Monday, 6 July 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Cacodemons and Creatophagous

A trip to the local pub was a little odd the 45 page rules and regulations document interpreted, implemented and there for all to see. One of our friends is on the committee of this village owned pub and shared just how much time it's taken to get the doors open again,

The actual pub itself out of bounds for drinkers and diners and it's only available for taking a tinkle.

Luckily they have a decent garden, each table had a circle around it showing you your space, your area to roam. There were areas of hay-bales too, each area of four bales laid out in a circular pattern at a set distance apart.

The catering van usually used for BBQ's and events and the like now serving the drinks. One ale on tap as well as a couple of lagers and a selection of wine and spirits.

Queuing areas identified drinks ordered from one side, served and paid for the other. We only stayed for an hour just to show our face and see how Ben would get on with it.

He likes to roam and because of his issues is literally on the go from dawn till dusk. Being contained effectively to a small area is not so bad for him indoors, but being an outdoor lover it's a totally different story.

To be fair he dealt with it ok, but the frustration was there for all to hear when he was called back to sit down after the umpteenth time. Not exactly a pleasant experience, the wind didn't help I don't think with its sensory overload, still, got to do these things or we will never go out as a family.

To be far looking at some of the kids that go to his school, we've got it easy. It helps that the regulars and the staff have known Ben since he was a baby. Anyway whilst we there though an interesting conversation with one of the regulars who was at Guy's Cliffe House the night before

He organises Ghosts tours there among others and shared some fascinating stories about some of his time there and also those of the current custodian who he knows well . I'm open to these paranormal experiences so hopefully I'm booked in to the next one. Now retired fisherman and ex blogger Jeff Hatt wrote a piece on his experience opposite this fascinating place when he was fishing the Warwickshire Avon.

Watcher in the Woods     

I pointed him to Jeff's post so  hopefully he will enjoy reading it as much as I did. I've fished opposite it too, my own blog post here.

Anyway back to the fishing. Some casting practice for Sam this session down at the syndicate stretch to try and catch a predator or two. A Ned rig lure which I've not used in anger yet myself should hopefully attract at least a jack I was hoping.

When we got bankside though the lure could be seen on the bottom in 8 foot of water. Boy it clear which from experience it's tough going. We fished a few swims and didn't see anything bigger than a minnow.

Sam had a good idea though, "lets try the other stretch we can fish, there is much more cover there." "If that doesn't work we will have to cut the session short" 

That was fine by me, I knew what the outcome was likely to be. When we got there (2 min drive) exactly the same result, three swims fished, not even a follow by a small perch or an aborted grab by a jack pike.

With Sam using the unhooking mat for protection from the tall stingers even the predator banker swim failed to deliver. The path leading up to it looked like it had been freshly mowed though, credit to the perpetrator (Sean ?). However the bait fish were nowhere to be seen either, a river seemingly devoid of fish. Minnows the only residents, the session sadly cut short. Coming up to dusk the best time most likely but that's past his bedtime sadly. We need rain and lots of it.

You can see why the lure catches fish though, even fishing when it's stationary. So I suppose that was the only positive to come from the session, well apart from the wildlife, we even spotted a Red Kite so will try and get a picture next time.

Where to go, what to do ?

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Aabandical and Apanthropinization

What a great word Apanthropinization, the 'resignation of human concerns, the withdrawal from the world and its problems'.

Very befitting, the river it is then....

To be fair the pub is best avoided, for today anyway (yes now open after a long lockdown) I was back down a stretch that over the years has had Barbel in numbers. Has it had its day though ?

You see these barbel have been suspicious in their absence down this neck of the woods. Often when conditions are like this, low and very clear feed some gravel areas with pellets often out of nowhere the baron areas are no longer baron.

It's surprising just how an anglers eye can spot them though, point to the area with a novice, "I cannot see anything" "Where ?" "Point to it again"

Under the polarised sunglasses black shadows appear, usually the chub first some good'uns here too and then the Barbel. Over the last couple of years though, things are not like they were, maybe the floods haven't helped, the talk of nightlines being discovered who knows but my usual approach is found wanted.

This stretch is home to my PB, in-fact I've caught quite a few doubles from here and some of the smallest too. Often changing to a moving bait in these tough conditions can often bring a bite when sitting behind motionless roads can become the norm. When there there is colour and they are on the feed I've caught multi fish in short sessions, ones record 4 fish in less than half an hour if I recall.

The banks were deserted for this short evening session so I fed a couple of areas to see if any fish we around and gave it an hour fishing some meat under the float.

I love fishing like this, it's more my thing. Pull the hook through a small piece of meat turn it 90 degrees so the hook is exposed and grips the side of the bait. I fished two swims yesterday, both a long trot was possible, the last swim the float runs parallel and under some cover to try and bring out a fish hiding up from out of its lair.

Because the hook point isn't exposed even when you get stuck in some streamer weed a sharp tugs frees it and the float is on the way again.

I was really surprised  I didn't catch anything though, not even a chub. The float was bumbling and bobbing down nicely, the meat often dragging along the bottom and the weight of the float pulling it off the bottom so it was acting naturally.

The last swim in particular, looked great for a bite. Often the float kissing the thick cover as it meandered majestically down the reasonably fast flowing water.

The baited spots I went back to time after time, but again apart from some small roach and dace, nothing bigger than a few ounces were in the swim.

Well from what I could see anyway, a river seemingly devoid of bigger fish.

Still not all is lost though, there is a way to get a bite.

Again like the last session here I baited an hour before dusk with a pint and a half of help and small pellets with the aid of a dropper. A small hot fish boilie would be fished over it and then right out in front of me in a deep gully I fished a chunk of meat.

Hairs were longer this time because three Chub decided they would like the boilie last time. Nothing big but when I'm using Barbel rods I don't want to catch Chub. Well not unless it's a PB, I'd not complain then.

In complete contrast to the last session it was very windy indeed. I was only here for a an hour or so though so could put up with it especially with dusk approaching this is where I'd hopefully get a bite.

The first indication a fish was in the swim took far longer than expected. A tentative pull that never developed in to a bite. Encouraging though for sure, at least something was moving.

Official dusk arrived and I was getting ready to pack up when out of nowhere a violent initial foot twitch turned in to a proper wrap over of the rod and a bite usually only a Barbel could give. As soon as I picked up the rod though and felt the fish on the end I knew exactly what is was.

Another Chub, I cannot get away from them. Nothing to write home about either, probably a scraper 4lber. Give it its due though, a bit of a bruiser this fish, it must have got some stories to tell.

Anyway back home for a medicinal rum before bed a tiny fox cub waving me off as I drove up the track . Another elbow in the kidneys by the Wife over my barbel catching abilities.

"So you went to catch Barbel but you caught Chub, well ok then, ever watched the film Groundhog Day ?"

"Yes Dear !!!!"

Friday, 3 July 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Pestilence and Parorexia

Now Plagues and epidemics have ravaged humanity throughout its existence, often changing the course of history. Throughout the course of history, disease outbreaks have ravaged humanity, sometimes changing the course of history and, at times, signalling the end of entire civilisations.

In the fourteenth century the Black Death travelled from Asia to Europe, leaving devastation in its wake.Some estimates suggest that it wiped out over half of Europe's population. It was caused by a strain of the bacterium Yersinia pestis that is likely extinct today and was spread by fleas on infected rodents. The bodies of victims were buried in mass graves.

The plague changed the course of Europe's history. With so many dead, labour became harder to find, bringing about better pay for workers and the end of Europe's system of serfdom. Studies suggest that surviving workers had better access to meat and higher-quality bread. The lack of cheap labour may also have contributed to technological innovation.

The Black Death's last major outbreak in Great Britain caused a mass exodus from London, led by King Charles II. The plague started in April 1665 and spread rapidly through the hot summer months. 

Fleas from plague-infected rodents were one of the main causes of transmission. By the time the plague ended, about 100,000 people, including 15% of the population of London, had died. 

But this was not the end of that city's suffering. On Sept. 2, 1666, the Great Fire of London started, lasting for four days and burning down a large portion of the city.Yellow fever, Cocoliztli epidemic, flu pandemic, polio, Spanish flu, Asian Flu, Aids, H1N1 Swine Flu, Ebloa, Zika Virus the list goes on.

COVID-19 will certainly be added to the list and the history books, because as I type this 10,847,016 have been infected by it (confirmed test) and 519,888 that have died testing positive for it.

The UK's 12 week lockdown not the half arsed one we have at the minute (I'm not complaining) has nicely brought down the infection rates down to under the R rating of one, which means if you're infected you could pass it on to one other. Still it means I can enjoy my first proper hand pulled pint from the local pub something must have gone to plan.

Life's simple pleasures never to be taken for granted ever again !!!!

So anyway back to the fishing a report from a fellow syndicate member another local club we both fish the banks were quiet which surprised me, it certainly made ones ears prick up as I was going to leave it till Autumn till I roved its banks.

Now before the match season kicks off here I wanted to try and winkle out a summer Barbel before the extra bait going in had any effect. It didn't help that not only was there a 12 lber from our syndicate but also Nic from Avon Angling UK managed a cracking fish on a stretch I'm no longer a member of.

It was out with the big guns !!!

You see dropping through the post this week from Specimen Fishing UK, was some Mad Baits Pandemic boilies and paste I've heard to much about. From the bumph it's krill based with two other high quality fishmeals, a pure high quality liver powder and a range of bird foods before adding a range of devastating spices that include fenugreek, garlic, chilli and paprika and a few other in-house secrets, to give this bait a serious kick that carp and Barbel simply love.

Take my word for it, boy do they smell, very pungent indeed and I could even smell it before opening the packaging. This would be a two rod attack though, I'd bait drop a carpet of hemp and small pellets when I got bankside and wait an hour before dusk before I'd get the rods out. One baited with a 15mm boilie and matching paste wrap, the other a small boilie which would be fished over the carpet of bait.

I do like it down this end of the stretch, much quieter and the wildlife can be spectacular it really can. There are two barn owls that turn up when the light starts to go so I was hoping they would turn up when I was there. Like much of my Barbel fishing unless the river is chocolate brown and well up I tend to fish these short sessions in to dusk. There is often a dinner bell here, well to be honest much of the Avon where nada, nothing during the day, and then when the lights fades wallah the rod hoops over and there is a barbel on.

Still since I joined this particular club thought the barbel numbers are certainly down, in-fact when I got banskside the only angler swim side who I had a chat with had the same concerns. He had a couple or three reasons why that could be and a little worrying was the use of longlines, one in-fact he discovered in the swim he was fishing, and a call to the secretary 5 more were discovered along the stretch just in that one day.

Over fished ? I don't think it is, apart from the match season the majority of the time the banks are quiet. There are >100 swims here too so plenty to go out. But as George Burton said "I guess nothing lasts forever". As I made my way to the chosen area just the short walk you can see why Barbel like(d) he here, It's shallow in the main, has some deeper areas and a gravely bottom and streamer weed, Barbus utopia. The angler was fishless btw. nothing doing for him.

What a lovely evening it was, relatively still and the strong winds that we have had recently just a whisper. After putting in some hemp and small pellets in a swim I'd fish in to dusk I went for a rove first with just a rod and landing net. With a boilie and paste wrap I dropped in to a couple of swims to try and nick a quick bite. After half an hour in each swim with only a couple of plucks I settled in for the last hour in to dusk and cast both rods out.

Within ten minutes the first violent indication there were fish in the swim, a foot pull on he tip. When eventually a proper bite developed I instantly knew what it was.

A gluttonous Chevin had hooked itself despite the long hair. This was on a small Dynamite Hot Fish boilie fished over the bed of bait. Still after trying to act out a Barbel initially because for it's size it gave a good account for itself but sadly nothing to worry the 1.75TC Harrison rod.

Still it was a lovely fish, I really do love summer chub, their backs showing the signs of the sun we've all being enjoying from time to time. As the sun started to set the moon was ridiculously bright and despite that the two barn owls came to greet me. Their silhouette unmistakably, you certainly would't as prey want one of those after you.

Within a few minutes of the bait being out again, another bite on the same rod, this time a smaller chub again after getting it's head down on the hemp and pellets snared itself on the sharp hook. Hmmm ok, not a blank, but not what I was after. The rules are strict here you've got to be off 30 minutes after official dusk, so once the countdown to dusk ended, it was fingers and toes crossed for a final bite.

The bats were out in force and the only action on the left hand rod was those hitting the line. As I was thinking about packing up, another powerful bite and another fish was on, another Chub Goddamn it.

Swim carnage, the session over. Nice to end up with 3 chub but not what I was after and certainly not the size I'd like to get in the way. Still a lovely evening and it's just nice sometimes watching the rod tips and the countryside especially when there is barely any wind. As I packed the stuff up the left hand rod had been stuck in a snag all that time.

Damn, my fault I suppose explains the lack of action though. It was properly stuck too, I lost all the end tackle because of it. I've forgotten just how nice it is down this section of the club water, so I'll have another go soon me thinks, make hay before the days get shorter.

Could I fish for Barbel exclusively, no chance.  If I had to, roving, dropping in swims and maybe rolling and twitching baits is more my thing.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Kakidrosis and Kainotophobia

It's not going too well for the larger fish down the new syndicate section of the Warwickshire Avon. Conditions play a massive part when it's low and clear like this though, however it's a familiar story year on  year if I look at ones own archives.

The couple of days proceeding  the start of the season when some storms brought some much needed rain, a near PB beating barbel, a 14lb carp and decent bream succumbed to the larger baits of the various syndicate members.

A rather large tick went in the box 'Decent Fish to be Caught ? '

Sure the smaller species are always well up for a feed, they always are generally when maggots are on the Smörgåsbord but for me as a specialist angler from time to time, if I target at Barbel it would be nice to catch one. I could venture to a club water not far from here where there are Barbel in numbers but at the minute I'd rather wait till the banks are a little quieter after the initial drawbridge raising stampede .

A slight change of tactic for this session though, gone were the pva bag of freebies and one rod would be out specifically for Chub, obviously ones own Depth Bomb Paste Holder was the order of the day and I'd made a batch of paste for the winter recently so it nice to open a fresh batch and scrape ones finger down it lovingly. I love cheesepaste for Chub, it's one of those default baits I use for Chub that they seem like more and more I fish with it.

I likened to a Laska I'd made last week. Apart from the freshly made paste, which is a blend of lemongrass, dried chillies, shallots, ginger, turmeric, spices, and shrimp paste, the noodles sit in the coconut broth with chicken, birds eye chilli, coriander, spring onions and beansprouts.

It really does hit the taste buds and the more I make, it, I could become a staple in ones own growing list of specialities that we both seems to gobble down and wish we'd made some extra.

There are certainly good Chub below here, in-fact you could probably walk it, I'm talking 5lbers here, not the small'ish ones I have been catching thus far. If a Barbel wasn't forthcoming one of those would do in this short 2 and a bit hour session.

Now on the second rod the bait I'd have out for a Barbel needs careful handling, you see, I bought some rather large garlic pellets off Ebay sometime ago and the smell is frankly quite ridiculous. To to be fair they could do with having accommodation of their own, that or permanent quarantine. Even if you get in on your fingers it like having eating a heavily laden garlic naan from when I progressed to solids solids till as I type this, I'm talking over 40 years of garlic abuse.

It stays on for ages too, luckily the Newey household is awash with all manner of of Covid-19 killing concoctions and I'd be back when the Wife would be already in bed so I could give them a good scrubbing. I'd usually fish with Garlic spam but I've sadly used the lot now, and to be fair this was a bit of a cobbled together session as the winds didn't seem as bad as predicted 24 hours earlier.

 After a long day in the home office stuck on the CAD screen, I needed that water fix. I fear that I'm chopping and changing too much, but then it's good to mix it up a bit, you never know I might stumble upon something that could help me in future sessions. Certainly my usual Barbel attack didn't work, so why not try something else.

Barbel need to be there though, the one that was caught could well be a transient fish and stumbled upon some on the way to where it normally resides.

If there are Barbel in the swim they are not that hard to catch, the problem is they need to be there first and these short sessions are not ideal to try and track down a Big potential loner, not a group of fish which I suspect are not here. It's not been fished for a good while, as I said before, that is the appeal of it all.

So all that typing, and I'd not even cast a line yet !!!!

I left the tackle in the car and went for a nose, the Warwickshire Avon is clear, I mean proper gin clear. It took me a while to get the tackle out the car, wondering to actually fish or not. I'm only 10 minutes away by car that's the appeal so I could have gone back, but it was a rather nice evening so I decided to stay.

I set-up the rods ready to cast out and after half an hour chucking a lure around which I always keep in the car. I'd fish the paste in a couple of swims with cover and then head back to the swim and set my stall out for the last hour in to dusk and possibly beyond. Probably the third or fourth cast a jack pike nailed the lure and a fish was on.

I could see it stalking the lure as well and a slower retrieve than normal it nailed it. Not a huge fish but a welcome bend in the rod. Still I wasn't here for predators so after a couple of swims without ever a murmur on the cheesepaste rod and even a freelined slug which I found bankside I settled in to the last swim.

A few freebies in and around the pellet rod which was to my right and the paste went to my left near some reeds. As expected it took a while for the fish start to move with small fish topping eventually and the odd bigger fish.

Dusk came and went though and still nothing doing on both rods. Some nice bream rolled in front of me and upstream though, maybe not fishing to big and heavy might be worth doing as some of the fish looked decent. Remember I caught my PB from here so certainly some good fish around.

I stayed forty minutes past official dusk and apart from the odd nudge and small pull nothing materialised in what you could consider a proper bite. Thursday evening I might have another go for a Barbel this time at a different stretch where there are fish in numbers usually.

Well say that I found it tough last season there ( 1 in 5 sessions I managed one if I recall ), but then again I fished only one area the top end,  I might have a good at the middle where there is more cover, again in to dusk.

Another option is to bait drop some hemp in at the upstream end at the syndicate stretch where it's shallower and feature-filled and fish some fake casters or small pellets, those tacticts have worked well in the past. Then again, you need barbel in front of you, that could be the biggest problem especially for the short sessions I do.
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