Sunday, 23 January 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Ventripotent and Veganuary

I didn't notice much when arriving at dawn however when leaving, the aftermath was all there to see. You see an old Range Rover ( Reg No. was still on the bumper ) must have left the road, hop, skipped and jumped down a small track before taking out a couple of trees before ending up in a ditch, looking at the debris and tyre tracks.

I assume the recovery truck was there to 'recover' as the area was littered was post accident polypropylene, unless the culprit that caused the destruction managed to free the car and drove away like nothing at happened....

....nothing to be seen here !!!! 

The driver could well for a second or two could well have been looking at the scythe of the grim-reaper judging by some of the trees he'd hit and the one in the picture must have taken the brunt of it.

Clearly not a local driver as the bend can catch you out if you're unaware off it, but it must have been carrying some speed looking where it left the road and where it ended up. Almost like the driver hadn't send the bend at all. 


Anyway luckily for me I had a decent session again chasing chub down at the Warwickshire Avon. I was back on the same stretch again I fished 36 hours earlier but this time would fish it a little differently. 

There seems to be an abundance of tame robins down here at the minute and having the stretch to myself again the sound of running water and a feature filled river the worlds ills are quickly forgotten about.
 
I'm still wondering where the heck the other anglers are because I'm yet to bump in to another one for quite a number of sessions now.

Ok the weather is cold, but so what, wrap up warm and get out on the banks as the conditions are pretty good as I'm typing this and should be decent for another week or so at least.

Now this time rather than fish a float I'd fish my standard quivertip chub set-up which consists of a size 6 hook, a feeder bead with small weight with a bb shot on the hooklink to anchor the bread disk to the river bed.

The plan was to still feed bread mash to try and turn the heads of the chevin and get them feeding confidently but first I needed to find the fish.

You see I've found that fishing a bait without any feed first seems to be the way to go and if one is caught retain it in the net as they could well be another one, two or ten waiting round in the mix.

6 swims down in swims that looked prefect for a bite nothing was doing at all but luckily for me the banker swim would be the last one I'd fish.

Within seconds after getting the bait out I had a bite and a smaller 2 lber succumbed to the bread offering.

With that retained it's just a matter of feeding golf ball sized bread mash to drift down the fairly shallow but pacey swim. The fish tend to stay a good 30 yards away down stream but the mash really does make their cautiousness go out the window and multiple fish can be caught.


I bought my bigger landing net this time as the lazier bigger fish I was after do seem to prefer a static bait. Well I say static because the bread disk does fluttering about in the flow despite the bb shot acting as the anchor.

With the smaller fish chasing the pieces of mash drifting over their noggin's the larger fish I'm sure are opportunists to hover up whatever is left. In these clearing waters there really is no better chub bait than bread it just works like it has done since day dot. No meat products to be seen here, they have gone vegan for January. 


To keep them interested I fed almost a whole sliced loaf of mash and with multiple fish caught within about forty minutes it's surprising just how quickly you get through it.

No need to strike either as they almost always hook themselves and as soon as they realise they end up in the main flow of the river and battle commences. With balanced tackle I love the fight that chub give and as expected the larger fish did turn up for this short trip out.


None of the monsters turned up but with fish firmly in the 4's this was another enjoyable winter chub session where ok, night-time may bring in the potential PB beaters but still with chub of this stamp I'm not complaining where if I were in a match I'd be posting a decent weight again.

I suspect the fishing could get tougher for certain species next week as the colour was almost all gone and in one of the swims I could see a metre down at least. Still get the chub confident in feeding anything can happen. Another decent session, I could get used to this. 

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Malapropisms and Mammonisms

Now the dace is an ebullient little fish that can be found in most streams and rivers, and although it is equally at home in both shallow and deep water, it is found most frequently in both flowing swims and over a clean bed of gravel. In appearance it differs in several ways from the small chub, with which it is often confused. It is more silvery, its head is much more sharply pointed, and its dorsal and anal fins are concave. 

Rarely found alone, small shoals of dace can often be seen drifting to and fro in the shallow water close to the surface. Of all coarse fish, dace are probably the most habitual surface feeders, and will readily rise to sip in nymphs and small flies.


They rise most frequently during the summer, but will also do so even in winter if the day is reasonably mild and the air still. Now like roach, dace may share their swim with other species, but move about in quite separate shoals varying in size from about a dozen fish to larger shoals of up to fifty or more. 

The shoals are thus comparatively easy to locate, but they are also easily scared, and each swim should be approached quietly and with great care. Dace can be tempted with several different baits, but if we apply the policy of choosing only the most selective baits the choice can be narrowed down to flies, both natural and artificial; chrysalids, and to a lesser degree, floating crust. 


Chrysalids are perhaps the most selective bait of all and though flies can also be deadly, the confines of a small stream will often preclude their effective presentation. 

The method of fishing a worm upstream, so often deadly for other species, will also sometimes catch the odd dace, but will seldom yield any quantity of them. More dace can be caught by locating a shoal, and then settling down to fish for them in that one swim.
 
Now some degree of selectivity should also be exercised in the choice of bait for the larger dace, but in my limited experience when fishing the river after spate and it carrying colour don't mess around a size 10 hook and half a lobworm is very effective indeed for the bigger specimens. 

Don't ignore the small brooks either when the main river is over it banks, I've caught some of the biggest dace I've caught fishing forgotten waters where often the fish hold-up before the river drops post flood.  

Anyway for this short morning session at the syndicate water I'd fish a pike sleeper rod and then would feed maggots and trot a float. Simple tactics I don't do enough. The problem is at this syndicate stretch sometimes they turn up, sometimes they don't but with the water clearing at a fast rate, a trickle of grubs filtering down the water column I was hoping they would show because I fancied a few bites. 


Well they did show but nothing like the size and numbers that can frequent this stretch. Bites were hard to come by most of the morning and they came in fits and starts. Varying the depth didn't make much of a difference and they didn't seem to be in one location either.

Some nice juvenile fish though which was nice to see. The pike rod was ignored with a deadbait and also a bleak livebait the 5 degree water temperature maybe putting the bigger fish off who knows but it was a very slow morning indeed.


Towards the end of the session a few small roach turned and that was after feeding a different line for a good forty minutes before putting the stick-float through.

I never tire of seeing roach though shame the bigger specimens are hard to come-by. In-fact the brooks and streams I fish through up the better stamp of fish. To be fair there are a few areas where they are a little bigger but like this session, it's a lottery if they are there or not. For the last hour I chilled out watching the water with the pike float near some cover, but sadly there was nothing doing at all. 

Friday, 21 January 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Brass Monkeys and Blennophobia

Many cultures around the world have mythical stories of strange creatures inhabiting their lands. 

There's the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, Big Foot in America, Little Green Men in more desert like parts of America, the Bunyip in Australia, Elfs in Ireland, moose in New Zealand (that's actually a real thing), the Beast of La Plagne (need to know basis only) and so many more. 


The only thing that one can be sure of is that all these are real If one is planning to go hunting for Big Foot, it seems that the Pacific Northwest is the best place to start. 
Anyway before I get involved with some cryptozoology in America, I'll ease myself in to the challenge and try and track down one of the elusive Warwickshire Avon 6lb Chub. I've seen them with my own eyes and know a few that have caught them, but for me they haven't succumbed to ones tactics just yet. 


A newly made batch of cheesepaste is like a fine wine, it simply cannot be rushed, chill out, relax but rest assured I'm sure it will get an outing again before the winter is out, but for now, just leave it be. For coloured water or fishing in the dark for chub, cheesepaste is hard to beat for chub fishing I find. 

Confidence in bait is the key with any fishing and despite trying all manner of baits for chub, the mouldy stinky offering will always been in ones loggerhead armoury. 


The batch I made up yesterday had four different blue cheeses with some grated spicy cheddar, garlic salt, crushed szechuan peppercorns and binded with grated shortcrust pastry.

Now bread, we are talking big hunks of the stuff, is also one of those baits I've utter confidence in. When the water has dropped significantly and when the clarity is starting to clear a visual bait such as bread is hard to beat especially when in this cold water when the chub are not moving much.


Drop a bait on their heads, from a slumber their eyes raise and the burlesque show they are all of a sudden subjected to can often promote an instant reaction. 

For this session I'd chuck a few flyers their way in the form of some mashed bread and then shortly after provide them the main event a folded bread disk fished via a large float.

I'd struggled a little on this stretch of late and fancied something different than fishing static. 

It's tactics I've employed in the past and with some nice trotting swims such as this being more mobile and covering more water has its advantages. 

To be honest I'd be quite happy with one fish being how cold it is at the minute. 

Three swims down without a touch I decided to head down to the tail end of the stretch where there is a nice long run where there is usually some chub hanging around.

It's a swim I fish in the summer mainly as it's a nice place to catch them off the top.

I've had some decent fish in the past as well, in to the 5's anyway which ain't bad for the Warwickshire Avon.

I wetted the bread a little more to produce more of a cloud and fed the swim every few minutes with a small dollop to drift down the water column. The first fish came after twenty minutes which was the smallest of  the lot because well, I ended up having the fish queuing up until I ran out of bread. 


They were even taking it off the top at one point. To cut a long story short I caught probably 30lb of chub and 11 or 12 fish. Most were over 3lb with the biggest going 4lb ish a really enjoyable session on the float. Even after returning a full small landing net that didn't put them off either.

Shame I got through the bread so quick as I'd caught more no doubt. There were even taking it off the top at the very end of the swim when I'd drifted the odd bit down. This was with 4 odd degree water temperatures but just goes to show find a shoal and get them competing they are well up for a feed. 

Warwickshire Avon - Jigglers and Jumbos

With the days starting to get longer its nice to start to get out on the bank midweek without having to employ the covert 'mouse jiggler' to prevent the computer going in to power saving mode and triggering the Teams 'available' status to one of 'away' heck I'm still available, I just might not be stuck in-front of the CAD machine.

From now onwards work can be done and dusted and I can be on the road and be riverside well before dusk where I can set the stall out before the blinds start to close. 


Before I start anything fishing related, for the movie lovers out there 'Nobody, is one of those movies I can certainly relate too, ok, farfetched maybe, but hey, it's a movie they are meant to be. He has two children with his wife Becca and an unremarkable office job in his father-in-law Eddie's metal fabrication company. His marriage is strained, and his working life seems tedious.
 
But Hutch Mansell, an underestimated and overlooked dad and husband, taking life’s indignities on the chin and never pushing back. 

A nobody....

At first, he seems like a passive individual who fails to act while two people rob his home, but the film ultimately reveals that he's a highly-methodical man, one with a history of violence. 

When "Nobody" sets off to find his daughter's missing bracelet, his hidden past, a life he left behind comes back bigtime and boy you don't want to get in the way of him and his compadres. 

Because when his trigger was pushed, boy all hell breaks loose. A bloodbath, lets leave it at that, give it a yourself it's a good watch. Now it is the Nobody's soundtrack that captures the mundanities of everyday life, and the collective songs correlate with the protagonist's identity crisis.

"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" - Nina Simone is the opener, "Let the Good Times Roll" - Shirley Goodman & Leonard Lee the concluder and lots of great songs in-between. 


Now talking of blood baths, with the cheesepaste reserves almost as empty as our local Tesco's man-sized tissues and chicken breast shelves it was out with the gob stopping protein filled chicken livers for this short dusk in to dark session.

Liver certainly attracts the bigger chub and I've had some reasonable success fishing in to dark when the fish are more likely to bite. 

With clearing waters and bright blue skies the fish on the Warwickshire Avon can often go in to hiding, but fish when the light goes and in that hour in to dark, if you are going to get a bite from a bigger fish, that's the small window to target I've found.

It was going to be a chilly one so I'd rather not be out in it too long so 1.5-2 hours is enough to keep not only myself on the angling rails but also to keep the every increasing workload at bay for a while. I like many don't think about anything when fishing, its quite amazing really, that life pressure kill-switch off from door to bank and bank to door. 

Planning is the key for my fishing as it works for me so well I've often penned the blog post for the session before actually fishing it, the engineer in my I suppose. 

Ad-hoc works for sure but 9 times out of 10, I know what I'm doing 24 hours before so that means tackle and bait sorted, car loaded, clothes neatly folded. As you see here, no messing with the baits bankside, the liver already neatly prepared. 

One swim was pre-baited with some pre-cut pieces of chicken livers and if the main swim wasn't doing anything well in to dark, I'd drop in to the swim on the way back to the car to see if a chub was helping itself to the freebies.



Bites can be savage using liver but every twenty minutes or half an hour the bait needs to changed ideally as the effectiveness of the oozing offal can 'literally' wear off I've found. You know me, no special tactics either, a size 6 hook, a matchbox size piece of liver, sit back and wait. !!!!

No fellow syndicate member Dave Williams abacus rod rests to be seen here, just the lightest quiver I can get away with and a dedicated chub rod to enjoy the fight. My chub fishing of later has seen little change, but there is a good reason for that, as it just works. 


Dusk came and went and half an hour in to the first swim I caught a chub from last time I was biteless and usually if there is a chub or two in waiting they would have revealed themselves by now, so it was time for a move.

I dropped in to another swim downstream and again fished this for nearly half an hour without even a knock and it was fingers and toes crossed for the final swim. The swim I'd pre-baited when I got there.


It looked perfect for a bite despite the cold but again the tip didn't flinch, didn't move. By this time everything was freezing around me and I was questioning ones own sanity

But then it was nice to be out and with homemade coconut daal and onion bhaji's to look forward to at least I had something to look forward to. On to the next one, a blank !!! On the way back I decided to stop off at Morrisons to get ingredients to replenish the cheesepaste reserves, needs must. 
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