Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Thursday 30 October 2014

Bass or Raptor....?

There was an interesting thread about Zander hooks on Idlers Quest the other day, I've no reason to change from the 2/0 Mustad Bass Ultimate Bass hook as it really has transformed my hook-ups and banked fish however I found some Size 1 ESP Raptors amongst my tackle which were recommended in the thread by Lee Fletcher.

They look ideal for the small 2.5" Roach deadbaits I've got in the freezer. Interestingly it has the same size wide gape at around 15mm but a 30mm shorter shank. The Raptor also has a much thicker gauge however and that's one of the reasons why I like the bass hook as it's very thin indeed, and ideal for penetrating the Zanders bony mouth. They are a size up than recommended but I'll give them a go and report back.

Monday 27 October 2014

A whole raft of problems…

The weather is all over the shop isn’t it, unseasonably mild in the most part but then some a cold morning is followed by a mild one. To add to that the wind doesn’t know what it’s doing either. The evening before my short session after mulling a few things over in my mind I decided to try for a Chub under a nice looking raft on a regular stretch of the Warwickshire Avon I fish. The classic Chub hidey hole.

The river has dropped significantly in a week and it was back to clear again so not ideal conditions but hopefully the raft would offer the sanctuary and security for a big Chevin.

The swim is quite exposed so with the wind gusting I wanted to give it a couple of hours or so and then move to a more sheltered swim. Tactics were two superglued cavier pellets from Lone Angler on a simple running rig. Talking of superglue I’ve found the best to be the small precision tubes. Not so much the gluing ability more the fact the nozzle doesn’t seem to clog up and the top is easily removable even after being used >10 times. 

My best Chub is a rather pathetic 4lb 9oz, I’ve caught bigger in the past but sods law, ‘it was this big’ etc I’d not had scales to hand to weigh them. I’ve set myself a target for this winter, a 5lb’er at least and I’ve no doubt the local stretches I fish has them, no question.

It took ¾’s of an hour for the first bite and it was a half decent Chub, 3lb 14oz’s in fact and at first glance at its tail I thought it was the Chub I’d caught 5 times before, but this was twice its size and closer inspection there were differences. It had a clonker of a head so lots of growing to do, some February it would probably be what I’m after. 

I rested the swim for ½ an hour and tried a swim further upstream without even a nibble. I returned to the raft and within a second I had a bite and hooked a fish, only a small Chub though and unluckily for him a Pike came up from the depths and grabbed it, it happened to me last week too, there certainly seems to be lots around. I was only using 5lb line but it stood up the Pike far better than I thought, sadly the inevitable happened and it broke me off. The swim was ruined and with the raft significantly smaller I called it day.

Monday 20 October 2014

A lucky escape...

For this session on the Warwickshire Avon I wanted to try a certain swim that was a sheltered and slack area away from the main flow. I’d seen some topping Roach there a few weeks ago and with it being reasonably deep at 5ft there was a chance of a decent Roach. The issue I could see was the minnows might get to the bread disc first. It’s stupidly mild for this time of year, 18 degrees when I left at 11.30am and there were even jaspers flying about. To counteract if the little nibblers were an issue I has some lobworms as back-up.

I’ve never really been excited by Pike and I’ve only had a couple of sessions where I’ve targeted them specifically but for this session and as a sleeper rod I decided to use up some sprats I had in the freezer. I swopped the 50lb braided leader I use my Zander fishing for some trebles and a wire trace but essentially it was the same set-up. The biggest Pike I’d caught came to an inch of Lamprey that I’d intended for Chub.

The bread hadn’t settled in the swim for more than a couple of minutes when the quiver whacked round and I was in to a fish. It was trying to get in to the marginal undercut bank so I know it was a Chub. They are such dirty fighters and the reason why I love catching them. It was soon in the net and not the biggest at 3lb on the nose, but it made up for it with a powerful fight. There are some massive Chub in this stretch and come winter time I’m aiming to up my P.B.

The sprat had been in position for about ½ and hour when the Delkim beeped in to the life and rollover indicator was steadily rising I lifted the rod and struck in to what seemed like a half decent fish. The short rod was bent double and the Pike jumped out of the water and started to tail walk and make a right mess of the swim. It felt a bit of a lump when I lifted up the net. Not the biggest of Pike but at 9lb 1oz it beat my personal best. An easy Pike to identify again as it has a large open sore.

It was only a short session but no Roach were banked, I managed a Jack pike and a 1lb Perch took at liking to the lobworm but as I was playing the fish a large Pike took it broadside in his jaws. It let go when it saw me but then as I was netting the Perch, it grabbed it again. Eventually after what seemed like ages it released its prey and I managed to land it. It didn’t seem too badly injured considering its ordeal, just a few puncture wounds. I released it up stream so it could see another day, it had a lucky escape that's for sure.

Saturday 11 October 2014

Jack Barren...

I've not really explored the new venue I've been fishing, not sure why, laziness I suppose. Anyway with a lure rod in hand I wanted to see of there were any deep areas that might be worth trying for Zander in future sessions. The Warwickshire Avon does contain them, no doubt about that, I've just never given it any bank time. The Grand Union canal a few minutes down the road is full of them, so I've been sort of blinkered as I know if I fish a certain area I'm guaranteed to catch one.

The recent rain hasn't coloured the water so the lure could be seen 4 or 5 ft down.  The nettle hacking and burning session has meant there are more swims available as previously especially the upstream swims you were a bit restrictive. The downstream swims although much wider are no deeper, far shallower than I expected but looked ideal for trotting a deadbait as it was nice and slow. A shallow Wasperton, I suppose. Not much was biting this morning and I only managed a small Jack in 4 hours of fishing but the Autumn colours and scenery made up for the lack of fish. The reccy was certainly worthwhile as it's given me some ideas where to concentrate my efforts. I've a few areas earmarked to try all within about a 2 mile radius.

Friday 10 October 2014

The Fear...!!!!!

With autumn well and truly here and the nights closing in this evening’s session was therefore a short one, two hours in-fact. We have had a bit of rain recently so after negotiating past the grazing Jacob sheep I settled into a swim hoping that because the river is up a nadger and slightly coloured I’d have a chance for a fish. If I don’t manage a session in the week after work then it’s down to one fishing trip a week. I want to catch a river Zander and fishing well in to dusk does seem to be the best option.

It’s quite therapeutic watching a glowing isotope at civil twilight, the feint glow of tritium is a nice distraction from the otherwise potential left temporal lobe electrical activity. I don’t like fishing in the dark to be honest, the figment of one's imagination which occurs as a result of one's brain filling in gaps unnecessarily means night fishing for me anyway, can become a bit of a nightmare, literally.

The purchase of a small handheld Nitecore EC25 torch didn’t really help my phobia either because 800 lumens may well be a powerful torch , but when that torch illuminates the death stare from an albino deer , it only adds to the visual terror, an incident that I nearly sh*t myself. I can only imagine what as state I’d be in if I ever get to see the ‘Beast of Barford’ or a headless apparition of Piers Gaveston.

As soon as the pipistrelle exits from its roost and starts to tonk my line, I can last an hour, or thereabouts, so any tips welcome to make it more bearable please. An overnighter on the bank, on my own, puts the fear of dread in me. Not a cat in hell’s chance. My mate and fellow fisherman Simon could tag along is always an option but I’m a solitary angler deep down and the reason why I go fishing is therefore scuppered, so much so I’d rather go down the local for a pint of Mad Goose and a packet of pork scratchings.

Weirdly smoking the odd mini Cuban cigar seems to dumb down my irrationality, now you would have thought a collection of airborne solid, liquid particles and gases would be the last thing my visual perception needed. But for me it works, the warm glow of the light imbues a small comforting deterrent and the localised stinking tobacco haze provides a barrier between me, the ghouls, ghosts and apparitions.

The short session didn’t go too well, It wasn’t a 100% Zander pursuit as apart from the rod out with a section of lamprey, I had another rod out to try and tempt a Barbel. Apart from debris and bats making the isotope dance not a touch, zilch, diddly-squat.

Friday 3 October 2014

A Sliver Bream PB

Or is it ? Jeff over to you, you're good at these things...

I was at the ressi this morning trying to tempt a big Perch, the plans didn't go well as I couldn't get past the small ones and there were literally hundreds of the buggers. Come winter, it's a different story and the only fish likely to down the wriggler is a big Sergeant. After about 30 small Perch this fish came along devouring 2 lobworms, I thought it might have been a roach at first but I'm hoping it's a Silver Bream. The big eyes and anal fin suggests it might be. (yeap, looks like it is)

Not the bulkiest of fish but still weighed 1lb 5oz, I should have photographed it with some scales next to it, the next best thing the black strap on my unhooking mat is 1.5"

I only fished for a few hours and the float and sleeper rod didn't stay still the whole time I was there. 17.5 Degrees when I left, madness.  

Anyway on a different note, there is talk of the ressi being developed, who knows if / when it will happen but there is definitely something going on as there were surveyors there today. 30 years of falling leaves has left a 2ft accumulation of silt on the bed, reducing the irrigation reservoirs capacity. Shame if it does happen, and what's going to happen to the fish ? Big development plans too but the sounds of it, so if it gets the go ahead it will never look the same again. New fencing, felling of trees, bank developent, even enlarging and a car park. Watch this space....

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Fallon’s Angler

I'm no writer myself but I'm looking forward to reading the work of others, oh and Jeff so that's where you have been hiding.

Fallon's Angler

Fallon’s Angler celebrates the telling of the angling story through original, long-form writing with a strong, narrative feel, and avoids the incessant barrage of tackle and tactics. Appearing four times a year with an average of fourteen articles per issue, it gives the reader some 28,000+ words to sink their teeth into. Covering subjects from coarse, game and sea, it’s all down to the skill of the writer to convey the magic of angling.

Fallon’s Angler offers angling writers the space to express themselves, and get properly paid for it. It hopes to encourage existing writers to write more, and to nurture new talent to enter the industry. The industry has some wonderful writers, but who is the ‘next big thing’? 
Some writers are very familiar to you, some less so, and there are several you’ve never met before. There are also excellent writers out there who Fallon’s Angler has not met, yet. Fallon’s Angler is about the quality of the writing, not the quality of the angler, or the quality of the fish.
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