Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Sunday 27 February 2022

Warwickshire Stour - Poachers and Phonendoscopes

They say there’s no such thing as a free meal but as you wind your way through wooded hills towards the tiny village of Cranborne, you might chance upon a charming rogue who says differently.

For years, the Cranborne Poacher has roamed these parts, outwitting both authority and prey in pursuit of pilfered plums and a pheasant for his pot. A decent alternative to my favourite beer Champion this rich, ruby and fruity beer ain't a bad drop. 

You see its crystal and chocolate malts provide a full-bodied taste with sweet, complex flavours of damson and liquorice. 

With the Warwickshire Avon still up and coloured the River Stour came to mind to get that much needed fishing fix. 

The Stour you see, even in the winter when the levels start to drop it's surprising just how well it clears and gets back to its lovely tinge of green. 

I fancied a bite and the Stour holds some nice Chevin and also some nice roach which for me have eluded me the last few sessions. With similar conditions to 24 hours earlier the roach may well be in hiding but the chub, I'm sure would be up for a tussle or two. 


A lovely bright day again so the frost cleared quickly and gloves were not needed when I got bankside around half an hour after sunrise.

As expected I had the river to myself so it's just a matter of dropping in to swims and try and buy a quick bite. Bread is such a visual bait and I think the float might have been a better option when I first saw the river because it wasn't as up as I thought. 

I did pre-bait a couple of swims with bread mash on route to the first swim and that was the key for this short session.

As I said the river was in perfect winter fettle and it didn't take long to get the first bite. The swim (shown above) in question has a nice slack where a small stream enters the main river and by lifting the bait off the bottom to drift downstream it can often provoke a quick bite. 

And I was right, because after nothing for 10 minutes with the bait fluttering around on the bottom a little nudge the bread offering drifted downstream and after a couple of sharp plucks, the chub had hooked itself after confidently taking the bait.

The flow is quite considerable here in the main part of the river and after a decent battle the 3 lber was in the net. Now I usually retain fish in the landing net here because there are often a group of them to be caught, but oddly not for this session. 

Whether or not this was a lone fish I don't know but I really was surprised no further bites were forthcoming. In-fact after another 5 swims I was wondering where the heck the fish were. Still I wasn't moaning a decent bend in the rod, and I actually, caught a fish, a fish I tell thee !!!

Even in the banker swim no taps, pulls or anything even from small fish. I'm sure with the sun high in the sky ones shadow casting over the water wouldn't have helped because you know Chub, they can be put off feeding it something doesn't seem right and the sight of me encroaching on their lair I'm sure wouldn't have helped.  

Luckily for me this is where one of the the pre-baited swim came up trumps because heading back up the stretch after a missed bite, one of the most savage bites I have ever had off a chub and another fish was on.

It had to try and keep away from some snags so hit and hold stuff but eventually the fish new its time was up. Not the biggest from this stretch as I've had them over 4lb this season, but another 3lber. Most welcome though especially as I've been finding it difficult of late. And that was a wrap, no more bites despite fishing what looked like perfect chub swims. 


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