Tuesday 25 September 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Jabberwocks and Jawbreakers

With the Wife on overnight dog sitting duties I knew exactly what I was going to cook up for myself, yeap a South Indian Prawn curry. She doesn't like food as spicy as I do, but not only that she doesn't like prawns either, hence why I don't have it very often. To make it, is quite simple to be honest, a paste made from onion, ginger, lots of garlic and fresh tomatoes.

Then simmer with a cinnamon stick, black mustard seeds, cloves, cardamom and turmeric, with coriander, curry leaves and birds eye chilies finishing off the spices. The coconut cream goes in last with the prawns and it's almost ready to go.

A cold bottle of Chilean Riesling with aromas of grapefruit, mandarin and limes, feet up with the big fight on, if only I could live like this every weekend, all on my terms, that is.

Now Garlic, or Allium sativum, has historically been a part of many cuisines around the world. Its medicinal uses are documented in many traditional systems of medicine. 

However, thanks to the sulphur-based compound called allicin, the unpleasant odour of raw garlic puts off many from eating it. Aged garlic extract can provide all the goodness of garlic minus the smell. It is produced by storing fresh garlic in ethanol for a long time, sometimes up to months. This process of ageing retains all the useful compounds found in raw garlic but not allicin.

Garlic has been shown in clinical trials for example that it can help the liver by balancing the amount of blood glucose, HDL-cholesterol, albumin, and haemoglobin. As someone who enjoys a good tipple and loves garlic this can only be a good thing.

Now garlic spam used to be the go to bait for me when fishing for Barbel especially in coloured water conditions, they seemed to love the smell as much as I do. Sadly they have stopped stocking the shelves with it in UK supermarkets which I found surprising, because I used to but enough of it, and I’m sure other anglers did too.

So with some spicy krill and garlic liquid flavouring bought, I had to go about making my own….

I just cannot sit behind rods for any length of time, Willis-Ekbom to blame most likely, a common condition of the nervous system that causes an overwhelming irresistible urge to move the legs. An unpleasant crawling or creeping sensation in ones thighs, after an hour I’m ready to move on. For Barbel fishing where long waits are part of the territory, especially when fishing during the day, is probably why I don’t spend that much time fishing for them.

They are not that hard to catch once located such their desire to fill their bellies….

In an area I fish which sees lots of bait mostly small in size a lunking hunk of meat is not only a head turner for the bottom feeder but it often means a Barbel whose hasn’t reached the hunger pang stages yet, may well be tempted to feed.

For this short evening session little Sam was with me to try and condition him for a proper dark session he has been pestering me about. I don't think he is ready yet as he struggles to go to bed himself without having the landing light on, so this was a session in to dusk to see how he handled it. The last fish I caught here took the centrepins clutch by surprise such the savagery of the bite, but then that is of no surprise to be honest, whenever I’ve used meat before for Barbel, as a general rule, there is no need to strike, the fish will hook itself.

Could I fish for Barbel exclusively, defiantly not, maybe if we had shallow chalk streams in the Midlands that contained them, quite possibly, but for a chuck in a wait approach such as the Warwickshire Avon that single minded approach goes out the window, just not for me.

Looking back the most fun I’ve had fishing for Barbel has been rolling meat under cover or through streamer weed with nothing more than a bait and a hook and often, the fish are seen taking the bait as it rolls through the swim.

Once particular area has seen a hacking down of far bank cover which was perfect for this technique and was home to my PB of 11lb 11oz. I’m hoping it will recover to its former self, fingers and toes crossed.

This stretch though I’ve fished a truncheon float and a half inch square piece of meat in the past with some success but again other species preoccupy me other than a bulging Borris. Maybe with a bit more water on I can get back to a moving bait again, because at the moment, the flow in places is boarding on the pedestrian.

I’m sure if I put my mind to it like I do the closed season Zander challenge I’d have caught one of the better Warwickshire Avon fish which are exceeding 13lb’s in weight now, but I’m no sooner to carrying that out, than I am to bring the Zander quest to a conclusion.

I’ll keep on plugging away from time to time though to try and better my PB, which to be honest for a Warks fish, ain’t all that. But then you know my reading my blog, given the choice, fish a swim for a double figure Barbel, or fish for a big roach or a pound dace on a small tributary, It would be the latter.

Maybe I should give me season fishing for a lump just to register something half decent on one’s spreadsheet….

So we rocked up an hour before dusk in a convenient swim that gave us an easy route back to the car. 2 rods out, a big chunk of meat to the right, boilie and paste to the right. As soon as the right hand rod went out it received a dramatic chub pull within minutes and the meat rod was getting interest from small fish straight away. Sam who was entertaining himself drilling boilies and getting used to his new life jacket was in to full verbal diarrhea mode.

Questions such as "Can a Pike eat itself" and recalling a Tuna fishing show he'd seen in infinite detail down to watch colour t-shirt the skipper was wearing, anyway eventually he settled down to watch the tips like I was. The boilie rod was quiet but then out of the blue, a couple of nods resulted in a full blown Barbel bite with the baitrunner screaming. I steered it out of the reeds and got it under control before allowing Sam to take over. It didn't fight particularly hard compared to the fish last week but then it was smaller, probably not even reaching 5lb.

Both rods went back out after checking the meat was still in place but with 15 minutes to go to dusk from that point onward there was no more bites. When the sun went down Sams hand were starting to get cold it was time to make an exit. I enjoy these short sessions and it helps I'm ten minutes from pulling in to the carpark but I need more banktime which I'm struggling with at the minute. Lots of sessions, however the problem is bait not in the water that long. 


  1. I've stopped using spam and moved on to hotdog sausages in the jar,they are cleaner,no grease and you can break them off whatever size you want and barbel and chub,from the upper Avon seem to like them.

    1. Might give them a go, something different anyway. Always looking to try I'd not tried before.

  2. I’m lucky enough to be able to see the barbel I target a lot of the time, fishing in a tiny river. And this season for some reason they have been spooking off a moving bait - they need a few minutes to get their confidence up. Just when you think you’ve cracked it they change the game... Keeps me going back!

    1. There is one stretch I fish in the summer you used to be able to sight fish but over the last couple of seasons they've moved on. Very exciting fishing that's for sure, but then sitting behind rods to see one of them being taken my a Barbel is also exciting I suppose.


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