Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Sunday 11 February 2018

Small Brook Fishing Pt.2 – Dace and Derrières

Game little ones the Dace, and to be honest once they are feeding not that hard to catch, you know the routine, a nice trotting swim, work the swim up with maggots, and more maggots till it’s a fish a chuck and then maybe switch to a lobworm or a piece of bread-flake in an attempt to single out one of the bigger specimens.

Easy and undemanding fishing where on some day’s big numbers of fish is can be caught, other day’s maybe scraping around for a bite where the shoals have seemingly vanished.

The ungoverned bit of the Warwickshire Avon can be like that from those in the know...

Now a big Dace aren’t big in sheer size but catch anything more than 12 oz’s it is a giant among the plebeians, a fish worthy of a trophy shot. It’s probably the smaller of the species we have in our waters where they are still specifically targeted.

For a short morning session before the conditions changed I had planned to abandon the usual trotting tactics and was going to fish a small maggot feeder.

The theory was to not only to try and build up a swim and to get fish searching, but to try and get a bait to the bottom past the ten a penny darters to find the Van Gerwen’s. I like to fish the feeder like I do for Roach from time to time down the aforementioned neck of the woods.

Often the small fish attack the hook bait on the drop, so you often get taps and knocks before it settles, just wait for a proper bite and more often than not a fish is on.

Well fifty, fifty anyway, it can still be a hit a hit and miss affair, despite the ferocity of the bites.

Cast the feeder and target an area the size of Demi Roses derrière, which is easier than you think, and the fish will eventually come, well that’s the theory anyway.

But hey best laid plans and all that as that went out of the window when I'd fished this diminutive brook recently for it's Dace potential, you see some sizeable fish came out despite only fishing one spot and for a short amount of banktime. Why waste my efforts on sorting through the huge quantities of small fish in the above mentioned large river when a larger stamp could possibly reside here.

So a 8oz fish without much effort, not to be sniffed at....

The brook is underlain with clay by the looks of it and there is abundant gravel present in most of the channel. Generally the habitat looked very good good for trout, with a meandering planform, an excellent pool and riffle structure, good variation in depths, natural channel features such as gravel shoals and side bars, and good cover in the form of tree roots and low overhanging vegetation

There are numerous shallow, faster, gravel-bottomed sections of water riffles, which are where most river fish species choose to spawn, including trout no doubt.

So I was back, this time with a change of bait, liquidised bread as feed and either a section of lobworm on the relatively small size 12 hook hook (I usually use a size 6 when after Chub) or a small piece of bread flake and if I was struggling back to maggot.

I was hoping that the change would be a little more selective and would target the larger fish that were possibly in residence. Scales more suited, rule for measuring, better equipped basically.

With it being cold, Sam was not with me for this session so it meant I could do a little more roving if need be as the surrounding ground was boggy as anything last time. Fine with my big Wellies, he would have been up to his knees in it.

It was much lower when I got there and after settling in the same swim as last time and waiting nearly an hour for the first bite I new it might be tough. So I had to go on the move and fish any swims that looked like they might hold fish.

The first fish was a 5oz Dace, then 3 bullheads came to maggot with half an hour or so, all from the same swim. All registering the smallest of bites so might try and catch them by design next time and scale down a bit.

Back to the first swim I switched to a lobworm topped with a red maggot and managed to get a bite within seconds, the tip properly slammed round and decent fish was on. I thought it was a big silver dart the way it was making a mess of the swim but it turned out to be a trout, which in this part of Warwickshire they don't turn up that frequently, well not for me anyway, and sure this brook is reputed to hold them.

Another Dace ended the rather slow session but enjoyable all the same. I'm sure with a bit more water on like it was a couple of weeks ago it would fish differently, maybe that's the key here, wait to the conditions are right.


  1. Oh Michael van Gerwin...

    Lovely little spotty. One of the stupidest fish of all normally, I suppose that's why all the snobbery and Halford vs Skues. I love the wildies myself. We have some absolute monsters in our Norfolk rivers and streams. Even some sea trout.

  2. Yes, you guessed right :) looking forward to seeing what else turns up now, bet there are some surprises to be had.


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