Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Snags, Snappers and Shysters

I hadn’t fished this weirpool for ages, but with my usual Zander spots seemingly out of sorts and not playing ball, maybe a change of scenery was in order. It’s been quite productive in the past with predators, where live baits under a float usually provoke a reaction within minutes. I’d caught decent Perch here, even decent Chub on the lure.

Then again it’s a weirpool, what fish doesn’t like one….’If Carlsberg did’ and all that

In the summer, the visual effect, far from being a positive gush of water, bears greater resemblance to an ornamental waterfall. The water glides smoothly over the tops of the weir gates and falls gently on the weir apron, which is a wide concrete windowsill laid on the bed of the river immediately below the weir outfall. It is designed to protect the river bed from the gouging action of the falling water, which strikes the flat iron surface, collects and teems for a moment, and then glides swiftly and smoothly forward straight down the centre of the weirpool, a resolute but comparatively gentle mass of water equal in width to the weir from whence it came. 

The water mass, flowing and fluctuating through flood and drought, is the tool that carves and gouges away the river bank immediately below the weir so that a basin is formed – the weirpool. During summer, the weir outfall floes straight down the middle of the weirpool and drags the mass of water found as the sides around in a circling eddy, like a man revolving a park roundabout by pulling at its rim.

From a maggot danglers point of view the movement, speed and the direction of the ever shifting volumes of weirpool water have to be closely analysed in order to make even an intelligent guess at the location and identification of the various species of fish. The movements of Barbel for instance, are reasonably predictable during warm weather when the water is low. They revel in fast water so find the fastest water and that’s where they will likely to be. The area abundantly charged with swirling mass of foam and oxygenated water.

I’d tried here for Barbel but rolling meat or fishing static I remembered just how snaggy the bottom was, I’d love to drain it and see exactly what’s been lost on there. So why I didn’t factor my issues in last time here because after straightening a hook, losing a whole rig, losing a deadbait on the cast, it was a bit of a disastrous session. 

More of that in a bit….

Prior to fishing the weir, that didn’t go well either, but then down here it is out of sorts. In the past I’ve caught and approached migrant workers who frequent this stretch who think nothing of hauling Pike up the bank, bosh it over the head, in to a bin bag, over their shoulder and back to their accommodation. Pike are not exactly had to catch now are they, luckily the club got wind of what was going on and plans were put in place and workers let go to try and educate those that want to fish, the ways and means to do so. The problem now though is the Otter and the Cormorant that are making the fish watch their backs and have seemingly moved them on.

I could fish a couple of three swims in the winter with cheesepaste and could almost guarantee a bite would be forthcoming with 10 minutes, it was that predictable. Ok maybe easy fishing but when the banks are deserted because of the conditions it they provided a lovely bend in the rod. So after three swims fished without even a nibble I settled in to the weir till dusk. I was after a Zander you see and there is no reason they wouldn’t reside here, they are throughout the Avon now and I love catching them. 

So when the left hand rod starts to go and the rod top is nodding with its nitelight glowing I fully expected a Zander to grace the net. They start moving properly come sundown to make full use of their unbelievable eyesight in low light or turbid conditions.

This was no Zander though, it was a small Pike that maybe would have scraped 5lb. The chewed up deadbait retrieved the bait back out for 20 minutes, both rods motionless, time to call it a day.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday, I need a rest….

Then again it was stupidly mild with the water temp nearly 7 degrees, maybe a quick Barbel session Wednesday if I get the chance. They should be used to it by now, and ready to take a layer off.


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