Friday, 13 August 2021

Warwickshire Avon - Zoomancy and Zodiographers

The small group of barbel I stumbled upon really have been captivating ones attention. I've seen them in close quarters a numbers of time now and apart from being mesmerising to watch can I catch them, errrr nope.

All very frustrating when you have a feeding shoal in your swim and no matter what tactics I'd employ they somehow failed to succumb to my cumbersome tactics. I wasn't quite prepared the last session if I was honest and despite scaling down to a single grain of hemp on a small strong hook they managed to evade capture.

The line went tight a couple of times so the bait was picked up but they didn't hook themselves despite feeding confidently over the hemp, maggots and small pellets. 

Even after being spooked by brushing the line they would return to the swim quite quickly and get their barbules back working again. Eventually a chub that came out of nowhere put paid to that session because his swim disturbance meant they didn't want the same outcome.

So I was back for this short smash and grab session where I'd dump a load of freebies in the swim leave it rest for a while, and then fish a small air hardened Dynamite Baits Hot Fish boilie in to dusk with a large pva bag of freebies. 

I'd bought the boilies before they were available in the UK and they smell fantastic. 

Very spicy and pungent despite their size, oddly they don't seem to sell the smaller version now, 15mm being the smallest I can find now.

Confidence in a bait is key and this fishmeal boilie made with GLM, Tuna meal, Haiths Red Factor and infused with a blend of natural spices, and garlic powder and has a strong spicy fish aroma. It has caught me some nice barbel and chub since I've been using them. The hook was change to a size 12 and the hooklink was increased in length to 4 foot of 8lb fluorocarbon. 

The Warwickshire Avon couldn't be any clearer at the minute trying to mimic Hampshire's Chalkstreams and the dark natural dark brown colour doesn't stand out like a piece of luncheon meat would.

Meat was completely ignored by these barbel even when using a small fingernail sized piece, so something less obvious was the first change I made to try and get the edge over them. The freebies were added to the swim forty five minutes before dusk but there was no sign of barbel when the rod was cast out. 

I was expecting a blank but dusk as we know on the Warwickshire Avon fortunes could change at the flick of a switch. Dusk was a 9.15pm and the bats made an appearance well before that but this swim is dark because of the surrounding trees. The river couldn't really be much lower but here on the far side it deepens up significantly which I'm sure helps a large fish feel more comfortable especially when it has lots of room to escape a furry predator.

As soon as the isotope was needed the first sign of fish came. Initially a couple of sharp chub pulls but the tip was highlighting some little rattles and bangs too. Then oddly all went dead for ten minutes but then completely out of the blue all hell breaks loose and a powerful bite is received and I'm holding on for dear life.

If I don't need to cast far I prefer to use a centrepin as I feel I have more control over the fish and within seconds it came in to its own when after bolting downstream with the rod bent double using both hands and a thumb on the reel I've manage to turn it before it gone on top of me.

It swam upstream then and did a couple or three powerful runs before I got to see its flanks. One of the bigger fish from the shoal I think a long lean fish when it finally graced my net.

The front half was quite chunky though and when I lifted it out after allowing it to rest I thought it might be a double. Not quite, going 9lb 5 ounces on the scales but a lovely mint fish. A quick photo on the iPhone I rested it again and watched it swim off strongly. I worked hard for this one and with nights drawing in to give me time on the bank I will be fishing more in to dusk and beyond because I really do enjoy these short sessions in to dark when tables can turn. 


  1. Nice series of posts; finding barbel, adapting tactics and reward - cracking read!

  2. Cheers Btian, yeah enjoyed it, lots of adapting and got my reward.

  3. Love the evolution of location, tactics and capture! Just what blogging is all about!!!!

    1. What was funny with me doubting if I'd get a bite or not and you said keep the faith, and fifteen minutes later I had a fish in the net.


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