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.


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