Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Friday 30 November 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Gobblers and Gormandisers

The chub is no easy antagonist and it has always occupied a position high in the angler’s estimation for the sport it gives, it’s a bold biter and an even better fighter. Though in olden days, when a good many fisherman were almost as much interested in the meals their captures might provide as in the sport of caching them, chub were eclipsed by more edible fish.

In these days though, sport is the only thing that counts and the chub provides it in good measure. It demands the utmost caution on the part of an angler in the approach, its habit of living near its holt and diving towards it immediately it is hooked, calls for dexterity and instantaneous timing by the angler.

The fact that it will accept so many baits presented by so many methods makes it the quarry at times of almost every type of freshwater angler.

They are oddly though “The fearfullest of fishes”….

A chink in the Chub armour though, you see cheese paste was King down the river last time, meat didn’t get a look in. Some nice chub were eventually caught in a frantic two hour session in to dusk where the rod tips were bouncing, banging and clattering as the Chevin were properly on it, as active as they’ve even been, they couldn’t get enough of it, they dropped their guard was down, big time.

Now as per the previous few years of bulk making my own chub attractor, I’m sure the addition of Roquefort cheese helped no end. You see with its characteristic odour and notable pungency of the naturally occurring butyric acid due to anaerobic fermentation it’s a smell like no other. Butyric acid has an acrid taste, with a sweetish aftertaste similar to ether, an unpleasant odour and is present in rancid butter and human vomit.

I remember the smell as a youth after consuming a case of K cider and chundering ones guts up, yeap, not pleasant and luckily there are easier ways to achieve the retched thankfully. Now Mammals with good scent detection abilities, such as dogs, can detect it at 10 parts per billion, whereas humans can only detect it in concentrations above 10 parts per million.

Chub I’m sure are a switched on to it like no other fish, then again Chub will just about eat anything you put in front of them, and maybe as a species they’ve evolved and could well be suffering the fishy equivalent of Prader-Willi syndrome, caused by a chromosomal flaw. All I know is that they need their food fix, their stomachs filled, they really do enjoy the feeling of their bulging bellies.

For this after work afternoon in to dusk session the only bait I had to fish with was cheesepaste, not only that but I’d only be fishing one swim for the main. Now that is not like me at all, I’m a roving angler at heart, but this swim in particular has form, as it’s not only home to my PB but I’d lost a fish here to a hook pull that looked a scale above again, a 6lber ? Quite possibly, but then unlike many I’ll have my scales with me just in-case something good turned up.

Luckily though on route there were two other swims that also produce fish, so I’d drop a bait in on route as well before settling down for the remainder of the session.

And what a weird session it was, the river was nicely up and a foot and a half of visibility but it took ages to get the first bite. I disturbed a cormorant quite early on that was on the hunt and the area didn't really recover whilst I was there. A couple or three swims fished without hardly a nibble, the last swim had to come up with the goods.

With an hour left of light and the sun setting eventually I had a few plucks and taps and then some big bites but didn't connect to anything. Very frustrating but eventually after leaving some slack line and letting the bite develop I was in to a fish, only a small fish though and a spirited fight it managed to get off the hook when he was due to be netted.

I was getting desperate now, with the light more or less gone and the session coming to a close, my left hand rod started to nod and knock and then luckily for me I eventually hooked a fish. I knew it wasn't very big straight away, but it was a fish after all.

Blank avoided, and a tough session....

Monday 26 November 2018

‘Not quite the’ Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.101 – Hind-legs and Hulver-heads

This canal double figure Zander quest of mine I’ve on the whole, limited myself to fishing in the closed season and that may well be a hindrance for me, if I’m ever to complete the challenge and close the chapter and book on the ever increasing autobiography.

With the rivers being out of bounds during that time, naturally that was going to happen I suppose. Around this time of year however with the rivers being a bit pants and the weather getting colder, my mind switches to other species to fish for. You see I’ve found when the temperature drops like it has done the last week or so, it’s well worth giving the canal Zeds a go, because not only have I missed fishing for them, but the larger fish really do start to show themselves to get their winter coat on.

Now to coincide with this short morning session, I also wanted to try some new inline dumpy slider floats I’d spotted from PikePro. They looked an idea size to replace the ever faithful Drennan Zepplers, but it was the size of the fluoro-orange colour top that sparked my interest, but not only that, the float is ridiculously light for its relative compact size.

I’ve explained before how I rig up my overdepth set-up for fishing the local canals and it goes like this…

A float stop, white bead, small inline float, coffin lead, quickchange buffer bead, 18lb fluorocarbon hooklink with a Size 1 offset Sakuma Manta with barb flattened. Bait well roach or smelt for me, in-fact smelt was a bit of a revelation this year I must admit.

Canal Zander despite what you read, don’t have an issue with resistance, far from it as they will happily drag a baited big hook and a float without any problem whatsoever. There are often missed bites when you start fishing for them and that is usually because either it’s a tiny schoolie with eyes bigger than its belly and it cannot quite get the bait down, or the hook which, took me sometime to be happy with, isn’t quite getting a good hold in their bony mouths.

If you experience missed bites or dropped takes, fish a tiny section of fish, no bigger than an inch and that might well bring a bend in the rod from the small fish and give you some confidence in the rig you’re using. Lures no doubt bring more fish to the net, but having fished lures exclusively, lures and deadbait, and just deadbait, all the bigger Zed’s I’ve caught >5lb have been on deadbaits.

Whether they get lazy in their old age, who knows, but an easy meal when you stumble upon them is hard for them to refuse, a lure they often would ignore more often than not. You see these bigger canal Zed’s and I’m talking proper fish, not ones weighed by the calibrated eye are more scarce than the digits on Scary Spice’s bank statement.

But they are there to be caught, because having them up to 9lb now and > 70cm's I’m sure one is just a deadbait cast away. The problem for my challenge is I had a purple patch quite early in the challenge and since then my results haven’t been anything to write home about.

There was a small glimmer of home last closed season though where I stumbled upon ‘the deep bit’ where some nice fish were caught, reinvigorating my interest in continuing with it, till that elusive double will eventually grace my net.

The Tactics I’ve written about before on how I approach it and it is, if you’re not getting bites within fifteen or twenty minutes or so it’s time to move. Leapfrog sections of cover, fish as much of the canal network as you can, and like me that has led me to fish short sections where I know I’m likely to stumble on to a bigger fish.

The issue is these bigger Zed’s especially don’t hang around, they are transient fish moving to where they feel comfortable, moving to where they can feed their bellies.

So the session then, how did I fair…. ?

Well I can usually tell how it would pan out by the colour of the water, and it wasn't good, at least a couple of feet or more of visibility which means a tough session is in the cards. I prefer chocolate brown given the choice. So after leapfrogging a section of cover without a bite I decided to upsticks to a shallower area but with thick cover.

The was a change with doing as within minutes I had the first bite, the problem was as soon as I struck in to the fish I could see that it was small by its flanks and also that it hadn't got its jaws round the big bait properly. The bait went back out but no more bites, hmmmm. Now 3 hours in to the session I did wonder if it was worth for the last hour going to another location altogether but the first narrowboat was on the way and that usually changes the water for the better.

It stirs the bottom up which not only can shift the fish up from laying up off the bottom but often can send them out on the hunt. I decided to follow the boat down to the original deeper swim and sit it out for the last hour. Sure enough after it went past the swim turned in to a brown swirly mess I put the baits out and within 10 minutes I had a bite.

This time though I connected properly to the fish and knew I'd land it, it was a small schoolie though and dragged the new float without an issue but I felt the new float set-up wasn't as finessed as my usual attack. It felt a little cumbersome, and over kill I suppose. So the float will be resigned for Pike I think.

So with the small fish in the net and unhooked the bait went back out and as can often happen another bite comes pretty quick. This time though it was the other rod that had the bite however this time I was a little premature on the strike and again, I felt a small fish but it quicky came off. I wasn't happy with the float to changed it to my usual zeppler float and the baits were left for another half an hour without any disturbance.

With time now up, it was a difficult session, but like many Zander sessions now and the experience I've gained that the way they can go, the conditions have to be favorable and they were not today.

Friday 23 November 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Cinder Garblers and Cushion Thumpers

Thank God for that !!!!! Majestic Wine has said it is stockpiling ahead of Brexit in a bid to prevent supply disruption. The company, which is the UK’s largest specialist wines retailer, becomes the latest big-name brand to announce plans to hoard products. Businesses, including Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods and Cadbury, are worried about the prospect of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

They fear that leaving the EU without a transition on trade arrangements would result in chaos at ports and airports.

Anyway enough of that, I'm fed up of hearing about it too, anyway Majestic said it is planning to bring between £5,000,000 and £8,000,000 of extra inventory into the UK shortly before its financial year end in April.

Phhhhhhhhewwwwwwwww !!!!!

But then a kidney punch for the burger chain frequenters....

You see UK’s decision to leave the EU may have a surprising casualty according to the media, hipster hamburger joints apparently.yes really, Byron, a burger chain, may close four of its 70 or so locations, and there are signs of weakness among other gourmet burger restaurants, which have proliferated in London and other cities across the country in recent years.

Byron is shuttering some locations because the UK’s national living wage, increased food costs, and price inflation tied to weakness in the British pound, according to the Times , citing unidentified sources. Another chain called Handmade Burger Co. has put its assets up for sale and is closing nine of 29 sites.

No official reason was given by administrator Leonard Curtis, which is handling the sale and negotiations with creditors.

Errr, so nothing to do with charging an arm and a leg for mediocrity then, they are still yet to match my own bulging home creations.

Anyway, enough of the Brexit stuff, I like you are probably fed up of hearing it, so back on track, feet up, a bucket of wine in hand, the fire about to be lit, the previous night’s ashes still to be swept up, I’m perusing through another fishing book purchase and something caught my eye.

A floating worm, a FLOATing worm, love, a bleeding FLOATING WORM, why the heck didn’t I think of that !!!! ?

The late John Wilson did (RIP), and it featured as an illustration in his Angling Times book from 1991 I’d recently purchased.

Now I’d injected lobworms with air before to make them more buoyant when targeting Perch on the bottom and naturally a few departed the hook where they floated on the surface to be picked up by passing birds.

So why didn’t I put two and two together I wonder….!!!!

You see these Chub of late have been a little cagey with the floating bread I’ve been using.

Even a lure they were reluctant to take off the top, despite it being something visually different and me knowing that there were fish holding station in the flow actively ignoring it, and even bigger lunkers waiting in the wings.

The book gave quite a few other tips as well and it was such a good read with excellent illustrations I’ve bought another two from the series, hopefully they will be just as good.

In these still very clear conditions, the tip HAD to work !!!!

Now a month or so ago I fished this area to try for a lunker but there was a little more water on than I thought and the swims where the big fish I’d previously spotted were not around. 

The pace might have been a little too much for them and they were tucked up somewhere else and out of harms away plumping their cushions. 

Luckily fishing a static bait at dusk produced a blank avoider, so all was not lost. I didn’t have the luxury of fishing in to dusk for this short after work session, however I was back to see if they were still milling around, and If they were could I outwit them with something different.

The beauty of a big fat lobworm is that hooked correctly they are also more resistant to pinging off on the cast like a big chunk of bread is. Downstream of the big chub lovers dreamhole swim you see, was another swim I could now reach where I’d caught Chub on a floating insect lure in the past, but I’d also spotted some decent fish in the area as well. 

A plan was forming, in-fact the session dictated itself really since the discovery of the tip, so no real planning to be seen here, just get on with it.

Now the river is lower than I've seen it for a while and what a tough short session it was, the usual Chub haunts were devoid of fish but the worm was going down nicely, not quite floating entirely, not quite sinking, it certainly look enticing.

Mmmmm maybe a canal Zander session I'd planned to do next, wasn't a bad idea after all. Anyway I returned to the first swim for the last fifteen minutes before having to go and pick the eldest up from school and the third trot down a telltale swirl on the retrieve meant that there was a fish there. The next trot down it didn't take long and a fish nailed the worm.

I knew straight away it wasn't a big fish because it more or less launched itself out of the shallow water and I could see its flanks. At least the method works, I bet in summer when the fish are more up for it, it is deadly.

So not a blank, and the method worked eventually, so not all lost despite the river being out of sorts.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Milch Cows and Munster Plums

The first signs of winter came a while ago, well before the clocks went back, the sudden shortening of the long summer nights which we had come to expect in this balmy year, some combination of cold and colour imparting a feel of chill to the air, some tone change in ones mind’s middle-distance.

Then came the getting up in the dark, which the time change helped a bit, not that I really noticed it. Like many others, I was already reeling internally at the darkening of the afternoons and will feel myself in winter until mid-March, at least.

But for me, the temperature changes that late autumn and winter brings and the shortness of days means I need to seek natural daylight whenever possible. I don’t need much either, a lunchtime walk, a couple of hours at the weekend on deserted river banks, it restores order.

Now over the last few years I’ve been taking a vitamin D supplement, mainly because I felt it helped with one’s seasonal effect disorder. The reality of leaving and returning from work in the dark got on top of me quite quickly, it was my mood that changed quite considerably that needed to be sorted, and I found that it really helped.

Give it a go, it might work for you like it did for me....

Other signs of vitamin D deficiency can manifest themselves in common health conditions such as constant coughs and colds, tiredness and fatigue, poor bone and tooth health, also being some other side effects.

Obviously our main source of vitamin D is the sun, ultraviolet B radiation from sunlight can be synthesised by vitamin D3, the active form of Vitamin D, when exposed on the skin. That’s all very well, but with the need to put food on the table, to keep the bailiffs as bay those exposure times become limited at this time of year.

A weekend session is therefore most welcome, especially when it is accompanied with clear skies and bright sunlight.

But mood can be lifted in other ways, that open fire and a nice glass of red to finish the day off, a homemade meat pie and all the trimmings enjoyed by all, that zoned out psybient mix to tickle ones neurons.

That’s why I quite enjoy these very short sessions in to dusk, it’s just enough to give me the fix I need to sway the ever increasing hold of the diary makers. It’s something on my terms, and something that tips the balance back in my favour.

With the water cold like it is now, the bigger fish such as the Barbel will have limited feeding spells, but they will feed despite their feet up and donning of the extra layer, you just need to catch them off upstairs to bed. The Chub just get on with it, like they always do.

So for this session the abovementioned were the target....

I was in two minds to actually fish this session, a drop in temperature over night and some sleet and cold rain during the day, it was probably a stupid idea, but hey, I had planned it so needed to get out.

One swim only, contraband garlic spam for the Barbel and some cheesepaste from a batch I’d fashioned up the weekend for the Chub. Barbel you would think wouldn't be interested, but put a freshly made plate of buttery Colcannon in front of an already full Irishman, he would be reaching for the spoon again. The Barbel cannot turn their nose up at a hunking chunk of meat, they love the stuff.

With baits in the water prior to dusk on a clear bit of gravel, with fingers and toes crossed for rod bending anticipation soon after.

'On your Marks, Get Set.....'

Well it was a cheese paste hour or two that's for sure, I missed bites initially and some of the bites were utterly ridiculous but eventually the first chub was hooked and landed. Not a bad fish either at 4lb 4oz, whilst it was resting in the net I got the bait out straight away and within minutes had another decent bite, this was smaller at 3lb odd.

The beauty of a cage is that even after a Chub could well have stripped the paste from the cage, you always have a bit remaining in the cage itself, so after a really powerful bite doesn't materialise in to a fish, just give it another 5 or 10 minutes, you'll be surprised what can happen. It's a method I've used for a while now.

Now as the light was going a canoeist who thought he was in the Olympics ploughed through the swim and returned 10 minutes later to do the same. The old git was deaf too as he didn't hear me call out to him. So the swim went a little dead for a bit and with my hour and a half or so coming to an end eventually I got another decent bite. This time a decent fish of 4lb 9oz.

The meat was untouched throughout.....

The cheesepaste recipe I used for this session is simple.

The base (frozen then grated)
350G of Jus-Rol Shortcrust Block
350G of Extra Mature Cheddar
150G of Danish Blue
100G of Roquefort

Then add to a big mixing bowl
56G Garlic Granules
76G Instant Custard Mix
Half a cup of groundbait, this was Dynamite Big River Krill and Shrimp.

Then knead, fold, mix, punch, squeeze and knead and make in to a big ball.

I make a batch up and up and till this year, the stuff I used was over 2 years old. It gets a lovely green mouldy crust on it and becomes more pungent as it ages when kept in the fridge.

Give it a go, it certainly did the trick for this short session.

Sunday 18 November 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Tickle Pitchers and Tub Thumpers

As a lover of food what a great belated birthday all-dayer with her indoors. A lunchtime dirty burger up Shaws Passage courtesy of the original patty men, the ‘Patty Pimps and Purveyors of Filth’, their words not mine. A visit to the 4DX cinema to watch the new Fantastic Beasts movie - The Crimes of Grindelwald, 5 or 6 pubs in-between for some thirst quenching.

Then after hot-footing it back to civiliation before the great unwashed, things with horns and the gene meddlers surfaced, it was seated and wined and fine dined at the award winning Cheal’s of Henley-In-Arden before finishing off the day with some port and cheese, the food of the Gods....

....Phhhheewwwwwww !!!! Come on it was my birthday, I'm allowed to be treated once in a while.

The 12 hours of liquid and food gastronomic gluttony had taken its toll though, as the morning’s planned fishing session before picking the kids up was ditched and I had a nice lie-in instead battling with some overly warm shirt saboteurs.

I had to get out the weekend somehow however though, to try and target some monsters of my own. So after the youngest expressed an interest after we’d picked them up. Sam the tangelator was with me for this post bladderation session, now Sam loves fishing as long as he is getting bites and isn’t cold. The weather was reasonably mild for this short morning trip, and this part of the Warwickshire Avon is usually full of small fish so therefore ticks all the boxes.

We had planned to venture to the huge Chub ‘Snallygaster’ swim, but with a busy weekend being quite a distance away, to walk that is, that would have to be shelved to another time, when we had more time at our disposal.

Whilst he was fishing the float and maggot I planned to use a lure rod and also to fish a small live bait from time to time. I wanted to catch a decent Perch that I know reside here, so a small pike bob, a wire trace and a big hook, with a livebait aerator to retain them in.

As well as the Perch you see there are some good Pike here that like to get in on the action and a wire trace is a must. The Pike outnumber the big Perch considerably, so it’s a necessity, but to be fair the stripey’s don’t seem to mind the wire such their predatory reactions.

It didn't start well, as soon as we got swim-side a huge cormorant was disturbed, exited the water and went upstream. The mercury said 5 degrees but it felt much colder than that, and after an hour without a bite on maggot Sam's hands and toes were getting cold despite being wrapped up well.

The fish eventually turned up after catipulting maggots regularly for a while and eventually bleak and small dace turned up. By this time though and after trying to distract him with the use of a surface frog lure, Sam had enough and was suffering in the biting wind. A bleak went on the live bait rod whilst I was packing up but that bobbed around and remained biteless without any interested.

So a session caught short, shame as the day turned out nice in the end, at least I was back early to get started on the cheesepaste, this batch a slight change to my usual concoction. I might try and squeeze in a quick after work session next week, as I want to try the cheesepaste in an area I don't fish static baits and also I fancy a try with the garlic spam again in a swim I've earmarked as I spotted a decent Barbel there.

The change today, well, it definitely had a winter feel about it, conditions I love for my fishing.

Thursday 15 November 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Shabbaroons and Shag-bags

I was 14 years old when Go Fishing started in 1986 and often it was a rare family gathering in the Newey household, to watch John Wilson with that famous laugh and infectious enthusiasm.

He hosted that fishing show that carried on for 30 odd years and 90 odd episodes such its popularity and paved the way for books and further TV work. Back then, pre-satellite and only 4 channels to choose from it really did stand out at the time, and was enjoyed by anglers and non-anglers alike.

He made me want to go fishing, and probably turned me in to the roving angler I am today. The salt water episodes and his travels abroad which I didn’t think I’d enjoy, but in the end I did, and that was due to John and his love for angling and a shared passion. He wasn’t just all about fishing, but also the love of the outdoors, and flora and fauna, heck, I suppose thinking about it, it turned me in to a bit of a forager, just look at this rosemary I picked on-route, ready for those roast potatoes.

The beauty of the post internet era with the various media platform options and the various ways to watch fishing these days, is that his programs can still be watched, but not only that, it highlights just how good he was at presenting, showing non-anglers why we do it and also why he stood out from today’s humdrum and those have to appease the sponsors at every opportunity. 

Back to basics fishing, what it all should be about, for me anyway.

Can we have some of them digitally remastered please, RIP John Wilson MBE.

Incidentally whilst tucking in to a homemade fish curry I put on one of my favorite episodes weir-pool magic and reminded me just how good they are to watch. Variety is the spice of life and with fishing, and we are lucky it can give us that, there are not many hobbies and pastimes like it if you think about it.

Now these quick after work dark sessions nicely break up the weeks heads down drudgery. A necessity I suppose to keep those wheels turning, and a short fishing session like this, can maintain ones sanity. It’s the part of life I’ve most control over, the fishing that is, it restores the work life balance in my favour and if gives me the solitude I seek.

I didn’t particularly enjoy fishing in the dark, far from it, but having done it numerous times now, it really is something different than the usual daylight sessions that sometime can become a little monotonous.

The senses are heightened obviously which can be difficult to get used to at first, but it’s the anticipation of something half decent turning up, because with many a predator on the prowl, often fish put their guard down come dusk and beyond, as they feel safe to do so.

I’d usually target the Chub here but despite the Pike dominance I’m sure there could well be a good Zander milling around that could well show themselves, when they are back being the apex predator. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m becoming to love Pike as a species but the Zander really are up there with my favourite species of all the fish I fish for, and the chance to do a bit of double dipping is a welcome change. 

Preparation is the key for these sessions as when arriving at dark, rods made up, leads, and chemical lights to hand, the minimum of tackle, so all you have to do is to bait the hooks.  The chub are bold biters here so soft meat is out as I like to know the bait is still on the hair once cast, so, it’s out with the pungent boilies and a paste wrap. 

The other rod, a ickle roach deadbait, but having caught plenty of Chub on small deadbaits in the past, it could well pick up a decent Chevin as well. Nothing wrong with hedging ones bets, especially come sundown, when the bigger fish start to move from their stations.

Now the baits went out at dusk and within minutes the bobbin was rising and in-fact the fish was taking line from the bait runner all within a split second. When I hooked in to the fish I realised it wasn't anything to right home about and I knew it was a small pike. Now this one was skinny, no weight to it and for some reason was slimier than the usual fish I catch here. Hmmmm, not exactly what I was after and I knew from experience, that could well be the only fish I catch hence the grumpy face.

I was right, after two and a half hours in to dark nothing else was forthcoming. Now I've concentrated on one particular area for these sessions but I need to try upstream where I discovered with the deeper it has decent depth. If there is any Zander here they could well be up there. I'm sure there are none though judging by the amount of lures and deadbaits that have been chucked here.

I was quite surprised the Chub didn't show though, because they are usually on the bait come dusk, maybe like sometimes happens, they are having an off day. The weather is turning cold though next week, so they could well switch on. 

Sunday 11 November 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Faggots and Fool Finders

Could I track down any caul membrane in time, fat chance, most people haven’t even heard of it. Now caul fat is the netting that surrounds an animal’s internal organs and what encases those faggots and sausages we all know and love. Well you say that, apart from local butchers who are keeping up with traditions, why has the humble faggot loved by us Midlanders and others been removed from the supermarket shelves I wonder?

Even the well-known mass produced Brains with its poorly executed brown mush impersonation which was one of the staple foods of many my age, is difficult to find these days. You’d be hard pushed to find any down the freezer aisle, let alone any fresh faggots made on the deli counter.

Luckily a pub the Kings Head in Aston Cantlow just down the road from me make their own on the premises where they serve it the traditional way with mash, onion gravy and peas so if I need to get the fix, which I do occasionally, I’ve got an option to quell ones pangs. They also do a proper freshly cooked and piping hot scotch egg which to be fair is hard to beat, it’s can be a difficult decision I tell thee, as is what ale to have.

Now the ones I make I ditch the heart and other offal and I use pork shoulder, liver, bacon and belly with mace, allspice, sage, parsley and a gnats nadger of chilli as seasoning. Streaky bacon makes a pretty good caul substitute and to be fair makes it look a little more appetising than its simpler washed out anaemic looking neighbour.

For this plate full of heaven to accompany the homemade faggots, peas and onion gravy I’d a side of skinny chips, I prefer some crunch for texture you see, rather than sat on some potato mash.

Balls Mick !!!!, BALLS, err yes I know tinned meatballs are available, but hardly a substitute for a proper faggot and at least making them myself I’ve got an idea what goes in to making it, yeap I’m assume you’ve not got a clue what maltodextrin is either, apparently it’s to add texture, really, oh ok, I’ll take your word for it. To be fair you have to do your research on tinned mushy peas these days, some contain a right load of unthathamables.

Now with the colder weather kicking in, sometimes comfort food and a proper blow out is nice once in a while, not only to get the body temperature back functioning properly again, but to also kick ones mood up the jacksie.

These cold blooded fish haven’t really that option, they have to deal with the temperature changes and fluctuations and adapt and to the ever changing environment. The weather had been quite fair during the week and with some warmer rain might give some much needed colour. So what and where to fish for was the question ?

Barbel obviously I suppose sprang to mind but I fancied trying for a Chub or decent Perch, so the session was down to my favourite part of the Avon to try and winkle out something to put a bend in one’s rod.

I wanted to try a new lure, a Salmo tiny wobbler, the beauty of this lure is that it floats on the surface so you get let it drift down the river like you would a piece of bread, but then you can retrieve it and the paddle nose means it will also dive under the water.

It was quite a tough session, lots of roving and different swims but a few Perch were caught and a couple of chublets but then, eventually a 3lb 7oz Chub turned up to put a decent bend in the rod.The river despite being up a little was still pretty clear which I don't think help things, but the lure worked quite well, the fish were getting used to floating bread I'm sure of it.

Friday 9 November 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Frig Pigs and Fusty Luggs

I thought my usual commute which is distance of 17 miles and takes 20 minutes was under threat last week. You see after getting back off holiday we discovered the patio door was forced open, the lock barrel snapped, kitchen cupboards and draws left open as was the door to the garage. Sadly we had a visit from a scumbag who decided that he wanted my car off the drive.

Luckily I’m smarter than the average bear and I could get to work on the Monday without issue, with the gene meddler having to go back to his hovel to plan his next misdemeanour.

With Sam visibly scared and thinking “is the robber coming back tonight Daddy”, my current car situation needs a rethink, and it could well be the last car thieving gits want to have, as maybe I need one to suit my lifestyle, not one with 310hp, rubber bands for tyres and a dressed up body waiting to be stripped naked by the undesirables.

Now my regular commute isn't a bad average speed I suppose, but then with one’s body clock up the swanny, starting earlier has its advantages. To be fair even when having to contend with traffic in more busier times, it rarely takes half an hour, certainly not a moan to add to the ever growing list. One motorway junction, an A road and lots of B’s.

Waiting in traffic is not for me, and to be honest, if I had to contend with it every day, I’d quickly go off ones rocker. I hate waiting around twiddling thumbs, watching the world go by, as there are far better things I could be doing.

Sometimes though, it’s nice especially when in fishing to wait for things to happen, enjoy the wildlife, enjoy the peace and take the session as snail’s pace, rather than roving around like a blue arsed fly or a marrowed up Jack Russell.

Now with a nice south-westerly wind proceeding a cool period, and with the barometer rising after a bit of rain, I fancied a go for a river Zander. With a little extra spring in their step and the rain proving a nadger of colour the condition were certainly favourable. 

I hadn’t used the deeper for a while but I’d been reviewing my maps online and remembered an area I found that was over 20ft deep. So it was back out with the deeper and some deadbaits to see if I could find that hotspot, but also to try and locate any shoaling fish to carefully position an easy picking cheese and pineapple stick in front of a big fishes noggin.

Given the choice fishing in to dark and beyond would be my preference for catching Zander but I still have caught and lost some decent fish when the sun has been up, so I’ve got some confidence that I’m not wasting my time.

I’ve tried three or four times of late though, and nothing of note has turned up and blanked on two of those sessions if I recall, but as us fisherman know, a change in conditions really can switch the fish on to feeding.

This session was 12.30pm in to dusk, and such the shortness of the day was probably only 4 hours or so once I'd got myself sorted.

I'd a lure rod with a real eel for the occasional chuck and two deadbait rods with roach one one rod and smelt on the other.

Now before the deep bit I'd given the weir a go with a small nudge on the smelt and that was it, so to the intended swim to sit tight till dusk. A small jack came to the lure around my feet and then a small jack again on the smelt in the deep bit, hmmmm, where are the Zander then.

A 5lb Pike lost at the net, what the !!!!

Now I'd caught Zander here before, over 6lb the biggest and also lost a decent fish, so I was hoping headed in to dusk a Zed would be forthcoming.

There was quite a lot of small fish activity too. Now Dave Roberts was downstream and was bagging up on Barbel, 6 in the end if I recall, with 2 lost and also some Chub caught, the biggest Barbel not far off a double, he was having a cracking day, the fish were up for feeding that's for sure.

It was quite a cloudy day and with dusk approaching it was fingers and toes crossed, with the club waters imposed finishing time on the countdown, after an hour or so with motionless bobbins and the light almost gone the left hand rod springs in to life with the rod tip nodding, the bobbin active.

A fish is on, it felt half decent as well, but I know how Zander fight having caught hundreds of them and as it surfaced, I guessed right, yeap another Pike, this one maybe the fish I lost at the net earlier.

So that was it, no more time left, Hmmmm, back to the drawing board me thinks !!!!
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