Sunday, 22 September 2019

Warwickshire Avon – Slappers and Snallygasters

A three-mile hike for a 7lb 7oz Thames Chub was the headline of an article I was reading in the Angling Times the other day, a HIKE for heaven’s sake. 

I was fully expecting the captor to be donned in crampons, trekking poles and Kendal mint cake….

The many seat box frequenters, surface slappers and puddle pursuers don’t help I suppose because the hoi polloi who share the same space see anglers cars parked behind pegs, with pies and pasties being eaten and think we are all a lazy bunch, but come on Angling Times, 3 miles isn’t a hike, I and many who share the same passion, this is commonplace, it really is.

For sure I myself often park behind ones peg for short sessions to maximise the fishing time, but on the whole it's the roving approach of fishing I really enjoy. It's decent exercise as well, the canal Zander quest ones 10,000 step indicator often going off when I'm still looking for cover to leapfrog.

Maybe for one edition of the Angling Times, ditch the same old faces the repetitive articles and go and find what’s really going on out there, because there are still many of us, who still don't fish commercials and / or like variety in our pastime. Go and spend a week with James and Brian for starters, just make sure you have decent footwear and consume enough calories for the miles ahead.

Now recently I'd bought from Ebay, Coarse Fishing monthly from January 1982 and the change in content, from present day to back when I was a nipper is clear for all to see. Can you imagine one of the weekly or monthlies having just one of these articles that were featured. 'Breaking the Ice' (for carp), 'Chub on whitebait', 'Canals in Winter' and 'Sub-Zero' a blank session on a river.

But for those publishers trying to hang on to their readership, variety is exactly what many anglers want, proper stories please not the same old articles subconsciously trying to sell the latest bit of kit I must have. Then again thinking about it, no not subconsciously, it's proper product placement rate there in print, probably why I've not a monthly or weekly for a while now.

Back to the old days for me and many please....

Just look what we up to for starters, off to far-flung territories unknown in search of the Warwickshire Avon's chicken eating Snallygaster.

You see someone I bumped in to bankside recently was praising the virtues of chicken skin for banking the biggest Chub out the shoal, apparently with mouths big enough to tackle a toddler such was the selective nature of the fatty derma and as someone with an interest in cryptozoology and a post blue cheese lucid dreamer, it reminded me of the cryptoid.

The Snallygaster was an avian-reptilian miss-creation is said to prey on poultry and carry off children usually after nightfall.

Ok I know early America was a strange place and moonshine was prevalent, but few migrants knew exactly what to expect in such a curious, unfamiliar land and some expectations were higher than others.

For good authority has it that in the Appalachian foothills near South Mountain there exists a belief that the vicinity is plagued by a bloodcurdling, flying creature of vast proportions.At first glance the brute is suggestive of European dragons; the major divergence being the prior is wholly hideous

The grotesque gargantua boasts a beak of iron fitted with teeth of steel, claws like scythes, an eye midway in its forehead, a pair of feathered wings and a dozen, wriggling tentacles to boot.

Is there anything Chub don't eat ?
No I’m not going mad, it in-fact, made a nice bedtime story for Sam before we tackled the beast armed with bottles of salmonellosis culling hand wash, and it meant I didn’t have to talk about Bigfoot and Yeti’s again, which to be honest, was getting a little repetitive.

Just don’t tell him that….

The swim we were off to I’d never fished before but heard about it and seen the pictures, the fallen tree that hinders the rivers flow would provide not only a perch for the Snallygaster but any discarded chicken would be headed the Chubs way, as the structure would also provide the Chevin much needed cover it often seeks.

It's the peg to draw, let's put it like that....

For this session, a lump of skin and to try and avoid a blank if that wasn't doing the business, a proven Chub banker, yes, you guessed it, a large piece of bread pinched on the hook. Talking of hooks a size 6 Drennan Specimen apparently the best Chub Hook Ever !!!! ( Russ Hilton )

Only a quick hour and a bit session this so there was no messing around, make our way to the swim and get fishing. A chublet was caught quite quick on bread but it was chicken skin I wanted to try anc catch with, so as the light was going we decided to leave the bait static for longer and ignore the plucks and knocks and wait till the rod went properly over.

As the bats were surfacing and the Snallygaster starting to stir I was starting to pack up whilst Sam was manning the rod,

"Dad, Dad" "Oh my God this feels massive"

Unbeknown to me he had struck in to a fish and was playing it all on his own. After a spirited fight and watching Sam tacking the 'monster' I got the landing net and did the honours for him.

Now Sam for some reason still isn't up for handling fish when I'm there to get my hands slimy instead, but it was his biggest Warwickshire Avon Chub, only 2 and a bit pound, but a welcome catch when chublets seems to be the norm up till now. Dusk is coming round quick now to my sessions will likely be straight after work, that or I will start fishing the venues I can fish in to dark.

With some rain the weekend and in to next week I'm hoping that the fish now that the temperature is dropping as well will start to get properly on the feed. Heck I might even try for a Barbel again I could do with the points as I've not caught one this season yet.


  1. Hear hear.I gave up long ago reading any of the angling press.sitting in the mud with a big piece of meat hoping for a large chub or barbel from our little upper Avon probably doesn't sell much tackle.

    1. Maybe they are missing a trick then, we are the forgotten bunch

  2. In the good old rose-tinted days I believe the point of an article was to impart knowledge and the ad's, though plentiful, were not linked. Even Mr Crabtree had ad's in it but it wasn't written with a gun to the head.
    Nice piece Mick and well done Sam on a P.B!

    1. He was well chuffed George, signs that he is enjoying it anyway !!!

  3. Well done Sam! I bet it feels great that he has taken an interest and hopefully as its gets colder Sam continues to pop out with you Mick. Look forward to seeing how the Zander fishing progresses now its getting a little cooler too.

    1. Hopefully all comes good from here young James !!! you don't need any help, I certainly do.


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