Saturday 2 February 2019

Warwickshire Avon – Smelt and Snot Rockets Pt.1

Dry January done and dusted, a winters day spent roving a river is like decanting a nice bottle of Italian Amarone with consort absent and only one huge glass to fill, because despite the wine being a heavy hitter you need to finish the whole bottle if you are to experience its full enchantment. Villages, shops and built up areas pass with a blur because you know those will be left behind to a seemingly forgotten world of fields, flowing water, flight and fauna.


Arriving early with the majority still dead to the world taking refuge under their 13.5 togs, its that initial glimpse of the upper limb of the red sun about to rise in the East over a white crisp landscape, that me as an angler with never tire of.

 The mist refusing to budge from the water and doing its best to highlight the dimly lit water in an ever changing psychedelic pattern only I can bear witness is a secret that I would rather not share.

Now the landscape maybe baron at this time of year, but that only adds to the escapism I revel in as a ever increasing solitude seeker. You see the trees maybe bare, but the branches want to tell a story only I as an angler can only ever begin to interpret.

 Seconds, minutes and hours pass without a single thought for the other world you’ve left behind. That other world where you feel less like you fit the more that you return to it, it may be a temporary tardis, but it keeps ones neurones aligned the best they can.

The claggy mud underfoot and the black autumn leaves refusing to budge are not the hindrance you would think, because, a flick of one’s foot, a kick of a stump, you’re on your way again. Down to the unknown, a world beneath the surface to rival your own, another secret not to be shared.


Beneath the relative calm, not long ago when targeting the large stripy Sergeants with small livebaits, I hooked and lost a BIG Pike due to the inadequacy of ones set-up. I was back bankside though, but with much stouter tackle this time, a dedicated croc restrain’er, taking no prisoners.

For this first pike session of a few I’d got planned came a two pronged attack, a winterised oil injected smelt or roach deadbait under an inline cigar, the other rod a head turning lure. Despite the obvious brass monkeys these are predatory fish after all and I've had success in winters gone with lures where others said I'd be wasting my time.


Venue one ticked off, a few others planned, a mediocre PB beater the target.

Now compadre Nic caught a cracking Pike recently at the private stretch he’s got access to where I’ve fished with him a few times now for Zander. It goes to show what can crop up when you least expect it, but then that is fishing and why we love it.

A crocodile of a Pike with a head so huge even an otter would think twice, a mackerel tail away from a 20lber, a fish of that statue a fish I’d like to grace my net one day.

The problem is I rarely specifically target Pike by design which is an issue I want to address, you see nearly all my captures have been whilst targeting their predatory stablemates the Perch and Zander.

Until now that is !!!!


A cold morning with clear skies I knew it would be a tough session, without a touch in the oxygenated swim I had to rove around to find the fish. I didn't mess around either, after 15 minutes without a touch it was time to move on. It gave me a good chance to give the swims more of a look-see though and there are some crackers.

Lots of character and cover for predators to hide out, I really need to try it come dusk and beyond here as I'm sure I'm missing a trick. Especially for the Zander which are here for sure, a decent amount of bait fish judging by the other WBAS syndicate members have achieved recently, even a specimen fish to Drennan weekly award levels, shame the capture didn't realise how big the fish he had caught and how rare it was.


Noted for next time then Dave, aye !!!!

So I was running out of time, the lure went unchallenged, so I decided to fish one last swim but this time give it a little more time for a fish to find it and an added extra injection of oil. I was thinking about packing up but then out of the blue the float that was next to some cover jumped in to life and started to move from right to left. It stopped and then left me wondering if a fish had felt resistance, but then this time it buried right out of sight within a few seconds.

I tightened up and then pulled hard in to the fish, yes, a fish was on. I knew it was a small fish straight away initially thinking it was a Zander but then I saw it's flanks and it was a small Pike. At least it was the target species I suppose.


It was landed quickly with the stout tackle but at least it was a blank saver. With another morning session planned for tomorrow and then two dusk and one beyond session planned, I'm hoping for something a little bigger, I need a proper bend in the rod to test it out in service so to speak.

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