Friday, 5 July 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Jitterbugs and Jobbernowls

In the world of cryptozoology, that is the search and study of unknown or unidentified animals, one of the things that is highly prized is photographic evidence.

In the absence of any sort of body or physical evidence of these mysterious creatures the next best thing we can hope for is pictures taken of our quarry, but the sad case is that this rarely goes far to really proving anything at all, and considering all of the hoaxes and fakers in this day and age such photographic “proof” is becoming of less and less use in our quest to get to the bottom of these mysteries.

For every promising picture there seem to be a dozen fakes, and it seems only natural that such photographs should generate plenty of discussion, scepticism, and controversy, no matter how clear the images may be.

Now the legendary Albuttbarbelbutt, Warwickshire Avon’s largest Barbel is known to me and one other (I think) it’s eluded me thus far but the conditions have to be right to even consider trying for it. My PB of 12lb 14oz’s came in conditions where I knew if I didn’t seize the opportunity it would pass me by and the next available weather window could be a while off. I fancied easing myself in to it though and get some practice in before hopefully getting a selfie with the lumbering lunker.

So let’s get fishing, a large open swim with some depth close in, a swim, where in the past I’ve caught Chub surface lures where other methods were fruitless.

Also like the barn owls here they Chevin seem to patrol this area and when the light starts to go, things big start to move. But Mr Barbus is here as well, in-fact this area provided me with the first fish with whiskers I’d even caught. Their fighting power experienced right down to the butt, and like many, I’ve appreciated them as a species ever since.

Only a short session this and again one of two parts, the first a spot of surface lure fishing and the second part two rods for Barbel headed in to dusk. Krill wafters on the hair and PVA bags of mixed pellets for feed.

One bite required, fingers and toes crossed to register one as a species for the challenge board. To be honest I rarely fish for Barbel, if I do it is usually in the winter where the banks are quieter, the fish a tad tubbier and when the rivers are coloured, the fish more likely to bite.

Twilight though at this time of year brings twitches, you see like carp actively feeding in the margins of their mud puddle post whistle, you know that time soon after the seat box frequenters have dumped in their leftover bait and emptying out their keepnets.

A clear river can be very much like that. Forget fishing during the day, just turn up an hour before dusk with the minimum of tackle, Bob’s your uncle, Fanny’s your aunt.

Well lets just say it didn't quite go to plan, before I settled down for the Barbel I went roving to try and find some Chub. They were quite easy to find to be honest with the water as low and clear as it was.

Their dark shadows appearing and disappearing from among the thick streamer weed. They were as cautious as I'd ever seen them to be honest, not even bothering to come up to look at the lure.

A change to a tiny plug in an oxygenated swim I hooked a Perch that managed to get free of the hooks by launching itself high in to the air.

With the sun setting with it's kaleidoscope of colours it was just nice to be out bit now was the time. With the rods now out as expected the Chub started to move, a tentative pull then a more confident bite there was fish milling around. I use long hairs though because I'd rather a Barbel than a small chub and headed in to dusk that's all that seemed to be biting. Some proper whacking bites in the end before I left but I did't connect in to any fish, the Barbel as elusive as ever at this time of year.


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