Sunday 26 November 2023

The Tiny River Alne - Moon Halo's and Monochromasy

Considering how many years I have been alive this was the first time I've seen a Moon Halo even though it's not that uncommon apparently. We would have been none the wiser either if it wasn't for a member of our family messaging the Wife to take a look outside. We were in to a movie with a roaring fire and a couple of glasses of wine down so couldn't drive, however our village has hardly any street lights and it was proudly displayed above our neighbours Paul's house with Jupiter putting its thumbs up too.  

We both had seen nothing like it at all, very spooky indeed. Apparently the phenomenon is caused by the refraction of moonlight from ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. According to the Met Office, the halo can suggest rainfall might be approaching, and for once they were right because the horrible drizzy misty rain came and continued in the session down the Alne. 

Apparently before the modern days of donkey riders and miracle workers, the old wise ones told us that it was a portent of Doom. Where the shifting point of sunrise would be still and stop moving. The time of the Winter is coming and we must prepare for it. 

Line your homes with boughs and branches of the evergreen trees, to keep in the warm. Burn old and seasoned Yule logs on your fires, as they don't need tending at night and will give warmth, even without flame. Did I just type that !!!

Anyway the Alne was chosen for this mornings couple of hours fishing. A roving session because well it was very cold again. It was actually slightly above freezing when I left the house at 7.30am however the fields were still covered in frost and compared to yesterday a rather dull and dreary day. 

The water temperature has plummeted to just over 5 degrees so chub were the target because well they don't seem to be that bothered by the drop in temperature as much as other fish species for some reason.

Anyway after priming some swims I missed a bite within 15 minutes or so in the first swim and I thought that might have been my lot because after roving around and fishing maybe 6 or 7 swims, not even a nibble on the cheesepaste.

The river was clearing though and in one swim I could see the cheesepaste on the bottom 1m down so I decided to head back to the deeper swims where the one above produced a bite. I had fed some bread slop half an hour before and it didn't take long before a couple of plucks on the tip for it to carry on going. 

I could see the fish from the elevated swim and it looked like what the heck was going in because I don't think it realised it was hooked at first. When it felt the bend in the rod though it went on a mad run where it was trying to get in to the cover to the left, and then again when I turned it right under my feet.  

It was soon in the net though and blank avoided !!! because that's all the action I had. One missed bite and one 2lb chub. The weather as the morning progressed was getting worse with drizzle which when the air temperature is barely above freezing not exactly pleasant so I called time on the session half an hour early. 

Oh and Oppenheimer, don't bother that's 3 hours of my life I won't get back !!! at least the fire was good !!

Budget: 100 million USD Box office: 950.5 million USD 💥💣 Clearly Christopher Nolan knows more than me but apart from the tense Trinity Test scene which was pretty intense I must admit, the movie I'm sure could have been condensed in to 2 hours. Between the moments of vision are hours of dry, over-dramatised dialogue, if you like courtroom dramas' fill your boots. 

Saturday 25 November 2023

Warwickshire Avon - Snags and Spectroheliokinematographs

One of my most memorable catches was back in February when I landed a lovely chub of 5lb and 10 ounces whilst trotting. It's a great way to search a large area of water and feeding bread mash can bring the fish out from their hiding place. 

With a hard frost to greet me the skies were clear and with the water temperature also dropping (almost 2 degrees since I last checked) I knew it would be tough going. Still you cannot catch a fish lying in bed now can you, so I unfolded myself from a couple of rather large warm plump pillows and headed down to the Warwickshire Avon. 

Now a study of catches of specimen chub reveals that a high proportion are caught by anglers who were not fishing exclusively for chub, which might suggest that the angler who relies upon luck alone is just as likely to catch a specimen as he who seeks them deliberately. 

Such a conclusion would however be false, as for every angler who catches a specimen by luck there are many thousands who fish their whole lives through without catching one, and many others who sometimes hook one, only to lose it through using inadequate tackle. 

In contrast, the angler who deliberately seeks specimens not only finds them more consistently but is also more likely to land them successfully because he is using tackle of appropriate strength. The odds against any angler catching a real monster are very great but it is possible to reduce them by a considered approach to the task. 

The first step is obviously to attempt to locate them by sight but if the colour and depth of the water makes this difficult or impossible it is a good plan to fish all likely swims patiently and methodically, using only those baits that are least attractive to small fish. 

Really big chub can be found in many different types of swim but are seldom far away from a hiding-place. The overgrown snaggy swims that are so often passed by are the kind that big chub favour more than any other.

If chub show signs of wariness to the common baits an unusual one should be tried; either one that can be found in and around the water, such as a small frog or crayfish, or a bait that is completely strange to them such as one of the seed-baits or a meat-bait. This will sometimes bring success when all else has failed.

In those waters where night fishing is allowed the possibility that specimen chub might be caught more easily after dark is worth experiment, especially in rivers that are very clear. There is a definite increase of feeding activity at dusk and the specimen-sized chub are then more likely to be feeding in open water.  

I had the stretch to myself so I had the pick of the swims however I had one in mind and got to the task in hand. Making some bread mash up when the air temperature is still below freezing is not to be taken lightly so the hands took a while to feel comfortable again.

The rod guides were freezing up as well and it took an hour or so to get in to a good rhythm. Trot after trot there wasn't much happening until oddly the sun had come up and was illuminating the river where eventually out of the blue the float buried and I struck in to a solid lump.

That solid lump though headed straight towards the far bank cover and despite my best efforts trying to stop its powerful run, and the 15ft rod softening its lunges, sadly the fish did me over good and proper and we parted company.

You can only imagine the language because I must have known that was the only bite I would get in the 3.5 hour session. I did explore another couple of swims before heading back and when I got snagged up having me to pull for a break and losing my float in the process. And that was that, one bite and one lost fish !! Still at least the weather was nice, just shame about the fishing !!

Warwickshire Avon - Sonars and Somnambulate

Now apart from aquatic plant and animal life already in the water, the fish's supply of natural food consists of animal and vegetable matter, alive and dead, which is blown, washed or dropped into the water. A cater- pillar which trips up on an overhanging bush, unless it's a strong swimmer, finds itself as hors d'oeuvres to a meal of worms, slugs, spiders and flies.

The relationship of this natural food to underwater geography is that it collects in holes, slow eddies behind rocks, and on and around natural snags such as piling, bridge piers, patches of weed, bankside ledges, old prams, sewing machines and bicycle frames.

Thus it follows that where there is food there are fish. And there is also a snag. The trick is to get the fish to take the bait before the bait finds the snag. Statistics show that fishermen are not very good at this.

A plan of the bed of the river is very useful. You can make one by wading across with a Scout's pole and noting the depth every couple of feet or so. If the water goes over the top of the pole, measure the extra depth in handspans. Remember to hold your breath while doing this.

Or maybe just use a deeper sonar like I do from time to time !!!!

Anyway the last visit to the polluted stretch I caught absolutely naff all, nada, nothing, zilch, not a sausage, I blanked 👀 however on a more positive note there were some signs of fish. 

Not only did I miss a sure thing chub bite where the fish felt the hook, but in the swim just above it there was plucks pulls and bangs which meant that there were small fish in the swim, however their mouths were nowhere near enough big enough for the gob-stopping cheesepaste. The only fish showing though despite fishing a good number of swims. 

So feeling undefeated I was back to try and see I could not only get more bites but also if I could manage to bank an actual fish this time. I didn't have that long but I would prime two spots with bread slop and then fish a float with maggots initially and then give the cheesepaste a go when the light was starting to go. Not ideal conditions to be honest as the skies with blue and clear and the air temperature was a cold 7 degrees and the wind biting. 

I headed to the swim where I got bites and the river looked completely different, you see it was back been almost clear again and that lovely light green colour now a rather lacklustre grey. A good half an hour in the swim with maggots nothing but a nibble on the maggots probably from fry.

So I chucked the deeper out in the next swim down and then some further downstream after driving down the track with the same result. A river devoid of fish and it took a while to get the first chirp on the phone and that was a couple of small fish hanging around a snag.

Whatever they were they were not interested in a float going by with a couple of maggots, I don't think I can remember scanning a river with so few indications. Were they tucked away from harm because of the clear skies ?

In the end I decided to prime two swims with some bread slop and would fish them in to dusk for a big fish. The first swim was near a snag and the second a really nice slack away from the main rivers flow.

I fished the first swim for a good 40 minutes or so in to the dusk and then with the moon illuminating the river and also the swim, after nothing was doing there I moved to the next swim and gave that a good 20 minutes or so. 

Not a pluck, pull or an inquiry and this is a stretch that come dusk those big chub would be on the hunt. They just didn't seem to be there whatsoever, such a shame, "been obliterated" (Nic's words not mine). I could have probably stayed there all night (even though the clubs rules say no night fishing) for the same returns.

So a blank sadly and with the deeper telling me what was going on beneath the surface I'm not likely to fish it any time soon. On a positive note the Jimny proved what a good little motor it is off-road. It wasn't phased at all despite tyre deep in mud !!!!

On to the next one !!!
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