Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Monday 27 November 2017

Canal Zander – Kippers and Kakorrhaphiophobia

Come March the 15th my mind will switch to the closed season double figure Zander challenge where I will start Pt 68 of my ongoing quest for big kipper. I wouldn’t say I fear failure because the end of the day eventually one will turn up, I’m sure of it. Maybe I’ve more of a fear to what to fish for next once a double graces my hook.

A 9lb Canal Zander PB ain’t to be sniffed at and hopefully my efforts will equal reward because to be honest, it can get a bit monotonous especially when schoolie after schoolie is caught.

Last closed season I really struggled to bank anything decent. I’m not sure why either because the same waters were covered, the same tactics employed. Many of those waters were a stone’s throw away so very convenient indeed, so I think maybe I need to cast my net a little wider.

I’m always up for a reccy on less familiar pastures, so this meet up was ideal, you see for this session Sam and myself ventured over to the Coventry Canal to meet up with fellow bloggers, fellow Zed heads as the annual pilgrimage to celebrate the birthday of now painter and decorator and new language leaner Jeff Hatt of Idlers Quest , who for now anyway, has hung up his rods, frozen his maggots.

A shame really as he was one of the reasons why I started keeping a diary of my fishing exploits, Idlers Quest was an enjoyable read for many and was sadly missed when he decided to no longer put finger to keyboard, so….

Jeff, kiedy zamierzasz zacząć blogować i łowić ponownie ...?

With a carpet bombing approach, ie with multi rods in the water as part of the social, I was hoping something half decent would turn up for someone, as to be honest, my results up till now on the couple of times I’ve fished the Coventry canal have been tough.

The clarity was much clearer than I’m used to for starters and I’m sure that didn’t help but not only that but the boat traffic seemed much less which would explain the clarity. The thing is these Zander can be stubborn, in one area but not the next and the transient nature can maybe help in my situation, as, having never fished it in anger, and no knowing the swims, maybe a big fish can be caught off guard.

Our tactics employed for this meet up, I’d be manning the deadbait rods, one with roach, the other lamprey, Sam would be fishing maggot under a float.

There was a heavy frost overnight and I woke up Sam at 7.00am he bolted right out of bed ready to go fishing. Thick welly socks donned, three layers, trapper hat, you get the picture. We arrived at 7.45am with Danny already at the basin so I quickly got two baits out for a natter. The sun was barely up, around 2 or 3 degrees or so and within half an hour Sam was clearly not enjoying it, fingers like ice blocks, nose going red, even after a cup of tea he was too cold so we had to up-sticks.

I thought a short walk up and beyond the moored boats would help, but no such luck. After one bait next to some cover the other by a moored boat, Sam was shivering and complaining his fingers were hurting still and that after wearing my pre warmed neoprene gloves too.

Now I rarely feel the cold, but Sam is 6 after all but I was hoping when the sun got higher he would be fine but when Danny joined us I decided we had to go, he wasn't enjoying it and no me willing him to enjoy was going to work, so back home it was.

After getting back to the car and dumping the tackle off James and Brian were now at the basin as was Jeff with his dogs, a good turn out so was disappointing I couldn't stay, oh well, one of those things.

After a quick natter it was homeward bound.

"Dad, can we have some dance music on"

Good lad....

With the tackle in the car and after dropping Sam off I decided to go and fish a canal nearer to me, sadly despite fishing a few spots that were good to me in the past, there was nothing doing. I've found when it's as cold as this the Zander don't move around much such are the leeches they are covered with but drop a bait on their head they are usually up for feeding. There was no fish there most likely, no boats during the session either which can get them shifted from their station.

I'm hoping the lads did better than me....

Anyone recommend some pocket warmers ?

Friday 24 November 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Wazzocks and Wagpasties

With the flag of Scotland in a prominent position on the back of this knackered old white van, the particulates belching out the back of this jalopy was boarding on the dangerous, engine clearly on its last legs.

So recirc on, damage limitation….

Luckily an overtaking opportunity is a hundred years away because the roads goes from one to two lanes as the gradient is quite considerable.

Now his offside mirror, well that’s knackered too, no glass, mechanism on show, so got to tread carefully, so in to sports mode, indicator on, throttle fully pressed, anything to reduce the time exposed to danger.

I’m alongside now, yeap, you guessed it, the wazzock also decides to pull out to overtake a car too and is headed my way, horn pressed, brakes hard on, I’ve not choice but to tuck back behind.

His window wound down, middle finger raised, the van struggling to pick up speed, black smoke a car stopper, like something out of Whacky Racers.

I can only assume he was a white cider drinker peed off with the recent Scottish parliament changes with the van laden with countless cases of three-litre bottles such was his dawdlement.

Every minute counted for this session you see because I left work a little earlier to set-up prior to dusk, to set the station out for a couple of hours.

You see I was back at an area of the Warwickshire Avon that I can fish in to dark, it’s an option that is few and far between on the area I fish, and to be honest I don’t make the most of it.

I visited it a month ago and managed a near 4lb Chub and the same tactics were to be employed for this session albeit a couple of swims down in a large flat swim. So two rods dead, lamprey and roach, one rod a big smelly glugged boilie plus a pva bag of tiny elips pellets and broken matching boilies.

Despite this being an area utterly dominated by Pike, The rogue fish, the Zander I’m sure are here, they must be, I’ve had them above and below, so no reason why they are not. The thinking was maybe here there are some lurkers to be had as smaller ones are never caught and the bigger ones don’t reveal themselves that easily.

It’s quite shallow here you see and unless it’s a weir, I rarely do any good when it’s shallow on running water, ok canals are in its makeup shallow but the water is turbid in the main, at the moment, you could be looking in a to a bottle of Tanqueray.

Air temperatures mild, an influx of warm in to the cold, I was hoping the fish were feeding.

The sky was clear to it was a nice pleasant evening to be out, rods were set for 4.40pm, half a roach to the left by a overhang, the lamprey over to the far left of the swim, the boilie straight ahead.

Dusk past then Chub appeared in the swim, a tentative pull on the boilie, a pluck on the lamprey, then the lamprey rod properly goes off and a fish is taking line, sadly I struck in to thin air.

Weird isn't it after the first hour after dusk as past, bites dry up and that's exactly what happened, time to call it a day, tail between legs.

Monday 20 November 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Mavericks and Microorganisms

I had planned to fish with Sam for some Chub but he woke up Saturday morning having overnight had been properly been hit by a virus. His temperature over 40 degrees that wasn’t coming down with Calpol, heart rate racing. He was knocked for six.

The Wife had a chat with 111, next minute he is in Warwick hospital for 5 hours. Eventually they were happy with him to go home, so back late straight to bed.

So I didn’t know what to do Sunday morning with the partner in crime out of action so with some decent Perch turning up a one of my clubs waters it was lure in hand to try and find one or two.

Now the river is low, very low, clear, very clear so I didn’t expect much, a small tiny Jack was about the only action and that dropped off the hook, but you know what, sometimes it’s just nice to be out when everyone else is tucked up in bed.

Sam after 12 hours kip, was back to normal, so all well for next weekend hopefully, the search for big Chub must continue.

Saturday 18 November 2017

Warwickshire Avon - Psychosoma's and Philistines

I’ve never been able to properly absorb myself in a book, not sure why, maybe I just haven’t got one of those brains. To be honest, I find it a pain in the backside because the Wife is the total opposite and sometimes she is that captivated and engrossed she just cannot put the book down.

I really can see the appeal….

You see as a must needed solitude seeker, it could we be another addition to my armoury. As I’ve said many time before, with rod in hand my mind ends up elsewhere,

as my thoughts switch to fish not to today….

Music rather than print is very very different for me, in-fact sometimes especially some of ambient stuff I listen to, I’m that in to it, I sort of have an out-of-body experience, basically I’m that away from it sometimes it’s acting like a sleep substitute .

However, a case can be made for “no music”, where silence would be your best companion. Music is a physical stimulus after all, so listening to it means a constant input from one of your physical senses. For most, music could help in the initial relaxation, it can also be a constant pull bringing your attention to the physical dimension and as a consequence making your astral body or psychosoma take off harder.

Energies are the mechanism to evoke and interact with extraphysical entities. So the music will tend to create a matching extraphysical energy environment. This process is usually unconscious, but it can affect the quality of your out-of-body experience. I don’t have that problem, hence probably why I’ve been a lover, producer and DJ of electronic music ever since I discovered it nudges my neurons.

Decent cosseting and comfortable wireless and noise cancelling headphones are the key (I use Plantronics BackBeat Pro’s), you really do need the right hardware as it can lead to success or failure.

Give it a bash, I’ve never looked back….

Now talking of solitude seeking, here the river appears asleep, so feeble is the current, species here many, sanctuary in abundance. For the fisherman it’s a case of double dipping, so for this dawn short session it was meat on one rod, dead or worm on the other,

Sit back and wait as it’s a guess what will turn up and that’s what keeps me coming back….

I couldn't believe how bad the river looked mind you, ridiculously low and a little bb float could have happily sat there holding station, it was static. Loads of leaves sat on the surface too, hmmm, not good.

After an hour and a bit of motionless everything bar a tiny perch I decided to upticks and venture to an area with a little more oxygen and it was a move worth making. With a few minutes of deadbait out a fish picked it up and was taking line.

Felt a reasonable fish too and after a couple of abated runs it was in the net.

A nice Zander of 7lb 6oz and a few more points to the tally.

A proper nice dark fish with a pretty big head, it's certainly got a lot of growing to do.

Another hour, without even a nibble and with the rain coming down I called it a day.

Monday 13 November 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Otters and Oneirocriticism

The race had started, the hill mimicked Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake, but in this race an out of control horse box and Labrador nudging a field mouse were neck and neck, until a mole hill upset the house boxes chassis, causing it to overturn.

The dog the victor...

Yeap I’d been at the Stilton again courtesy of some good friends of ours who laid on another fantastic Sunday roast.

Now as someone who experiences some very vivid dreams from time to time, usually curiously of the blue veined stuff, I do like to do some research to try and interpret my subconscious mind.

To dream that you are climbing a hill signifies your struggles in achieving a goal. You need to focus your energies on the prize. To dream that you are standing on top of a hill suggests that you have succeeded in your endeavours and that you have the necessary resources to complete the task at hand.

Dreaming that you are going down a hill means that things are not going your way. You are experiencing some setbacks. Alternatively, the dream signifies regression or repressed thoughts.

To see a hill in your dream symbolizes challenges or obstacles that you will confront in the near future. Alternatively, the hill may represent your desire to escape from your current situation. Dreaming of rolling hills refer to life's ups and downs.

But then there’s the mouse which apparently indicates that you are spending too much time dwelling on minor problems and insignificant matters.

Hmmmm, to be honest, not far off a couple of things that have happened this week that did fit the interpretation. I even relayed the dream to the Wife who’d been tossing and turning because of the ridiculously huge winter duvet that was preventing her from sleeping.

Yeap, it’s coming, hopefully as quickly as it was put on….

So I need to start looking up the hill rather than down it and reach that peak, that for me, fishing related anyway is a Warwickshire Avon, 5lb Chub.

Up till now they have eluded me, and despite catching numerous 4lber’s up to but not exceeding 4lb 13oz I’ve still not got that monkey off my back.

Winter on the way though and the Chub are getting fat so I’m going to give them another bash, I’ve an area in mind where I know they reside (They’ve come out in matches) but before I fish there it’s down to pastures well known to me.

You see this part of the Warwickshire Avon is feature filled and has a good chub population, one memorable session I’d had four bites and banked 4, 4lbers.

I got to the banker swim and as I was baiting up (lobworms as there are some clonking Perch here too) I heard and saw a disturbance in the margins, then the wake moves from left to right and an otter pops his head out

Bold as brass….

Half an hour on in had thought about moving on, but the tip whacked over and a Chub was on. I like using balanced tackle for Chub and it was giving the 1.2TC TFG River and Stream rod a decent work out. It’s a lovely light blank so from roving from swim to swim it’s ideal.

It tried and failed to get under some far bank cover and it was landed.

3lb 6oz’s….

Working my way down the available swims a couple of chublets were caught and then on to a swim that usually has visibly feeding Barbel. It’s quite elevated and bites are quick from Chub as they are usually just off the flow in an area of slack picking over the food stuffs that come their way.

No sooner as the lobs settle the rod whoops over. This was a much smaller fish that obviously had been having a tough life with it all as it was missing a huge portion of its flanks right down to the bone. It looked quite a recent wound by the looks of it too, probably escaping the clutches of said otter.

For this time of year it was underweight, so will it see out the depths of the winter, maybe not.

As soon as the sun came up the clear water was evident the fishing was much tougher, a couple more chublets, a few small Perch and a few missed bites it was time to head home.

My exposed pinkies and the biting wind, it was becoming a little unpleasant.

Saturday 11 November 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Panjandrums and Pollywogs

It did make me laugh the other day a teacher quit his job after he couldn’t cope even after the first term, you see the 4 years at University didn’t tell him that possibly he would have to work till 6.30pm sometimes, yes,

6.30pm I tell you !!!!, madness…

Eddie Ledsham left teaching in tears after just one term in the classroom, blaming 'impossible hours' and unrealistic targets. The 22 year-old, from Wallasey, Merseyside, filmed himself moaning and said it had become 'damaging to his emotional and psychological well-being'. It all came as a shock to him apparently….wow, what a generation we’re in,

first world problems and all that....

I’d love to know what his parents thought about his toys out the pram and the huge dept he’s left them with. The thing is there is no doubt teaching ain’t an easy profession but welcome to the real world, it’s tough out there, he has received obscene amount of press coverage to be honest, but then any sort of rant especially one that goes ‘viral’ does get lots of attention.

My Dad passed the work ethic on to me and many of my generation are of the same mind, so where did it go wrong I wonder because an easy life seems to be very much the norm for many millennials.

I hate the term 'Generation Snowflake' but it certainly fits....

We as a family up sticks and emigrated to South Africa in to the unknown for two and a half years when I was eight because of the work situation in the UK, that’s in a time of no internet, emails and mobile phones, in fact most of communication was done by airmail such was the cost of making phone calls, and it was out first time ever out of the country.

I actually still remember when we got to Heathrow, all our belongings on two trolleys, the passports and some dosh seemingly left behind in a briefcase by accident, luckily all recovered as my panic stricken Dad looked like he was heading towards a heart attack.

From my own point of view I reckon it’s the demise of conkers in schools and the banning of British Bulldog, too much mollycoddling going on you see, just imagine playing rugby in the snow these days, wouldn’t happen, forgot ones PE kit, vest and pants please, hmm yeah things definitely different in my day.

Maybe ‘Eddie’ wouldn’t have been such a tart over it all, if he was conditioned a little better....

I’ve been watching series 2 of Stranger Things on Netflix where I’m on the Pollywog episode where Dustin finds and unusual creature in his garbage and decides to look after it and after sneaking it in the house in his homemade Ghostbusters trap. Watching the series really brought back the 1980’s to me, the movies, the music, the Bmx’s, break dancing on bits of cardboard, and the simpler life especially for kids where it’s now dominated by having to conform to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Looking back over ones childhood years where I went through a phase of making dens, setting fire to stuff, messing around with CB radios and illegal amplifiers, riding my BMX like a loon and also fishing. You see I used to ride with all the tackle strapped to my bike down to Packington Somers most weekends to try and catch some fish. Usually catapults were involved because of the lack of fish action and climbing trees to retrieve lost floats, and yes I did fall in, just don’t mention the quarry trespassing, even I don’t know how I manage to escape from that in one piece.

All good stuff, what being a kid is all about, sometimes you just need to get dirt under your fingernails and do what kids are meant to do.

I had to move out before I turned 23, stand on my own two feet, like the old man did. It’s something I’ll try and instil in to my kids, Ok Ben has special needs but even he knows that Dad goes out to work during the week to put the food on the table and keep the fridge full and even he has his choirs to do. That’s why it’s encouraging to see Sam properly taking to fishing and he doesn’t mind getting mucky and stung by nettles as a side effect of the pastime of hours.

The other day, wellies full of sea water, socks soaking wet, he just got on with it….

It makes me happy, it really does….

So this session was down at the deep bit on the Warwickshire Avon where I’d lost a decent Zander the other day, Sam was with me this time though and wanted to catch a Pike, so with two rods on alarms doing their thing on the next peg, Sam was using a lure rod, not only to practice his casting but to try and tempt a Pike on a replicant.

When we got there the river looked up a little but still very clear, umbrella out, rods up and out, cup of tea then it was to the adjacent swim with the lure.

Within the first cast we had a small Pike that took it on the drop and Sam landed it for himself, not much doing there for a little while but then a run on the deadbait.

At first I thought it was a Zander the way its head was nodding but then it was coming towards me and staying low. A lean Pike around 5lb or so was quick landed, bait back out.

Soon after another bite and a similar looking fish, this was a much chunkier Pike, small in length but it had be feeding nicely looking at his stomach. Nothing else on the lure and one more Pike banked before a missed run called time on the session. Certainly a well worth while exercise as I showed him how to handle Pike and how to unhook them.

"Wow, look at all those teeth, that's why they are such a great predator"

Weirdly no Zander today, but they just might not be in the area at all.

Monday 6 November 2017

The Lower Severn – Cormorants and Carpolcolypse

I reached the grand old age of 45 the 3rd of November and towards the tail end of the last couple of weeks with time demanding holiday and work I was nearly ready to step in to William Fosters shoes and partake in a 2017 remake of the 1993 film Falling Down.

I wasn’t quite ready to get involved in some violence, make sardonic observations on life and commandeer some guns, but after being stuck in yet another traffic jam coming back from North Devon I did think about ditching the car, getting the lure rod from out the boot and see what I could catch in the Bristol Channel.

Ok the tide was out, but that didn’t matter, I’d be away from it all….

The return to one of my clients didn’t help where within seconds of the walking in the office, there wasn’t any time to get a well needed cup of Lava Java, within minutes I had to fire up Catia and get some CAD models over to the overpaid digital modelling surface tweakers who were starved of information.

Support when I was away, Pfffffftttttt…..

I’m not used to traffic you see, being an early starter a mile a minute is the norm and the return journey not far off because the route I use which is mostly quiet A and B roads.

Ok Honda Jazz drivers are always going to be a hindrance, like they are to all road users but they can be quickly dispatched with 310 horses under ones right foot.

With the SAD kicking in too because of the clocks going back and the reality that not only would I be arriving at work in the dark, I’d be leaving in it to.

Then, THEN, I was stuck in a meeting with someone not only heavy breathing spitting distance away Roy Hattersley esk but in my peripheral vision chewing his finger nails down to the bone like something possessed, and the other attendee the annoying Bevis and Butthead laugh.

Yes you know who you are, get it sorted, then again it's probably just me.

Luckily I’m mostly mild mannered, but even I have limits.

Traffic, traffic, more traffic....

“Dad,Dad, Dad, DAD”

“Mick, you got five ?”

“Mick, one sec ?”

"Mick, send me that again"

"DAD !!"

I needed a break away from it all, otherwise I’d be looking for hedgehogs to squash and even more Whisky to quash….

Luckily I’d booked Bank Cottage again on the Lower Severn for a weekend and this time without the family but with a mate Simon a fellow worm whisperer and peace seeker.

Targets, well….

I planned to lay lots of hemp the time we were there, fish well in to dark and try and gear up for Zander, Barbel and also catch an eel by design. During the day I had a bucket load of lobworms that would be used on a simple running ledger rig on a small feeder rod to try and pick up something of note. There were Perch nailing bleak shoals here last time, and they would likely be quite fat at the minute.

Pubs, real ale, a slap up Sunday lunch, Clives fruit farm with brekky, cider, sausage rolls, pies and proper homemade faggots it wasn't just about fishing this trip, I had to recharge ones batteries for the push on to and past Christmas where demands on ones time, money and sanity would be ever increasing.

As I've said before, fishing keeps me in check....

I got there before Simon and set my stall out and had some baits out for Zander before dusk fell, I also whacked some hemp down to fish a smelly bait over the top with a PVA bag of extra attraction.

Now to the right a large tree maybe one hundred and fifty feet away maybe a little more but as the light was going the first cormorant arrived, then the next, then the next, until as one stage I counted 22 of the bleeding things.

Hmmmm, with the water being clear these vivacious feeders wouldn't give the fish any let up. I didn't notice then here when I was here before, maybe it was a seasonal thing.

I managed a small Perch on lobworm whilst resting the intended Barbel swim but nothing much else doing.

A Godfather
A couple of hours in to dusk, without as much as a tap on the Barbel and Zander rod it was off to Upton for a pint and a curry then back to the accommodation for a few infamous Godfather's and a keg of ale.

So Saturday morning it was out for Brekky then a full days fishing with a pie and mash intermission. Again the fishing was tough.

Simon managed a few mint condition Chub on boilie but even the maggot feeder or a float didn't get much interest.

I had two deadbaits out and a lobworm from time to time and after I was premature on a Zander bite and subsequently the fish that was on for a bit came off.

Hmmmm, total contrast to a year ago where they were crawling up the line.

So in to dusk and beyond, Simon stuck with the boilie approach and  I stuck with deadbaits....

Again nothing much doing, at least the moon was bright and the fireworks kept us entertained.

Incidentally the fish weighed 5lb 7oz if I recall and is easily the biggest Bream he'd caught, so at least he had something to shout about.

Another bream later and hardly an interest on the deadbaits we called it a night and continued on the catching up and the drinking.

No whiskey was involved for this one so we were less fuzzy headed when we were both bankside at dawn.

Sunday was even stranger than the Saturday, literally nothing much was going on at all. Apart from the minnows sucking the maggots dry the smaller fish, well to be honest any fish were hard to come by.

Then out of the blue....

A big splash under the platform and some bubbles that moved from left to right, something bigger was in the area and soon after the surface disturbance something had taken the roach deadbait.

Yeah a fish was on, now I could tell straight away it was a Pike and when it came up in the water a little bigger than I thought too, to be honest it didn't give a fight to befit it's size but I was happy all the same.

A blank saver but as I rarely fish properly for Pike it was a PB at 11lb 8oz

Sadly after that the highlight of a quiet day was a pumpkin floating past, and well in to dusk again was very motionless indeed.

All very odd, I know the cormorants wouldn't help but I thought at least a Zander would turn up come dark.

We gave it out best, but after the temperature plummeted and the super moon illuminating what was a dull day on the most part the break was done and dusted.

I gave it another go in the morning for an hour, but after a heavy frost and the water temperature now 9 degrees as expected nothing was caught.

All in all disappointed, maybe if I come back again, it will be in July again or maybe August. As fellow blogger Lee has said on many occasions, the Lower Severn ain't easy the best of times.

What does amaze me though is that after measuring the depth to 14ft in the middle with a pretty strong, witnessing various water craft on the Severn from barges to boats, rowers to cruisers the only people that appeared to be wearing life jackets who were actually on the water were anglers.

Madness if you ask me especially with the water so cold....

So with the trip at an end the only saving grace, well apart from a PB, the batteries are refreshed and sanity levels back to normal.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...