Saturday 20 June 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Borborology and Bonesetters

The results for the 2019/2020 Bloggers Challenge are in and the table below shows the landslide win by George Burton, All three waterways fished extensively and some serious effort put in by George especially on the canal to lift the trophy.

Every other year is perfect because to really participate in it properly takes some planning and dare I see it sometimes, it will take you outside of the comfort zone.

Some highlights for me from the Challenge, Sean Dowling's 10lb 2oz River Bream, Georges massive 16lb 10oz Barbel off of the Warwickshire Avon and late starter James Denison's 18lb 7oz Pike and 1lb 15oz Roach with partner in crime Brian Roberts 6lb 5oz Chub and 2lb 4oz Grayling.

For me it was all about the river, I rarely fished stillwaters just not my thing and I struggle to find the time to fish as it is. Most sessions being fairly short so I have to make sure my sessions count.

That is easier said than done mind you especially when this years challenge we had to deal with unprecedented amounts of rain where the local rivers were over the banks much of the time.

Still my tally for the river meant I topped the leaderboard for all things running which entirely selfishly was the aim from the start.

I made a really good dent in to ticking off the species and then once a good tally was built up, it's then just a matter of trying to increase the weights one by one to register a few more points.

Now fishing different waterways like I do shows just how particular species line one area and stick with it. Gudgeon, Ruffe, Bullheads caught from swims and areas I had preciously done before.

In-fact the Ruffe was a bit of an eyeopener, I rarely catch them unless I give the Warwickshire Stour a good plundering with maggots, even then they barely register on the salter scales.

But one swim on the Warwickshire Avon always has them in situ. The first dangle of the float with a worm under a bite within seconds and I've a Ruffe on the end.

My tally of 933 points and 1st place featured 15 species ticked off which wasn't a bad result. However river carp, silver bream and tench eluded me. The Barbel seemed harder to catch as well after numerous blanks I had to move to an old haunt to try and track one down.

I sort of missed the boat on the carp and tench but the silver bream was always doable, especially when one particular stretch of the Warwickshire Avon a syndicate member who didn't know what they were at first had been catching them to specimen levels.

So the captures were Barbel 10lb 11oz, Bream 4lb 8oz, Bullhead 0.34oz, Chub 5lb 8oz PB, Dace 5.8oz, Eel 1lb 8oz, Gudgeon 0.97oz, Grayling 8oz, Perch 1lb 2oz, Pike 11 lb 10oz  Equal PB, Roach 12oz, Rudd 6.2oz, Roach / Bream Hybrid 1lb 12oz, Ruffe 0.72oz and Zander 6lb.

The only other weight I registered was on the canal and that was a Zander of 6lb which matched the one caught on the Avon and gave me 100 points.

The scoring system worked much better this year, the points a percentage of the highest weight recorded by a fellow competitor not based on the British record.

The 100 pointers were chopping and changing all the time which made it highly competitive, and over the competition fascinating to watch. I'm used to fishing streams and the like, it's not all about the big fish for me so a bullhead for instance was always going to be a decent scorer despite Sean pipping me with the biggest fish as the river season was coming to it's conclusion.

We were the only ones to register a weight because it means having to fish a waterway not everyone feels comfortable in. Every fish needed to be photographed and documented on the secret squirrel blog or on ones own blog.

So anyway back to the session, Sam was with me for this mornings session, trotting a float with maggots to try and pick up anything to entertain a 9 year old was the order of the day.

That was difficult to be fair as a proper Barbel not far off my PB was caught from the new syndicate water a couple of days earlier and I fancied a go for one myself.

He'd hadn't been for a while and to be fair I had promised him I'd take him to alleviate some of the lockdown boredom. Bites are key and there are plenty of bait fish here that hopefully would be willing to feed. The recent storms had meant the river was on the fall with quite a lot of debris coming down still most likely.

I didn't want him to have his own way mind you, so I'd also have a huge piece of luncheon meat out upstream to hopefully catch something that was suitable for a landing net.

I don't mess around with bait sizes for Barbel, a quarter or even a third of a tin with a longshank hooked pulled through and turned through 90 degrees. Bite are unmissable generally, but then they are so if a Barbel decides to pull on the bait.

Bites were frequent which is what it's all about, A perch dropped off earlier on but then it was a constant stream of small fish. Bleak, chunky dace, chublets and roach all falling to the red maggots. The luncheon meat rod remained biteless but dusk would be the best time to fish baits this big I would imagine.

The river is still very clear which won't help but still its earlier season I'm sure when there is colour in the water it will transform the fishing. An enjoyable session for sure, Sam well happy now we can go back to the river.


  1. Congratulations on winning the river section - you really pulled away from me towards the end of the season. And congratulations to George for winning the whole thing - I had located some canal chub, dace, eels and carp but Clovid put a stop to me targeting them - I would have got closer but not close enough I think.

    And beautiful little river, look forward to reading more

    1. Just realised you had the biggest Chub Brian not James, whoops I will alter my post. You had the only river carp too which seemed to be hard to track down for many this year.

      I was over 1000 points at one stage on the river but after an initial surge really struggled for points towards the end, a roach bream hybrid sealed it I think.

      Without the lockdown who know what you could have done because you really got a sprint on at one stage.


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