Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Friday 31 July 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Cold-Cooks and Comb-overs

Another super short session this hence the matching post, but then that's the norm for me these days. I spotted some nice Barbel here last time under ones polarised sunglasses when I was lure fishing for Chub.

So a double dipping session this, the first hour I'd try and winkle out a Chub and whilst I was chucking the lure around I'd bait a couple of marginal spots with scalded pellet and then fish the last hour in to dusk to try and trap a Barbus. 

Despite the Avon being ridiculous low and rather lifeless there are still some oxygenated swims over gravel I fish that do still hold some nice fish. 

The chub cannot get enough of this tiny crankbait often taking it as soon as it hits the surface. In-fact most of the bites have come when the lure is on the surface not when it dives.  

I picked up four or five within the first half an hour, they were mad for it. One with a nasty wound on the top of his noggin but seemed to be happy enough with his affliction properly nailing the lure within a split second of it hitting the water. 

No Barbel were spotted this time though but still they tend to start to move heading towards dusk when they try and search out food. 

The two spots I baited were a nice depth and the scalded pellets with a mixtures of sizes with some added hemp I was hoping that they would start grubbing around when I wanted them too.

The problem with here you have to be off half an hour after official dusk without fail.  One member you see despite the warnings was caught taking the pee and was actually night fishing it to try and catch a particular barbel. 

A resulting letter from the club a blanket ban for ALL, head torches outlawed, the nocturnal Barbus breathed a rather large sigh of relief.

Now 9 times out of 10 when the light starts to go the chub pulls and bumps start but for some reason that never materialised.

There were fish in the swim though because there was movement on the tip from time to time but all very suspiciously quiet not even a proper chub pull or anything.  

Still not all lost at least I know that there are Barbel here after all, they have been rather absent of late. 

Wednesday 29 July 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Crankbaits and Crackmans

Some normality restored the Avon still ridiculously clear, the rain that we had turning the lawn from a brown tinge to one of green, I'm not talking about the river though, I'm now back in the office two days a week.

The 25 minute 20 mile commute seemingly taking an age such out of kilter all things are at the minute. Still it's nice to see some work colleagues albeit an 8th of full capacity, the instructions from the top is still to work from home.

4 months and 6 days since the 23rd of March lockdown I was finding the WFH a little hard to deal with some good days, some bad days, luckily mostly good. It will break the week up nicely I think, and do ones wellbeing much good. The dawdlers, nutters and tailgaters still on the road though it seems, back to the office with a bang, I'm not complaining though it's all good.

Now we just need the whole country to follow suit, seemingly many after being furloughed and have had their feet up for a 3rd of a year disastrous news that some cannot take that much needed holiday in much sunnier climes, 1st world problems and all that.

The civil servants not feeling the pain of the private sector where if you're not already jobless many are watching their backs to see if they will have a job come Christmas, I'm one of the lucky ones, for how long though ? things can change at the click of a finger. Don't worry though, a light at the end of the tunnel Boris will give you a few quid to get your bike serviced at Halfords. 

It's not been the best summer this year has it although as I'm typing this there are some hot days the weekend coming up. It's amazing how the nights are drawing in already though, dusk won't be far off the kids bedtime in a few weeks the blackout blinds no longer required.

The fishing can be tough when conditions are like this but there is an area I know a ten minutes drive away where the fast flowing water harbours some colossal chub. They are no mugs these fish mind you often sending in the youngsters behind enemy lines before attempting to get anywhere near the mindfield.

Fishing would get boring for me if I did the same thing all the time, you have to mix it up a little I say. Fish for barbel exclusively errrrr, no chance.

These fish can be seen under polarised sunglasses you see, the gin clear water allowing sight fishing to be carried out where the Chevins dark silhouettes are a contrast to the light gravely bottom. In one particular swim feeding some bread on the surface brings the fish up from the bottom to inspect the bait before nudging it to break it up.

I've caught some good fish this way but their confidence is the key, sometimes they are properly on it with no care in the world others times like a vegan around a hog roast.

The best I've managed is a near 5lber I think but there are fish much bigger here, easily 6lbers, maybe even getting on to 7. The problem is conditions need to be absolutely perfect for them to reveal themselves, usually you see they are tucked up out the way and to the layman you'd never know a Chub that size would live here.

For this session though I was breadless so a small 3.5cm Rattlin Hornet from Salmo was the lure of choice. It's a great little lure this, it floats on the surface till you crank it and then it dives almost hugging the bottom. When fishing for chub like this often they nail it as soon as it hits the surface, if they don't though you can let it drift down in the flow and crank it occasionally to try and initiate a strike, Chub are sight predators after all.

To be fair I've a fair few surface lures , most I've used float only and 'pop' on the surface on the retrieve, the hornet does both. When I arrive there were Chub in the main swim I was going to fish but only small un's still I know better. The first chuck of the lure a chublet nailed it instantly no messing around straight in there.

In the 2 hours I fish this swim and one further downstream which has an area of calm away from the fast flowing water and I managed 5 half decent Chub and a couple of chublets. Not the biggest of fish the largest maybe a scraper 3.5 / 4lber but all showing their summer colours. On light tackle they give a decent fight and it was an enjoyable session.

What was encouraging though I spotted a couple of decent Barbel from an area I'd given up on because my results this season were less than encouraging, blank after blank. So as this stretch is so handy I think I'll have another go for the barbel here in to dusk, the plans already in action. In-fact will be the next short evening session the next couple of days. They bigger chub didn't succumb still, they are still here, I spotted a couple that were easily over 5lb. 

Monday 27 July 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Dunghills and Dromestoners

With the Avon so low and clear I wasn't that bothered about heading down the river post a big Sunday dinner but after Saturdays over-indulgence in all things bad, alcohol was off the table. However when Sam said he'd like to go and fancied trying for a Ruffe to tick another species off his growing list, the tackle was sorted and we were heading for a short <2 hour session down to an area that oddly tends to always hold them.

The problem was when we got to this rather sluggish stretch the bottom could be seen and apart from tiny minnows hardly anything above an inch in length was in the swim, hmmm going to be a tough one this. Still, armed with a few worms from one's on thriving womery I'm sure something would be up for a bite.

Now the ruffe is the perch's smaller and rather less attractive cousin; similar in shape, except that the spiny first dorsal fin is fused with the second soft-rayed dorsal,very different in colour, obscurer, with fins only a little touched with red and with greenish-grey upper body and silver-grey belly.

The first gill-cover bears a dozen small sharp spines; whence perhaps its name, after the starch frilled collars of former fashions. At first it seems surprising that ruffe should happily inhabit the same waters as perch, without competition, for a small perch is remarkably like a large ruffe. 

They both breed in late spring and summer, the ruffe's spawning beginning a few weeks later; but the ruffe lays the eggs one at a time, adhering to the bottom, while the perch lays them in strings a yard long, sticking to plant stems. So the newly-hatched fry, which are perhaps most likely to compete with each other, start off in different parts of the water; and grown ruffe have specialised in bottom feeding as perch have not. 

One I caught earlier
Now Ruffe will probe their snouts quite deep into mud in search of odds and scraps, nearly as far as a carp will; perch, when driven to bottom-feeding by a lack of anything to chase, just peck at the surface. 

Nevertheless, ruffe can be easily taken by float-fishing with fine tackle and red worms, or so it is said; few anglers would deliberately go in search of them nowadays, for all that Walton describes them as excellent table fare. 

Till the last century, though, the ruffe was sought out for a sort of antipathetic magic, on account of its other name of "pope"; anglers from Leeds and Sheffield and other Yorkshire towns used to meet at the aptly-named Crewel Bridge on the Trent in Lincolnshire, for the ceremony of "plugging the pope". They stuck corks onto the spines of all the ruffe they caught, and set them loose, free but unable to submerge, to drift floating down the river.

Errrrrrrrr ok, think I'll give that a miss...

So anyway back to the session, the first couple of fish were welcome gudgeon albeit not Gonk size and then a small perch got in on the act. The bites were few and far between even the bleak suspicious in their absence but a cast to a deeper area brought an instant bite. 

The float going straight under within a split second. Sam knew he had a bigger fish on and this was taking line of the clutch. He wanted for me to have the rod but I encouraged him to continue on with the fight and he eventually got the fish under control.

A small jack had decided it would like a tiny piece of worm, it was hooked in the scissors too, a size 18 hook and 2lb bottom. It was quite a good little fighter to be fair and could be seen trying to escape in the gin clear water. Eventually landed and rested it certainly gave Sam some sport from an otherwise tough session where sadly a Ruffe didn't materialise.  

Friday 24 July 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Grockles and Grimgribbers

As someone who would love to retire to the coast, ditch coarse fishing and take up sea fishing YouTube is a Godsend.

Ones subscription list is growing but some highlights below, John Locker the current British record holder for shore caught Bass shares his tips and insights into sea and shore fishing in Cornwall on his channel The Fish Locker.

Coastal foraging, ling and conger fishing, gilthead bream, bass and mackerel the variety of fishing is great to see especially when he makes it an easy watch for the layman and novice where he explains rigs, boats and set-ups articulacy . 

Another forager, fisherman and waterside catch and cook'er is the channel from Guernsey Jay from Smash Fishing who is often joined by partner in crime Danny from Inglorious Fishing their channels feature almost daily videos catching lobsters, spider crab, crayfish, turbot, brill, bass, plaice, pollock, mackerel the list is endless.

Often the videos are live too where >500 watchers are shouting at the screen or typing in the live feed, "Danny, you've a bite, the bells are ringing." Isn't it mad what you can do via your mobile device these days. 

It's 2020, who needs the BBC.... Gary Lineker clearly, should he not be retired by now.

Closer to home so to speak my twin brother Chris moved to North Devon 5 or 6 years ago from Coventry where as a software / infrastructure technical specialist he works mostly from home. Ok, he's not quite the keen fisherman I am but his lunchtime break from work, is often a pint at the local pub and then an hour lure fishing around the old pier structure in vibrant and crystal blue waters.

And don't I know it, often daily updates from Whatsapp where some of the sunsets rival the outlook from Cafe Mambo in Ibiza and the blue waters rival anywhere in the world. For some reason it's radio silence on the gloomier drizzly days, I wonder why.

Another sunset Chris ?
Now as someone who is stuck in-front of a computer all day and has worked from home since lockdown maybe when the kids have finished school it could well be time for a move. As much as I love living where I do, I really fancy a big change in my lifestyle and pace of life I suppose, the Wife onboard with it too, in-fact it was her suggestion.

I want to work less and enjoy the outdoors more, ok my hours have reduced over the last few years because the automotive contracting world ain't what is used to be and I suppose it has made me realise as I get older, money is less of a priority and cities put the collywobbles up me, where as years gone by they were my weekend haunts. I'm a solitude seeker these days, how times change.

I'd certainly have to get myself a boat and looking at some of the various channels as I do, you don't exactly need a bank balance breaker either to make it viable. The Jimny an ideal tow vehicle for a light boat if a marina is out of reach.

So where could we end up ? Cornwall, Devon, or Pembrokeshire , well we've got some ideas and with two UK holidays planned on the coast this year because we don't fancy an abroad holiday at the minute, so hopefully start narrowing it down after seeing much of the UK now.

I think being nestled in the countryside having a sea view and a short drive to the sea might be a good combination, my brother on the other hand needs to be staggering distance from the pub. I'm rather lucky where I live now though, ok not for everyone, pubs and shops are a drive away but I can be bankside on the canal, a small river, stream or Warwickshire Avon in ten minutes. Very handy indeed for me as a short session angler,which this session would be.

So for the moment till we put plans in to action I'm confined to having to cook week old mackerel on the BBQ.

Anyway back to the fishing I was after a Barbel again in this short section where I managed a good double recently.

It's a small stock of transient barbel I'd imagine but results so far from another syndicate member and myself show that there are some lunkers here. Bites can be at a premium for sure, and often blank sessions but when a fish is eventually caught it should be a good'un.

I like sessions like this, there is no need to rush, take your time, set your stall out, some freebies out an hour before dusk and then sit back an wait to the light goes and the bites start. Again an air dried boilie to try and counteract the chub, very much groundhog day, but it's a method that works.

Before all that though an ultra light quiver and some maggots just to see what is swimming about here. To cut a long story short that was a good idea because after catching some nice dace, roach, chublets and perch I set my stall out.

As per usual the chub pulls and plucks started pretty much straight away so I thought once dusk arrived a barbel or two might move in, but oddly the chub bites stopped not long after they started and things went completely dead.

Maybe the air pressure had something to do with the lack of action ? certainly felt very close indeed.

There is usually quite a few fish topping and turning around this time, even bream rolling, but not this session, all very odd, motionless nightlites are not good.

Still some chill out time on the bank, that's what it's all about. With the river low and very clear and not doing much, what to do, what to fish for ? faster water, or even deep water for that matter could be the answer to ones prayers.

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Green Panthers and Grumbletonians

I really surprised to see a four cars in the car park when Sam and I arrived. Here there is cover aplenty though for the fish though, so maybe that was the reason, because at the minute the Avon is gin clear and very low indeed. Certainly tough conditions till the light goes and the fish start to show themselves and venture out from the sanctuary of their lair.

Still, Sam begged me to take him for a couple of hours to catch some small fish "from the bleak swim" and I duly obliged. There are still bites to be had and still back in time for bedtime.

He is turning in to a great little angler is Sam as he took control of both rods for this session and I sadly never got a look in. A float rod with a couple of red maggots it was a bleak, dace and roach a chuck. The fish visible in most of the swims, the darker deeper areas "holding the bigger fish" as expected. Some of the hungry bleak were very ornamental indeed. Sadly the gudgeon didn't show for some reason.

The 3.5cm Salmo Rattlin' Hornet attracted quite a few small but very angry perch. The chub didn't show today but I love this little lure because before you crank the reel it floats on the surface so you can drift it under overhanging trees and places where it would be difficult to cast to.

The larger fish in the swims seem to come out of nowhere to come and have a look at this swim disrupter.  it's just got a great action and dives really well and hugs the bottom when necessary.

I love ad hoc sessions like this, it breaks up a rather monotonous week at the CAD station. Like many I've really been struggling from time time to deal with this uncertain times and fishing how ever short the session is gets ones mind back in a good place again. A pastime where nature is part and parcel of it all, very therapeutic indeed, a much needed tonic. 

Tuesday 21 July 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Jogg-Trot and Jerrycummumble

The bait fridge, never been so clean, the residue of all manner of gunk jetwashed off after having a purge on what was lurking in the back of the fridge, what was sticking to the freezer bit. You can overthink with bait sometimes if you think about what bait gives you confidence with barbel I bet you only stick to a few, I know I do.

A few spindly spiders given their marching orders a sign of a mouse being enjoying the warmth of the compressor. No party to be had here chaps, be off with you.

A return to the quiet stretch for this short after WFH evening session this time a bit of double dipping though. Not only would I be targeting the Barbel again such the success of the last session here but I'd also have a sleeper rod out for a Zander. A few times now I've sort of regretted fishing two rods for Barbel even on a fairly open river like this.

I got in to a bit of a calamitous situation because the barbel I caught last time ploughed in to my other line which was straight out in-front of me rather than being far more obtuse. Luckily quickly sorted as the fish could have well have been lost which would have been my entirely my fault. Fish welfare is key after all.

There is no reason why Zander wouldn't be here, but this area is a little strange, just below here a predator haven as far as I know from the like-minded only pike have shown up and yet just downstream and upstream for that matter Zander are in numbers. There is a good depth here, up to 9ft in places towards the far bank and at the near bank despite it being a bay on a bend as such, it's shallower maybe 4ft, the floods not doing what you thought they would do.

Because the river is so clear sill I kind of like these short sessions, there is no need to rush because the bigger fish won't start moving till the sun starts to set and the light starts to go.

Now the last trip here I did something that was a little outside of the box, and to my surprise it worked very well indeed.

Within fifteen minutes of the hardened boilie(s) being out the indications started. Usually that only happened when it was dusk and beyond, this was an hour before dusk, all very encouraging, there is method in ones madness, lets just hope ones bank balance can support it, because maybe it was the edge I'd been looking for all along. What is also encouraging is that the barbel I caught was different to the one that came out here

The Zander sleeper set-up, well my usual phosphorescent bobbins I designed myself will indicate a bite via an alarm and I'd fish my usual running set-up with a smelt offering. River Zander like their unfortunate canal dwelling cousins seem to like them too. The smell also helps I think and it's quite a visual bait for a passing Zed to home in on.

Enough of the preamble, I better get to the point. I somehow had forgotten to pack ones air dried boilies so krill wafters would have to do. It didn't take long for the bites to start though after I positioned it over a carpet of bait. Some were certainly chub trying to nick the bait off the hair. I could fish lighter I suppose and remove the hair and replace with a band bait to at least bank a fish, but I'd rather avoid the Chub than being undergunned with a big Barbel on the end.

I don't want to catch a Chub on ones Barbel rod either, catch 22 I suppose. The smelt when out in a 9ft deep gully but not even a small indication when I left 40 minutes after dusk. Nothing doing at all. The chub after a good attempt to snatch the bait decided they had enough too and bites turned in to a motionless rod top. Time to exit, at least the sunset was nice and I saw one of the biggest bats I've even seen, a scale above the humdrum.

Saturday 18 July 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Jimny's and Janizaries

I've bought a few new cars in my lifetime the Gen4 SZ5 Suzuki Jimny being the latest I'd put pen to paper to. I needed something to befit ones lifestyle especially when speed has gone out of my system now which probably isn't a bad thing as there is an ever increasing crack-down on it.

Despite working in the automotive industry I'd fallen out of favour with cars too, nothing really raised ones eyebrows, often seeing cars as more or less like white goods getting from A- B.

I'd been waiting for the Gen4 Jimny to surface for a while though and when the first pictures came through 'please take my money' Cars don't have much character these days and this has it in spades.

A proper little off-roader, where muddy river banks or boulder filled bankside verges wouldn't be an issue. Ladder-frame chassis, switchable 4WD and approach and departure anglers to rival anything Land Rover can peddle. Apple Car Play, LED headlamps, heated seats, auto dimming main beam etc etc, it's even got all the latest electronic safety gear.

The problem is they wouldn't bring many in to the UK each year so I had to act fast. I had my deposit down as soon as a demonstration model appeared a the local dealer. which confirmed my suspicion that it was a car with character forgotten within the humdrum.

I ended up being first in the queue too so had first dibs on the whatever allocation the dealer got. There was no choosing what ever you wanted, I got to say yay or nay on the car that that they had in.

So when a blue one was offered ( Jungle green sadly not available in the UK ) ones thumbs went up and waited a few months for it to arrive.

Even the Wife seems to like it....

Since delivery though the was some noise from Suzuki about the stranglehold of ever tightening European Union emissions regulations and in the end claimed another automotive icon with the popular Suzuki Jimny put out to pasture earlier than expected.

With its relatively unsophisticated 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, Suzuki's loveable 4x4 will bow out of Europe before the end of the year, despite strong sales. To be fair its axing has been on the table for some time, but that timeline has been brought forward following a new EU ruling that all new cars must emit no more than 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

Counting against the Jimny is its CO2 emissions of just over 150g/km matched to its petite 1135kg heft, which makes it more difficult for it to reach an EU acceptable target.

Despite a growing number of 48-volt mild-hybrid versions of its cars, including the Swift Sport, S-Cross and Vitara, going on sale in Europe (providing valuable credits towards its overall fleet emissions), the diminutive Suzuki doesn't sell sufficient cars - and had no choice but to remove the Jimny from market.

Somewhat ironically, small city cars are also adversely affected by the new rules. Operating on razor-thin profit margins, it's difficult for a car company to balance the cost of adding hybrid technology to a compact city car while still maintaining an affordable price point.

And dinky it is, and one of the reasons why it suits me because with the rear seats down 95% of the time the boot more that big enough to swallow ones fishing tackle. The suspension articulation is staggering which means any undulating track isn't an issue and the ground clearance equally impressive. Ok it drives like a car from the 80's but that's apart of the appeal, every journey is an event. Tiny gaps can be squeezed in to, car park dings a thing of the past.

I've covered nearly 8k miles in it now and it's been great, 40mpg betters my previous Golf Mk7 R by ten despite having a wheezy engine and aerodynamics like a brick and it's also less likely to be nicked from the house like they tried and failed to do to with the Golf. A getaway car, "errrr yeah ok !!!" The rear seats are down post of the time, family journeys in it, 'interesting'

One other plus point there isn't the fear on every journey that I'll damage the 19" diamond cut wheels on the ever increasing potholes and knackered country-lane verges. 15" wheels and big profile tyres.

So why this post then Mick ?, well it now appears what it is become rare as rocking horse poo, if you want to get your hands on one you'd have to pay >5k than I picked up my top spec one from new. Madness, I suppose supply and demand and all that. I'm not complaining, however this is a keeper though unless I desperately need the money if my circumstances change under these troubling times we live in.

Anyway talking about changing circumstances, I was wondering what to fish for but spurred on by some recent information shared by postie Bob, for this mornings sessions I was after probably my favourite river species the gluttonous Chub. Now a Chevin is one of those fish to be relied upon no matter the weather, throughout the hottest of summers and the coldest of winters, if a quiver is to be quivered,a float to flounder in the flow, the Chub is as reliable quarry.

Now postie Bob put me on to the bomb hole, a section of river where a staggering change of depth happens within such a small area. Even though he hadn't fished this stretch in years the 'feature' naturally still held fish.

The information shared that came to light was situated in an area I'd fished before to be fair, but I'd not dangled the breadflake, or chucked out some cheespaste in anger here for a while. It sees some skulduggery down this neck of the woods despite the footfall, so it's good to go from time to time, to reacquaint myself with a stretch that is home to at least one of my PB's.

Recently though, some of those 4lb and near 5lb Chub I'd caught had grown exponentially by all accounts and there were reports of fishing of 6 and even 7lb'ers being caught. That a cracking size for the Warwickshire Avon where a 5lb is a good specimen. So after a busy working from home week this confab raised ones eyebrows and ploughed me through the daily design drudgery as it was something to look forward to when I reached the weekend.

Now a chub is the most circumspect, or perhaps circumaudient, of fishes, it has excellent sight and probably the best hearing for its size of any fish in England, and no wonder, for it has in a sense the biggest ear.

A fish with ears as long as a hare's would be worth seeing, and no-one would be surprised if it were as wary as a hare, but to look at a chub one would not suppose that it had any ears at all.

A rounded face, after which plump cheeks are called chubby; the single dorsal fin, and high pectorals with lower pelvics set far back, and the large scales that are common to all the cyprinids, a long body for a cyprinid, for it will live in rivers of moderate speed as well as in still water, and needs some power in its swimming, but where are its great ears?

Hidden inside, together with the innumerable small sharp bones that make the chub almost inedible. If the mark of a sportsman is to love the sport for its own sake, then the chub and barbel fanciers are the purest sportsmen of any anglers.

More so than the heroes who stand waist-deep in icy torrents struggling with salmon, or the perfect tiers and casters who can imitate their chosen fly and get even the sex right, and drop it to the inch over the trout's nose, for they will enjoy their catch on the table.

But the chub is watery and tasteless and bone-riddled from all accounts, surely Shirley nobody would pursue them except for purely sporting motives ? So a simple set-up, a link ledgered huge bit of flake and a roving set-up. I'd also feed some bread on the surface as it's still clear to see if any fish were up for a feed off the top.

Enough of the rambling, sadly back to reality this one after the Barbel high. I set my alarm to get bankside early but sadly I was beaten to the hot peg, someone obviously had less red wine than I did.

The two pegs down from here though were free so I fished them both to try and winkle out a fish or two. One of the swims was very shallow indeed but the Chub could be seen in the flow and some big'uns too. They were spooky though so when I managed a few small chublets they vanished completely and only returned after a good hour or so.

They must see some pressure these fish because it's probably the busiest stretch I fish. Not my ideal location but when there are big Chub to be had I'm all ears. The session didn't end at all well, and I will get to the point. I hooked a big Chub trundling a bait from a shallow swim to a darker deeper area, as the bread bounced along the bottom the hunk of bread disappeared and a fish was on.

The problem was within a split second it bolted off and it was heading right towards a snag before I could get on top of it. Despite ones efforts to steer it away from it, the hook pulled out this brute of a fish, damn !!!. Usually with Chub the hook hold is that good that rarely happens but sadly on this occasion it did and the fish gave me the two fingers, not good, I'll be back.

Oh and the best Chub hook ? answers on a postcard 

Wednesday 15 July 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Anacampserotes and Ambiverts

While most of us are more familiar with the opposite ends of the personality spectrum, introvert and extrovert, as I've gotten older I identify with the in-between, also known as ambivert. Now an ambivert is someone who possess traits of both, meaning they may have the charisma and assertiveness of an extrovert and share the thoughtfulness and listening skills of an introvert

Extroverts are generally energised by being around other people, love being the life of the party, avoid being alone for long periods of time, and prefer to talk things out then leave things unsaid.
Introverts, on the other hand, make alone time a priority, enjoy more intimate conversations, stray from large gatherings, prefer to think things through instead of talking things out, and are energized by alone time.

I think it's a good balance to have, especially at my age, no problem partying into the early hours with subwoofers causing enough air movement and vibration to fire up the richter scale and torment the tinnitus, then once that was over taking time for myself alone seeking solitude. 

When I was young free and single and firmly in ones womanising years (could you get away with saying that today ? probably not ) after another mad weekend, solitude was sought when the door closed and I was all alone again. The Technics 1200's were fired it, mix tapes created, films binge watched, curry concoctions created.

These days as a family man with a Wife, two young kids and a busy work schedule those extrovert days are less for sure, but they still happen, they need to to keep ones sane, but it's the solitude that has changed most I would say. Pounding out the DJ mixes and also dabbling in production has changed to seeking solitude in fishing.

Now fellow blogger Lee Poultney wrote a nice article about those optimistic summer anglers who litter the stretches early season and make fishing on ones own terms very difficult indeed. So before their enthusiasm wavers when the fishing is tough (like it always is on summer) and they start reaching for that extra layer you need to think outside of the box.

The pressure the fish see at the start of the season is certainty felt by the fish, especially by the big ones there is no doubt about that. A proper river anglers fishes he whole season, comes rain or shine, snow or storms, he will be bankside, those quieter areas away from the pretenders are few and far between though, you just need to think outside the box a little.

Now you know me I plan my sessions before they happen, even down to the pegs I will fish especially on the river. So only a short session I had planned for this evening like most of my Barbel sessions this time of year. However after lugging my tackle down to the first stretch only one angler present however he was in the first peg I set my eyes on.

 Ok I could have found somewhere else to fish, but my mind wouldn't allow it, it would be working in overdrive if I blanked, so it was on to the next stretch. Again lugging the tackle bankside, this time a relatively quiet area where there are some good Chub present this time of year. They are very wary but get them confident feeding off the bread off the surface they can be caught. It was a good place to winkle out a fish whilst I decided where to fish for Barbel.

In my quiver I always keep a lighter Chub rod in the summer because it's a good productive way to catch them. It's my usual link ledger set-up where I remove the ledger and just fish a chunk of bread on the hook with nothing else. After getting them confidently feeding, sadly only small ones I caught one small chub quite quick. It's fast and shallow here so under the polarised sunglasses your quarry can be seen.

The problem is after catching one fish the swim is knackered for a good while so after the blank avoider I decided to up-sticks again and head to an area where I'd had my PB Barbel. A couple of other anglers on the stretch I spoke too also struggling for Barbel this season.

Usually come Autumn and Winter the banks are deserted (PB was caught in January if I recall) but when nearly there I saw a car pull in to the official car park  and then when I tentatively went past it was already full of cars. Ok only 5 cars if I recall and I could have driven to near waterside in the Jimny but I didn't want to discover where I wanted to fish occupied.

Like flies round s__t

So third time lucky, back in the car again, this time to a stretch where I know I could get some solitude. To be fair I've given this area a fair go now since the start of the season and not caught a barbel yet but I could fish past dusk and beyond here so I wasn't having to clock watch.

My usual early season tactics were to be employed and I'd rod watch whilst enjoying the peace and quite and the ever changing landscape and wildlife. 

Thick dispersed cloud blanketed the sky so the sunset wasn't as vibrant as it usual is but that was good for the fishing. Much earlier than normal there was indications there were fish in the swim. The chub have been quite active here, not big ones but enough enthusiastic eager ones to upset ones Barbel plans.

I used two air dried small boilies though and a pellet stop as a poka-yoke approach so it was quite nice to see them having a go to pull the bait off but not succeeding. 

There seemed to be more fish activity too as the light went. Perch on the hunt upstream, bream rolling and what looked like the odd big Chub taking mayfly off the surface. 

Fingers and toes crossed !!!!

Dusk ticked off I would give it another hour before calling it a day. I find if a bite is going to come it will be just as dusk has kicked in or not much after that. 

Very much on a feeding pattern this time of year. When the river is chocolate brown and motoring through a different story. 

Anyway after countless chub pulls and taps eventually a proper bite developed, I thought a chub might have hooked itself first but then as I let the bite develop all hell breaks loose. 

The rod whooping properly over the centrepins ratchet activating and now audible. This was a Barbel oh yes, initially it bolted off downstream when it felt some resistance but when I turned it it started to head upstream towards me.

When it saw the net for the first time though it surged off again, proper powerful stuff, this a species every angler needs to catch to appreciate. It did that three or four times before I managed to land it. I allowed it to rest for a good twenty minutes half an hour which gave me a chance to chill and pack away the rods. 

I couldn't find the Waymasters though the 7lb Samsons wouldn't do. When I got a good look at the fish on the mat it was a cracker. Certainly >11 probably heading towards 12. Not a PB though so I wasn't going to worry about getting it weighted. If it was, I'd be on the phone to Nic from Avon Angling UK to come and do the honours. 

Still ones efforts were rewarded with a cracking Warwickshire Avon Barbel, cannot ask more than that, well to be returned safely and back to where it belongs I suppose, especially with that fantastic fight it had just given me (Harrison 1.75TC btw)

Once photographed I put it back in the landing net to recover properly before releasing which as an angler is what we all want to see. A memorable session, I've had some nice fish now off this forgotten stretch, I wonder what next ? a Zander I wonder ?

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