Thursday 18 June 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Jolterheads and Jostaberries

Gooseberries have been grown in Europe for centuries, dating as far back at before the 15th century, especially prized as a sauce on roast goose and for making wine, in addition to pies and preserves. However, the name for this berry is not related to the culinary compatibility with a cooked goose.

The name evolved from the old English variation terms for berries: “groser, grosier and grozer.” Ancient medical books refer to gooseberries as “feverberries” with the fruit’s high amounts of vitamins A and C, as well as iron and potassium, to be key to lowering a high fever.

Now the bush in my garden bears fruit year on year and the harvest its harbouring now is ready to pick. Now I've not got a particularly sweet tooth. Savouries are more my thing but I always make a jar of jam or two because, well it's just so easy to do.

Gooseberries are a good source of vitamin C and vitamins of the B group and minerals such as copper, calcium, phosphorus and manganese. 100g of fruit contains only 44 calories. Jostaberry is a hybrid created by interbreeding of gooseberry and blackcurrants.

Gooseberries are also known as "fayberries" because of the ancient belief that fairies used bushes of gooseberry to hide from danger. Cooling properties of the fruit were used during the Middle Ages in treatment of fever.They also contain compounds that can prevent development of certain types of cancer, neurological disorders and inflammation.

Cultivated varieties of gooseberry are targeted by magpie moth, V-moth and gooseberry sawfly. These insects eat and produce significant damage on the leaves of gooseberry. A bush can produce fruit and survive at least 20 years in the wild

Heck they can even be added to Gin, what's not to like !!!!

Anyway enough of the guff, back to the fishing, unperturbed by the disappointing introduction to the new syndicate water, I had a small window of opportunity to visit the water again to see what I could catch. One thing I realised from the last session was just how much I detest being stuck on one fishing spot. I'm a rover, I always have been. Ones restless legs kick in with motionless quivers, and bobless floats and I looking to move.

That's all very well when travelling light but when you've everything but the kitchen sink things get a little more troublesome. Now the storms of late have brought some much needed rain and when I got to the river is was looking so much better than 24 hours before when nothing decided it wanted my bait, well a pike did, but less said about that the better.

The flow was up, a tinge more colour and just looked right. Now again I waited for the thunder and lightning to stop but being able to get bankside really quick is a Godsend. No gates to negotiate, a hop, skip and a jump from car to water. So back to basics for this <2 hour session, a new chub set-up 8lb main line and 5lb fluro hooklink. A link-ledger and a size 6 hook.

With a few lobworms from my wormery tactics cannot get much simpler than that. It would give me a chance to explore some of the swims too. A rod, rest, a small bag and a landing net, that's it. I settled down in to the first swim and positioned my bait near an overhanging tree and started to get indications within a couple of minutes.

There are plenty of bait fish here so assume they were having a good peck at it but then some better indications and a proper pull round I was in to my first fish. That was quick, a complete contrast to the last visit. At first I thought it was a chub but then it sort of gave up and when it surfaced it was a decent bream.

When it was in the net I realised one of the biggest I've caught from the river in a while.In-fact it was only when I checked my records I realised it was a PB by 2 ounces. All 6lb 8 ounces of it, cannot complain at that. Another lobby when out but nothing materialised so I went upstream where it's shallower, narrower and the flow is faster.

I wanted to the worm to bump along the bottom the line dragging it from upstream to downstream hopefully in-front of a fish. Big visual baits like this really can really be enticing to any fish in the area and having witnessed them on other stretches ignoring a static bait, a moving bait can often trigger a response in particular chub, who sometimes can be very coy indeed. 

After a few casts I could see the line tighten which was met with a couple of taps on the tip and I struck in a  fish. At first I thought it was a small Barbel, it was pulling well but when I got it near to me and the waiting net I realised it was a carp. I don't think it knew what was going on till it saw me or the net because then all hell breaks loose.

It bolted off upstream with me hanging on for dear life, the fish taking line at a rate of knots. I then realise it was trying to get in to some mostly submerged reeds with just the odd one sticking out of the water. No sooner as I realised where it was headed it managed to get itself wedged tight. Damn, I cannot lose this now, it's the first river carp I've hooked in a while. 

I pulled out some slack line and went above it and then pulled the line as tight as I dared, it was stuck solid but then it bolted downstream pulling a few reeds out with it. I quickly went back to where it was hooked keeping the line tight as I did so and I was properly playing the fish. So nice to play fish like this on relatively light tackle and a couple of times I thought I could net it, it powered off again.

Still it was tiring and eventually I netted it, oh yes, what a difference 24 hours and a bit of rain makes. That's more like it, a quarry unknown now less so. A lovely dark fish and proper chunky with sadly half of his tail missing after a lucky escape from one of our furry friends with claws and teeth. 13lb on the dials.

From a forgettable session to one unforgettable on the same stretch, I went home happy. Just goes to show how small differences can change things in fishing and that's why we love it.

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