Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Friday 17 December 2021

Warwickshire Avon - Tegestology and Teetotalism

Well with Christmas just round the corner ones winter coat seems to be donned a little earlier this yeah. An office party, a night out with her indoors, an early Christmas Dinner round the Sister-in-Laws, those pieces of cake I'd normally refuse, those chocolates I'd wave away, or the extra couple of beers I'd save till another day have all gone out the window. 

The roast dinners, well, they've just been getting bigger and bigger, a Terry's chocolate orange, done in one sitting. But then come January ones alcohol intake will be reduced to that of Adolf Hitler, where abstinence for a month keeps my cogs turning and the reduction in calories my belt looser. 

Anyway to the fishing, a couple of weeks ago I caught a chub off the top with floating bread which to be honest I wondered why I hadn't tried sooner as it's one of my favourite ways to catch them in the summer, don't neglect the tried and tested technique in winter was the outcome of that session, and I'd always be reminded of it.

Winter mind you, I thought these cold-blooded poikilothermous vertebrates meaning they get their body temperature from the surrounding water. 

Therefore, as body temperature is directly linked to water temperature, and changes in body temperature have an effect on how the body works, these can be stressful or deadly.

You see at higher water temperatures water holds less dissolved oxygen, so when water warms it affects fish respiration and they have to move their gills more rapidly to extract the oxygen they need.

Temperature also affects metabolism and metabolic processes occur quicker in warmer water. 

This also adds to the amount of oxygen fish require and hence why especially fish like the Barbel that give it their all in the fight, they can take sometime to recover. In the winter though they can largely switch off the feed until they really have to,. 

But not all fishes are not equally thermally adapted, and many cannot tolerate very cold or very warm temperatures. 

Thermal tolerance is an important controller of fish distributions, but within their range, fishes have adapted several ways to deal with cold temperatures, chub though, what makes them so different to other coarse fish we catch ?

I've caught Chub in water a nadger over 2 degrees when we had a tough winter, maybe they are just greediest of all the fish I target ?

Anyway Chub, like all fish, are predictable in their behaviour. As the season draws to a close they congregate in large shoals in steadier water. 

Places to look for them are smooth glides where the water is travelling at walking pace or slightly less. Water depth and the presence, or lack of, cover seem to matter less than the pace of the flow so don’t neglect apparently featureless stretches of water.

Which is where I caught the chub from a couple of weeks ago. An open bit of water with pieces of bread over their heads got them competing for the Warburton's. This session though I had a little more time so I'd retrace my steps to the swim I caught the fish from and then explore the other similar swims to see if their was method in ones madness.
The water was clearing fast and with it being overcast and also with a tinge of colour in the water for this session many ticks in the boxes were given for a chub to give itself up for my netting pleasure. 

I've said previously I've struggled to get in amongst the bigger Warwickshire Avon fish of late, would this session be any different ? 

I started off at the bottom of the stretch and fed some pieces of bread to drift downstream but after a good fifteen minutes or so it was clear despite the clearing water that the chub were either not there, or not up for a feed off the top.

Now this swim always contains chub so a change of tact, I decided to make some mashed bread from a couple of slices as upstream there is a nice swim with a decent slack so I went for a wander and decided to pre-bait a swim and would fish it last just before dusk to try and winkle out one of the bigger fish.

I went for a wander and allowed the bread to drift down a few swims and only one had a chub rise to take it. It looked a decent fish too considering the wake it made, but a good half an hour without a rise I was thinking about a move but then out of the blue a fish took it. 

As soon as I felt the fish through the rod I knew it was a splasher but once netted what a stunning little fish it was, a right minter albeit about 3 times smaller than the fish I was after.

It was clear despite that fish taking it off the top that they were not moving around as they were a couple of weeks ago so it was back to the bottom bait.

A large chunk of breadflake dropped in to some tasty looking swims where chub could be holding up. About 4 swims down with only nibbles from small fish I had one pre-baited swim to give a go in to dusk to try and get in and amongst the big lumps that I know reside here. 

Within 20 seconds of the breadflake bouncing around the bottom a couple of tentative pulls on the 2oz glass tip a proper bite developed. The fish confident in taking the bait properly because of the lack of resistance. This fish felt a little better after the first run as it was activating the drag, but I knew straight away it wasn't a big Chevin. 

The problem in these confined swims is that once you've caught one fish, you rarely catch another, and that was the case here. I fed more bread and fished well after I couldn't see the tip and had to touch ledger but sadly no more bites. Disappointing if I'm honest because the river looked perfect the bigger chub done a vanishing act. To the Stour forthwith, there must be some decent chub there to be caught, well postie Bob says there is, and he is a man in the know.  


  1. Love that Len Head shot, takes me back to my Stour and Colne stamping grounds, probably in some of his footsteps

    1. Great pic isn't it, I stumbled upon it by chance


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