Saturday 12 December 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Chuckle-Heads and Chionophiles

I was pondering where to go where to fish the other evening over one the easiest cocktails to make. A cocktail that I first had in Ibiza and have been drinking ever since. A little like my fishing, I don't want anything too complicated, simpler the better.

Over recent times the Caipirinha. has become globally famous and its main component is the Cachaça, a brandy distilled from juice of sugar cane in Brazil.

Now this is a cocktail with a strong character, who likes it… loves it, and who does not like it, probably detest it. The preparation is very simple

Brown sugar, Limes, Crushed ice and Cachaça
Put some brown sugar and lime wedges on the bottom of the glass and crush gently with a mortar until the lime juice and sugar mix  Then fill the glass of crushed ice until the top. It only remains to add the cachaça to taste. (75ml measure for me)

Now Sam couldn't be more different than me as a chionophile, you see when the weather turns colder given the option of joining his Dad fishing on the banks of a river, his first thoughts would be, not what fish he is going attempt to try and catch but sadly how blue will his nose become, or how much will his fingers hurt.

He loves his bed more than his mother, so trying to coax him out of it to go fishing when he is literally welded to the duvet is nigh on impossible.

 It doesn't help either his ever multiplying army of teddies compounding the issue where they won't release their grasp either.

I remember a session a few years ago now  where little Sam regretted joining me for a meet up with fellow Zed Heads at a meet up at Hawkesbury Junction. 

As soon as he got out of the warm car in to an icy cold canal towpath I could see the thoughts going through his head within seconds. 

After a good hour or two bless him, despite wrapped up to the nines and the sun cutting through the early frost, he really wasn't enjoying it so we made our goodbyes and cut the session early. It didn't help that the fish weren't playing ball, because that might have made the difference, and a welcome distraction from his cold pinkies.

However with the weekend temperatures much milder than than in the week there was a window of opportunity to take a visit to the gonk swim(s). 

You see he likes nothing more than I do having a chilled session catching these little bold biters and Sam had be asking me if the weather was going to improve because he really wanted to go..."I have't been for ages have I Daddy"

Now talking of Gonks, after a request by myself Brian from Pike Blog and Prawnsoda Design kindly did what he does so well and knocked up another one of his fantastic designs, so Brian now offers a 'Mighty Gonk' option, and I expect Father Christmas is wrapping Sam's up as I'm writing this.

I'm an engineer by trade and ones brain works in a much different way to Brian's as I wish I had an artistic part of it that would kick in once in a while. 

I work with automotive designers almost on a daily basis and I've watched them sketch in meetings and have always wondered, "how the heck do you do that", they are wired differently for sure. I work in straight lines sadly and not much I can do about that.

I no good with a felt-tip but I can catch fish though and this area of the Warwickshire Avon has always held some nice Gudgeon and the odd Gonk and year after year they are always around in half decent numbers which is encouraging. 

We have fished for them with the float and the quiver but the quiver not only seems to bring out the better fish, but the bites are more exciting. 

'Zen Master'

They don't mess around when hovering up the maggots with a light tip the bites are almost Barbel like in their boldness. Most swims here to be fair hold Gudgeon but one in-particular went from the "bleak swim" to the "Gonk Swim" when one particular session we couldn't fail to catch them, it was fish after fish till we got bored. 

Maggots cleaned up and that's what we would fish for this short 2 and a bit hour session.

Now my rig for them couldn't be simpler, a John Roberts big bore ledger bead holds the link with few small shot and a XL float stop with the same diameter means that the rig can be fished fixed or running. 

There is no hooklink so simply the hook is tied on to the mainline. The beauty of this rig is that by moving the float stop up or down the line you can vary the distance from shot to hook, allowing you to fish tight to a snag for example.

Anyway enough rambling to the session...

The small roach were biting ok in the first swim and after about 4 or 5 fish the quiver banged in to life and a fish was on. "Daddy it's a BIG FISH, it's a BIG FISH* as the fish carted to the left towards some snags Sam was on top of it and we saw it surface within a few seconds, "It's a BIG CHUB, BIG CHUB"

As soon as it realised it was hooked though, all hell broke loose and another powerful run towards the same snag meant Sam had to apply as much side strain as he could muster. The palm of his hand on the drum of the centrepin to act as the clutch I thought might be enough to restrain it.

But no, sadly not, you see not long in to the fight one more lunge the hooked pulled and it came back straightened. Sam was as gutted as I was as this would have easily been his biggest Chub, and probably not far off mine.

After that loss his enthusiasm wavered for a while especially as he was feeling the cold, however a walk to another swim to warm up a little the first drop of the double maggot on the size 16 hook the small roach and tiny dace were biting. Still after no Gudgeon showing which was the target, Sam crossed his fingers and sure enough not long after one of the smallest Gudgeon we have ever caught. 

A happy boy in the end though and that fish we ended the session a little early. The target species either not there, or not up for a feed.

The river was up and with only a few inches of visibility maybe the conditions were against us, but another fishing session ticked off with Sam and in the main he enjoyed it. Still gutted he lost the Big Chub though but that's fishing for you, we will go geared up for one properly next time.


  1. All’s well that ends in a gudgeon! Definitely my favourite illustration of the year by the way - really wanted to put it on my blog but was worried Sam might see it before Father Christmas delivered his

    1. He is all about Minecraft, Fortnite and Youtube Brian, proper websites don't get a look-in so wouldn'r have been an issue !!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...