Thursday 25 June 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Schadenfreudes and Scoville Scales

Ones jerk marinade has to suit the Wife's palate, the scotch bonnets sadly confined to just one each, more than that you see, she is reaching for the glass of milk , or a tablespoonful of youghurt with a rather hot and flustered look on her face.

Still look on the positive side of it, because I do most of the cooking, I'M in control of the scoville scale.


So to make the marinade the chilli's are blended together with ½ large red onion, 3 cloves garlic, 3 spring onion stalks, 1/8 cup white wine vinegar, 1/8 cup soy sauce, ½ tablespoon grated fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon crushed pimento seeds, 1 tablespoons brown sugar, ½ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg, 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon oil and a squeeze lime, and breathe !!!!

So marinade some chicken thighs for 24 hours, whack them on the barbi over the lumpwood and job's a good'un.

If you need some extra spice like I do, a dollop of hot pepper sauce on the side, you will never go back to a shop bought paste again, it tastes super fresh and fragrant, because, well it is.

Now the Jamaican's are very protective of their national dishes, and quite rightly so, so I won't go in to detail on my 'rice and peas' recipe that accompanied the chicken for fear of offending those that know what they are doing. It's a dish steeped in history, and like Britain's own it must be remembered, it is 'history' after all it shouldn't be forgotten.

One half of this popular dish is the staple, rice, now rice was popular in West African culture and the slaves brought the recipe with them to Jamaica and passed on the knowledge to their descendants. To help them adjust to their new, horrid environment, the slaves cooked food that was familiar to them, including rice and peas.


Jamaican rice and peas has been nicknamed Coat of Arms. Use of this term was first noted in 1930, when expert cigar maker and trade unionist Bain Alves recalled how hundreds of men and women at a race meeting in Kingston could get up to “a quattie rice and peas” also known as Jamaican Coat of Arms. Fast forward decades later and “Jamaican Coat of Arms” is still ascribed to rice and peas.

Have you ever wondered why Sunday is the most popular day for serving rice and peas? It’s certainly not coincidental. The practice dates back to the days of slavery. Back in the 1700’s, slaves were only allowed Sundays off from their backbreaking work. And on this day, the best foods were served,  chief among them was rice and peas.


From generation to generation, Jamaicans have been loyal to this dish and there are few occasions when rice and peas does not make the menu. In addition to being an important part of Sunday entrée, rice and peas holds centre stage at weddings, funerals, festivals and nearly every special event in Jamaica. Luckily no longer reserved for Sundays, you can even find rice and peas on virtually every restaurant menu on the island.

And why not, bring it on....

Anyway enough of that back to the fishing, a short session this, two pungent baits, two PVA bags of pungent pellets out an hour before dusk. There was nothing down on the clear and pedestrian river last visit here, but could dusk bring a bite I wonder, the difference in the river from when I banked the carp and bream was quite remarkable in such a short space of time. In 48 hours it turned from fill your boots to, dribs, drabs and dace.

  blend of natural Asian flavours and spices that make it smell unlike many other baits I use. It really is quite distinctive and banked me a few nice barbel thus far.

So on one rod a Dynamite 'Hot Fish' boilie which I stumbled upon a while ago when at one time they were only available in Europe. It's a mix of quality tuna grade fishmeal and bird food, green lipped mussel, another proven feed stimulant and garlic. But it's the

The second rod a Hinders Ramiz dumbell, which again is very pungent with meat flavours but also has added garlic which I find barbel particularly seem to love.

The bait was a few I marinated in the glug for a while. Now Hinders kindly supplied me some bait a while ago but I'd not had much time to use them an anger as the rivers were in constant flood last season, not just a trickle over the banks, but proper'uns "where does the river start and stop" levels.

Both rods for added attraction, a pva bag of cheese and garlic pellets....

Fishing big rivers since the start of the season I realise small rivers and streams are more my thing. It's the stalking approach I miss I suppose and the diminutive winding waterways that I feel more at home at. Still the fish are usually bigger in the bigger rivers and lets face it, big fish are most welcome when they let their guard down.


With little rain predicted this session would be make or break, as I needed some reward as I have the river Alne at the back of my mind wondering when I will pay a visit. I've a new set-up to that needs a inaugural outing and a sensitive quiver that needs a quivering.

It reached 32 degrees during the day so was nice to be waterside when the temperatures were dropping to give some much needed relief from the heat and humidity. Before the two baits went out, I'd chuck the surface insect lure around to try and tempt a cafty Chevin.

Enough of the preamble how did it go !!!!


Well when I arrived Martin Roberts was already bankside and was actually in the swim I wanted to fish, as it was the swim I fish in the main a couple of days earlier, he'd come straight from work and wanted  put some bait in, oh and also to catch a fish. He also wanted a nose at the stretch not having seen it before let alone fished it.

This is a stretch that hasn't been fish for a good while so I suspect despite the syndicates results this far in tough conditions, it might take a while for the bigger fish to reside here, rather than it being a pass through. A near 13lb Barbel, 13lb Carp and 6.5lb Bream ain't a bad return so far though.


After a quick natter I positioned myself downstream, I got the rods set-up ready to cast out and started to give the surface lure a go. There is mayfly hatch at the minute and combined with lots of insects drifting down the river, the fish are taking them off the top. Only small fish by the looks of it, but my experience of the Avon things don't really start to kick off for the bigger fish till much later on, when almost all the light as gone.

In these clear conditions the Avon is proper tough, if you can find a shallow fast running section that's your best bet, because the fish feel less vulnerable with the commotion that is going on.  A float fished piece of bread flake or rolling a chunk of meat often doing the business for Chub and Barbel.


There was plenty going on, but when Martin packed up and left to get his tea it was only then I started to get indications on the bait rods which I'd put out an hour before dusk when there was a nice sunset. I had one tentative pull on the surface lure so decided to sit behind the rods watching the tips and enjoy the evening.  The small temperature drop and light breeze making it rather pleasant, better than being stuck in the stuffy house anyway.

Not long after the bats came out, the first proper pull on the right hand rod. In the space of half an hour a few more plucks and then a proper bite a fish was on. I knew exactly what is was when it felt the first bend of the rod, a small'ish chub determined to get the bait off the hair when a little over the top and hooked itself.


I don't particularly enjoy catching Chub on Barbel gear so it was netted quickly and swiftly returned. It was dark now, 11.15pm in-fact, half an hour past dusk and rather than get the rod out again, after having poor sleep the night before I decided to pack up.

When the conditions are like this, low and clear dusk is the way to go, so I'll have another go soon maybe, next time, maybe I'll stay longer to. There was a notable change from motionless tips to moving ones, so at least being a virgin on this water, that's encouraging. Just before I left I put out some more freebies for the fish to feel comfortable. 

1 comment:

  1. That grub looks amazing! I seem to find chub sport is best around 1-2hrs before darkness, as soon as its dark I tend to find the chub bites cease.

    ReplyDelete

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