Sunday, 1 August 2021

Warwickshire Avon - Dhansak's and Deuteragonists

I've always been a lover of home cooked curries for a start you know exactly what's gone in to it but there are also so simple to cook as well and this one a simple chicken Dhansak is Soooooooooooooo Goddamn tasty. The sweet and sour nature of the sauce and the texture of the lentils its probably up there with one of my favourites if I'm honest especially as its so easy to make. 

Anyway when I was tucking in to this latest spicy offering Chub or Barbel ?, Chub or Barbel ? Errrrrr Chub me'thinks 

Now experience teaches success can never be guaranteed, no amount of knowledge about water, fish, techniques, or baits can do that. So aim at achieving some standard of consistency throughout the season and accept some degree of failure as inevitable. Angling ability is not necessarily related to the amount of time you spend fishing. The angler who fishes perceptively can learn more in one season than the angler who spends a lifetime fishing aimlessly. 

Do not think you are a better angler than someone else merely because you have caught a bigger chub, or more chub. The best fish you catch will not necessarily be the biggest, nor will it always require greater skill to catch than chub of lesser weight. Understanding of fish and water is far more important than knowledge of methods and baits and far more difficult to acquire. 

So devote some of your time to learning all you can about the movements and feeding habits of chub in your chosen waters. Your angling will then improve in proportion to your increasing knowledge of the species. Do not assume that lack of success means that chub are not feeding. 

The fault is just as likely to lie in your choice of swim, tackle, bait or in plain bad timing. Learn to mould yourself to the ways of fish, and do not expect that they will always behave as you think they should. 

If success does not come quickly and it usually does not do not lose heart. 

Try again and keep on trying until you do succeed, or at least until you are able to establish why you are failing. 

The knowledge and understanding you acquire from personal experience will be invaluable but do not scorn the in-formation you can gain from books, which can be of immense value as the distillation of many years of experience by experts in the art. Fish always on the assumption that no matter how much you learn there will remain much that you do not know and make up your mind right from the start that you want to catch chub and only chub. 

The catching of just one chub will then mean more to you in terms of progress than the catching of a hundred-weight of other unwanted species. It is better to catch nothing than to catch fish you do not want or had not intended to. Mention of the part that instinct plays in successful angling is usually greeted with scepticism but after many years of patient perceptive fishing, swim selection, approach, choice of method and bait do all become more or less instinctive. 

You become sensitive to a river's every mood and in your mind's eye can travel over its every twist, bend and curve in its course, seeing everything as clearly as if you were actually there. 

When you have reached that stage and when the other essentials of successful angling have been mastered you can begin to feel that you have 'arrived'. Successful angling for chub or for any chosen fish, for that matter could indeed be likened to the bringing together of many different strands of coloured wool, each strand representing a vital factor for success. 

Now only when these different strands have been fused together can you fish in that confident, almost instinctive way that brings consistent success. It can be a long, even a hard road, but it is well worth treading to reach the goal of the complete chub angler. 

Am I a complete Chub angler, errrrr nope, but I really do love fishing for them and learning new techniques to try and outwit these sometimes hard to catch fish.

Bread and bread only was the order of the day and I use gobstopper sized pieces especially when the water has a nice tinge of colour like it did for this session. I was greeted to a deserted river and the colour looked spot on for a bite or two. The first swim I had a bite straight away  and it felt a decent fish too.What I didn't expect though when the rod was bend double and I was trying to bully the fish from a snag was that the knotless knot failed 😕

I think that has only happened to me once before but after losing that fish and kicking myself when looking at a piece of bedraggled line without a hook I didn't get to see what was on the end.

The next swim a pike picked up the bread and it was holding bottom til it released it from its clutches. Hmmm not a good start. There are always chub here to catch though so it didn't take long to get the next fish. Not a huge chub but so what, I love catching them when they are in this scraping mood. 

I caught 4 in the end I think, and they were all up for feeding on the bottom. I did try floating bread on a few swims but only had a rise in one of those and it ignored it when ones hooked was buried in it. 

Still an enjoyable morning despite the light rain and having to wade through nettles in many of the swims. All being well I'll be out tomorrow as well this time I will fish in to dark I think, I need something bigger because my results have been mediocre of late. 

Saturday, 31 July 2021

The Tiny River Alne - Pinkeens and Pismirisms

There are a few other points connected with summer fishing the angler can hardly fish too early or too late (except for gudgeon and chub) during the hot months. Many a man who might have become a reputable member of the fraternity has been " choked off " to use an unclassical expression by making his first attempts at the gentle art in the broiling heat of a July or an August sun. 

From sunrise to breakfast-time, and from sunset to dinner-time, are the hours which should be devoted to angling in hot weather, but I need hardly say that during the summer occur dull, showery days, with a gentle breeze from the south or south-west when the fish feed on and off from morn to eve. 

One great advantage of wind or rain is that these otherwise unpleasant elements ruffle the surface of the water, and thus hide the angler from the fish. Fish rarely feed well before a very heavy fall of rain. They seem to have an instinctive knowledge of a change of weather even before it is indicated by the weather-glass. I have repeatedly noticed that after a very bad day's sport when the weather has seemed

Now perch, barbel, and gudgeon after spawning delight in gravelly shallows where the current is swift and the spark-ling water full of invigorating oxygen. 

At the end of two or three weeks they gradually work into water of a slightly greater depth-3 ft. to 6 ft where the stream is lively, but barbel very quickly take up their quarters in their regular haunts, which are for the most part weir pools, mill tails, deep holes, and eddies under clay banks. 

Chub, also, show a preference for swims under banks, especially those overshadowed by trees (having a weakness for insect food), but the majority of coarse fish do not move into deep water until about the end of July, and even then will often be found in only a few inches of water if the weather is very hot and the stream undisturbed by boats.

Until about the middle of August gudgeon remain in shallow water, in the stream, and are most plentiful in swims border-ing deep holes, but later on the largest specimens are caught in swims 9 ft. or 10 ft. in depth. Tench and carp do not shift their position much during the summer, and are to be found mostly in moderately deep swims, close to weeds. 

Bream also love deep holes where the current is gentle, but are often taken in heavy barbel swims. The thing to look for when river fishing in the summer for roach, dace, perch, gudgeon, and pike, is a stream. Many anglers spoil their day's sport by fishing quiet corners where the water is still, and where there are no fish, except a few tench, eels, and a possible jack. 

Another thing to be borne in mind is that most fish will be found near and among weeds which give them shelter, and among which lies a large proportion of their food. The ideal swim for stream-loving fish during the hot months is one with weeds all round it, the bottom of soft, sandy gravel, the depth 5 ft. to 10 ft, and the stream moderate. August, time coarse fish begin to get into first-rate condition, and are found in somewhat deeper

Rivers usually run fastest in the centre of their channels, and therefore, in very dry seasons, the fish work out towards the middle to be in the stream. As a general rule, the higher the water the nearer the fish are to the bank, and vice versa. September and October are, all things being considered, the best two months of the year for bottom fishing. 

In August the angler has been handicapped by the great majority of fish taking up impregnable positions in the weeds, but now the weeds begin to rot, and become unpalatable to the fish, which therefore leave them. 

I fully expected the Alne to be up after the heavy downpours we have had recently but no, when I got to the river I was disappointed. It really did look lifeless again and it was carrying quite a bit of colour. The nature of this sort of river though is that it changes so much in such a short distance you just need to travel light and find the fish.

Fish will show themselves on the quivertip quite quickly when you drop a bait in and this short morning session was no exception. The problem was the fish were greedy little minnows that were so determined they were going to get the worry offering they literally hung themselves. 

There were a few 'bits' in-between but nothing that tested the rod at all. Minnow after minnow after minnow. There is a reason I hardly fish the Alne with bait in the summer. In desperation I fished a slug for forty five minutes or so but nothing was interested in that so I went with a tip from a match guy I bumped in to here.

He said the fish are often really tight to the bank and it was the change that I needed. I fished a larger hook and three worms on the hook and roving around I managed a couple of chublets, one chub and a brownie. The key was to fish tight to cover and where the water was carrying a bit of pace. All those fish came in the last hour and actually made the session enjoyable in the end as I really was struggling. 

Small rivers = bites and exactly what I needed for this chilled session with plenty of solitude. 

Friday, 30 July 2021

Warwickshire Avon - Hunchbacks and Hacktivists

How Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame came about is quite incredible really, it was released 25 years ago this month, and somehow a ratings board made up of parents decided that a film with a musical number about lust and hellfire was a goer. 

Quasimodo was a fictional character and the main protagonist of the 1831 novel by Victor Hugo. The novel has been described as a key text in French literature and has been adapted for film over a dozen times

Telling the story of the disfigured bell ringer Quasimodo who longs for a life on the outside, and a plot that involves the threat of genocide against Gypsies was appropriate for a general audience was nothing to worry about.

Would it be allowed in 2021, I very much doubt it where the wokeists seem to have got a foothold at the moment. 

Now one day, Quasimodo whose only friends are talking gargoyles breaks free and lays his eyes upon local Gypsy girl Esmeralda, and stands up to his tyrant master to help and save Esmeralda.

I'm sure thousands of dollars must have changed hands somewhere I’m sure, because ok this woke world has changed significantly in just a couple of years, but even 25 years ago I thought it would have been difficult to get the tick in the box especially as its an animated movie made for kids.  

....Mick back on topic please, 

....well the last time we went fishing and a paddle at the Arrow at that weekend I'd somehow pulled a back muscle so on the Monday morning I was walking like good old Quasi and like him I needed a change from work and the four home office walls and needed to get outside. 
Luckily for me and the fish the heatwave had come to an end whilst I was recovering and we'd had some much needed rain and a nice drop in temperature. 

It almost felt like being in proper lock-down again as I'd barely left the house with work being a welcome distraction. 

With some ibuprofen pills and also gel and not trying to do too much I was feeling a little better a week and a half later so after a well deserved curry and pint with a mate Phippo at the 'Joey' I'd pop in to the syndicate stretch for a once over on bailiff duties.

I did manage to get the odd walk out with the kids who now off school for the summer holidays the Wife has the job of occupying them whilst I work from home and popping in to the office once in a while. 

The last walk out the thunder and lightning was quite incredible and luckily it didn't last long as the kids hate it. Sam changes from wigging his worm happily to a look of fear and Sam, well he has even been know to shed a tear or ten. 

So with the river still being low and clear despite the odd downpour I'll head to the 'bomb hole' which ain't far away to see what I could winkle out. 

If you're new to this blog this swim of significance really is quite an eye opener. My postie Bob put me on to it as it was a big chub haven back in the day and despite fishing here over the years I'd never realised it was here. 

You see there isn't a peg as such to fish here really but the waters surfaces does show that there is something strange going on so I was surprised I didn't twig to get the deeper out before. 

The change in depth is really quite dramatic where 4 to 5 foot all over a sudden becomes 3-4 times that. Even for this trip when the river is a foot or two below normal levels there is still 14ft over their heads.

I'd fished it for Chub initially and had a PB at the time at the first session but then a couple or three subsequent trips were a tad disappointing. I was back though and this time because of the size of the swim I'd fish two rods both for chub.

So on one rod a pungent small cheese and garlic boilie and the other a chunk of chicken liver which had proved a fantastic chub bait that had worked straight from the off when I tried it last season. 

The bites were frankly quite ridiculous but I'd only fished liver in the colder months so I always wonder what it would be like in the summer conditions where again it was another warm evening. 

I would fish a smaller bait this time though, not the donkey choker I'd used before, still a big hook mind you these have got big gobs after-all. 

Just above the 'bomb hole' the water is quite well oxygenated because in complete contrast to this 'feature' it is shallow and pacey.  Fish would feel comfortable here there is no doubt about that and they could easily venture in to the deep bit if they didn't want to be seen out in the open. 

Despite the rain the river is still gin clear so after positioning the bait I didn't expect much action till the sun started to set and I was right. An hour and a half in to the session without even a pluck or a tap I expected as much.

There was other activity though as the sun started to set as the predators became active. A couple of huge pike strikes that were launching in to the shoals of bait fish and the namesake launching themselves out of the water to evade the chasing perch.

Just as the light was almost gone the first sign of chub in the swim when a couple of boils on the surface they were taking stuff off the top.

It can be almost like a switch on the Warwickshire Avon when the chub and barbel start to go on the hunt for food and this session was no exception. 

With my rod tops being illuminated by these battery powered indicators I've been trying out the first indication there were fish about. A proper fast bite that was not far off a 4ft twitch. The liver was getting interest and sure enough a few minutes after the first pull a proper bite developed and a fish was on. 

What I didn't expect though was what I felt on the end, ok it was pulling back but not the stamp of fish I was after. In-fact one of the smallest chub I caught in a while that succumbed to the lambs liver.

It has a more robust texture than chickens liver and therefore stays on the hook better. Unhooked and the liver went out again with only a few more tentative pulls before I called an end to the session. The boilie rod, nothing....

....disappointing, yeap as this swim has so much potential. 

Sunday, 25 July 2021

The Tiny River Aline - Scepsis and Schematomancy

So where is this rain we are meant to be having ?

The weather reporters couldn't have got it more wrong because despite the warnings of heavy showers and thunder and lightening, the local rivers are still very much painfully low and clear. Take this little syndicate section of the river Alne in places you can walk from one side of the river to the other and would barely get your feet wet.

These little rivers have character in abundance though so despite the trickle of water there are plenty of fish holding areas such as overhanging trees or where the depth changes considerably. The chub can be hard to find when its like this but usually the odd trout or two are up for chasing any surface or sub-surface lure. 

To be honest it looked a little dead when I got riverside however, for a short roving session unlike the GB Olympic squad  I know this intimate river very well, so I wasn't put off despite the likely tough conditions. 

After 5 or 6 swims though without even an enquiry on the little bug surface lure the lower section of the river offers some much deeper swims and a weir.

The grass on one of the sheep-less fields was really thick still and with my back still not 100% to be honest I sort of regretted parking at the start of the stretch because I'd have to retrace my steps when I'd finished the session.

The water clarity can change section after section but this little Salmo Hornet can bring fish out of nowhere but again swim after swim no follows whatsoever. I'd fished this waterway plenty of times using the same tactics but there was not doing whatsoever. 

With a small dead mink in one the fields the first I'd seen on this stretch the otter didn't come to say hello so even the predators where elusive as well.

Still I had the weir to fish but even the weir was looking sorry for itself with very little flow so what I didn't expect that the first chuck in to the pool on the first turn of the reel a decent trout grabbed the lure and launched itself clear of the water.

I've caught some nice ones here but this was a 4lber all day long which would have been almost twice the size of the ones I've caught here until it dropped off this is !!!! The first proper bend of the rod I felt the hooks ping straight out and that was that. A blank, my first ever here I think, oh well at least the walking freed my back up a little, 
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