Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Thursday 7 July 2022

The River Arrow - Boots and Botanomancy

The opens-air life beckons every one of us whose days are spent in the fumes and noise, smell and smoke, of the big city. Angling takes us away from it all to the canal bank. There in the restful shade of the cooling towers we can settle down in peace, inhaling the breeze-borne scent of the rubber factory, to watch the sunlight playing on the scuds of detergent foam. 

We are disturbed only by passing coal barges, towpath cyclists, bovver boys, dogs whose attentions leave the groundbait soggy, courting couples and solitary men in John Lennon spectacles and long raincoats.

Here is where we sublimate our shallowly-buried hunting instincts, where we rip aside the thin veil of civilisation from our primeval urges and give a bloods-curdling howl of victory as we reel a two-ounce gonk to the bank. 

Here is where we can study the wildlife of water and bank. Where we can watch the rats sorting through the rubbish in the disused boatyard. Where we can observe exotic sparrows and pigeons pecking at discarded crusts.

Where a solitary seagull makes lonely circles in the sky, utters his call of a soul in torment, and delivers a message accurately into our open packet of sandwiches. Here we can admire the grace of passing swans, sailing like proud white ships to investigate our hookbait, responding with aristo-crat's dignity to a swift prod with the landing net. 

Here is where we can muse on the symbolism of the fishing rod. With it, a man is no longer limited in reach to the length of his arm. He is a man with a spea, with a finger fifteen feet long, from the end of of which he can cast a bait to explore regions forty, fifty, sixty feet and more away.

With the rod and its gossamer line he is able to penetrate a foreign and still largely unknown element. As the bait sinks and drifts across the bottom, the angler is in contact with the hidden mysteries below the surface, with the rusting bicycle wheels, with old sewing machines, pram frames, mattresses and dead
cats in weighted sacks, and forgotten boots. 

With a rod the angler is able to explore at close quarters the mysteries of the upper air. As he climbs a tree to untangle his line, he becomes aware of a whole
new world of caterpillars, spiders, earwigs, beetles dusty leaves and branches too delicate to bears his weight.

With a rod he can muse upon the Freudian interpretation of it as a phallic symbol, and suddenly enter a whole new dimension of hitherto impossible conquests and delights. With a little further thought, however, he realises that with a sixteen-foot match rod his troubles would only just have begun. 

With a rod he is the provider. Were our whole civilisation to disappear, he would be able still to feed his family. Providing he had an inexhaustible supply of hooks, floats, line, reels, rings, weights, and that his family were small enough to subsist on a daily diet of two gudgeon, four stunted roach and a one-eyed perch. 

By the waterside, the mind of the angler is free to roam, untrammelled, over all the little unimportant things that crowd him on a normal working day. 

He has time to think about whether the bank manager really meant what he said in that last letter,  whether the big end in the car will stand up for another six months, whether the dry rot in the loft will stop spreading, whether his redundancy notice will be coming through now that the firm’s been taken over, whether the boss has forgiven him for what happened at the office party. 

Anyway back to the fishing, I was back on the Arrow to try and spot some barbel (very much doubt it) so I baited a likely holding spot and went on the river with the little crankbait rod.

I love this sort of fishing especially when its a low and clear as it is now. Those deeper areas are often where the fish congregate and it didn't take me long to catch the first chub.

That properly nailed the lure on the second cast. The problem is in these sort of rivers his mates don't hang around long and roving is a must to get a few bites. One swim there was literally chub swimming around in one foot deep water and in plain sight.

The first chuck of the lure out of nowhere a big chub around 5lb or maybe more grabbed the lure and bolted off downstream however within a couple of seconds the hooked pinged out and I feel a dead weight through the braid.

Where yes, I drag in a bleeding size 10 !!!!

Now the other chub in the swim vanished completely however I caught another 3 more. Ok nothing of size but I do love fishing a crankbait in the summer. The minimum of tackle and decent sport on a light set-up.

I spotted two big Chub in one swim but couldn't get to them and the baited barbel spot was devoid of fish. Still a lovely part of the world which is deep in countryside and only a 15 minute drive away. Happy days !!!


  1. Just pop in here Chris, a few places to fish on the arrow https://www.thecornstores.co.uk/fishing-tackle/

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