Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Monday 26 January 2015

A ruff day at the mill....

I’ve never fished the Saxon Mill stretch of the Avon before so Sunday morning was very much of a exploratory look-see. I knew the day was going to be tough as nowhere seems to be fishing any good at the minute.Even Postie Bob said a recent match down the Avon was won with a Gudgeon and a bullhead and there were ex England fishermen in attendance.

My mate Simon was in tow and the first swim we fished was opposite the infamous Guy’s Cliffe House. An historic country estate built on a cliff that is still clearly evident today.  It’s seen plenty of change in its past and today it’s a mere ruin, albeit a visually stunning one.  The estate has land as far as Blacklow Hill which was the site on an ancient settlement and location of Piers Gaveston the 1st Earl of Cornwalls beheading.

The erected “Graveston’s Cross” stone to mark the event exists within the grounds. In more recent times the house was used as the Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital in the First World War and during the Second World War as a Boys Home by the Waifs and Strays Society. Today you can visit the house for Paranormal Investigations and Ghost Hunts, it’s certainly a spooky place that’s for sure, a summer evening fishing in to dusk is certainly on the cards. I bet it’s truly haunting. 

I had liquidised bread and maggot in the feeder and decided to alternate between, bread, lobworm and maggot on the hook. Maybe trotting would have been the better option as the river hasn’t much pace to it and it was pretty clear too. The huge tree opposite the house gave suitable cover and the stone steps made an excellent seat which I assume were used in the past to ‘ferry’ people from the house over the river. There was a deep hole in the near margin so I was hoping that a Perch was lying in wait, but after an hour and a half with only a solitary bite to show for it I decided to go on a bit of a roving session. 

Some of the downstream swims looked excellent despite being fished by beer drinking Eastern Europeans judging by the discarded cans. I tried 6 or 7 swims and remained fishless. The area is a haven for dog walkers and after a Labrador helped himself to my bread and maggots I decided to try the swims upstream of the Saxon Mill, it looked very canalified but again some nice looking swims. It’s more of a trek to the swims by the looks of it and certainly as an angler who seeks solitude more my thing. I managed to winkle out a Chublet on worm before calling it a day. 

I bumped in to a Warwick angling bailiff as I was packing up and he told me about some upstream swims that were worth a try so I’ll take action on his advice. Talking about taking action, as I was making my way above the mill I walked past some novice Pike anglers who looked like they were more suited to rowing than fishing. Anyway the bailiff confirmed they didn’t have a permit.  I’m sure better signage would help as apart from the odd one it wasn’t that clear that you had to be a member of WDAA. I’ll be back, this time with a trotting set-up and bread. Jeff you know this area very well indeed, so any tips welcome.

Thursday 22 January 2015

Zander - 'That Fateful Day'

For the Zander lovers amongst us whilst you're stuck inside trying to warm your cockles warm. THIS podcast is a good listen.

Recorded in 2011. John McAngus is the last surviving member of the team responsible for the controversial introduction of Zander to the Fens back in 1963. A time when fishery managers could do pretty much what they wanted. Here we get the full story of what he describes as 'That Fateful Day'.

My Canal PB at 5lb 4oz
I need to get back out on the bank, DIY has taken over at the minute, not good.

Sunday 11 January 2015

Well and truly gongoozled...

I was in two minds what to fish for this weekend, there is a considerable volume of water in the rivers at the minute and with unseasonably mild weather during the week there might be a chance of a Barbel. The temperatures plummeted overnight though so I felt it might have been a shock to the system and turned them off the feed.

Canal Zander was therefore the target so I went to my usual beat and intended to fish for a few hours with a headless roach on two rods and a firetiger lure fished time to time. The third retrieve of the lure I caught a small Perch but the morning was hard going.

In my relatively short canal Zander fishing bank time I've been pretty successful but one thing I've discovered is if you don't get a run on the deadbait with half an hour of it settling it's time to move. I tried 6 swims and even drove a couple of miles to my banker swim and yet the bobbin remained very much motionless. I hooked and lost a Zander on the lure rod, today wasn't my day. Maybe an evening session would have been the better option or just stuck with the Barbel.

Afterwards I went for a look at the now shut Warwick Racecourse Reservoir home to 2 of my PB's and, yeap well and truly buggered.

Drained, the fish gone and the fencing starting to be removed.

Sad really as I grew to like it and today would have been possible PB Perch beating conditions. I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the removed the fish, I bet there were some surprises.

Talking of surprises, I won the Gardner tackle competition by subscribing to their YouTube channel. I didn't realise I had not being a facebook user until Alan Stag sent me a message telling to get in touch. I lost a TLB bitealarm when fishing at Jeff Hatt's birthday bash so this will replace that and then some. Cheers Gardner Tackle.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Trotting Transmutation.

Trotting will feature more in my fishing in 2015 as I think I’ve been missing a trick. It’s not that I haven’t tried the method before, I have and I’ve had some pretty good success too with one particular session banking a load of greedy Chub that took a liking to cubes of meat. I mainly used a fairly hefty chubber float as the narrower stretches of the Avon I fish such as the brook tend to flow far faster than the main river. Because of the pace of the water on many occasions the float used to drag under far too many times for my liking, holding the float back to make the bait catch up was an exercise in itself. I was getting better at it though but needed to make some changes to help with the frustration.

I use a pin and the line thickness didn’t help as it must have caused more drag preventing the line to come of the spool in the required speed. I’ve now changed to an ultra low diameter line 6lb line the other change was to swop the chubber for a 4SSG speci waggler which I lock with a Preston jumbo shot either side of the line with a few no 6 dropper shot. I’ve no doubt a moving bait will give better presentation and I prefer to be more active when I’m fishing rather than the bait and wait approach which recently has featured far too much in my river fishing. It has its place and especially when fishing in to dusk in the summer it’s a method I will continue to use. Rolling meat has also been productive but I’ve never really gelled with it. I prefer watching a float if I'm honest.

The small changes did seem to help no end on couple of times I’ve used the new set-up as the float was flowing through far better and only a couple of times ended up being dragged under without a fish attached. I just need the water clarity to clear up a bit so I can dedicate more time to it. Hopefully before season end and the start of my canal double figure Zander challenge.
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