Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

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.

Monday 17 November 2014

A long overdue Barbel....

With my head still a bit fuzzy after bouncing around with the Wife at a Levellers gig on Friday, Sunday was most welcome, peace, solitude and fresh air. The previous week’s rain meant the rivers were up, tea coloured and the air still mild the Barbel might be on the feed. The rivers have been incredibly low this season so I haven’t really targeted them anger. When I got to the river conditions seemed ideal, it was proper tanking it through so I found a nice easy to reach slack area just of the main flow where they might be holding out.

The smaller parts of the Avon I fish I tend to use one rod but as its much wider here I decided to use two rods with identical set-up. Big lumps of garlic spam on the hair with the 3oz lead on a running set-up plugged with some smelly paste. One rod cast upstream the other downstream to hopefully provide a scent trail. I bought a job lot of garlic spam from the supermarket a few months ago and this was my last remaining can so when you see it for a quid a tin, please let me know. For a coloured it’s a great bait and I’ve such confidence in it I don’t bother bringing anything else.

The whacker of a bite came within an hour, I lifted in to it but there was nothing on the end, I do tend to fish longish hairs so probably a Chub mouthing and plucking the sizeable bait. The same thing happened again 20 minutes later or so, hmmm maybe this wasn’t to be my day. I refreshed the baits for the last hour and sure enough the downstream rod slammed over and line was being ripped from the spool this was no Chub. Whatever you do when your Barbel fishing is use a bait runner, centre pin ratchet or set a light drag. They give savage bites so if you’re not careful you can easily have a rod in the river and a tethered fish.

The fish was hugging bottom and making use of the rivers flow, and was trying to reach some overhanging cover. A powerful fight that bent the rod double and made my arm ache. It eventually had enough and it was in the net. I let it rest in the net before weighing and photographing it. Not the biggest at 7lb 4oz but in stunning condition, muscular and tough as old boots. The fish was rested again and then safely returned. Not a rattle in the last half hour but a long overdue Barbe meant I went home happy. Zander on a new venue next weekend, rods at the ready.

Saturday 8 November 2014

Nothing worse than cold feet....

So for this winter season I've treated myself to some Muck Boots Arctic Sports. They have a breathable 'Airmesh' insulated lining with thick neoprene that hopefully will keep my tootsies toasty. I've tried no manner of boot and sock combinations so I'm hoping these will be an improvement on them all. I love my winter fishing, probably my favorite season but I've never been able to keep my toes warm for long sessions, so much so being uncomfortable has cut my sessions short.

I take a size 9 and it's sized about right as I can wear a thick sock, they are also more 'fitted' and flexible than the previous wellies I've tried so should suit my roving style. No fishing this weekend as it's the annual lads trip to the 'Big Smoke'.

Monday 3 November 2014

A dead heat....

This morning’s Zander session down the Grand Union Canal was my most hectic yet; I’d fished this area before but only using a lure rod and had my P.B. of 5lb 4oz but for this trip I’d fish my two rod approach. A sleeper rod with a running set-up and a Roach deadbait and the main rod a light lure outfit. I alternated between the ultimate bass hook and the Raptor to see how they differed.

I only fished for a few hours but I’d banked about 12 or 13 Zander, all but one on the Roach deadbait and apart from one lost fish all runs had successful hook-ups. The biggest went 3lb 14oz with the majority around the 2lb range. Every swim produced a fish too and on manky deadbaits that you wouldn’t have thought fish would look forward to dine upon. The biggest difference I’d say between the two hooks was that the Ultimate Bass hook because of the long shank and thin gauge was far easier to remove and every one could be removed by hand. The Raptor probably had the better hook hold and all but one had to be removed with pliers. Even though I crushed the micro barb once the thicker gauge hook had penetrated the Zanders tough mouth it wasn’t coming out. I’d use either hook to be honest and the Raptor probably made more sense because of the small baits I was using.

They don’t pull that hard but they give such a spirited fight it’s great sport so much so they are going up my favourite fish list and the cut it full of them it seems. Plenty of schoolies to be had and bigger fish likely to be roaming around too. I need some better deadbaits but as the method was that successful I might even swop the lure rod for a float set-up.

I’ve an eye on a few areas on the Avon that look like they may hold some fish, a weir pool, a deep area with bream present and also a deep stretch with roach present. The Avon holds pike though so I’d be adjusting my rigs to suit, one being trace in-lieu of heavy braid.
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