Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Saturday 30 November 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Knack Shops and Knob Twiddlers

Blending a psychedelic sensory overload with riotous club bangers the Chemical Brothers certainly transported me away from all what's been going on of late.

If you've read these ramblings of mine for a while you'd know repetitive beats and especially when combined with acid visuals that trigger altered thoughts, feelings, and awareness of one's surroundings, culminating in perceptual anomalies transporting me back to those rave days.

Ok to the layman they are a couple of knob-twiddlers on stage giving the woofers a good working out whilst projecting some computer graphics, lasers and lights to fill the venue, but they know what they are doing I tell thee, hence the audience made up of many kids born in the 70's like me.

It never leaves you if you embraced all things EDM in the 80's and 90's and even now I'm getting on a bit, with my knees hurting occasionally and I'm finding myself asleep on the sofa post Sunday roast, I'll probably still be doing this in 20 years time.

They were the tonic that I needed to end quite a turbulent week, an extraordinary multi-sensorial experience in contrast to sitting on a river bank. The thing is there are similarities believe it or not, the mind in a good place for a start, thoughts banished for a few hours in good company and with the like minded.

Now things are gradually getting back to normal luckily, as I felt I may need to reach out for the unmentionables, but then life can be tough, you just have to do what you need to do, and try and do those things that boost your own serotonin and good mood levels. I'm lucky in that respect, as I know which buttons to press and levers to pull to get me functioning properly again.

Shame I cannot say the same for the local rivers, as they reached flood levels again during the week, where yet again it was very wet one indeed. There is light at the end of the tunnel though as the weather for the weekend is cold but dry and I'm hoping that will continue.The best season to be fishing has largely been a washout.

When I have managed to get to the river and it has been fishable results have been ok to be fair, the fish for a good while now having to tuck themselves up out of harm's way, and now able to venture out to try and quell their hunger pangs and fill their stomachs.

For this early session I quite fancied sitting it out and enjoying the cold fresh air.

I decided on a swim I remembered that is always fishable when the river is high. It is sheltered away from the main flow a so debris catching the line would be less of a problem and fish could seek sanctuary if they really wanted to.

A session of double dipping then this, a Peperami Fire Stick offering to try and temp a Barbel or Chub with some smelly groundbait in the feeder, and then on the sleeper rod a roach deadbait to try and tempt a Zander.

The deadbait would be more or less under the rod tip, as there some decent depth close in and a firm bottom !!!

I even had the gas burner with me, streaky bacon, a couple of Lashfords, a fried egg and a few squirts of HP's finest. Feel good food of the Gods !!!!

I'd not caught Zander from this area but I knew others had and it looked the ideal area for a decent size predator to layup waiting for a tasty morsel to venture in to its path.

My registered score on the bloggers challenge is easily beatable, and I want to try and keep the momentum going on the rivers scoreboard and try and catch species that would likely bite in these conditions, Zander being one of them.

So anyway, enough of the waffling, how did it go ?

Well it was a cold foggy start and crisp underfoot, but the fresh clean air was welcome as I hardly had an opportunity to top up the levels in the week just gone. The river as expected well up but a nice clarity for a bite I thought.

After an hour without a bite the stove was lit, the bacon smell unmistakable, washed down with a cup of tea, I was on the only angler brave enough to tackle the conditions for this morning it seems. Another hour went by without much more than a couple of taps so as the sun rose behind the trees I decided to move swims and fish the last half of the session upstream.

All very confusing, I thought at least I'd have a chub or two. Within a few minutes after settling in the new swim with a bait dropped in the margin the bobbin jumped in to life. I lifted the rod and felt the resistance straight away and I lifted in to the fish.

I thought it was a Zander at first, but nope, a jack that wolfed down a small roach.

And that was the lot, a couple of pulls on the Peperami which for the last hour was wrapped in stinky Ramiz Paste, maybe those still tucked up in bed knew something I didn't.

Monday 25 November 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Quagmires and Quarromes

With the temperature still mild the tangleator fancied a trip out whilst he could still feel his fingers. When it's freezing or just above he doesn't cope with the cold very well and despite wearing all his winter gear his extremities start to go blue. 

The river was up a good foot or maybe more from the morning before not a million of miles away and the colour had changed to something more turbid.

Feed maggots though, here there are bait fish in numbers, it can take a while for the fish to turn up but when they do it's a bite a chuck. Not the biggest of fish admittedly, but to keep Sam from getting bored bites are what is needed.

Here the swim is quite wide and throughout the short session the water went from almost static to a decent pace on it so more casting was required more than I'd especially as there was snags close in to get caught up in.

Oddly throughout the session the only fish we caught were bleak, there are usually dace and roach here in shoals as well but not today. Baitfish attracts the attention of predators and whilst Sam was sat on the comfortable chair I was sat on the bucket waiting for the sleeper rods to jump in to life.

Two rods both with  a roach flapper, one close in, one further out where there is a nice clear bottom. I'd caught Pike here before so knew they were around, sometimes it's nice sitting back and relaxing whilst someone else does the fishing.

The first dropped take came quite quick and on inspection of the bait it looked like a Zander had to hold of it, the tell-tale stab marks only that species can give. Oddly me and others that fish here haven't had a Zed either, so that to me was encouraging, even though I didn't see the fish.

With the swim fast becoming a quagmire and the mud acting like a wick up Sam's wellies and up his trousers the left hand rod that was fished closed in jumps in to life.

It was taking line quite quickly so I didn't hesitate and leant in to the fish, I don't think it realised it was hooked at first till it surfaced and then saw me most probably. It bolted off on a couple of powerful runs and tail-walked at one point as it existed the water and I had to steer it away from the platform.

With Sam doing the landing duties the fish was in the net, "Feels like a good fish Daddy, what's your biggest again ?"

"Not far off this I reckon"

I knew it was a double but the scales went round past 11 and stopped at 11lb 8oz. Quite a hollow fish so if it gets its head down feeding over winter it will easily better my mediocre PB, which is only 2 ounces more.

The water clarity didn't scream Pike so just goes to show, put a bait in the right place or attract baitfish in the swim, bites can be forthcoming when odds are stacked against you.

Saturday 23 November 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Bomb Holes and Botherams

Bob my postie who come rain come shine, delivers all manner of fishing related items through my postbox that cannot be obtained from ones local tackle-shop. Back in the day he used to be a match fisherman on the circuit in and around the local area. I've had some good leads over the years and despite not wetting a line in anger for a while, those 'secret' areas we all know and love but don't share often come good.

A feature on a river for example there 20 years ago is likely to be there now as well, and us anglers know full well, that any feature no matter how insignificant it appears to the novice can make the difference in whether the string will be pulled, the maggot sucked, the bread engulfed.

A chance conversation recently over a stretch of river I fish now and he did back then....

"So you must have fished the bomb hole !!!!? "

"Errr the what ?, the bomb hole"

"yeah, the bomb hole swim, there was Chub in there so big if you drew the peg you'd be heading back to the car to dust off the proper gear, 7lbers !!!" "It's a big hole much deeper than the main river, you know the ****, well if you go up from there, its....(you get the picture)"

"Cheers Bob, I'll let you know how I get on !!!! "

"Big hooks and bread flake the size of Tunnocks Tea Cakes, that's how we used to catch them"

From his description I knew exactly where it was an how I would try to find it. So it was out with the deeper, something I'd not used for a while to try and locate the bomb hole and the Chub of humungus proportions and even bigger appetites.

Now for those that haven't seen let alone used the deeper, via an app on your phone, the castable sonar shows you depth, contours, features and fish. Inbuilt GPS you can recover your scans via an online portal that shows them on a map.

Out of the 32,000 German air raids on the United Kingdom between September 1939 and March 1945 I don't think many ended up in this neck of the woods. Apparently Hitler said that he would never bomb Stratford-Upon-Avon because of the centrality of the Shakespeare to Germany's national culture.

Whatever the truth about Hitler's rumoured attitude towards all things Bard is that the town remained surprisingly unscathed by enemy action. The town is after all, not far away from cities that suffered some of the most severe bombings of the early years of the war. My Grandad always went on about the bombings in Small Heath where they lived and the fact they "flattened his local chippy, the one that did a free handful of scraps !!!"

Ok, most likely an 'actual' bomb hole, but who cares, it apparently could be mistaken for me. So back on track a short session this and one rod only, bread on the hook and cheesepaste for back-up, could I find the big rubber lips utopia ?

Anyway enough of the preamble, how did it go....

The river had been well over its banks and very sticky underfoot the mud getting worse as I made my way to where Bob told me. To be fair the swim sort of revealed itself, down from the crease of the river where it was 4 or 5 foot there was a big swirling mass of water much slower than the rest of the river.

Now bare in mind that the river here doesn't really vary that much, 4 foot being the average depth the second pass of the deeper the bomb hole revealed itself

16 Ft!!!!

The change in depth was ridiculous, the depth varied between 14 and 16ft in an area not much bigger than a mini tennis court. There were bait fish showing as well so this could well be hiding a decent predator or two something I might try in the future.

The hook baited, rod rest in place, a simple cast without needing to look behind me, rod high. Ten minutes went by, over at the far bank the resident otter surfacing from amongst all the bubbles it had created. Then the first pull on the tip, then another, then a confident pull round. A fish was on.

I don't think it realised it was hook at first because as soon as it came to the surface it went on a powerful run. This was a decent Chub, the rod bent double. There are no real snags here for it to get near though so after a while I think it knew the game was up. I've caught longer fish but when I lifted the landing net this felt big. A very dense fish built like a wombat, and I wasn't wrong....

....it was a PB !!!!

A 5lb 6oz Warwickshire Avon Chub

I love it went a plan comes together, and a decent bottle of Red for Bob for Christmas. That was the only fish of the morning, but considering the feedback from others fishing the local rivers finding it tough, I went home very happy indeed being bowled over by the 'bomb hole'.

Sunday 17 November 2019

'Not Quite' The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.144 – Thunderclaps and Thummikins

It might sound like an easy challenge, but chowing down on a super hot chilli should come with a health warning. A chilli-head like me you see ended up in A&E suffering "thunderclap" headaches after eating the world's hottest chilli pepper

The unnamed man began dry heaving as soon as he swallowed the Carolina Reaper chilli pepper. His pain was so severe he rushed to hospital, where concerned doctors tested him for a number of neurological conditions.But when those tests came back negative, the patient was sent for a CT scan.

Now it showed several arteries in the man's brain had narrowed, making it harder for blood to flow through. Doctors diagnosed him with thunderclap headaches, caused by reversible cerebral  (RCVS)  vasoconstriction syndrome, that's narrowed arteries to the pork pie consumers.

Apparently RCVS is temporary, and causes sudden narrowing of the blood vessels. As a result, a sufferer is left with a drop in blood flow to the brain, and a surging headache.  Known as a thunderclap headache, there is often no obvious cause, but it in this case it was put down to eating the Carolina Reaper which is 1,641,183 Scoville units, give or take.

If you've not seen them they are red, round and wrinkly, with a little tail.

They noted the condition can be caused by a reaction to certain prescription drugs, or after taking illegal drugs. While it's the first case of thunderclap headaches triggered by the fiery fruit, other peppers have caused similar reactions elsewhere in the body.

Cut Zeds using deadbaits, a waiting game !!!
Cayenne peppers have been known to narrow the artery supplying blood to the heart. The result of a sudden constriction of the coronary artery is basically a heart attack.

So why then have I bought some and decided to give them a go ? well in my case I've some dried ones not fresh ones but certainly when her indoors is out for the evening I'll manage to get it in to one's meal somehow. Probably a beef chilli where I do like a hot one especially if it's covered in fresh coriander, cheese and birds-eye chili's

Now the bird's eye chilli is small, but is quite hot It measures around 50,000 - 100,000 Scoville units, which is at the lower half of the range for the hotter habanero, but still much hotter than a common jalapeño, the reaper is on a different scale though, but heck what have I got to lose.

I just need to remember to use plastic gloves to crumble it up, I've made that mistake before, albeit with a scotch bonnet where rubbing one's eye post chopping probably wasn't a good idea. Anyway I'll let you know how I get on, if my blog goes quiet for a while, you will know why, it's been nice knowing you. 

Then a brain wave, you see hot spicy additives stimulate senses within an animals feeding palette and as a result trigger a response. In the case of carp, a positive response is provoked, often leading to a harder feeding reaction.

Now there is no way I'd eat all the reapers, it was just out of curiosity really so with time to kill over the weekend I decided to make up my Chub cheesepaste and clear out the cheese draw in the fridge. With winter on the way and last years job-lot more or less gone it would be a waste to chuck it whilst it could be put to better use.

It's a simple recipe really, the base is a Jus-Rol shortcrust pastry block and then grated mature cheddar and grated blue cheese, in this case Shropshire Blue, Stilton, and Gorgonzola. Then add whatever you want, garlic or krill powder or whatever is lying around in your bait fridge that looks suitable.

So out with a couple of reapers for added attraction, to get the Chub's big lips burning, to be fair they are the most gluttonous of fish, I bet they will love it, it's something different after all, the edge I may need to start looking at catching a 6 lber.

Knead everything together, jobs a good'un !!!!

So with that done and dusted with tackle still in the car, it was back down the canal, the rivers after all really are not worth looking it, not for a while most likely either. This time though it was back to where it all started, in-fact home to ones 2 biggest Zander. A stretch I've trodden many times for my quest for a cut double.

What an odd session, it was like I'd woken up to a set from 28 days later, abandoned boats, no one around and a spooky silence about the whole place. It was clear from the Zedlet I caught yesterday the fish are likely to be laying up as it was covered in leeches so it was a roving session. Now that didn't help as the towpath couldn't have gotten any muddier.

The properly sticky clingy stuff too so not exactly easy to walk in it, Sam wasn't with me for this one and a good job really as I knew he would likely end on his backside. I covered a total distance of 3.5 miles and tried to drop on the fish, in some banker swims as well and yet not even a bite. Very much twiddling the thumbs session this and despite hardly blanking on this stretch, I did this morning.

A blank !!!!

Saturday 16 November 2019

'Not Quite' The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.143 – Mahometan Gruels and Myrmidons

It seems that the rain hasn't stopped for the past couple of months, the river, lakes and streams bulging at the seams at the result of the wet weather that doesn't seem to be letting up.

It's over the banks and in the fields in many areas and the water table is well and truly full to the brim. Usually there is options to fish locally on flowing water, but over the last couple of weeks those opportunities to get bankside have become very few and far between.

As I type this there was heavy rain heavy rain overnight that will last all day so again that glimmer of hope to get out the weekend on the rivers just ain't going to happen. Many of the local rivers particularly the smaller ones will most likely peak beyond the most recent highs of 2012.

Now for a S.A.D suffer this is where I start to struggle you see, every opportunity to get out fishing must be taken when the nights start drawing in.

It's the tonic I need basically, some much needed solitude to look forward to,  after a busy week at work, standing water on the A46 in Coventry  eventually get in the way of the braindead and the road network was carnage.

An hour and a half to get home Thursday, four routes I tried to take were shut, eventually back home after taking the car through the largest amount of standing water I'd ever seen, where it was over the bonnet in many of them luckily the Jimny has more or less  ground clearance as a defender as it might be a different story.

Now a venture out with the family to Charlcote Park as pictured above and below a high Barford the small river Dene was unrecognisable and only small area of the grounds were open due to the waterlogged grounds.

The Warwickshire Avon in the fields and so high you couldn't really tell where the river started and finished. I dread to think what it looks like now as it's another metre higher or something like that.

It was nice to be out though and it was quite a pleasant day to be fair, the kicking of leaves, jumping in puddles and sharing an autumnal scene with Jacob sheep and many deer just getting on with their business is very therapeutic indeed, especially when you know you'd be rewarded later with a slap-up Sunday dinner, a decent bottle of red and a snifter of a Rum I've really taken to.

Rum for some reason has recently taken over from my usual Glevlivet cask strength dram so much so Whisky has taken a backseat. A decent rum drank neat is really hard to beat for one's palate at the minute. Those simple things in life, good food and drink adding to one's wellbeing.

I suppose my eagerness to get back to the river fishing is that one's lead in the bloggers challenge river section is starting to reduce. 13 species down, a thousand points at one time, now almost 200 points down, and in the 800's.

The scoring for this years challenge based on a percentage of a competitors weight, not on the British Record as in previous years. So for instance only two Ruffe caught so far, one by me, one by Russ Hilton but because his was nearly the double the size of my effort my 100 points have dwindled to 67.

However another big spanner in the works, other than when bigger fish are caught by the competitors is that, young James Denison  is now back fishing after his recent lay off because of a bad back, and is now back doing what he does best, that's catching specimen fish. He is fast climbing up the leaderboard and he is only going one way because it's the only way he knows how.

James may certainly have an advantage, according to Sam Newey

“Yeah but he fishes in London and that’s a bit like fishing at Tunnel Barn, it’s too easy”

I put him straight, "Sam, James is a fish catching machine, it wouldn't matter where he fishes, he would still catch the biggest out of the shoal, it's just what he does"

So Grayling, Silver Bream, Roach Bream Hybrid and Carp my targets before I get back to try and catch bigger specimens on the species I've already registered a score for. Certainly doable but if the local rivers are fishable that is.

Sometimes though just being out waterside is all I need. The picture below from the last session, thick morning mist, crisp under foot and the sun just rising to illuminate the river in its full glory

Sadly the fish were just not interested, the heavy frost and low air temperature not helping I suppose I didn't even manage a single bite.

The barbel not forthcoming despite 24 hours before a friend managing two decent fish, one a double in the same area.

It resets the cogs though, whilst seemingly the world rests I'm enjoying what most people don't get to see, and to be honest, I'd rather keep it that way, I'd the whole stretch to myself for that session, for a solitude seeker, what more could I ask for.

Well a session where I wouldn't blank would be nice to be fair....

So yeap, canal zander were the target for this session, at least an opportunity for a bite in these turbid waters is more likely than trying to find somewhere on the river to fish.

Luckily I'm a dab-hand targeting these interesting fish where I've had plenty of 5, 6, and 7 pounds, culminating in a fish of 8lb 10oz and 9lb on the noggin which is currently my PB.

The bigger fish start to show in these colder months and to conclude my quest to catch a 10 lber at least with the rivers out of sorts it gives me another strike on the tally, it's a numbers game basically and some luck I suppose, luck I've not had just yet, but I'll keep on plugging away till one comes along.

Despite not raining it was a rather damp morning, the leaves clinging on the dirt, the feeder streams making the canal even dirtier than it usually is.

I hotfooted it to a swim where the is nearly always fish there and after positioning the floats and enjoying a cup of coffee the left float starts to bob. I thought it was the leaves that had stuck to the line that might have moved it out of position but no it was a bite.

Not exactly a spirited fight meant that I knew it would be a small fish and indeed it was, a schoolie with eyes clearly bigger than his belly. At least it was a fish, not seen one of them for a while. I thought that could be the start to some further bites having had bite after bite session here before but no, that was it.

So a few more likely holding spots sought and leapfrogged but oddly no more bites, a very quiet morning indeed. Only roach used today, my confidence using it is nothing like smelt, I need to get some more sorted asap.

Saturday 9 November 2019

Warwickshire Avon – Slabbering Bibs and Slubber De Gullions

Ones love of receptive beats started a while back and still today, despite my age still managing to catch up with the DJ's I used to go and see during my clubbing days. November sees a trip to see Orbital do what they do and then all the Cream DJ's are congregating in early December where we will be attending for the whole weekend.

Those proper clubbing days latest a good 10 years or so and I lost count of the decent nights I had with the likeminded. That rave culture unlikely to be repeated and confined to the history books.

Over 25 years ago now the UK Government attempted to make rave culture illegal with a law that banned public performance of music “wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats”; essentially trying to criminalise electronic dance music itself.

No, the aforementioned is not some suggested public order from a septuagenarian who doesn’t her nightly knitting soundtracked by sick beats. Britain’s Parliament passed the Criminal Justice and Public Order act on November 3, 1994.

It granted police the power to confiscate sound systems, interfere with groups of people suspected of setting up raves, and turn back revellers who are within a mile radius of an offending site.

Now Another section of the act was Part V, ‘Public Order: Collective Trespass or Nuisance on Land’. It was essentially brought into place to give police the right to remove “squatters” in the midst of the “traveller” movement.

The Public Order was said to be sparked by a mass rave in 2002 when an estimated 20,000 party-goers took over Castlemorton Common for a six-day rave. 

Now known as “the rave that changed the law”, the invite was sent out via an answering machine message which said: “Right, listen up revellers. It’s happening now and for the rest of the weekend, so get yourself out of the house and on to Castlemorton Common… Be there, all weekend, hardcore.”

Now recently Extinction Rebellion (XR) has won a landmark legal challenge to an attempt by the Metropolitan Police to halt its Autumn Uprising protest in London.

During the second week of protests, the police imposed a new condition on the activists under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986, meaning that anyone who continued to protest after at 9pm on Monday 14th October could be arrested.

Apparently Lord Justice Dingemans and Justice Chamberlain ruled in favour of the activists, saying that the police had acted unlawfully because the wording of Section 14 is clear that there is no power to prohibit a gathering that has not yet begun, and that it could only be used to impose conditions.

Clearly LSD users back in the day because the Public Order Collective legislation could have been used surely Shirley. Maybe the police and those peruke wears that are meant to sense of formality and solemnity to proceedings like a good gathering to remind themselves of how it used to be.

There must be a way to stop these chaos causers like they did back in the day !!!!

Anyway back on track, now when I had money to burn and lead that single life I still look back on as a the decade I loved. 

The love of dance music turned in to DJ'ing, and part of that was I had a dedicated room to create dance tracks myself and also to create the Mick's Mix series that had rather risqué covers. A mix series that went from TDK Cassettes, progressed to CD's and then to tracks I created under the names Angybeats and Peakhour.

Dance music, decks and Cerwin Vega's, what's not to like !!!!

Anyway the mix series was supplied FOC to good friends who loved the culture and 120bpm's just as much as I did and often it was played in the car on-route to the next gathering of tinnitus sufferers.

So times have changed somewhat but with my Skullcandy crusher headphones and the Mixcloud app on my phone a week designing parts for a rather exciting electric car goes rather quickly indeed. A little like fishing I don't tend to think of much when I'm listening to music, those matters on the mind we all have banished to the back of the cortex till it sadly comes to the forefront again.

Barbel fishing for me can offer the solitude I need to seek as often as I can. For this short session I was in the swim a good friend Dave Roberts had winkled out a couple of good fish less than 24 hours earlier.

For me though the morning couldn't have been any more different, a hard overnight frost, air temperatures no bettering 4 or 5 degrees throughout the day, not a sausage !!!!

4 hours, two swims, the garlic spam and ramiz paste plug not doing it today sadly.

Shame as I'd have liked a picture of a Barbel in the morning mist that took an age to lift. But it was lovely to be out, I love conditions like this, the rods might be sat motionless but there are other distractions that keeps the mind in check.

So these blanks are getting a pain now, at least I've a belated birthday meal out with the lovely Mrs Newey later, ones resolve is not quite tested yet.

Friday 8 November 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Hoydons and Hodmandods

I'd a couple of hours to kill afterwork before picking the wriggling wallet raiders up, luckily I was near an area where zander are present, it would be rude not to have a dangle wouldn't it, it's a stretch of convenience, the Jimny making a meal of the rutted road of rumpus. I've lost a big Zander here some time ago so it's always been on my radar. The stretch despite the river over its banks in many places, is just about fishable.

The rivers at the minute are still a little out of sorts and the other river species I'm after to try and maintain my lead at the head of the table on the running stuff, would unlikely to be interested.  However a canal zander or two may be forthcoming in these testing and turbid water conditions, I find that canal fish in-particular seem to get bigger when the weather gets colder.  But then I suppose fish are wanting to get their winter coats on, it's a good time for fishing, if you can get to the water that is.

Now for those that have read this blog of mine for a while, and ones quest to catch a canal double figure zander will know my method to tackle these fascinating fish by now, I fish a deadbait under a small pike float which has banked canal zeds to 7, 8 and 9lb's in weight.

The labouring lunkers more conducive to picking up a static deadbait rather than chasing a lure.

The baits (usually roach or smelt) are fished over-depth and with the float sat on the surface any interest whatsoever is registered on the ridiculously sensitive set-up, the sensitivity needs to be believed.

So 2 rods in the armoury and I leapfrog sections of cover, it just works, regimented I suppose but for fishing short sessions an ideal method.

For the river however I tend to fish for Zander the same way, albeit everything is upscaled and as there is a chance of a pike, wire replaces fluorocarbon.

Obviously floats are fine fished where depths are suitable and allow it, but anything over about 8 foot the float is ditched and I fish a simple running lead setup with a light bobbin and an alarm. Zander are known to be tackle shy and don't like resistance but I've never found that to be an issue.

The float I believe is the best way to fish for them, not only is the tackle required reduced which is great for roving, but you can see what the fish is doing under a float far better that you can a moving bobbin and beeping alarm.

This area is deep in places though so one sleeper rod as a running set-up and then a float set-up to fish the slacks.

So a quick session this, anything doing ?

Well when I got to river I was very hopeful indeed, despite the levels where most of the staging was underwater some of the swims looked ideal for Zander. However after the 2nd swim without a beep or a bob I needed to try and drop on the fish that would be holding up and give it fifteen or twenty minutes in each swim.

The last swim looked perfect and after the float was stationary for a while it moved off station and I thought eventually I had a bite. Sadly it was debris on the line which to be fair wasn't an issue throughout the 2 hour session.

A friend Dave was catching decent Barbel further down the stretch so with a morning free tomorrow I fancy trying for one myself. So another blank to add to the long list, sadly these short sessions seems to be getting shorter, I'm struggling for time at the minute, they are just not long enough.

Monday 4 November 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Kimbaws and Kill Devils

One of the biggest Barbel I've ever set my eyes on is from this neck of the woods. A huge fish aptly named Albuttbarbelbutt by Sam sadly never to grace my hook.

I've tried for it a few times now when conditions have been favorable but the best I could muster up thus far is around 11lb. The fish that I've seen here was much bigger certainly hence why it's always remained on my radar.

Conditions seemed ideal for this early morning session where the water looked good enough for Augustus Gloop to take a dunking. Damp, dark and drizzly, autumn is certainly here.

When the water is like this apart from eels and the odd chub, a bite from a barbel is the best bet. I tend to tackle the few hours in the same way, put a bit of bait down in the first swim and then rove around to try and buy a bite if nothing is forthcoming.

If that isn't doing the business I usually return to the first swim and sit it out for the remainder of the session. A bed of bait down is a required to keep the fish if they are there occupied and it's a waiting game.

When I got bankside the river had clearly been over the banks and in the fields recently but the levels were perfect. The first swim downstream of a bend where I've caught Barbel before.

There is some nice thick cover which today was unrecognisable because of the levels, but close in there is a decent undercut where I've seen fish hold up in the summer.

A few casts of the feeder to get the bait out there and I'd fish a spicy boilie with a pungent paste wrap.

The first hour was uneventful so I decided to wander upstream and fish the bend swim. The problem was there was still debris coming down so I had to recast a few times till the frustration got the better of me.

Another swim, much the same so it was back to the first swim. The first indication came quite quickly which appeared to be a line bite rather than a pull on the bait, it certainly wasn't debris this time.

With the session coming to an end and the diary makers to please from out of nowhere the rod top goes from stationary to a violent take with a split second. I lifted the rod and already the fish had powered off downstream heading towards a snag.

With two hands on the rod I had to try and bully it away quickly but it was still taking line from the reel, I had no option but to put my right hand on the spool to override the drag, and sadly the hooked pulled. One bite one lost fish.

Damn !!!!

Thankfully I'm not sure it was the biggy because if the initial run, but it was certainly a good fish that's for sure.
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