Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Glassbacks and Glory Holes

Seventy-five years ago, in April 1943, the research chemist Albert Hofmann did something distinctly out of scientific character. Impelled by what he later called a “peculiar presentiment”, he resolved to take a second look at the 25th in a series of molecules derived from the ergot fungus, a drug he had discovered some years earlier and dismissed as of no scientific interest.

As he synthesised it for the second time, it made contact with his skin, giving rise to an unprecedented experience: a “stream of fantastic pictures and extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colours”.

Five days later, on 19 April, he decided to test the chemical on himself under controlled conditions, thus becoming the first person in history knowingly to embark on an acid trip.

Now talking of temporary altered state of consciousness which after all an acid trip is, there is no need for drugs, because after some serious amount of Tryptophan ingested because of the byproduct of consuming large amounts of heart attack inducing stilton cheese, I was having another one of those lucid dreams I experience from time to time. This dream featured a Barbel of gargantuan proportions which was hiding in a out of sight hole only reachable via a tube slide portal which ultimately dictated this fishing session.

You see after suffering a bad back of late due to my ridiculous notion that I could still do the things I used to do when I was a lot younger, port and cheese is one of those comfort foods that gets one mind off it. Not only that but on holiday I stupidly wore flipflops when barbecuing and some embers from the coals spat out and blistered a couple of toes on my right food, as I type this the wound is still open and not yet dried out as it keeps on being rubbed by my shoe. So another annoyance and slight hindrance to go with my bad back. 

As a roving angler I needed to get my back in-particular sorted pretty quick and having suffered sciatica quite bad for a good 6 mths, I needed to get things moving pretty sharpish. Exercise and keeping on the move is the key I found.

So before I’d venture to an area I can fish in to dark, this was double dipping session down an area I’ve grown to love, not only was I after Chevin, I’d also try for a Barbel at last knockings.  

Now the infamous Albuttbarbelbutt was spotted down here by someone likeminded and despite him trying to catch it over a few sessions he went home with this tail between his legs. Although Barbel are relatively easy to catch the big’uns don’t reach that size for a reason, they are generally a little wiser than the plebeians. 

I’ve certainly found in my experience dusk and an hour beyond is the best time for big barbel. I don’t fish for them that often, but when I do, my time must count.

I’d rather not sit behind motionless rods, but rock up for a session when times and conditions bites should in theory be more forthcoming. 

As you know by reading this blog of mine that I plan sessions meticulously usually. So the plan, bait 3 swims with hemp, dead maggots, a few pellets and broken boilies via a dropper, leave it to rest for a while then eventually return and drop in a hook bait for 20 minutes before moving on to the next swim.

The first swim has a large undercut with a nice flow, the second, a wide sweeping bend over gravel, and the third, a deep swim with a hole opposite some stupidly thick cover. The third swim I’d add a little more bait as I’d fish that last before heading home at dusk.

Whilst the swims were resting it was out with the lure rod rigged with a Duo Realis Shinmushi to fish some of the swims that have been producing some nice Chub of late. The problem is you see maybe they’ve worked me out, as they are certainly more difficult to catch on floating bread over the last couple of sessions.

“Oh look it’s him again, ignore the bread for a while chaps”

The floating lure has produced some nice fish in the past and offers something a little different to fish that have become cagey, after not only being caught by swallowing a load of dough, but by their friends telling them to stay off the mighty white before the all clear is given. Fishing is all about confidence and the bread isn’t quite doing it as the minute, so some thinking outside the box a little can get captures back on track.

The beauty of the floating lure I’ve found is that unlike the bread in which the majority of the times you need to feed some freebies to get them feeding confidently, with the lure just one or two drifts down gets the inquisitive Chub coming not for a nudging session but a nailing. They usually give it to the lure properly like Chub evidently do when they feed confidently, they are proper Jekyll and Hyde species remember.

The bi-polar sufferer of the cyprinidaes….

Barbel on the other hand when they get their heads down feeding nothing is going to get them off snaffling the hemp. That’s when they are easy to catch, present a bait over the top of the Smörgåsbord invariably you’d get a take pretty quick. So with the buffet down I’d stealthily drop a ASP Wafter on a long hooklink to try and induce a take from at least one of the three of the baited swims.

The problem with this area is that I’ve not seen hide nor hair of a Barbus since I’ve been fishing it in the new season. Usually I’d spot one or two in the shallows, but none so far which is worrying. I’m sure they are still here, but there are so many nooks and crannies here, that they might well be tucked up out the way without you knowing despite being feet from them. Also the lack of sightings could well mean the likelihood of a lunking lurker.

As per usual I had the stretch to myself, so the feed went in via the dropper in the three swims to target then I fished a few swims with the lure rod. It was very quite indeed with no interest in the lure at all, well until a return back up the stretch to start fishing the baited swims I saw a fish top in a swim shaded by a big willow.

After a few drifts and retrieves down of the lure eventually a Chub came up for an inquiry. This happened a few times till it got bored and the swim went quite. They don't mess around Chevin if they really want something, as the lure has enough hooks on it to hold if it did. Hmmmm, not good.

So the lure rod went away and it was back to the baited swims, a small Chublet took the wafter hookbait quite quickly in the first swim which then went dead. Not even a knock in the second swim and the third, despite fishing in to dusk and half an hour after, no proper bites were forthcoming. So a disappointing session to be honest. The river is still horrendously low but the next session in a couple of days I might venture to a stretch where I know Barbel usually are in residence.

The water temperature is ideal so they should be biting, but as I suspect well in to dark is probably the best chance of a big'un so I might next week venture over to an area I can do just that.


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