Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Sunday 28 December 2014

I'd better up my game...

This morning's reccy down the Avon Brook is my first in many months. Other venues have caught my attention instead even though this small off-shoot of the Warwickshire Avon has produced some of my biggest fish. I was in a bit of a quandary though so being only 10 minutes from my house, I thought I'll go and have a look. As the rivers are up I had Chub was in mind with liquidised bread in the feeder and cheese paste on a sort hair. In the summer I've seen some massive Chub here, I've just not managed to catch one.

It was crisp under foot and as the sun began to rise I was subjected to a fantastic visual setting. It was only when I reached the river I realised just how fast it was flowing, it was properly motoring through. As the river in some places is jump-able in summer any decent volume of flowing water turns the river in to a raging torrent. There are slack areas though and that's where I'd target.

There was plenty of debris being washed down the river so that would certainly put fish off. I doubt the fish would want to be clonked over the head with a piece of two by four, to be honest not ideal conditions. Three or four swims without even a knock I decided to battle myself through some dead stingers and found this swim which an upstream fallen tree meant that the swim I intended to fish was relatively calm.

It certainly looked chubby and sure enough the tell-tale knocks of the quiver resulted in a proper bite and a fish was on. Sadly this was no 5lber but the little Chub gave a good account for itself, it certainly was a scrapper. A 1lb and a half or so, small but in perfect nick.

I don't go back to work till the 5th of Jan so a few more fishing trips are planned, Zander at my usual haunt and also an area of canal where I spotted some topping Roach. A bit of big fish drought of late, I need to up my game as least I need to properly christen my new Garnder landing net.

Saturday 27 December 2014

What lies beneath…..

College pool is an intriguing water, from its unfathomed and infeasible dark and deep depths, the draw of the huge variety of wildlife that inhabits this secluded area in this small Warwickshire village but for me and what keeps me coming back, is the weird and peculiar fish that turn up from time to time. I’ve caught finless perch, blind chub, barbel that appear fitter than their flowing water brothers and carp that pound for pound are easily the hardest scrapping fish I’ve ever had pull my line, I even caught a chunky newt on a bit of worm. Come winter time it’s largely deserted, ideal for an angler like me who seeks a bit of solitude.

I found out by accident when fishing for Big Perch on the marginal shelf or next to a feature such as an overhanging bush, provided largely unproductive. It’s not that I didn’t catch any Perch, I did, thousands of the little greedy gits, the pool is full of them but hardly any over a pound. My luck changed however when by chance I decided to cast in to the deepest part of the pool. By deep, God knows, most of the lake shelves off pretty quickly to 15ft of water, the middle, well, 20, 25, 30ft ? Cast a lead and feel the lead ‘donk’ on the bottom takes a long while indeed. Deep means cold so the fish are relatively slow growers, however the carp are bucking the trend and are putting on a bit of timber. A word of warning, use decent tackle if you fish for them, they are something else.

Deep water mean dark and gloomy and even in bright sunlight which tends to put the larger stripy’s off, it’s not an issue here. For them it’s saturnalia. Bait was air injected lobworm and liquid krill glugged King Prawn on simple running rig, my usual Zandavan roller over indicators for bite detection. It was a pretty windy day, so they make the ideal indicators; a bobbin would have been blown all over the shop.

A slow morning, a few aborted takes and then a fish that looked around a 1lb and 3/4's that took a liking to the fat lobworms. If I look back at my blog, the winter months is very slow here and late March seems to be a productive month. With Warwick ressi shut any ideas welcome for big Perch venues locally, please let me know.

Monday 22 December 2014

Chub 4, Barbel 0

The week previous to this morning session had been pretty mild, well for this time of year anyway. A December Barbel was a possibility and if the Barbel weren’t feeding then a Chub should be. I’ve neglected the ‘Brook’ of late but as soon as the temperature lowers my favourite stretch of the river will be my first port of call as I’ve seen some PB beating Chub that I need to get into the mix with.

 I was bankside just after 7.00am, just as dawn was beginning to get into its stride. Garlic spam on one rod, cheese paste the other baits were positioned just off the main flow of the river in a nice slack area. It was the highest I’d seen in ages and looking at the debris in boarding trees it had been much higher too.

The first hour proved the most productive with 3 fish banked, albeit only small Chub, and an absolute whacker of a bite that could have only been a Barbel but it somehow ditched the hook. I decided to try a couple more swims without success so I returned to where I came and had the biggest Chub of the day, a nadger over 3lb. Not the most successful fishing trip but enjoyable all the same. It’s the Christmas break soon so I’m looking forward to a few trips out, Zander and Perch all going well.

Monday 15 December 2014

Stour, Roach - No show

The Warwickshire Stour isn’t a river for big fish, but there is still lots going for it, fish maggot in the summer months you will probably have 10 species in a short session and get on the Gudgeon you will have a net full. I was after Roach today though and the weather looked favourable, an overnight frost, slightly coloured water and a river on the fall. It’s a roving river, no point sticking it out in a single swim you need to find the fish.

The first swim I’d caught decent Roach from in the past and usually within 15 or 20 minutes or so after the lobworm tail or bread had settled you would start getting sharp twangs on the quiver tip to indicate they were in the swim. Not this morning though, suspicious in their absence. Usually a cage feeder filled with liquidised bread get them interested pretty quickly. I have the swim a bit longer than usual then moved on to the next swim.

Fishing for me isn’t just about catching bigger and bigger fish, appreciating the countryside and wildlife as well as topping up the vitamin D and fresh air which doesn’t feature much in my weekly work routine. The morning was lovely, crisp underfoot with the slow rise of the winter sun gradually melting the frost wherever it touched.

A few swims further down a bend in the river is fed from a feeder stream and the water is a little more oxygenated, I don’t think I’ve not failed to catch a fish from it and again after a few indications there were fish within the swim the tip properly hooped over and I was playing a fish. With the river up from its usual levels the Chub was making most of the flow assistance and was giving a good account for itself. It was a pristine 2lber, not that target species I was after but an enjoyable fight all the same.

A few more biteless swims later I called it a day. Over Christmas I’m planning to try further upstream where there are some really narrow stretches but also some larger pools which look particularly Roachy if there is ever such a thing.

I returned to the River Sunday morning to try for a Zander, the river looked ideal, slightly coloured and overcast. The sunrise was awesome but the fishing wasn’t. A few dropped runs in different swims and a tiny Jack but that was it. Maybe a couple of sessions in to dusk is in order as either they ain’t there or it’s not feeding time.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Warwick Racecourse Reservoir - Now Closed

Danny Hale mentioned it a few days go just as I was thinking about the specimen Perch that reside there and but yes the Warwick Racecourse Reservoir has now closed, damn !!!....Talking to the bailiffs Morris and Tony on many occasions I didn't think it would happen so soon.

The irrigation reservoir used by the racecourse needs to be dredged and de-silted and possibly made larger. According to the Warwick & District angling facebook page  the fish are likely to be sold to a fisheries stock supplier. It was a half decent revenue generator for the club so I hope they can survive. Shame Kingfisher pool couldn't have been used.

I'd love to be there when they net it, I bet there are some right suprises to come out, specimen silver bream, crucians, eels and Perch. Hopefully once it's been developed and the work completed then it can be made in to an established fishery again. Sadly by the sounds of it, that will take a heck of a long time.

I've a couple of venues I'm planning to try in January for the big Sergeants but doubt as prolific at Warwick Resi. A venue I'm going to miss. Any updates please let me know.

Monday 8 December 2014

River Zander - Revisitation...

I've caught plenty of Zander from the canal however none at all from the river. A cut double is still a target and in the closed season I plan to fish for them exclusively, but I felt that there was something missing in my Zander fishing. I’m a river angler at heart and a dishwater waterway doesn’t quite match up to the flow of running water especially when the stamp of fish is likely to be far bigger.

I don’t really know why it’s taken me so long to try for them as it’s not that the Warwickshire Avon doesn’t contain them, as it certainly does; I’ve just not fished for them. Well tell a lie, I fished a small headless Roach once and ended up with a 9lb Pike. The canal fish I find intriguing, a species of fish not well liked by many, thriving through adversity and eventually becoming top dog. Will a river caught fish hold the same esteem for me? Only one way to find out.

With a few venues under my radar for my inaugural river Zander pursuit I decided to fish a stretch of the Avon just down the road from me. It’s wide, predominately 9-10 feet deep, and has the odd deeper swim dotted about. Its match fished, albeit infrequently however scrutinising published match results there are quite often decent bags of Roach caught. There are also pockets of big bream and if what I’ve read is true, where there are big bream there will be a Zander populous. The fish equivalent of a pre-millennium Butlins before they banned stag and hen parties. A place Zander go for a weekend blow out and for a gander at some eye candy, well that’s what I was hoping for anyway.

The stretch visually reminds me very much of Wasperton where the fishing can be tough on good days and even harder on the rest of them, but on the right day there are some cracking fish to be had. Two rods for today’s session both fitted with low resistance running rigs, bass hooks and decapitated Roach as bait, one placed mid river, the other against marginal cover. With a frost overnight it was colder than a witch’s tit; so to accompany me on this session, my fishing mate Simon who couldn’t attend was substituted with a portable gas stove, sausages, black pudding, beans and brown sauce. A flask of Bovril wouldn’t quite cut it sadly. Some decent scran in ones stomach would make the static(ish) session just about bearable.

The first swim the bait the margin rod hadn’t settle for more than 10 minutes when the rollover rose steadily and I was in to a fish. Sadly only a small jack that wasn’t much bigger than the bait. The sun started to rise in the distance and I knew I needed to seek out some darker swims, the water was very clear indeed so not ideal for Zander fishing but maybe some swims with cover they could be tempted in to feeding.

I’d only fished this stretch a couple of times before and it was only today when I realised I was missing a trick, and a massive one at that. The path that leads from the car park to the river is a T junction and I had only fished the upstream pegs. The downstream pegs I didn’t know even existed, so it ended up being very much an exploratory session. They looked very Zandery indeed, plenty of cover, but not only that very deep indeed. The problem was many are elevated swims where you have to gingerly climb down to your peg, completely unsuited for a load of gear, a pallet for a seatbox but no room for banksticks.

A roving float ledger set-up would have been ideal, fish for 15 or 20 minutes in each swim and move on. Talking of a float ledger set-up I’ve still not got my head round the mechanics as wouldn’t the fish feel the lead ? I suppose a larger lead might help or do you need to use the lightest lead as possible to hold bottom ? answers on a postcard please.

No more fish were forthcoming just a couple of knocks when the bait was picked up and dropped. A worthwhile trip though and with the Christmas period coming up I’m already planning to return, this time with more suitable gear.

Monday 1 December 2014

Ar*e over tit...

If I look back at my blog January and February have been very kind to me when trying to bank a specimen Perch. My P.B. of 2lb 11oz’s came when there was a sheet of ice moving slowly around the lake and most bites resulted in a specimen.

It’s the 1st of December today and there are still trees full of leaves and still reasonably mild. We had a couple of frosts of late so after staying a mates in Warwick on Friday night after a party in the town with some friends the plan was to try and see if the bigger Perch were biting. I got to the ressi at 7.00am first light and the whole lake was covered in leaves, a lovely sight with the autumn colours but not ideal for fishing.

I settled down in my favourite swim and baited a couple of areas with dead red maggot and chopped worms. Over the top I planned to fish one rod with a Perch bobber and a couple of lobworms on a size 8 hook and on the sleeper rod a krill glugged king prawns on a running rig. I’ve never been successful with king prawns for Perch, lobs and small deadbaits have been more successful but I’ve never really persevered with them. Centerparcs where I lost a 4lber (well it looked that big anyway) never had a touch on king prawn and lobs and deadbait they were jumping in the hook.

 I’m planning to give them more of a go though as within 10 minutes of placing the rod on the rest I had a run. Sadly I struck in to thin air but at least I had a bite. It’s sizeable bait so unlike lobs they will sort out the better stamp of fish. The water was cold but with carp topping and launching themselves out the water it might have been anything.

The float set-up where I fish next to an overhanging bush I had action from the off, catching plenty of Perch, a few small’uns but the most a reasonable stamp and the biggest a nadger over a pound . The leaves started to pee me off so after unhooking my thousandth I decided to go and get a well deserved full English. No specimens today sadly but I’ll be back when it’s much colder.

I went to St Nicholas park Warwick with the family in the afternoon so Sam could ride his balance bike and Ben could feed the ducks and the river had a lovely blue tinge to it, looked so fishy and ideal lobworm colour so Sunday morning I found myself fishing again, who’d have thought it.

Dawn was stunning, the thick mist blanketing the Warwickshire Avon, the abundant bird and wildlife enjoying the fresh clean air like I was. I’ve been a sufferer of Seasonal Affective Disorder as long as I can remember, the nature of my job means come the autumn and winter months I drive to work in the dark and return home in the dark. I really do hate it, and fishing really does help. The thought of going fishing and leaving the warm bed and comforting effects of the Wife ample bosom might sound madness to some people but for me it keeps me sane. If I don’t get a fresh air and vitamin D of a weekend my mood really does change for the worse.

The river was up and motoring through so I planned to fish an area of slack just off the crease. It’s a large open swim so I used two rods again, lobworm and meat with a plug of paste in the gripper lead. The first two bites I had were definitely Chub snatching at the meat and a small Perch and Chublet took a liking to the wriggler. I only planned to fish for a few hours so I refreshed the baits for the last hour and sat back and waited. Just downstream of my swim is an area of artificial slack created to allow the resident deer to cross the river in safety, and what I visual sceptical I was party too, herds of deer crossing from one side of the river to the other. Some with their overly large antlers a contrasting silhouette against the rising morning sun. Stunning…..

The only problem was I didn’t notice the ensuing bite until the centrepins ratchet sprung in to life and there was line screaming from the reel. The ratchet makes a fantastic audible bite alarm and the realisation that I had a decent fish on I quickly sprung up from my chair and proceeded to slip on the mud and go arse over tit, and smack bang on my backside.

I managed to grab the rod in the ensuring calamity but the few seconds it took for me to get things under control the fish had taken yards and yards of line. It felt a decent fish and as soon as it was trying to bury its head amongst the near back cover I realised it was a Chub.

I managed to net it despite the previous tribulation, not the biggest of fish at 4lb 2oz but had plenty of growing to do as it was pretty hollow. It was an old warrior of a fish judging by the Pike wound and easily identifiable should I catch it again.

I love the winter, easily my favourite season.

Monday 24 November 2014

X marks the spot....

One thing I noticed when fishing Coventry’s Hawkesbury Junction yesterday was just how much shallower it was compared to the area of the Grand Union I fish, it was much clearer too. The recent rain would have influenced that but certainly not ideal conditions for Predator fishing. There are Zander here as well as Pike and Perch, even some big ones. The day proved that it didn’t put the fish off so despite my reservations there were plenty of fish caught.

Zedvember the 53rd was a get together of like minded anglers from mainly the Midlands but also from down South to celebrate the birthday of Jeff Hatt. In attendance were James Denison,Brian Roberts,Danny Everitt ,Joe Chatterton, Keith Jobling amongst others. More of a social chinwag, well for me anyway. The event was midday till 6.00pm concluding with a well deserved pint at the Greyhound.

You are always learning when fishing whether it be technique or tackle and having never considered drop-shotting before Danny’s adapted method where he uses half a lob worm proved very productive indeed. It’s only when you see the worm dancing close up you can understand why it’s tempting to a fish. Irresistible I’d expect a something I’m planning to try myself as it’s seems ideal for the canal where you can cover plenty of water and tempt a fish to take bait when it’s waved temptingly in front of their face.

Talking of technique and tackle Jeff’s widget rig proved itself success yet again with the biggest Zander of the day and confirmed that location is certainly the key on canals where a foot either side of the bait may leave you bite-less but hit the spot marked with an X you could see the float sailing away.

My running set-up for Zander has proved reasonably productive but having witnessed how accurate a float set-up is, maybe I’m missing a trick. The next closed season I’m going to try my hardest to bag a double figure canal fish by leapfrogging with two rods widget style, I like the idea of watching a float too because you can tell exactly what’s going on below the surface, with the the ledger set-up it’s guess work. I blanked having lost a Zander on first cast but probably had my rods out the water more than in.

Cheers for the invite Jeff, an enjoyable day.

Oh and if anyone finds my stainless chub bankstick and Gardner bite alarm as shown in the picture above you can have this lure I retrieved that snagged me up. Don't think I ever finish a session without losing something.

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