Thursday 15 October 2020

The River Leam - Circuit Breakers and Crinkum Crankums

With the Piscatorial Quagswagging hit tally about to hit the one million mark with this 915th blog post, I did wonder where should I go fishing before the extra digit appeared, then out the blue this week fellow syndicate member George Burton had shared some pictures of some lovely plump Roach he'd be catching on the Tiny River Leam and it answered the question for me.

To the River Leam forthwith, chop chop !!!!

I love this diminutive little river we have access to, not because of the size of the fish it contains, but it's such a lovely roving stretch with features aplenty, and generally a nice place to be.

I've said before I'm not that bothered about fish size these days, the venue and its peace and solitude it offers are way more of a priority. Angling in this sort of waterway though offers something its bigger brother cannot offer and that is surprise and delight. 

A 3.5lb Chub wow, a cracker, a 10oz Roach, what a stunner, an 8oz dace, awesome. You wouldn't say that on the Warwickshire Avon now would you. 

The potential of a big fish from small waters is enough to get the bread liquidised and the womery raided though. Now I don't think I'd fished this stretch in to dusk, well I cannot recall anyway, however that was the plan for this session.

I'd only have a couple of hours post work but these days that's sufficient enough to get ones mind in a good place. Now the river had been over its banks of late sadly carrying a load of picnic benches from a neighbouring public house with it during the spate conditions and dumped a load of then in the watercourse.

Now George had run out of fingers and thumbs and had to start counting his toes such the amount of jetsum that was now in the watercourse but I wanted to have a butchers myself to see what could be done about it. 

COVID-19, what COVID-19, I forget everything when I go fishing, ones mind goes blank when I'm waterside, the tonic is like no other legal or illegal. A return with waders may be in order and there is also talk of a syndicate work visit to create some more swims and also some water management needing some man power. 

Some of the debris is not only causing an eyesore, but could well effect the fishing too. Lets just hope we don't get the Government of Singapore'esk circuit breaker lockdown to mirror that is being threatened to out the kybosh on proceedings as we've fish to catch, benches to retrieve. 

Anyway simple roving tactics for this session, ones ultralite quiver rod donned with a pin with a simple link ledger , a small landing net, a small shoulder bag with liquidised bread, a few worms and bread discs as bait. 

All being well I'll pop here the weekend too as Sam wants to fish the little Leam as it's his kind of river too.

Oh and as a back-up, as the light was fading I wanted to try the surface lure here, Chub you see, especially the big ones in and around dusk there is a definite change in their whereabouts because all of sudden then can start to reveal themselves and start to investigate anything that could be a potential meal on the surface. 

It thought this sort of activity was limited to one small area but the more I spend time on the bank in to dusk and beyond it can be common place. I'd hooked and lost a right lump here and sadly not got to see the fish, but it certainly was a good'un as it did me over good and proper.

Now the Salmo Lil'Bug is a surface wobbler so called tracer. As you can derive from the name, it tempts the fish by disturbing the water surface and creating a trace or wave. This lets the predator to register the lure even when the water is a less than clear, the trout pattern I was using has a highly visible belly.
Surface lures really work well on the Warwickshire Avon on certain large bay swims where the Chub are cautious particularly and as mentioned before as the light is fading you can cast the lure out, and allow the current to take the lure wherever it wants exploring as much of the water as possible.  

A slight nudge of the lure to disturb the water is a good tip and also a really slow retrieve of the lure across the surface of the water too. 

Time it right just as it's going over a Chevin's noggin all of a sudden you can have an explosion on the surface. The takes can be savage and great fun on light lure gear but depending on the lure you buy the problem is some of them really do show damage rather quickly. A good introduction is the Lil'bug as it's fairly robust, it's also very easy to cast with its internal weight. 

Anyway better get fishing hadn't I....

George was having a dangle further downstream as well and I was kept in the loop throughout his short session. I fed 4 swims with some liquidised bread and the proceeded to fish each swim in turn. The water was clearer than I thought and after the third swim without a nibble I decided to stick it out in the last swims where I could set the stall out a little better.

So after passing the 5 picnic benches on the return I settled in to the swim and as soon as the bread hit the bottom I started to get bites. Only small fish mind you but enough to unsettle the quiver. After I reeled in a minnow I was wondering where there any big fish moving, but with a clear sky not exactly ideal conditions. 

George had already landed a couple of chublets so I wanted some of the action so I switched to a large lobworm just as the sun was setting and within a few minutes the first proper bite came, almost unmissable and guess what, yeap I missed it. 

After getting stuck in a snag and having to re-rig I was running out of my allotted time to catch a fish. 

Before a worm went out for the last half an hour I used the lure a few times in the large bay swim where after 40 or so casts eventually I had an aborted take from a Chub. A decent wake too so it must have been a decent fish. A few more casts without a touch I swapped rods and the bait went out as dusk had hit the tip just about visible as the light was going.

It didn't take long to get a bite either and the quiver after an initial tap and pull all of a sudden it went in to melt down and a fish was on. After a decent scrap on light tackle there was a nice river Leam chub sat in the net.

Now I know there are bigger chub here to catch but this one was most welcome indeed the flash of the camera doing a grand job of highlighting its features.

Not a huge fish estimated at around 3lb but still a welcome bend in the rod after a busy week in the office. I do love it down here, and relatively untapped too, I'll be back. I'm sure there will be some nice gems to had, these sort so small rivers always throw up surprises....

....I cannot wait to see what I can winkle out next....


  1. Congratulations on hitting a million views!! Not a bad chub to celebrate either!

    1. Hard going but worthwhile in the end Brian, a lovely mint fish


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