Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Monday 27 April 2020

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.*** - Swingers and Swipples

There is no denying that a bubbling brook and the 'sounds' of nature are wonderfully therapeutic and work wonders for the mind.

These diminutive waterways have something to offer which no other kind of fishing is able to reproduced.

Perhaps it is the variety of scenery and endlessly changing character of the water, or the fact they can provide almost very problem an angler is likely to come across. The reason why these forgotten brooks are largely uncommercialised is undoubtedly, that much off it is off the beaten track and it is in these places that we get some of the our best sport.   

The kids first sighting of a snake in the wild 
Ok the size of the fish rarely compares with that of the larger rivers and there is no doubt that many brooks could be greatly improved as fisheries. Lets be hush hush about it though because it would be a sorry day for brook lovers like me if great improvement ever begins.

Gone will be the wonderful feeling you are the privileged visitor in an excitingly unspoilt and natural little world, a feeling which means so much to the people that fish there.

The fascination of the brooks is a very difficult thing to try and describe but it is always there and waiting to soothe or excite you, in whichever mood you happen to be in.

Men who did their first fishing as children in these tiny waters and have later experienced the bigger fish from the bigger rivers, return to the brooks and still find pleasure in their untouched freshness and vitality.

Canals don't offer the same appeal for me, however the Zander Quest in the closed season allows me to do something I wouldn't ordinarily do. Not a bad thing, fishing for me would become boring quite quickly if I didn't mix it up a bit.

Now this lockdown has given the opportunity to search some of these hidden gems to see where the next Warwickshire trout will come from. To be fair when I started fishing them with Sam in two just an odd bite would have been most welcome, but there has been some surprises to be had.

Countless trout, decent dace, roach, perch and some of the biggest bullheads all succumbing to rod and line in the various stretches we have been fishing over the last few years.

Why more people don't fish them is beyond me, solitude in abundance and fishing on your terms. Roving is a must as it travelling light, a short rod of 8ft or so, preferable over one a little more cumbersome, you've low branches to navigate and you need to manoeuvre around the tree chicanes.

Bullheads are quite aggressive little biters when they get on the feed, a 1oz quiver should suffice to register a pulled maggot on the tip.   

Its the ever changing landscape that deserves some respect, you're properly in the thick of it, and it changes with every trip. Bird song is amplified in these environments and there is always a wildlife highlight with every fishing session.

Obviously you need to be confident that you can fish the watercourse but be discrete about it, I tend to find stretches near to public rights of way.

Generally the access is better for starters and you don't stand out because of that.

So a new stretch discovered, a new stretch that hopefully I can give a go in the new season.

I am struggling with not able to fish, mixing with the great unwashed in the supermarket is fine if you want to buy that 'essential' but fishing a local canal away from anybody else ain't.

Still a roast Sunday dinner which has been a staple in the Newey household all is good again. A water fix is needed though, and with the weather like it has been it'e been nice just to get out in and amongst it.

Oh forgot to add, nothing complicated for these streams and brooks. Worm, bread or maggots, small hooks and light lines.

A small landing net for sure because some fish definitely ain't swingers, they deserve more respect than that.

Still when there are some fascinating creatures like this to be caught, you;ll give these brooks more respect I'm sure.

One particular memorable session Sam and I stumbled on a shoal of bullheads that were in a shallow swim under a bridge.

They were so aggressive trying to compete for the maggot they were literally lumping clear out of the water.

What a sight that was, as surreal as these week we've all been contained, confined and confused.


  1. Never used to look forward to you catching nothing Mick, but the outlook lately has changed all that, so KRO.

    1. Cheers John, hope you're good and we can all get out on the bank soon.

  2. Brooks like the one above are wonderful places to explore. My first taste of fishing came when I would fill my wellies as I sought out bullheads, sticklebacks and the much prized stone loach, scooping them into a jar with my hands. I've never really grown up and occasionally resort to those early methods.

    Nice to have a farmer that let's your dog have fun, 'Your dog can scare or harm farm animals' is so much friendlier than shooting at them.

    1. I find them fascinating to be honest no matter the size of the quarry. Reason why I took the pic, some common sens. Locally the public rights of way across farmland have certainly got busier in this lockdown.


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