maybe some rolling meat as I'm sure put a lump in the front of a Barbel it would take it.  

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