Friday, 17 January 2020

The Tiny River Alne - Conny Wabbles and Corpse Revivers

Our great nation appears to be falling out of love with the full English breakfast. New research conducted recently has shown that one in five Brits under 30 has never had a fry up. One reason for this could be a fear of putting on weight and even the most powerful of Instagram filters cannot remove that muffin top.

Now it appears that health concerns are the main reason a fifth of 18-30 year old's avoid the fry up. The full English breakfast dates back to the 1800s, when the Victorians made it the most important meal of the day, using it as an opportunity to display their wealth and hospitality.


It was soon adopted by the working classes of the industrial revolution who needed a hearty breakfast to give them the energy to work a full day of manual labour. The tradition spread until its peak in the 1950s, when roughly half of the British population started their day with a full English breakfast.

Those shunning the 'heart attack on a plate' would rather tuck into smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, smashed avocado on toast or oatmeal pancakes for breakfast. Now to be fair I can see where they are coming from, I rarely have a 'full English' these days mainly because ones eyes are bigger than ones belly, my food consumption nothing like what it used to be.


When it's done well though it is hard to beat. If you are ever in Padstow check in to Woodlands Country House and have one of Hugo's to see where I'm coming from. But then like me if I'm to cook one myself it needs to be with the finest of ingredients, not those found in the bottom of the freezer in Farmfoods. 

But then Hugo Woolley (as pictured) mixes his breakfast up as well, nothing like variety in your food I say.

Old favourites such as Eggs Benedict, and porridge get a look in, but they sit alongside the lesser known likes of Koulibiac, Coddled eggs and the Savoy Hotel’s 'Corpse Reviver', he's even written a book all things breakfast.

Now talking about mixing it up, a bearded dragon deprived of it's food, sorry but there is fish to be caught, the lizard can forgo his breakfast just this once I'm sure.

So for this short after work session down at the little river Alne, wasp and pachnoda grubs would be used to try and winkle out a fish or two.

These Pachnoda Grubs are the soft-bodied larvae stage of the fruit beetle also known as Sun Beetles and are over an inch in length, proper fat things, like something you'd get in a bushtucker trial or put in front of you in a restaurant in Pudong where you'd point and ask, "errrr what the heck is that ?".

Now the Alne was about the only river that looked anywhere near fishable, the other rivers I fish the Leam, Warwickshire Avon and the Stour in flood again due to the rain that seemingly is never ending.

Every time you think there is an end in sight someone has been flossing to the rain Gods.


To be fair with more rain on the way as I type this, I may well be heading for the Alne tributary if the reccy didn't go well, but I geared up with two set-ups one where I could fish even if the river was nearly over its banks, if that was the case I'd use cheesepaste.

You all know I plan my sessions, so things can change post penning so to speak !!!!

I'm sure if I'm going to renew this Alne book as to be honest despite only living a walk away if we were snowed in, I've not fished it 'that' much. In the summer it's too shallow, in the winter up and down like nothing else like it. When conditions are perfect though it fishes brilliantly when roving with some breadflake and liquidised bread in the feeder, you can pick up chub from most swims that looks chubby.


I'm sure there are specimen fish to be had as well, but having seen the biggest Otter I've ever seen on a waterway as the Alne maybe it's not the time to fish it.

Results the last couple of sessions have been quite mediocre on the wet net front, so much so,the tangleator Sam isn't that bothered if I take him or not. Rivers like this though when it can be deep and then shallow in a matter of a few paces despite the river being up there is usually a swim or two that can be fished.

The last swim fished, sadly no Chevin were home
Not just that though, since me and Sam have been fishing it, I've yet to see another angler. A Queens wave to the farmer on his quad bike, a death stare from a sheep, an occasional dog poo bag swinger about the only contact from other things that breathe.

The chub have been half decent for a small river as well, but for this session I wanted to try something different to see what else I could pick up. A fish survey by the EA the club secretary shared with me when I first joined showed that there was dace, roach and even bream present as well as gudgeon, chub and trout.


Some initial research on the Alne also showed that there were some massive roach in years gone by, but also some Barbel and the odd carp.A chance meeting of the farmer at a party through some friends of ours that rent some stabling off them, confirmed all of the above. In-fact the trout over the years have been a decent stamp as well.

Rivers change though, there are some good years, some bad years, at the moment I don't think it's in his heyday but there are still some half decent fish that put a bend in the rod to be caught despite Harry Otter ruling the roost.


Now when I got to the river it was a decent fishable level, a reasonable pace in places and strong tea coloured but good enough for a dangle.

Harry Otter was in residence too, because as I was heading to swim number two he was in the middle of the swim with head out the water. As I went to get my zoom camera out my pocket he saw me, and buried his head under and I never saw him again during the three hour session.


I won't dwell on the afternoons fishing that much but some nice dace were caught up to 5 1/4 ounces, a brownie and a couple of gonks.

The chub nowhere to be seen though which surprised me as they seem to be the main quarry when I walk these banks. The wasp grubs really do work well especially when partnered with a maggot. The tip is a fast action glass so I missed a lot of bites too, I assume it was small fish trying to strip the big grub from the hook.


A couple of maggots fished instead I assume would have banked more fish but it was the larger stamp of dace I was after today. Despite liquidised bread in the feeder bread as a hookbait didn't to it today, grubs were where it was at.

I tried a larger Pachnoda in the final swim that I primed with liquidised bread but sadly Mr Chevin wasn't home. An enjoyable session though, lots of bites in a chocolate brown river, I didn't really expect that to be honest, these small rivers really are for me.

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