Monday, 4 July 2022

The River Arrow - Chubsters and Chrysoaristocracy

I'd not fished the river Arrow properly in Aggggggesssss, probably 8 years or so when I was a member on a small syndicate. I did manage some Barbel for the season that I fished it but it's just my sort of river.

Soooo much feature where one swim is shallow as you like then the next some deep holes with plenty of depth. The new club I've joined has probably the best stretch where some are easy access, some not so. 

For this short morning session I decided to go for a mooch, at the upper reaches which are only a fifteen minute drive away. I'm very lucky where I am, so much to got, almost too much, ok these smaller rivers are not for everybody, but they are my bread and butter, I love them. 

Now the Arrow is still very low and clear at the minute despite the recent rain but there are still fish to be caught. I didn't see any Barbel under my polarised sunglasses but plenty of chub. 

In-fact over the near 4 hour session I caught loads. Nearly all the swims had them in as well. Ok not huge fish but the majority seemed to be feeding one something, as they all seemed pretty plump.

I love these sort of venues and especially at this time of the year when wading through long grass is required and almost making your own swims. I caught on floating bread and also on slow sinking bread by pinching on a SSG shot on to the line and allowing it to move around the swim. 

The snake swim produced the biggest fish, ok only a 3lber, but it was on to the bread within a split second of it falling through the water column I saw it take the bait which is always nice.

No road noise, no other anglers, what's not to like ?

Well some of the bigger chub that reside here didn't show for this session but the way these things put on weight, find those older and wiser fish I'm sure a PB may well be on the cards. Watch this space !!!!

I finished on probably between 15 and 20 chub ranging from half pounders to this one which was the biggest. The more oxygenated swims slow sinking seemed to be the way to go with the more static swims they were up for taking it off the top.

I actually ran out of bread (not like me now is it 😀) which wasn't a bad thing as I really could have stayed all day. The problem is we need rain and lots of it which doesn't look like it will happen for a while. Still plenty to explore and fish to catch though so it's a good time to see the river when it's like this as it is easier to see where the fish holding spots will be. 

On to the next one !!!, they are coming thick and fast at the minute !!!

Sunday, 3 July 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Work Lights and Wretchocks

Although big strides have been made in modern fishing techniques, present-day barbel fishing specialists are unlikely to catch the quantities of fish hooked by earlier anglers. During eight days on the river Trent an angler before the last war apparently caught three hundred barbel to his own rod, and individual catches of 97,100 and 123 recorded in a day.

Most of the old timers pre-baited their swims or had them baited by local professionals with huge quantities of groundbait, as many as three or four thousand lobworms (yes really !!!) used for this purpose.  Today, although such bags are probably long past, barbel fishing is enjoyed by more anglers than ever before. 

Hempseed was one of those baits that revolutionised barbel fishing, because let's be honest they can still get utterly preoccupied by it whenever it is in their swim and they are up for a munch. 

Now the other syndicate members I know on this new stretch of river for me, freely admitted they didn't venture up to the top of the stretch because, why did they need to ? The barbel that frequent here have been caught all along the pegs of convenience which appear right in front of you as soon as you get to the river. 14 lbers and even 16 lbers 😯 and I want in.

However when Sam and I came for a reccy recently if I'm honest there was one swim I really fancied right at the far reaches, where it was a little deeper and also had plenty of features for barbel to hide. The fact that you can park right behind your peg is perfect for my short Barbel sessions where I like to fish coming up to 'bite' time and leave an hour past dusk.

When the river is up and coloured it's a different situation all together as the barbel can be caught any time of the day, but I've found when the water clarity is gin clear, Warwickshire Avon barbel like many rivers only really show when the light levels have dropped considerably. 

I'm a newbie on the stretch and effectively fishing blind almost, however the only way to suss out a river is to fish it isn't it. So swim chosen, hemp and pellet fed via a large dropper and I'd fish a bait over it coming up to dusk and a little beyond. 

Another reason why I earmarked this area initially is that not only does it see little or no pressure whatsoever, whereas the swim downstream can have anglers opposite, well until dusk anyway, as come dark they 'should' vacate them due to the clubs rules. Here fishing in to dark isn't an issue which is a huge advantage given barbel feeding time. 

To cut a long story short a blank on the barbel front, the swim had some decent depth 6 or 7 foot and either side much shallower but apart from the odd chub pull half an hour past dusk I decided to head home for a rum nightcap. The magnetic roof light worked a treat when packing up and at least the drive back was uneventful. 

The Jimny is perfect for the job though which its decent suspension travel and ground clearance as the upstream swims are a little more undulating, let's put it that way. I didn't blank though as a few chub and a couple of decent perch went for the lure as I was leaving the swim rest post bait dropping. I'll return when there is a little more colour as I could see it almost the full 7ft down, The Avon is proper gin clear at the minute which cane make bites from the bigger fish challenging. 

Saturday, 2 July 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Crank Baits and Cratometers

Sam and I have fished this stretch for many a year now and it is just one of those stretches where no matter the state of the river there is always a bite to be had. 

It helps that it is less than ten minutes away door to door and these ad hoc sessions the stretch is idea for it. Even in these summer levels where you can see the bottom in most swims there are still fish to be had if you know where to look.

Anyway a session of two halves this, as the first hour Sam fished a whip for lots of different species in a couple of swims and got lots of unhooking practice and then switched to a lure rod.

These little crankbaits are ideal to get a bite and perch and chub are really attracted to them. On the first retrieve a nice perch followed it in to the bank and it didn't take Sam long to get a fish on. 

Only a small perch but when a fish gives the lure a proper 'bang', as a fisherman you can understand how lure fishing has taken off over the years.

The minimum of tackle is needed and also it means as an angler you're also getting exercise because naturally it needs a roving approach. 

The method can outwit the fish as well, because having caught quite a few chub here recently of floating bread they definitely have become more cautious using the same tactic. 

The sun was high in the sky and with much of the river illuminated the larger fish often go in to hiding, and there is plenty of cover here and they make full use of it.

This Salmo Hornet is a proper eyecatcher though and that was the changed need to get a bite from a chub.

Sam left the lure to float on the surface and drift under a willow and on the first retrieve a chub grabbed the lure gave him a right good scrap trying to get in to cover. That was it though, no more bites, but an enjoyable session from a cracking little angler. 

Which is what he wants to do when he leaves school apparently as this banner he fashioned up in school when asked what career he wants to do.

It was a YouTuber a few weeks ago but now with the rivers back up and running again, he's be asking me to take him more often now which is encouraging, the only problem is I rarely get to fish myself. 

Friday, 1 July 2022

The Tiny River Alne - Loach's and Loganamnosis

Because loach are small fishes and because they are seldom fished for they are rarely featured in angling books or discussed in the angling press. Diminutive they may be but they do not serves this neglect. 

A little like me when I know to tread carefully around the Wife, so sensitive are loach to changes in atmospheric pressure that by means of their restless behaviour (it is claimed)  they can give up to 24 hours notice of an approaching thunderstorm.

Now this sensitivity to atmospheric pressure probably is linked to changes in the amount of dissolved oxygen caused by changes in pressure, maybe be the key to the loach's behaviour, but it is not the whole story. 

You see uniquely in the physiology of British fishes, a loach uses its intestine as an auxiliary organ of the respiration. Experiments have shown that when the loach dashes to the surface to take in a bubble of air, the air so taken is changed just as if it had been breathed. 

Intestinal respiration has evolved in the loach to enable it to survive in stagnant pools, in over-warmed pools and even in nearly dried-up pools. Now the Stone Loach which has been one of my targets on rod and line for a while (yes really) as its name implies, is one found during daylight hours, hiding under stones. It has six barbules, two long and four short, or 'beards' as its specific name barbatula refers to. 

The stone loach is nocturnal in habitat, only leaving the shelter of stones or weed to forage after dark, which is why they are seldom caught other than very dull days. Not surprisingly, therefore the loach are of small interest to the angler, except as competitors with the young of other species for food, and as food for larger species.

Anyway as expected the minnows were on to the maggot straight away and I know they are considered a pest for the majority of anglers but when you are targeting the smaller species, its the nature of the beast as they say.

Now you would think a minnow is a minnow, is a minnow but they vary considerably from fish to fish and each have their own little character. They give bold bites for their size though, I'll give them that but an hour in to the session despite fishing the shaded and darker areas that's all I could muster up, well apart from the odd rod bender. 

Now I only live a stones throw from here so a dusk in to dark session is certainly on the cards when I can muster up the enthusiasm. You see there is only one species that deserves that endeavour at the moment and that is the barbel. 

I love this sort of fishing though, because you really don't know what is going to turn up half the time and the other syndicate members don't fish this area at all, so I've got it all to myself which is nice. After a trout did me over good and proper it was time for the off and I will return to give it another shot. 
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