Thursday, 19 September 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Hedgehogs and Herring Ponds

A big thumbs up from Sam for his first trip out in Dads new car, however sadly the session would be a short one after dinner and I had strict orders to get him back for eight thirty as he had been tired and a bit of a nightmare trying to get him up for school.

Then again his mother is just the same, who has to hit the snooze button three times, why not set your alarm and get up when it goes off !!!!

She likes her bed, as much as he does, both able to zone out early riser Ben's 'noise', sadly I myself am polar opposite. A recent change of job has meant the spare time I used to have when there were quite periods have been wiped out. Not in a bad way because busy is good especially when it's working on something very interesting.

But ones blog used to go off on a tangent which I used to enjoy but recently it's been all about fishing which probably isn't a bad thing.

So this short session was down to a section of the Avon where I've found depths over 20 feet, it's 10 to 12 ft in the main, but using the deeper fish finder I've found some proper deep areas.

We can drive down here you see and park right next to ones peg, for a quick session it's ideal, and there are some good fish to be had here as well.

We were after Zander and I've had some nice ones here in the past, the biggest heading towards 9lb and I've lost two bigger ones as well, one, certainly a double.

Now the water seemed lifeless when we got bankside, and a quick scan showed a nice bottom and 14ft of depth in-front of us. On a first go through of the deeper where were all the fish. Even the surface which usually has some activity on the surface was dead, hmmmmm not good.

So back in the Jimny and right to about as far as we could drive adjacent to the river and I recast the deeper to try and locate at least something for a chance of bite.

Sure enough eventually we found an area with some life, there was some weed on the bottom and the fish seemed to be in and among them. I cast both rods out with smelt as bait waited for a confident ding when the lead landed on a clean spot and hoped for the best.

The Avon is in dire need of rain and therefore not fishing particularly well at all. Most likely bream but usually where there is bream, there is Zander I've found. They probably are happy frequenting the same areas to be honest.

It's clear and levels are down which for fishing ain't the best, but you cannot catch a fish without a bait in the water.

When the fish are shoaled up here when it's properly cold, that's when things get interesting, you'd be forgiven if you'd wonder why anyone would fish it, such the mediocre fishing in much of the season but stick around you will be surprised, like someone has hit a switch. Oddly the banks are quieter when it gets cold, odd because that's when it gets interesting.

Anyway as the light started to go on the left rod there was a pull of the bait enough to set the bite alarm off and Sam nearly striking, but the bite didn't develop from that.

The water is still very mild indeed and to be honest , in my experience they don't seem particularly interested till the water temp drop s and the fish start to get hungry.

Still, the sun set was lovely and hopefully this will be the first of many trip out with Sam in Dad's new toy. A toy which on a few days in, really is putting smile on my face as someone who works in the industry, cars like this that break the mould really should be celebrated, I'm enjoy driving again.

Yeap, a blank but then fishing isn't just about catching fish now is it !!!!

Hedgehogs spotted this week, 3 

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Scumbags and Scrubbados

You work hard for nice things only for some scumbag wanting to try and get its hands on it. I'm talking about my Mk7 Golf R estate which has now gone. A weeks holiday, the car left on the drive in a quiet area, the patio door forced, the house searched top to toe, the tealeaf leaving empty handed, the keys were in the safe you see. If they were where I usually put them, the car would have gone. Sam a week of sleepless night as he thought the burglar might come back.

I used to enjoy fast cars and driving for that matter, but over the years especially with the family duties and the traffic and state of the roads as they are, I've been looking for something that befits my lifestyle as a frequent angler and would also put a smile on my face albeit at a more sedate pace. 99% of the time it's just me in the car and I rarely venture onto motorways.

The Golf became a hindrance as I couldn't take it where I wanted to either, the ground clearance next to bugger all and rubber bands for tyres for all but the smoothest asphalt. So when the new Suzuki Jimny appeared in the press well over a year ago now I've been keeping an eye on its progress. A limited amount to be sold in the UK and if you wanted a specific colour, 18 months to 2 years waiting list.

It's dinky in statue, with and very credible off-road credentials. Tyre profile and ground clearance to not only soak up what the road has to throw at it, but also can go where most cars would think twice. A proper body on chassis set-up with wheel articulation boarding on the ridiculous.

Also being diminutive in statue you can park on the smallest of verges and the narrowest of  tracks. I thought a Subaru Forester 2.5XT would be the answer to ones prayers but it proved to be a lemon and to be honest wasn't that nice to drive anyway.

Now with the rear seats down the load bay ideal for all ones tackle and the rod quiver fits between the seats no problem. Bags of character, and believe it or not, such the demand for a car that is different from the humdrum, new cars appearing on the secondhand market are fetching a premium.

For a long while after a test drive of the demonstrator I've not had a smile on my face for a while. Enjoyment at a sedate pace and to confirm, yes I'm definitely getting old.

The SZ5 spec has all the modern toy, from Apple CarPlay, LED headlamps with main beam assist, heated seats and cruise control, to safety feature such as lane departure warning, collision avoidance and sign recognition.

The 4X4 tech such as hill hold,hill descent and selectable 2WD, 4WD and 4WD with low ratio are in conjunction with the JB74 platforms excellent ground clearance, approach angle, ramp breakover and departure angles. The stats are up there with some much bigger offroaders, this a very capable bit of kit I tell you, despite looking like a Tonka Toy.

Luckily for me I noticed a local Vauxhall dealer adding Suzuki to their franchise and I was the first customer to put a deposit down. A car every quarter, the current waiting list 13 people. So after picking it up yesterday the first trip out was to put up some WBAS signs up at a newly acquired syndicate stretch of a the Warwickshire Avon, a stretch I had not fished before.

The Golf wouldn't get not further than the gate for fear of grounding, the Jimny a stroll in the park and where it feels at home. A bank fully open to capable cars and also no issues with night fishing, a quick nose at the swims it looks like it might hold some nice fish, the downstream end, seemingly quite deep as well.

I for one am looking forward to putting some miles on it and venture to areas I'd not considered before because of my previous car(s) limitations. The only mod I might do is ditch the current 195x80xR15 tyres and replace them with some beefier looking 215/75 R15 AT tyres, straight out the factory guise they do look a bit weedy, from front on anyway, but I'll see what the OEM factory fitted tyres are like first.

"Mick you're a tool"

"No it's A tool, A TOOL !!!!"

Cut me some slack, there is the fact I fish probably 3 times a week, sometimes more, it is my pastime after all, one that hopefully will mean I can spend more time doing. Heck I can now cope with the rutted track of the Lower Itchen without wondering if I'll make back home in one piece or not.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

'Not Quite' The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.142 – Vbucks and Vagaries

The weather kind still, the kettle not quite under its protective cover yet, the relatively lackluster summer still holding on, the sun still shining. The river tough going at the minute, things are on the turn though, that cold autumnal air comes and goes and when it's there noon and night, the fish start to feed. Munching a homemade burger thinking about where to fish, Zander appeared in one's mind again. The bigger Zander seem to show themselves more when the weather changes for the better for us anglers.

Last week you see the canal Zander were on it so to speak, a shoal located, bite after bite, this one particular overhanging bush a haven for these hardy creatures. If I ever fall on hard times I know what I would feed the family on, smoked Zander for breakfast, a Zander salad for lunch and a Zander curry for tea. For someone who has caught hundreds and hundreds of these fascinating creatures I've yet to try one.

They were as rowdy as those 'couldn't organise a pee up in their own brewery' MP's in the House of Commons, they needed ASBO's dishing out for their behaviour and all given a restraining order, especially the speaker of the house who appeared to be auditioning for some naff

American sitcom such his over the top acting and verbal bullying. Luckily for me the Skullcandy Crushers and repetitive beats doing their best to shield me from this utter National Embarrassment.

Anyway back to the fishing when they are on this though, it has to be seen to be believed. Unless you fish for Zander as much as I do, those sessions are few and far between, but when they do happen it is an eyeopener, it really is.

No big'uns from the last session though, ok a 4 pounder would be a waspers delight, but not the scale of fish I am after....

....I'm after a >80 cm fish that I know swims within these turbid waters.

A change of fortune is all you need though....

"Sam what would you do if you won £133,000,000 on the EuroMillions ?"

"I'd buy loads of Vbucks and play Fortnite for a week because Mummy won't buy me any !!!!"

"Errrrrrrrrrrr ok"

And it's a change of fortune I need you see, the search for a double figure Zander continues and I'm no closer to bringing this stupid quest of mine to its conclusion. There are some encouraging signs though, the Zed size and biomass on the increase in this area and the transient bigger fish can appear anytime when you least expect it. Sometimes though it's nice just getting bites, the overdepth float set-ups I use a visual treat when the smelt gets some interest.

Back on track I've got some fishing to do. This was a session of convenience, one where the tyres on the Wife's new car would stay clean, the terrain easily negotiable before my new wagon turn up that will get me anywhere I decide to go. So all change on the car front,I think the neighbours might think we've won the lottery, but then I've cashed some of my hard earned chips in.

What a lovely morning, 5.5 degrees when I got bankside at 7.00am and the sun came up nice and strong. The Zander though were another story, compared to last week bites were hard to come by, in-fact only two runs and one fish banked. The blue-green algae was more prominent this week though so maybe that had some effect on the fishing. For sure the oxygen would be less and that could well labour the fish from feeding.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Jingle Bains and Jockum Cloys

With the Avon low and back to clear again fishing at the minute can be very tough indeed, however there are still fish to be caught if you want to get bankside.

For this session Sam and myself headed down to a section of the Avon where predators are in numbers. Perch and particularly Pike make their presence felt here because the bait fish biomass is very large indeed.

If a trot through of a float using maggot remains unhindered on the first chuck a trickle of maggots every couple of minutes will eventually attract the small fish.

It is then a bite a chuck, dace, chublets, chunky roach and some of the biggest bleak you are ever likely to catch keeps the littles ones happy. If match fishing is your thing I bet with a whip you could amass a decent bag full over the 5 hour period.

After a good hour or so eventually a pike moved in to the swim chasing a bleak on the retrieve but the fish still fed despite the big thing with teeth hanging around to hopefully gatecrash the party.

A move to a large open swim meant Sam could use a Frog popper on the surface whilst I enjoyed the sun. His casting is much improved now and providing there are no trees to get snagged up on on the whole he can be left to his own devices.

His boredom threshold can be tested if he isn't getting bites but as he was giving a good account of himself chucking the lure here and there that didn't seem to factor in to the equation.

Maybe the novelty of being able to skim the lure over the lily pads without getting snagged added to the enjoyment.

After what seemed like a hundred casts and his arm starting to ache a fish grabbed the lure quite close in and his first fish on the popper was on.

He'd seen how good surface fishing can be for predators when we used an insect replicant for summer Chub but I think he was shocked how violent the grab from the Pike can be. Now this jack was taking line on the relatively like lure set-up and apart from having to take over for a split second to steer it away from some reeds he did a cracking job of playing it.

It weighed 4lb 8oz and that was big enough to recall the story to his Mum as soon as he got home.

The final hour we returned to the first swim and fished close to an overhanging tree where a trickle of maggots again meant some small fish were caught but a change of depth and a larger shot on the line to sink the bait a little fast a chunky Perch of just over a pound in weight brought the session to a conclusion.

A really enjoyable morning, lots of fish caught despite the unfavourable conditions.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

'Not Quite' The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.141 – Twirlblasts and Throttlebottoms

With the rivers low and clear it gave me a good chance to have a go at the canal Zander to register some bloggers challenge points. Now thinking about it I will still have all of the closed season before the competition end and hopefully where canal Zeds are concerned I'll be collecting those much needed points.

Dan leading the way thus far, but then he is more experienced than me, so not unexpected.

As a dab hand now catching these fascinating fish the banker swim was as good as any. Now this bush overhangs the canal a decent amount and any respecting zed head would know that there would likely be Zander laying up underneath it as it provides a nice canopy over their heads.

The last time I fished it, multiple runs and 11 fish banked. If I ever fall on hard times I know what could fill ones belly.

Smelt has proved a revelation in ones armoury, and this mornings session was no exception, roach never got a look in. 8 fish taken in the banker swim, 2 from another swim. 2 missed runs as well, it was quite a productive morning I must say.

The water temperature is coming down and that I'm sure brings on the Zander to feed. All fish in cracking condition which is encouraging as not far away there are a couple of otters.

The biggest fish went 4lb 4oz. Not massive as I've had fish twice that size but when you have multiple runs like I did today, that sometimes makes up for the lack of stature. Still a waspers delight mind you, deadbaits really do seem to sort the men from the boys.

The towpath was busy, boats three or four. Canals are not my favourite place to frequent but there is a reason why I dedicate so much time in the closed season fishing for these interesting fish. As a species they are nothing like anything that shares these mucky midland waterways. I'm hoping a double will eventually come my way, heck I think I deserve it.

Tough as barbed wire they give a decent scrap this time of year as well. They have a reputation for fighting like a wet lettuce but a couple of them gave me the run around today. Fish I could swear could make five till they surfaced and their statue not what I expected.

With a new car to pick-up next week, a car that will suit my fishing needs like no other and give me a smile on my face like these canal Zander do.

Smelt, try it, you'll be amazed !!!

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Arch Dukes and Ape Leaders

Some odd weather of late, the ridiculous heat of the August bank holiday weekend and 7 days later not far off upping the tog on the duvet. Luckily for me missus Newey offers some rather large pillows so the change over has been put back for another week or two.

It's been very unpredictable indeed Saturday just gone, the retrieval of some WBAS syndicate signs to be relocated to another stretch of the Warwickshire Avon we have acquired meant sheltering under a tree after a heavy downpour hindered my progress.

You would have thought there would be some colour in the water but no, the Avon is back to being clear again. It can be very tough conditions as the fish in the Avon, particularly the big ones shy away to their sanctuary and cover and rarely venture out.

The bait fish though are in numbers, and seemingly this year putting their wet fingers up out of the water in support of the Extinction Rebellion disruptors.

But let's not dwell on that, as well as the obscene amount of massive slugs I saw the other days and the amount of insect, crawling and flying that dominate these waterways

I don't need to add to my carbon footprint either, I don't need to drive to Manchester to chain myself to a bank, all this is happening on ones door step. Kingfishers, otters, barn owls and buzzards, us anglers are lucky peeps we really are.

So the session was a quicky like lots of things these days. I wanted to fish a swim where I'd seen some Perch attacking some small bait fish. It's a nice deep swim in the main so headed in to dusk I'd pack-up the Perch rod and try and catch a Chub or Barbel.

I scaled down for this trip out and also fished a much small bait on a band.

The larger baits haven't been doing the business but then I think maybe are finding it tough at the moment. A PVA bag of stinky pellets should hopefully attract the attention of a passing fish. These Sonubaits spicy sausage versions really do stink and they also seem to leak off more attraction than other varieties I've found.

The Perch were up for it though and a lobworm picked up three fish the biggest an ounce shy of a pound. You could bag up in this swim with whip and maggot as it was chock full of fish. Mostly small dace but the looks of it but the odd chub and shoal of topping dace among them. I love catching Perch this time of year though because their fins are as red as they get.

As expected headed in to dusk and as the light went, not even a Chub pull on the pellet let alone a Barbel bite. The bait was nicely positioned in between a section of streamer weed too, just nothing doing at all. Heck the canal is looking a better proposition the weekend at this rate, I know where a barbel, yes you heard right, a Barbel frequents too.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Prorogers and Potwallopers

I lacked a little motivation to be honest for this session, not sure why, The river Ise wasn't that productive but not only that, the countless number of insect bites I had went a little rogue. The itchy bites turning weepy and not only that but my leg started to swell.

The first day back at work where I was sat on ones backside for 8 hours when I got back home I struggled to get my trousers off.

Everything above my sock had ballooned to such an extent that it looked out of proportion to the right leg. The picture on the left was on the Sunday chilling in the garden. 24 hours later it swelled once again and ended up painful to the touch.

Antihistamines, ibuprofen and ice packs applied on the evening after work certainly helped and also after elevating it for a while as well, it luckily was reducing in size as a trip to the doctor might have been on the cards.

The kids not a bite between them which I was surprised at, maybe they have a taste for alcohol which I'd enjoyed in temperatures reaching 30 degrees.

I did consider trying to get out for a Barbel session especially as the nights are drawing in but after getting all my tackle sorted in the end I decided to give fishing a miss during the week. Not a bad thing as I'd been fishing more than ever.

For this short session down one of my favorite sections of the Avon was to fish with Sam and I'll take the back seat. Maggot under a small float and also some lobs under a Perch bobber. The river at the minute is back to being low and clear again which for the larger fish isn't an ideal time to fish. Well certainly when the sun is up and the skies clear.

But fish maggot though, plenty of bites to keep the little one occupied and to be honest it turned out in to an ok session.

One swim produced some of the biggest bleak I've ever come across and the shoal was a couple of hundred strong. In and among the bleak were the odd chublet and also small game dace.

The perch were elusive to begin with but some lobworms drifting in and around the weir pool eventually the bobber started to see some action and within the space of half an hour he managed perch up to 11 ounces or so.

Roving around was the key here and also trying to find swims that were either shaded or had some depth. I couldn't get a look in with the rod and even after a decent pike decided that he liked the look of the bleak on the retrieve Sam did all the playing before it sadly ejected the bait as it was nearing the net.

He had to apply some decent side strain as well and teeth not reaching the line gave him the opportunity to feel what a big fish feels like on the end of his line.

He was gutted when he lost it, but that's fishing for you. Next time we will go tackled up properly for it. So not a bad session to be honest and I quite enjoyed taking a back seat as Sam is turning in to quite a good little angler.

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