Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Friday 31 January 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Gablocks and Gastrophilanthropists

I was watching a Cadence Fishing YouTube video the the day and the Angler was fishing a section of the Warwickshire Avon at Evesham where using the 'Wag and Mag' method he was picking up some nice fish. Maggot was used but it was bread punch he was using initially with a thought to change to maggot later on in the session.

That didn't happen really to be honest as the bread really did work from the off, the feed wasn't that much either, on the day the humble bread they were queuing up for.

Now some 'hybrids' were caught but straight off I knew them as Silver Bream, to be honest you can see why they get mistaken for other species of fish because they are not as identifiable as others are.

The last time I was here at this section of the Warwickshire Avon I used a small cage feeder with maggot and would have had a decent net of roach if I'd had one. Towards the end of the session I had to pack up sadly because a larger stamp of roach were coming along, 8 or 9 ounces, and some nice plump fish too.

Friend Dave who had been catching some superb specimens of Silver Bream not far from here had told me that they had mostly been caught when the light was going, when, out of the blue a shoal would just turn up.

So for this session, not a long one sadly, but I'd fish the float with castor or bread and also later on as the float was difficult to see I'd switch to a cage feeder and fish bread on the deck to try and add a Silver Bream or a Roach Bream Hybrid.

To be fair to the species tally of the Blogger Challenge River Scorecard where I'd already hit 14 species, but I suppose after an initial surge I'd hit a bit of a road block.

Considering the angling literature I've got in ones library there doesn't appear to be that much written about this forgotten fish. I doesn't grow big, it isn't that distinctive, but what it does have is character of it's own.

Having caught a few stillwater fish, once you know exactly what you are looking at, they do offer something to the angler I say. The large specimens Dave was catching they were unmistakably Silver Bream, the large eyes and fins an instant giveaway to me.

I'd certainly like one of them, and I was hoping for this session I'd manage to come across one fishing a little differently to how I fished for them last time. Now I did think about a sleeper rod for Zander or Pike but I'd give that a miss I think. They were not interested last time, maybe it wasn't cold enough for an easy bait, because lets be honest, there is enough bait fish here for them to peruse whilst it's still mild.

So I got bankside and got sorted, a quick plum up to try and drag bottom and lets get fishing. The river had that green tinge to it, the clarity wasn't brilliant either so I thought I'd start off with fishing bread. Liquidised bread a feed, a small amount initially but I could see it filling the swim nicely when it dropped through the turbulent surface.

It took a while for the first bite, maybe an hour in to the session but the float went out of sight in this relatively pedestrian glide. It felt decent as well, so I was hoping for a Silver Bream first off, but after it tried to get under my feet I knew it was a chub. A decent one though, 4lb 8oz's. A walked downstream after netting it and placed it back where it came from albeit away from the pack.

Because a pack there was....

The float going under 4 more times and each time was a four pound chub. The roach were not interested but the Chevin were, a cracking session especially as the fish were a decent stamp. There was quite a wait between bites and I had to feed more than I thought but not fishing the float for a good while, I could get used to this 'wag and mag' lark, maybe next time I'll wait till the clarity is a bit better and fish maggot instead. That or maybe try and find the bream with the deeper and fish a fishmeal donned method feeder with a worm or pellet hookbait to try and single out the bream.

An enjoyable session though and as I headed in to dusk where I struggled to see the float I switched to the feeder rod. That didn't take long to have it's first bite as the light was going, a chublet though this time and that put an end to the session. I'll be back for sure, because I'm sure it's just a matter of time before a Silver Bream or Hybrid graces one's net.

Thursday 30 January 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Love Beads and Lobcocks

To hold the pungent cheesepaste I use for chomping chevin the Korum paste cage was always my default piece of end tackle.

A simple design for sure but what I liked about it was that even when the rubber lips chub or a strong flow on the river had removed most of the paste, there was always a piece remaining in the centre of the cage that would still be attractive to the fish.

Now for some reason, discontinued or maybe out of production for a while they seemed to be getting scarce in the tackle shops. Ebay usually the default for a specific piece of tackle also seemed devoid of these expensive clear pieces of plastic.

I had a small stash myself but hey maybe I could design one more suited to my needs.

I'd tried the paste coils in the past but they are never robust enough to me, often getting caught up in the landing net meaning that a new one had to be fitted quite often.

Also I thought the fish had to deal with a hook but an additional piece of metal wouldn't be ideal, especially if it resembled a straggly pubic hair from an urinal in Hubei Provence.

A server kaput at a client, some thumb twiddling, then an idea, I could knock up a few on CATIA quickly before it came back up.

A some keyboard bashing and knob twiddling I came to the conclusion after designing four, the 'depth bomb' looked more what I was after.

Again paste would be retained if it was almost all entirely gone but being printed in white would also mean a gluttonous chub with his usual cautious eye on the prize may well mistake it for a piece of bread.

When you're designing something on a screen even after thousands and thousands of CAD hours when you actually get to see in the flesh it can look a different scale than intended. A simple 2D drawing to scale is the easiest way to confirm what you've knocked up is what you actually intended to design but I also printed off them afterwards to confirm exactly what I wanted and which one to develop further.

I wanted to fish a ball of paste hence the shape but also when filled so that the protrusions were hidden the attachment point was still prominent outside the paste ball. The scale looked ideal but I'm sure a slightly larger one would probably be better. I used 50 pence sized balls of paste you see, for now though, great for testing out.

So where better to test this piece of tackle I'd designed that would be added to my little box of creations.

Yes down to one of my favourite places on the Warwickshire Avon. I'd caught a 5lb 2oz fish the last trip out here where to be honest, their cautiousness went out of the window and they devoured the pungent cheese concoction often within seconds of being dropped in the swim which the fish

as pictured did and nearly caught me off guard the bite was so quick, instant more or less. 6 or 7 more Chevin caught it was a memorable session indeed.

I don't know why but I've always done brilliantly for Chub in the winter using cheeepaste, it can often bring a bite when other baits are actively ignored.

Why that is ?, I don't know but roving from swim to swim like I do, if you haven't a bite after ten minutes it's time to move to the next swim as they is most likely no fish stationed in the swim, it can draw them out from wherever they hiding, be it undercuts, rafts and snags.

Anyway back to the session, I didn't have long but I was hoping for at least a bite or two to try them out.

Now I'd stupidly manage to snap the quiver right where it joins the tip eye on my 10ft Prologic MP Specialist Pro Rod, that is usually set-up just for Chub.

A decent backbone, an a nice sensitive tip, whilst I was waiting for an eye to turn up so I could fix it, it was out with a new purchase I'd not used before.

I'd bought Sam an Advanta Discovery RVS River Ambush 5.5ft'er but this was the £30 7ft version. It is 1.75 TC which should be man enough for a decent Chub but ideal for small rivers like this, especially when some of the swims mean a duck of the head, a bend of the knackered knees to get through the branches and thicket down to the swim.

After missing a bite in the third swim the all wasn't lost as the paste was gripping nicely to the bead, in-fact they are very light indeed so it complements the paste rather than adding to it. Opposite a heifer and a bull were distracting me from watching the rod tip because he clearly wasn't interested, she wanted help with the dishes.

The problem was something wasn't right at all, usually by now I'd have a fish but having now reached the 7th and final swim I was staring at a blank. It was mild though and the river maybe 3/4's of a metre or so lower when I fished it last.

Maybe dusk was the time for a bite, the last swim I know very well. I've had a few double figure barbel from it, the most recent a few months ago, but the big Chub as pictured came from this swim. If they are off their feed for whatever reason, dusk can often bring a bite out of nowhere. Here is a little deeper than the surrounding areas and fish like it here for that reason.

So I stuck it out, waited to the sun went down and the plan was the leave half an hour past official dusk. What a sunset though, very red indeed it was just nice to be out.

Anyway as the isotope was beginning to be noticeable a few tentative plucks developed in to a full blown bite and a fish was on. To be honest I knew straight away it wasn't big, but still it proved the prototype worked fine, but then these are Chub after all, they'd eat anything if the need is there, but hey the paste didn't some off and that was encouraging. I didn't bother to weigh it because it was almost dark and I knew it wasn't a PB beater quite early in to the fish.

Their feeding seemingly moved to dusk and beyond for some reason, mad how different things can be in just two weeks.

Design tweaks ? not sure, needs more testing when it's proper cold, the levels nice, the water a blue tinge. Oh and the rod, the rod, yeap you couldn't make it up, I've done a Nic from Avon Angling UK after landing the fish, my own fault, but I snapped the quiver tip because of the need to leave to get back to the diary makers, luckily I could buy a new one for the price of a fish supper.

The fish well, just like me, I'm sure he has some stories to tell.

A blank avoided, most welcome....

Sunday 26 January 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Bobbers and Brephophagists

Weird as a specialist angler isn't it, you sort of get that feeling through your bones what would likely be biting, what might start bobbing the float. It's the combination of a few things I suppose, when you gaze at the sky, breathe in the fresh clean air and feel the cold through your skin. The anticyclonic gloom seemed stay with us this week prior to this session, dark, gloomy and lots of  moisture in the air, it screamed perch to me.

Now thus far for the Bloggers Challenge I've only registered a Perch with a gnats nadger over a pound and to be honest, that's easily beatable here at this quiet section of the Warwickshire Avon. In the winter there are bait fish in numbers and predators that follow.

I've never properly fished for Sergeants here to be fair, preferring to fish for the Pike that share the same space and make up much of the predator biomass, so much so, another predator, the Zander don't get a look'in. 

Maybe they don't get on or something, that or they have been bullied out preferring other areas where there isn't competition for the dace, roach and bleak eye-candy. I wanted a nice easy relaxing morning session but with the weather mild, Sam the tangleator would join be as well so it was countdown to verbal diarrhoea commencement.

The swim chosen had some cover to my left and out in front a large open body of water where when the river is in its usual winter level it's almost static. With Sam occupying himself float fishing for whatever came along, I'd fish a running rig adjacent to some cover with a chopped lobworm massacre with an added extra of a sprinkling of red maggots.

Now I've seen first hand the pulling power of chopped worm when Dan and I fished the canal where a tough day for canal Zander turned in to a great day for Perch when Dan had a secret stash of worms ready to be culled when we were starring down the barrel of a blank. His scissors made light work of the wrigglers and when dropped down the edge half an hour later this dead bit of canal turned in to perch soup.

The first dangle of a lobworm fitted to his dropshot rig was snapped up within seconds and within half an hour that happened quite a few times, to be honest I was amazed just how effective it was to draw in to the fish that were clearly not up for a feed, up for the chase. Like many specimen fish dusk and dawn is probably the best time to fish for perch and if nothing was succumbing for this trip I intended to come back myself for a short afterwork session to try and fish just as the light was going to hopefully intercept when the bigger fish would likely switch on.

They are predators after all though and recently I'd had a big perch >2lb grab, but then let go a bleak on the retrieve of a float a lure I'm sure would well be worth trying in an among some of the snaggy swims where they would likely be holding up ready to snatch. 

Now the 'Ned' rig looked ideal and it was a technique I'd not tried before despite it being round for a while so I bought some Korum Snapper Buoyant Squirmz ready rigs which I was eager to try out. I don't lure fish nearly enough and yet love the way of fishing, it's me to a tee, well roving and travelling light, what's not to like. The buoyant body of the lure sits upright in the water even when it's static, so effectively attracting fish even when the rod is motionless. 

Anyway back to this session at hand, the Ned nudging is for another time !!!!

After prising Sam from his bed we headed off to river and got there for sunrise. After trudging through the mud we got to the swim and there were fishing topping everywhere. The looked like a few decent size bream rolling as well, hopefully on to good session.

After the smelt rod went out, some worms were sacrificed and the concoction with some red maggots was deposited in the swim to my left which had some cover. Then an air injected lobworm placed carefully placed over the top and a bobbin and alarm was used for bite indication. Sam was manning the float rod and had already managed a couple of bleak before I sorted the landing net.

Then only after ten minutes or so after the smelt was out the float starts to bob and move. There was no messing around with it either, it was straight off on a run. Now Sam wanted to strike in to the fish so before I could say let the bite develop a little and feel the line tightening through is fingers he had already lifted in to it. Sadly as the fish pulled out of its mouth leaving only a half of the head left.

A jack I assume because the way it took off but a lost fish all the same....

Then all went weird, after catching bleak they all of a sudden switched off as soon as it got bright. We couldn't buy a bite after trying lots of ways to attract bait fish. After the lobworm wasn't taken either after nearly an hour and a half without a bite it was time for a move. We moved downstream where I've caught half decent fish before and again we couldn't buy a bite after catching a bleak on the second trot.

Whilst Sam was occupied trying his best to catch something I put the bleak under a bobber and headed to the start of the stretch where I've caught decent Perch before. The float was bobbing around for  5 minutes or so and then all of a sudden moved a couple of feet in a second or so. A real quick bite that when I lifted in to the float what had now submerged felt I felt the fish for a split second then it came off. The bleak had gone so assume another jack had taken it.

After feeding another swim with chopped lobworms for the last hour another lobworm went out again in a tasty looking swim that I'm sure a perch would be hiding. Sam was getting bored by now, despite feeding properly and trotting a float down time after time, the fish were nowhere to be seen. There was no fishing topping either. I moved up to a swim that is a good foot deeper than the ones in the are and out a smelt out to at least try and drop on the fish. After half an hour without any interest I reeled in the bait and it snatched a couple of foot from the bank by a jack.

It made me jump as well as it came out of nowhere to try and get an easy meal. It wasn't interested in taking it again and after Sam's boredom levels were being tested to new highs, I made the decision to cut the session short. From a promising start it went sour pretty quickly, three birds of prey kept us interested for a while patrolling their patch, but even the sight of those wasn't enough to keep us bankside. A tough session for sure.

So much for a hunch, I'll ignore it next time !!!!

Saturday 25 January 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Exophthalmos and Excutient

Out of the blue a year or so ago a friend Dave sent me a picture of a fish he'd caught down at the WBAS section of river we'd access to and wasn't quite sure what it was. Now I knew what it was straight away as I was quite familiar with the Silver Bream through Jeff Hatt's unique ramblings, and also because Warwick Racecourse Reservoir before it was redeveloped had a good head of them and I caught quite a few up to 1lb 5oz.

The forgotten fish for sure, because like Dave unless you are in the know, you would think like he did, it was a roach bream hybrid maybe, or even a skimmer bream.

Now obviously being an avid carp chaser trying to get the exact location of these silver bream he was catching was like getting blood out of stone. :) You'd

Yeap it was virtually impossible, but then fair enough, I'm not likely to share where the 'bullhead banker' swim is, or where the 'deep' bit on the canal is where big Zander reside, that wouldn't be right now would it.

If I look how my blogging had changed from the first post ten years ago I used to reveal the locations more often that not. 

Ok I've not a PB list to shout from the roof tops about but I'v caught some nice fish over the years and would rather keep good areas I know about to myself and maybe the like-minded if they share the passion for certain species like I do. Canal Zander and Barbel seems to get the most interest from the lazy lead lovers and to be honest, those are some of the easiest fish to catch.

I knew where the stretch was though, the only problem was it was a mile long. The stamp was a good'un as well up to 2lb 8oz's, which for a river silver bream is proper specimen no doubt. My lead in the Bloggers Challenge River leaderboard is reducing all the time though. To maintain that lead I need to catch bigger specimens of the species that I've already caught to increase my points but also to register a weight for those species I'd not already done so.

Dave Roberts with a huge Warwickshire Avon Silver Bream
A river carp, tench, silver Bream and a roach bream hybrid all certainly doable because there are areas I know they reside, in-fact the more I look at what I need to catch, I'm on it.

The problem is I don't fish properly for them to be fair but at this stage of the competition maybe now is the time that I should.

The carp can wait for a while but I've a few session planned now that hopefully will enable me to make a dent in the species I've yet to catch. Sadly the stretch is no longer available to us and because of that Dave recently revealed the location, tactics and the swim

Nothing startling for sure but interestingly the swim type was very much like one I stumbled upon recently which was a back eddy away from the main flow. Before I fished that however for this session I was down within a megaphone shout of the area where some of the big silver bream were caught.

Interestingly I'd caught Pike and Zander in this area also, so a double dipping session this would be, a small groundbait feeder with a fishmeal based sweet ground bait with maggot or caster as hookbait. I don't to enough of this fishing I suppose, a match fishing build up a swim jobbie. 

Sometimes though even that kind of fishing can be tough because I'd been fishing opposite a match once when after Pike and many were biteless fishing maggot despite the river being 'decent', but then you can only catch what is in front of you, if they are not there, they won't usually magically appear. 

A weapon in ones armoury though, before I'd start the session I'd put the deeper down a couple of times to see if I could spot anything of note, a possible fish holding spot or maybe even a shoal of fish.

I've not used it 'that' much to be fair, but for the gadget freak, what a bit of kit and to be honest despite being a princely sum, I've certainly got my moneys worth I reckon.

It's pretty uniform here, 7 or 8 foot being the norm and it has a nice clean bottom, excuse the pun. It didn't take long to find some fish  after a few runs through so just as the light was coming up I sorted the gear out.

A smelt was cast to next to an overhanging tree and I unpacked the feeder rod. The first bite came quite quick which I subsequently missed. Oh and a sweet groundbait mix with caster and maggot mixed in with it. A really nice smell to it, you can see why the seatbox frequenters like it.

A fish came on the second cast and it was a small roach, as I cast out for the third time I spotted two otters over at the far bank without a care in the world. They were patrolling and stalking the margins as they do and I watched them for a good while whilst they ventured upstream for hopefully easy pickings.

The roach keep on coming though and often they would grab the maggot on the drop. I missed lots of bites as well but after a good couple of hours and lots of similar stamp caught, it was time to move. The deadbait was left untouched as well and yet the swim looked ideal.

So I moved upstream and started all over again. It was a little deeper here and also a tad slower, again the small roach came quite quick but this time there was a longer wait before bites. Again the deadbait was positioned next to a snaggy overhang to hopefully drop it on a Zanders head or a mooching pike.

With only half an hour left to go the first decent bend in the rod, a fat roach of 8 ounces gave the quiver a right good doing over, determined to hook itself.

Another 3 followed of similar stamp but sadly the clock put a stop to proceedings. Oddly nothing on the deadbait and it looked perfect for a bite. Whilst I was packing up lots of thoughts going through my mind, for one the silver bream Dave had been catching came headed towards dusk after others species of fish were caught, and secondly after landing what would have been a nice bag of fish I missed lots of bites.

A change to finer wire hook I did land more in the end but It ideal for 'Mag and Wag' here so I think If I come again I'll try that out instead.

A nice introduction though I'll be back very soon.

Friday 24 January 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Manipogo's and Mamlambo's

You'd have thought a drama that featured actors Robert Carlyle and Richard Dormer he of bat s*it crazy Fortitude fame would be half decent wouldn't you, but a couple of episodes in to the drama COBRA for some reason I'm looking at the pen next to me and wondering whether it might be more fun jamming it ones eye.

The synopsis for those that want a painful watch, it's a look at the British government in the midst of a terrible crisis. As widespread power outages from some weird electrical storm causes chaos and threaten lives across the country, the COBRA committee comprised of the UK's leading experts and politicians, gathers to find a way to turn the lights back on.

Such is the overwhelming desire not to offend anyone it backfires big time and fails miserably in appealing to those that are likely to watch it. However when full on anarchy breaks out when water and food is scarce because the local Tesco isn't open I removed ones backside from the sofa and decided to pack my car for a short session down at the Warwickshire Avon.

A whirlpool no more, the once turbulent body of water back to a nice fishable level where I was hoping there was some predators in residence. One issue though, yeah it's a snaggy here, so much so, I lost count of the tackle that I've lost fishing a bait static on the bottom. There is a reason why I come back here though, because Pike Tyson at one time lived here.

I hooked it once and couldn't believe how under-gunned I felt fighting a fish. It gave me a proper doing over initially, then went in with a few kidney punches and a  full on uppercut. Then if that wasn't enough, it finished me off by pulling ones jumper over my head to cover my eyes so I couldn't get to see whatever it was that gave me the two fingers, the multi fins.

I bought a dedicated Pike set-up in the end because I assumed that what is what, well it couldn't have been anything else no could it ?

A catfish maybe ? none have been caught on the Warwickshire Avon I know of anyway, the River Severn, for sure yes. But then a chance conversation a couple of three years ago a fellow like-minded angler told me that the area had some decent Zander in residence. He'd fished it over the years and come dusk he had some nice fish up to double figures from one particular....

....'points over there -------->'

"Oh really !!!!"

I poo pooed it at first because I'd never caught a Zander in the area and I'd used countless deadbaits on sessions and also lure fished it a few times, but then after foul hooking one whilst fishing for Chub, Sam and I fished a session and actually landed one. A reasonable stamp as well, 6lb if I recall and put straight to bed the suggestion that there were Zander here, because, well, we'd caught one.

Zander can be funny buggers though so maybe Pike Tyson wasn't a Pike after all but maybe a HUGE slugger of  a Zander that had a short feeding spell such its gargantuan frame. So yes for this quick afterwork session in to dusk a couple of deadbaits went out to try and tempt whatever was lurking in these usual turbulent waters now a gentle sit back and relax with a bottle of matey matey.

Now I'd caught a Chub on deadbait from this swim and also Perch, so one rod would be baited with smelt my default Pike and Zander bait, and the a roach which is more appealing to the aforementioned.

With these quick smash and grab sessions of mine I was hoping at least something was biting, something wanted a nibble, in the hour and a half the baits were out whilst the daylight started to disappear. It's all I can manage these days, but then I do get out fishing to be fair, needs must for ones own sanity, I'd not sure what I'd be like without it.

A nice tinge of green when I got the river, the colour dropping out of it fast, bread a chub day by the looks of it. The river was till up though and when I got to the swim it was flowing more than I'd have liked. The mist was descending an eerie silence about the place especially as dusk despite being an hour away looked like it had already hit.

The swim sort of changed in appearance when I was here last time so it was only when I cast the bait out I realised I was casting over some sunken reeds. Here in the summer there protrude out the water a good metre or so but when they die down they barely poke through the surface. I thought the 'donk' wasn't quite as expected.

Sadly one of the rods was stuck fast and no amount of budging was going to shift it, so I had to hold the bailarm tightly and walk backwards to free it. Luckily all but the hooklink came back so I quickly set-up a new trace and got the bait out again.

Nothing much happened for nearly an hour when I was contemplating packing up but then out of nowhere something snatched at the smelt causing the bobbin to rise, the alarm to beep in a quick burst of interest. Got to be a Chub I thought and usually after the first tug they don't tend to return. But then some more interest just after I packed one of the rods away.

A tentative rise of the bobbin turned in to a rise of a good few inches so I lifted the rod and felt the line tightening through my fingers. A sense of disappointment when I felt the fish because I knew it wasn't a Zander straight away. A chub I'm sure because it was trying to get under my feet in to a snag I assume but then it did an about turn was headed towards the middle of the slack. It was fighting a little better too but then with the headtorch on I could see it was a pike.

After a spirited fight to be fair it was in the net. No point weighing it, but it looked around 5lb or so at a push. Quite a nice belly on it though, obviously on the feed. Not what I expected to catch in the dark, but still, it was a bend in the rod. Two sessions planned over the weekend, a carpet bombing approach that I'm sure will come good soon enough.

Sunday 19 January 2020

The River Leam - Crow Fairs and Crook Shanks

Four years ago or so the the Rocket pub near Coventry railway station that was boarded up for a good few years, started to be flattened as part of the regeneration work around the station for the Friargate development.

Now back in the 80s the pub, in Warwick Road, was opposite Horizon Studios and was often frequented by 2-Tone legends such as The Specials, The Beat and Madness. It was a pub whenever there was a top sporting event on we used to always go to.

The last gathering I can remember vividly, it was for the 2003 Rugby World Cup final where a big group of us descended to the back of the pub where the biggest screen was and the early drinking commenced.

The atmosphere like it always was there was superb, and as the game panned out the friendly banter and the general ambience was heightened to new levels.

One problem though, yeap the sound delay, you see the front of the pub was obviously watching a different stream or channel, and they were a good few seconds ahead of us in the prime area with the big screen at the back, the better ales on tap.

So when Jonny Wilkinson lined up the iconic kick, stuck with his weaker right foot, in the final seconds of extra time, we heard the roar before he actually kicked it. 

A climax and delayed reaction beyond our control !!!!

To be fair it wasn't at all marred,because the victory over Australia by 20 points to 17 was one of the best sporting moment I've been witness to.

His kick the glorious end-product of thousands of hours of kicking practice and meant an overwhelming feeling of elation for me and the other fans that had watched it.

Another good pub banished to the history books though, that's never a good thing.

Now talking about delayed reaction dace can give very confident bites indeed when using a quiver but fast taper, slow taper, glass or carbon, it's surprising just how different bites are registered depending on the tip you use.

I've found that often you need to be quick on the strike as they can be finicky biters and often you strike in to nothing if your reaction is too slow.

After breaking my wand rod a couple of weekends ago for this morning's session at the WBAS section of the river Leam, it was out with the 1.2oz test-curve TFG River and Stream rod. Combined with a centrepin it's a lovely rod and shame it's discontinued, in-fact I like it so much I'm on the look out for another to add to the collection.

Bread and maggots would be the main stay for this session, with liquidised bread in the feeder, the visit to the stream last time the dace really gave good confident bites on the bread and that was what I wanted. The quick change bead allowed me to change hook-link easily, so whilst it was rigged initially with a lighter set-up for the dace I wanted to target.

The few times I've fished it I've found a nice stamp of dace that seem to reside in swims where you cannot see the bottom, the deep holes basically.

However the good thing about a quick change link is that I could change the hook-link for a now discontinued paste cage. Now there is one swim in-particular where the bigger Chub seem to reside and after having a hook pull last time here on a lighter set-up, something more suitable was needed if a decent Chevin was hooked in this relatively open body of water. In-fact it was fitted with the paste cage first off because that was the first swim I'd fish.

Now it's a characterful stretch this, tight bends, a big pool, undercuts, holes, shallow faster areas and in places the river is jumpable with a short run-up even an old duffer like me could manage. Rivers like this don't tend to have the biggest of fish admittedly but for me I'd rather be fishing this sort or venue, rather than chucking big leads in to the Trent. Diminutive the better for me, but there are still some nice fish to be caught.

When actor and filmmaker George Burton and I fished this section 12 months back he had his PB dace whilst I was having a natter when our paths crossed. Small waters many overlook but there are some gems to be had, some roving to be done.

Now my PB dace came from a tiny Warwickshire stream that has been forgotten in so many ways, even smaller than this stretch of the Leam in size. Sometimes though fish seek sanctuary away from the main river in times of high water, so to be honest, for me anyway, not a huge surprise.

I'm always looking for the next fix though, small rivers define me as an angler I'd say, and given the choice, the Avon or its veins and tributaries, it would always be the latter, especially if it's just me roving and dropping in to any swim I want. Why venues like this have fallen out of favour I don't know, what's not to like, ok bites maybe not forthcoming like a mud puddle but come on, fishing to me and those from days gone by the location can be just as appealing as what fish you're likely to catch.

Now prior to this morning session there was some heavy'ish rain during the start of the week and the river was fining down after being over its banks so when I got to the river it was more coloured than I'd like. To be fair I've never had a problem catching dace and to be fair chub in conditions like this, so I wasn't that concerned about the river I was about to tackle.

Anyway back to the session !!!!

What a lovely morning, a hard frost with the sun trying its best to burn through the fog that was clinging on to the best of its ability. I headed straight to the chub pool but to be honest despite fishing a couple of spots the water was probably a little high, the surface was bubbling and boiling in most of it so the Chevin wouldn't really have time to relax.

George was at the bottom of the stretch and not long in to the session had picked up a couple of Chub to nearly 3lb on a lobworm tail, so the fish were feeding for sure. I started to make my way down to George and fished a few swims on the way managing some roach and small dace on liquidised bread in the feeder and maggot on the hook.

The river was just the wrong side of chocolate and when the sun came up the skies blue the bites dried up. Even two swims I primed with bread and paste freebies were fishless. I persevered in one of the swims and had a couple more small roach that really banged the quiver tip but to be honest it was tough going.

Another couple of days without rain it will probably be perfect. Still some fish were caught, and when I landed a bullhead on the last caught that gave a couple of rattles on the tip, it certainly wasn't a wasted morning, sometime when the conditions are like this, it's just nice being out.

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