Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Saturday 31 December 2016

Canal Zander - Happy New Year !!!!

A quick session and a quick post....

I nearly hopped to the swim when I saw the colour of the water. I knew the fish would be biting you see and they were. An opportunist 2 hour window saw me headed to a swim that produced my PB of 9lb.

As I expected first fews casts of the big lure, a 2lb Zander

Deadbait is more selective when it comes to the size of Zander and a chunk of washed out Roach was positioned in the channel and the float remained motionless until the last half an hour when it started to bob and move from its position.

I was a little premature with the strike and the bait came away from the grasp of the Zander, it surfaced though and damn looked a big fish.

Usually a recast in the same area another bite comes quick and fast but sadly this case it didn't. Maybe it saw my ugly mug, I'd seen it after all.

4 further fish came to the lure and it gave some decent sport.

Headed in to the new year I really want to get stuck in the closed season Zander challenge again as I want that cut double, I'm sure it's dooable again it's just bank time which the closed season gives me as when the rivers can be fished the draw of flowing water seems to take priority.

Anyway happy New Year fellow bloggers and readers and I hope you have a good 2017....

Friday 30 December 2016

Warwickshire Avon - Back to Basics

I don't trot enough, not sure why because whenever I do, the session really goes quick which must mean I'm enjoying it and getting in to the 'zone'. It also means that one doesn't think about anything, it's hard to explain to a non maggot drowner, but the mind really does go clear, giving it a much needed break. To be honest, it keeps me sane, I'm sure of it.

Odd though isn't it, hours to oneself you would have thought the mind would be overactive, but it isn't it goes in to hibernation, well for me anyway.

I think of not a jot....

Before I had to get back to make a curry for a crowd for the annual get together with some close friends I was water bound across the meadows with the mist starting to lift for a quick trotting session on the Warwickshire Avon.

One thing I do get wrong that I need to correct is that I'm sure I don't feed enough maggots because every trotting session I'm always asking the same question, why have I got so much bait left.

I had a bucket load for this quick 3 hour session though so running out wasn't an issue. In-fact I'm sure I've got enough for another trip if I can get out before I go back to work.

The ventured to the bottom of the stretch where I've caught Barbel and Chub before and it's a great swim for trotting a float, probably one of the faster swims which I prefer,

a pedestrian float ain't for me, the float just doesn't sit right, needs to have some decent current to it.

About 20 trots through the first swim I noticed some disturbance on the far bank. Eventually it put it's head out the water and it was an otter, hmmmm not good. It was patrolling the margin at a decent lick and went from my right to the left and then eventually disappeared.

It's still ridiculously low and clear on the Avon which isn't helping the fishing but a otter roaming around is going to put the kibosh on proceedings.

A friendly robin came for a natter and judging by its stomach it was having trouble finding food, like me it was wearing its winter coat.

A quick cup of coffee and it was up to the next swim to settle in for the remainder of the short session.

My main trotting outfit is a 14ft Drennan Acolyte Plus, a crystal loafer and a simple pin. The rod was pricey but considering you're handling the rod for a longish period of time, a light rod it essential and the Acolyte is just that, it's ridiculously light.

Eventually I managed to get some fish feeding, and it was some nice sport in the winter sun. It took ago while though a good half an hour in the swim before the first fish turned up.

Not the biggest stamp of fish admittedly but sometimes fishing is fishing, we cannot have decent session all the time now can we. Well unless your James Denison. I think I need to join James for session sometime just to see how he does it and what I'm doing wrong.

Obviously the fish need to be there and despite looking in and around some clear swims today no decent fish were spotted.

In-fact the Avon looked lifeless...

I caught a few mind you. I've a still enough grubs for another session so on to the next one....

Thursday 29 December 2016

Shanghai AC Christmas Match - Tunnel Barn Farm

The Christmas holiday match was planned for Shrewley Pool which always provides some good sport. At least the carp have on the most part in pretty good condition. Sadly on-route when the car was registering -4 degrees I did wonder if it was fishable. Yeap, as I thought on arrival it was frozen over. The day before 'apparently' it was perfectly fishable, today, not so.

It's not the most organised of venues having helped themselves to pictures from a blog post of mine for their Facebook page without even a thank you so it was off to try and find somewhere else to fish.

Tunnel Barn is a stones throw away and it's not a venue I particularly enjoy fishing, in-fact the more I fish these sort of venues I wonder why I bother match fishing at all. But at least they could offer pegs to fish. The Extension Pool was frozen over as were most of the pools but at least they were willing to break some ice for us.

We were paying customers after all.....

These Shanghai matches are a good social event to be fair so not all lost. Today my tactics were centrepin and float on the most part which I doubt features in many matches.

After clearing the broken ice from peg with my landing net eventually I had a fishable peg. Maggot was the order of the day and many were struggling. I could buy a bite on anything else, sweetcorn, meat and highly visible boilies were ignored.

I should have stayed in bed....

Eventually I had a few fish, and a surprise perch that fought better than the 3 wet lettuce F1 carp I managed to catch.

A tough match with a few blanks out of the 10 fishing but I managed 5th with 6lb 8oz, the winner Dave Roberts a couple of pegs down from me won with 27lb.

Luckily Simon's work has got in the way again and I've a bucket load of maggots I'm going to use on a trotting session in the morning.

<---Me--------------------------------------------------------------------------------match fishing---->

Saturday 24 December 2016

Warwickshire Avon – Breaking Bad.

There must be a breakdown in my brains reward system, dopamine ain’t one of the neurotransmitters I usually lack but recently it just isn’t doing its thing. I just don’t seem to have any motivation to go fishing of late and to be honest, it’s a little worrying.

I think I’ve a mild form of anhedonia, arse….

Recent poor sessions and blanks haven’t helped matters but then that isn’t usually an issue as my fishing results are a huge bag of mediocrity.

The weather, well it’s been pretty good hasn’t it, so doubt it’s that. Work, maybe, it certainly gets in the way doesn’t it and the dark mornings and dark afternoons means by available fishing time as a family man is severely limited.

To be honest during the winter months you could fit my window of opportunity on a halfpenny rose red…..

However as a usually frequent maggot dangler every chance I get to wet a line I need to grasp it with both hands. Otherwise my hobby and pastime wouldn’t get a look in and life’s routine would take over. Recently however when it come to decision point, shall I get out of bed or enjoy the warmth of the 15 tog duvet and the Wife’s Heisenbergs, of late, the latter has won.

All very weird as fishing gives me some ‘me time’ that I rarely get….

I’m not quite ready for the Prozac or methamphetamine hydrochloride just yet as today is Christmas Eve after all and I’m on the banks of the Warwickshire Avon but if things don’t change in the New Year I need to look in to it a little deeper. I’ve not quite jelled with this new stretch you see which doesn’t help and I’ve already thought about what to do for the new season.

I’m 50 / 50 at re-joining at the minute as come the 2017/2018 season I fancy seeking some dark territory off the frequently trodden path and away from the more familiar radar. Maybe catching something half decent here though will give the endogenous chemicals a much needed boost.

I’d a bucket load of lobworms in the garage, so this session was simple roving tactics with a link ledger set-up, a reasonably long hook length and it was a matter of exploring the lower swims and bouncing around a worm in and around snags and open swims.

Despite the recent rain it was clearer than a clear thing and the session as suspected proved difficult, after 5 or 6 swims with two missed bites the last a proper wrap over I was still without a fish.

Eventually a much shallower swim produced a tiny chublet but sadly that was the highlight of the session.

All very disappointing. To be fair three other anglers were finding it as tough as me so I'm not ready to hang the rods up just yet.

Damn it, oh well at least my cooking is on fire....

Monday 19 December 2016

Canal Zander – Iced Buns and the search for the Sized Ones

The long stretch between the Laryngeal prominence and Tefal head remains largely uncharted, I’ve fished it a few times, and even caught a couple of scrappy Zander but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why it vanished off my radar and hasn’t featured in my quest for a canal double.

Even travelling light like one does, the location is a pain in the proverbials. I see that as an advantage though. It’s a neglected bit of canal and sees little foot traffic, a dog walking poop picker, a jogger sometimes, another angler, forget it….

I’ve caught a 9lber below, a 8lb 10oz fish above, a transition route, quite possibly. There are schoolies in numbers in these areas, so the bigger fish were lucky captures I’m sure of it as. I’m trying to find out where they lay up in sanctuary. 

I’m sure the bigger fish thrive on neglect you see. Proper large Zander sit back I’m guessing and don’t want to be competing with the schoolies for bait fish letting them get on with it on the most part and are perfectly happy doing their thing on their own terms. Throw some fisherman in to the mix with lures being thrown around here there and everywhere upsetting the applecart even further, they are not likely to get mixed up in the playground activity.

A game of British Bulldog, not likely….

Eventually once they are bored with sticking their fins up watching the world go by, it’s off the sofa and down shops for an iced bun, and a slice of Bakewell tart. 

Although I’ve found Zander take practically any kind of dead, fresh or on the turn, a shop bought 6” roach cut in to sections seems to get their pecker up more than anything else I’ve tried. There is more ‘stuff’ going on, if you look at it in section. The neural spine is surrounded by thicker muscle segments for starters but obviously depending where you cut it you can capture some of the numbles which in-turn will release more of that blood. All good stuff for a fish that has some fantastic sensory organs, they haven’t just got good eyesight you know.

I’ve caught Zander on lamprey, maybe I should give some more a go another time….

So the picnic basket was open, cloth laid, food displayed, a service station as such. 

No Scotch Eggs and piccalilli for these canal Zander though, just 2 big fillets of Roach.

The clarity of the water was similar to last week where the fish were feeding but here, it’s a notable change in everything, quiet, almost eerie and there is a lack of movement in just about everything, no boats in the 4 hour session either.

Leapfrogging likely looking swims is the easiest way to scope out an area for Zander but it was evident it was going to be a tough session. After about 4 swims and motionless floats I stuck the baits tight to some thick cover. It’s a sensitive set-up so any movement, above or below will move the float. The right hand float starts to move slightly and then an almighty bow wave like a depth charge surrounds the float.

Yeap, there are other species here and a large Carp has just come to investigate what’s just appeared in his lair.

To try and avoid a blank retracing my steps I used the lure rod in a couple of swims but again, no fish.

Always a learning curve, this Zander lark. Same swims, same techniques on another day, could bank some fish.

Monday 12 December 2016

Canal Zander - On The Fiddle

I felt rather fresh when I rose despite the evenings revelry ,the munchies obviously helped as the contents of my stomach would probably have served my bodily needs for a week.

A rare proper night out with her indoors you see didn’t end well, drink, thai meal, more drink followed by bouncing around with the great unwashed at another fantastic live gig by ‘The Levellers’ with some God awful lager in 2 pint plastic containers.

Note to the O2 venue peeps, can you get the bleeding bar situation sorted for next time we go please....

I’d luckily bumped in to a large overfriendly group of women from Leicester so at least the ridiculous sizable queuing was helped with some good conversation and some unwarranted but acceptable tit tennis where I’d won easily in straight sets.

Anyway the last train back to the Father-In-Laws was cancelled meaning we had to catch the No. 37 night service through some deprived areas of Birmingham in the slowest of buses that proceeded to stop at every single stop even when there was no one waiting….

Why oh Why, nearly an hour FFS....

I hate public transport, I really do !!!. I clearly should have done an 'Uber 'whatever that is….

Thankfully I don’t need to use it very often as I'd rather shoot myself.

It gave me good thinking time mind you. After the obligatory fried chicken and chips waiting for a Taxi when the bus eventually finished its journey it was feet up with a nice glass of wine looking at what delights were in the fridge. I’d cobbled together all manner of tackle for the overnight stop but despite not knowing what I’d fish for, after the last mouthful of pork pie however, I eventually made a decision. 

So the canal it was….

Now there was a stretch on the doorstep I could have fished but I blanked last time, just managing a rise from a Pike so I went homeward bound to try an area I’d not fished for a while but I’m sure there are some larger transient fish hanging around which would eventually grace my hook. I fancied being active for this session as it was a little nippy so a lure rod and deadbait rod it was.

I don’t do enough lure fishing when I’m targeting canal Zander having found that the large fish have all come to deadbaits but having used deads for the majority of my Zander sessions it not a surprise is it….

No sh*t Sherlock and all that….

What a session, I got there a dawn and the first swim I had 4 Zander with half an hour, and 2 Perch caught tight to the bank.

The next 2 more Zander, one lost.

The next swim the biggest Zander of the morning at around 3lb and yet another Perch.

Back to the first swim, one lost lightly hooked 5lber and two further smaller fish banked.

The most productive two and a half hours I’ve ever had on the cut I think.

As soon as the sun came out it went dead.

All on one lure too, a red headed spikey shad.

The deadbait float apart from a typical small greedy schoolie bite that didn’t connect, it remained motionless.

Have I been missing a trick ?

Saturday 10 December 2016

Center Parcs, Elveden - The Frown of Defeat

So where were all the carp ? usually around the beach area where the kids feed the ducks, moorhens and geese the area is awash with them.

Weird, the lake was very clear too, hmmm not good.

Excuses in already I suppose but I probably knew it would be tough even before I wet a line. There was a cold snap on the way though so I was hoping that might give the Perch something to think about.

A bait boat using carp fisherman was the only other angler I saw all week and he was tucked up in his lodge most of the time, hooked up to wireless bite alarms, yes really....

Apparently yes there were still carp milling around but most were being caught during the night, nothing of size to be honest, 14lb or so being his best.

Lures, deadbait and lots of worms, chopped, hooked and halved. Feeder if used were filled with krilled maggots and some chopped worm.

Only short dawn morning sessions as it was a family holiday after all but having caught some decent Perch here in the past I thought I was working them out.

Dead baits and air injected lobworms in a usually productive area, zilch.

Spinners and shads to try and search out some fish in various swims, nada

-7 overnight, lake frozen.

Much of the lake still frozen.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

The Wife's warm and comforting bosom won over one rising from ones pit.

With a swim I a few years ago caught my biggest Perch (below) from on sweetcorn of all things now available, I baited with some chopped worm, rigged up the float rod and fished a nice juicy lobworm worm over the top whilst drip feeding a few maggots.

Not a sausage.

I wasn't home....
With the daily activities and swimming out the way earlier than normal youngest Sam joined me for a short in to dusk session. Now for a 5 year old, he is getting more patient every time I take him, but an hour or two is getting his limit even if he's catching fish, but he really surprised me this time.

I set my rods up first, rollover indicators, dead on on, lob on the other. I cast a lure out for Sam and he retrieved it nicely himself.

As soon as the light was going the fish started feeding and sure enough the first fish was plucky Roach that devoured the lobworm without much trouble. The must have been a shoal because as soon as the worm went out again, fish were on it. Quite far too, 40 yards or so.

So another deadbait went out....

Sam by this time wanted a fish of his own, so suggested off his own back could he have a lobworm on. No probs, a bit combersome but I removed the lure and put two big lob worms on the 5g jig head. I propped the 7ft rod up on the bait bag and let Sam watch the tip.

"Daddy, Daddy" "Somethings biting it" "I'll strike"

"Nahhhhh, nothing on Daddy"

"Probably a pesky small Roach Sam, I'll pack up anyway, nearly dark."

So I packed up joining Sam, "Come on lets go back"

"But I've not caught my fish yet"

"Ok, five more minutes"

Worm refreshed, bait goes out....


"Strike then"

"Yes something on, will it pull me in, feels big" "I cannot reel it in Daddy, you have the Rod"

"No you caught it, you land it"

After some coaching and dismissing the suggestion it was the big catfish that apparently lives in the lake a fish was on the end, the fish was landed.

A hybrid of some sort, 2lb ish, Sam with a beaming smile, me with the frown of defeat.....

Even the fish sulked after being returned as it hung around the margins for a few minutes.

So not the best trip, in fact and epic failure on the Perch front but seeing Sam getting enjoyment out of it and telling everyone what he caught and it was bigger than Daddy's was worth the trip alone.

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