Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Saturday 31 October 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Meatfeasts and Macrobiotes

The thing about pumpkins is that they are seriously underrated. they are also a superfood and an important agricultural commodity that has been used for thousands of years. 

Pumpkins are also one of the last crops to be harvested every year, hence their long celebrated association with autumn, and like the Newey family this afternoon the kids got involved with what will be a damn squib halloween, there will be many doing the same in Britain today. 

It was also a welcome break to get the mind away from the news of a potential lockdown AGAIN after last week insisting the Tier system in England was the way to go to tackle it. (Press conference in a few hours time apparently ) 

The wellbeing for many because there is no smoke without fire given a rather large kick in the gonads again. I'm beginning to feel a little overwhelmed with it all and I've dealt with it ok thus far, I dread to think some of the mental health issues many are having that are being amplified tenfold at the minute for a virus that hospitalises a tiny percentage of those that catch it, anyway better stop typing, so back to the pumpkins. 

Now pumpkins are high in fibre, have excellent anti-inflammatory qualities, and they are thought to be useful in lowering cholesterol and possibly in helping to fight cancer due to their alkalising properties. 

They are also one of the best-known sources of beta carotene (which the body uses to make vitamin A). Between the flesh and the seeds, pumpkins are also a good source of potassium and vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

But the sad reality is that pumpkins are also an epic and unnecessary source of food waste. Each year,  farmers produce tens of thousands of metric tonnes of pumpkins. 

Apparently about two-thirds of these are sold fresh to customers most of which are used to make jack-o’-lanterns and subsequently thrown out. While carving pumpkins are perfectly edible, they are bred for size rather than for sweetness, flavour and texture.

Pumpkins don’t break down well in landfill sites, and they also create damaging methane — a.k.a. greenhouse gas. So, if you’re chucking out a Halloween pumpkin, make sure it is placed in your green bin. Better yet, donate your pumpkins (preferably freshly carved and still in good shape) to a local farmer looking for pumpkins for livestock feed. Do what we do and make a few tubs of soup. 

Once that was ticked off the list in preparation for a chub session the following morning I wanted to make sure I could fish one swim that I had previously made good, but not actually fished properly. 

Since the first initial perilous pruning the once head high stinging nettles had reclaimed some of the path back that leads to it you see. I wanted to get up and running straight away in the morning and it also gave me a couple of hours to try and winkle out a Barbel. 

Now the wind and rain had been battering the local area throughout the day however there was a break in the weather headed in to dusk so it sort of all fell in to place. 

I'd not really tried a meat feast down here yet (not the rubbish Dominos serve up, who the heck buys that junk !!!), but many of the double figure Barbel I've caught have been on simple spam tactics. My largest a 12lb 14oz specimen taking a huge piece, a 1/4 of a standard garlic spam tin. 

Now I had a few tubs of frozen lumps stashed away in the bait fridge so after being defrosted some decent hookbaits were sorted, and the remaining was chopped in to smaller pieces which would be bait dropped in to the swim just before dusk. 

I gave myself two hours in to dark which hopefully should bring a barbel up to the scent trail if there was one in the area.

Barbel are not exactly hard to catch but obviously you need them in front of you to be able to catch them. 

But I always give myself a time to pack up otherwise I could get carried away. I do enjoy fishing in the dark now but with 'His House' to watch with some Wine with the Wife later, fish can wait if they weren't biting, family life is a balance after all, I don't want everything my own way. 

The swim I intended to fish was downstream from the bankside metal shed which is spooky in itself so it was a nice sweetener for the main event later on. I'm sure it has some stories to tell as it's stood the test of time, surviving flood after flood, year after year. The corrugated shed still largely intact despite showing its age is still provides shelter from any unforeseen storm or heavy shower.  

Now to cut a long story short I blanked, but still the fish would have been fed sometime and that's not a bad thing here because it's very lightly fished. I also fed some bread in one swim for a pre-bait in the morning so hopefully I can winkle something out in the morning. 

I had one chub pull but that was it, but hey, the difference to my wellbeing is unmeasurable, that couple or three hours of solitude from a noisy house is a Godsend. Let's just hope we can continue with fishing, as I type this the month long lockdown in England was announced.

Friday 30 October 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Gobbies and Gigantomachy

A return to the gudgeon utopia for this short session. Sam you see, like his Dad loves fishing for gudgeon because for such a diminutive fish they have bundles of character, and despite their size really can give the 1oz quiver tip a good pull round. 

Last time here you see we struggled to track them down but this time armed with a link ledger set-up this time we could drop the maggots in to some deeper holes to hopefully track a few of them down.

The river is still up and not all the swims we usually fish for them were fishable but still there are in numbers here most of the time. In certain conditions if you found the shoal fish after fish can be caught and a dozen or so landed in as many minutes such the biomass sometimes.

"Gudgeon, Gudgeon, Gonk, Gonk, Gudgeon, Gudgeon then another Gonk"

The sport can be frantic as time, it was an odd morning mind you, because the usual banker swim was devoid of them altogether and it took the fourth swim to actually get to see our chosen species.

Perch and small roach seemed to be the order of the day however bites seemed to be at a premium, usually here is a bite a chuck as soon as the maggot drifts down the water column.

The bleak had all but disappeared too, and it just goes to show how quickly a stretch can change and the fish can appear and re-appear in different times and circumstances.

The perch provided some decent sport luckily but they were not our intended target. The first one we tracked down seemed to be on its lonesome because the only other fish we could catch were minnows. 

So a rove was in order and we doubled backed upon ourselves and headed to the very bottom end of the stretch where there is some extra cover. The river when it's in flood also carves out the bank here too and over the years it has made a nice deep pool.

The first cast was a maggot sucking roach but then when the maggot went back out after a 5 minute wait the tip rattles a couple of times and then pulls round properly.

Considering how small they are give a great battle gudgeon and I knew exactly what it was before it surfaced. It carted off the left to try and get to freedom but was under control despite its heroic efforts. 

"Dad, DAD DAD it's a GONK, it's a decent GONK "We need to weigh this one, could be a PB"

And Sam was correct in his observations, it really was a GONK and the PB had been bettered again to one of 32 grams or 1 1/8 ounce. The maggots then seemed to just turn on the minnows and sadly no more gudgeon came our way. 

Cannot complain though, it was an enjoyable morning. Brian from Pike Blog needs to design a T-Shirt, money at the ready.

"Size doesn't matter ..."

Thursday 29 October 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Fiddlededee and Featherweights

Now Cerbera, an apocynaceous genus of small trees, consisting of four maritime species of Madagascar, Tropical Asia, and the Pacific, is not what the post is about. It was the TVR Cerbera I bought when I was in my middle 20's nearly 22 years ago where I could buy a house with a years salary. 

In-fact where did it go wrong, as an automotive jobber, my earnings in the industry have basically flatlined, the trade not lucrative like it once was. 

Now to be honest the dream turned in to a bit of a nightmare, it was great when it worked, 4.2 V8, 360hp no abs or traction control and because it was a featherweight compared to modern cars, very quick too. 9 secs to 100mph and >180mph it was a brute of a car and you needed a couple of weeks just to get used to it's weighty controls. 

It all started off well but as it was my only car driven in all weather and conditions the heavy use began to show. Things started to break and the list of jobs to do grew and grew. 

Little things in the main but when the solenoid operated door locks use to play up, and the only way to enter the car was to remove the rear numberplate, twiddle a screwdriver in the 'secret hole' to pop the boot lock which would give you access to the manual release for the doors. 

It didn't like being driven from cold either otherwise it would stall so the neighbours used to love me when I started it up at 5.30am to allow the flat plane crank engine to warm up. The biggest issue came when after oil starvation at the crank, the engine exploded in dramatic fashion and it dumped a load of oil and bits of the engine on the A45 in Birmingham. 

Now it took 17 weeks to be fixed by the factory which had a backlog of customer engines to rebuild and then eventually when I got it back, the first journey out in it after stopping to get a newspaper the starter motor jammed and couldn't be freed. So againnnnnnnn on the back of an AA wagon, back to TVR Team Central for them to get it working again. 

I had basically lost all confidence in the car at this point, so after running it in locally for 200 miles it was put up for sale and hopefully went to someone who had more luck with it than I did. 

Still despite the bad memories, it led to one of my most memorable moments in my life, sadly not for this blog, it's something that being merry between friends may well reveal.

Now a static motionless rod like ones TVR Cerbera can all of a sudden explode in dramatic fashion when a Barbel decides it wants to take the bait. Some of the bites I've had have really been utterly ridiculous when the Barbel realises something is wrong after picking up the bait and it bolts off in dramatic fashion almost taking the rod with it. 

If you don't know what you're doing, you may well have a lost rod and a tethered fish. Even with a centrepin I like to anchor the rod middle and bottom as even the ratchet can be taken off guard the odd time with a savage bite and the rod can be pulled off the rest.

It's one of the reasons why I tend to only fish one rod for Barbel now, I've got in to a few palavers you see and especially when fishing in the dark, I'd rather not have to worry about things like that. I prefer to play it safe these days. With the river conditions good, water mild and the tackle still in the car from yesterday evenings session, I was back bankside again for another quick session to try and winkle one out.

The weather was very different indeed, milder and very blustery but still the Barbel don't know that anyway do they. The conditions really did look spot on again but after three swims with half an hour in each there was nothing doing at all. The final swim I decided to fish was the same I fished the other day for the 5lber and gave me an hour before the club rules dictate I needed to be off. Meat was untouched so I switched to paste and boilie.

Now normally here the chub bite if the barbel don't but no, but not this session. The only action the rod top received was from the wind which picked up big time whilst I was there. Strange how in conditions which look absolutely perfect, the fish were just not interested, but then that's fishing for you, don't want it too easy now do we, I had the banks to myself again, maybe the other anglers know something I don't. 

Warwickshire Avon - Hydrology and Highbinders

Mars is at its biggest and brightest right now as the Red Planet lines up with Earth on the same side of the Sun. Every 26 months, the pair take up this arrangement, moving close together, before then diverging again on their separate orbits around our star.

You can't miss it, it's the brightest star-like object the sky and easy to spot if you spend anytime out in the dark like I do. A separation of 38,568,243 miles, that's the narrowest gap now until 2035.

Now having a sort through some of the junk in the office I stumbled upon the little Samsung MV800 that I bought maybe 10 years ago. Before the replacement iPhone turns up it could offer a self take with a flash without the need of secondary light source which is what I need to do at the minute hence the last Barbel picture was pretty dire.

After fully charging the battery I forgot how easy it is to operate. It's a touchscreen you see and the flip screen offers easy self takes. I suppose with modern phones these days and how the lenses have come on big time, was the reason it was confined to the junk box a good while ago.

After a mess around in the garage with the light off (yes really) and various settings the Timer Shot seemed to work pretty well and despite the garage being pitch black the flash kicked it really well and to be fair did a decent job, far better than the iPhone 7 could do anyway.

It could be the answer to ones prayers, because I've never been entirely happy with the pictures I take in low light and in the dark.

If I catch something decent anytime soon I want at least to be confident I can take a decent trophy shot, and I hate carrying a load of camera gear around when I'm fishing especially with the travel light roving I tend to do.

So a short session this one down at the syndicate section of the Warwickshire Avon to try and catch something to test this forgotten device. Was it confined to the junk box for a good reason ? The river was starting to fall and with more rain on the way I rocked up half an hour before dusk and would be on the way again at 8.00pm to get the risotto on.

I probably peaked to soon here, catching a double figure carp, a double figure barbel and also a decent slab but since then I've not caught anything of note. For a specimen wanting some peace and quiet though this area is ideal so I'm sure when it all clicks in to place, something special will turn up. The problem is banktime and ok, I've been fishing quite a bit of late but rarely do my sessions exceed 5 hours and decent fish don't give up easily so I just need to keep plugging away.

There were chub feeding well past dusk here so if the Barbel were not playing ball I'd hopefully have a bite from on of those. There are some >5lb fish here but as of yet I've not managed to catch one. 

So same tactics as yesterday evening, a Hinder Ramiz Dumbell and a PVA bag of freebies. The lead goes down with a satisfying donk in the swim I decided to fish and it's around 5 or 6 foot deep.

Now usually I have this stretch to myself but fellow syndicate member Dave was already bankside and hadn't had any bites for a couple of hours but with dusk approaching anything can happen here. 

So after a quick natter I got set-up and the bait out. Now in complete contrast to the session a couple of days earlier an hour in no fish topping, no chub pulls, hmmmm.

Then downstream I could see the faint movement of Dave's head torch and a few splashes in the water, he had a fish on. 

"You got something Dave ?"

"Yeah, a decent Barbel Mick !!!"

So I went for a nose and yes, Dave had a lovely Barbel in the net, not quite a double but just over 9lb and another good fish from this stretch. Rested and watched it return a very encouraging sign for this small water that sees little pressure for sure. Me well, another hour in, it was time for the off and I didn't even have a bite. Sadly another blank to add to the list. 

So camera, sorted, just need a fish to show off now !!!!

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Quatsch and Quinquagenarians

Staring down a reality of equivocal isolation, contagion, and financial bewilderment, life on the dance floor now feels like a distant memory for those that reply on the industry. Venues are all closed, record stores have shut their shops, and many artists are being stripped of their main source of income. 

The electronic music community has been left in the dark by the unforgiving nature of the coronavirus pandemic. Still there is light at the end of the tunnel if you're one of those 3000 that can now enjoy themselves at the Royal Albert Hall. 

So football stadiums must be open then surely Shirley with similar social distance rules ?, well you know the answer to that one, we're alright jack.

Anxiety levels must be off the scale for many and there is no let up...

For the last 7 months my fishing trips have been whacked up a notch, those DJ mixes absorbed in huge quantities when working from home for a very good reason, and it's been well documented here without those I could well struggle to keep on those ever changing rails. 

Imagine not been able to does those things we have in our life that keeps us sane, I'm one of the lucky ones it seems. 

With the holiday to Wales cancelled this was my third trip in two days, another short one this however but with the family otherwise occupied I had a few hours of solitude to enjoy down at the Warwickshire Avon. Now as a design engineer by trade I've not quite applied ones logical thinking to the bankside. 

I'm rather haphazard and lackadaisical in my approach and I'm sure that must effect what ends up, or doesn't end up the bottom of my oversized for my quarry Gardner spoon landing net.

To be honest the solitude and location takes priority anyway and I'm lucky that for almost all of my fishing I rarely travel more than 15 minutes door to door. It's amazing the effect on my wellbeing too but then us anglers know that and whatever your style of fishing, the is a very good reason we go, and catching fish for many can fall down that 'why do we go' ranking list.

For this session I had the misfortune of having to travel to Fishing Republic to get a couple or three things not available in my tackle shop of choice, Martyn's gaff in Stratford-Upon-Avon  I've been here a few times now, and I always come away with the same conclusion, don't bother unless you're desperate !!! 

Now Martyn's approach couldn't be more different for good reason, effectively an independent verses a big faceless corporation, which judging by the carrier bags I received, must now be owned by Go Outdoors because I assume they got the basics wrong and had to go cap in hand. 

It was like I didn't exist till ones wallet was out, and they made me welcome as a dog turd on a Persian carpet. Walk in Martyn's shop pre COVID, he usually offers me a cup of tea and some malted milk biscuits, heck if I cannot get in to the shop before it closes, a pint of maggots left at the door. Now talking of delights on offer, this stretch is one of those that has been good to me over the years with numerous Barbel caught to good sizes.

This would be a more a structured approach with a PVA bag full of pellets to concentrate some freebies in and around ones hookbait to try and reduce to time for the fish (if they were feeding) to find the bait. The river was on the rise and the first swim was just about fishable but the amount of debris coming down was dislodging the lead every few minutes and to be honest it was pain in the backside.

I know this stretch quite well though and apart from a passing lure angler who was biteless when he left I had the whole place to myself. This swim has some shelter away from the main flow and it is usually quite productive. An hour in without a bite the sun started to set and I was getting ready for bite time. The water is still pretty clear despite the levels and things on the Warwickshire Avon get moving as dusk.

Eventually there was a sign there was a fish in the swim and a few knocks on the rod tip a proper full on bite materialised and a fish was on. At first I thought it was a Chub there was it was fighting but then it kicked up a notch and this was a hard fighting Barbel. After giving me a bit of a run around the centrepin giving the control I need it was in the landing net. Best laid plans and all that...

Not the biggest of Barbel so I didn't bother weighing it, but after leaving it rest and packing up my stuff I grabbed a quick pic on my temporary phone. I'm hoping my replacement turns up pretty quick because the picture quality is like chalk and cheese, iPhone 5 (£2 trade in apparently) verses the ageing 7 Plus which I've used for a while now. 

Probably 5lb at a push, but a decent result as I've not seen one of those for a while, happy days. 

Warwickshire Avon - Hyjackers and Hypodynamia

It took an almost unconceivable 7 minutes for British special forces to storm the Greek-operated oil tanker in the English channel and to wrestle control of the vessel from seven stowaways who had threatened the crew in what the defence ministry described as a suspected hijacking.

Troops from the Special Boat Service, a navy special forces unit, boarded on Sunday the Nave Andromeda near the Isle of Wight as the vessel showed signs of distress. Police boats and helicopters helped provide distractions as at least 16 SBS commandos took part in the swoop on the 42,000-tonne Nave Andromeda which was due to dock in Southampton.

Under the cover of darkness, they descended from blacked-out helicopters and approached the vessel in fast attack boats. The troops were lowered on ropes from two Merlin choppers, while a pair of Wildcat helicopters circled above the tanker, providing close surveillance of the target. 

Commandos in boats also used grappling irons to climb aboard the 230-metre vessel while witnesses reported seeing blue flashing lights from police boats at the scene.

A source said: “The police lights were a distraction. This was an SBS operation from start to finish.

“Seizing ships is their bread and butter. They are happiest working in the dark.”

Now talking about happiest working in the dark, James Denison had his own mission under the cover of darkness to wrestle with a 15lb 12oz Barbel from the Sussex Ouse. Almost a military operation in itself the results speak for themselves. If only it was that easy, as no doubt for sure must be a lot of planning and it cannot just be about the Samson hair that he is now portraying. 

For me I'm very haphazard in ones approach and this session down the Warwickshire Avon where I've already managed a near PB beater was no different. 

You see a window of dangling opportunity appeared out of nowhere so I cobbled some tackle together and I was bankside half an hour before dusk to hopefully temp a beast myself. Now the river was well up in-fact a good 4 or 5 inches up from when I visited the stretch 48 hours earlier with the family to do some swim clearing. 

My feet would need to be dangling in the water in the swim I had prepared so I had to go back to the car and change ones boots for wellies. I didn't want to fish particularly far out hence the use of a centrepin but the middle of the river was motoring through, close in was a nice pacy smooth glide, but there was still a load of debris drifting down which did cause a few issues.

Some hemp and pellets went out with a dropper to provide a buffet to try and get the fishes heads down. But I'm sure a better concentration around the hook bait via a pva bag might have been the better option. It was default approach to recently to be fair, till I ran out of mesh that is. Now to be fair no matter what the outcome of the 2 hour session in to dark I wanted to try a new nightfishing set-up with two chemical light holders anchored to the top and bottom of the white rod top.

I've gotten in to too many calamity incidents when fishing two rods in the dark so all my sessions from now on will be one rod only. 

So as the light was going I wanted to get settled in to enjoy the evening but then realised when I picked up the rod rest that from the car to the swim somehow I'd lost the male half with the rod rest head. Hmmmm, great, it was in the unhooking mat with the landing net so God knows where it was.

So 5 or 6 walks to retrace my steps with hacking of stingers and searching with the torch a spot of luck I actually found it, as I did have visions of a makeshift one made from a tree branch. 

So with that drama out the way better get fishing. The first chub pull came after an hour or so with the new bite indication set-up working as intended. 

The top indicator moving more than the bottom so the bite is unmistakable. Ok there is no mistaking a Barbel bite but I still like to know what going on beneath the waters surface.

One thing I like to do as well is to use hardened hookbaits as Warwickshire Avon Chub really are a determined bunch and even when using long hairs eventually they will hook themselves.

Two chub down with no Barbel showing the only encouraging sign was that the Chevin took a liking to the Hinders Ramiz (thanks Hiders !! ). They have a fantastic strong meat garlic pungency that fish can really home in on, these hardened dumbells, not rock hard, but enough to resist the attention of chub, till they snare themselves that is.

I was hoping with the moon illuminating the river behind me and the stars bright in the sky there would be a one last hurrah before I had to go. 

It never materialised mind you but still, I'm enjoying this fishing in to dark lark, one of these sessions will come good I'm sure. I'm sure my PB will come from here, so I'll keep plugging away.

Monday 26 October 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Braggarts and Bestiocracy

A dawn of so much promise, the Warwickshire Avon looked in fine fettle when I got there as the sun was on the rise. Bait fish were topping everywhere and I'm sure there would be some predators about for the 4 hour session.

As per the norm here, I prefer to rove the various tasty looking deep swims with cover and try and find the fish. The last visit here I managed a Pike and had two aborted takes from Zander but that was at dusk when to be honest, I would prefer to fish.

Club rules put the kibosh on night fishing and yet it would be perfect here for the predators. Zander the biggest I've managed was knocking on for 9lb but to be fair I don't fish for them that often here, because it can be very moody indeed.

I started off with a bright green 12cm shad but 4 swims down I switched to a curly tail and had an aborted take literally right by by feet.

It didn't look a big fish and it wasn't a jack I don't think because usually they nail the lure good and proper it was a small Zed maybe 3 or 4 pounds.

The banker swims usually produced a jack pike at least but again nothing doing. Strange because the colour looked great too, maybe a couple of foot of visibility, I was wondering if Barbel might have been the better call.

But I've said at the start it can be very moody here and it can after a decent session you can be brought back down to earth with a rather large bang.

A couple more swims down I returned to where I started and had another aborted grab of the lure close in,  again another small fish, nothing big showed at all.

I couldn't believe the smelt remained untouched, maybe a return at dusk again is the way forward because the predators for sure were on the move, this morning was dead, even the bait fish disappeared after showing quite early on. 

With some more rain on the way and the colour good I might dust off the Barbel rod for a short session tomorrow evening, the outcome couldn't be any worse. The only saving grace some welcome peace and quiet and sometimes all I can ask for. 

Sunday 25 October 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Androphagy and Aboulomania

"So Sam where to you want to go fishing ?"

"I want to fish the bleak swim, where there is millions of them  and use the Perch bobber rod and try and catch a Big Perch!"

"Suits me, you see Autumn is a great time for big Perch and there are some big ones around there because of the amount of bleak there are"

I rarely fish live baits for predators because well, just not my thing but here there are bait fish in numbers and a handful of maggots brings the bleak to the surface where they are in large shoals.

With a whip and a pint of reds it would be a bite a chuck but this would be catch one and then use it as bait. Their silver sheen is hard to miss in this relatively clear water still, I'm sure one or two Sergeants would be up for biting. 

I've taken Sam from when he was 4 years old and he really is a chip off the old block which is encouraging. A trip to Tunnel Barn would be last on the angling agenda and he loves variety in his fishing which seems to lack in many anglers these days.

He's a thinking angler too, working out where certain species will tend to hold up, and the methods and tactics required to catch a specific target. 

The light Perch set-up was thought out by Sam himself too. "We don't need anything to heavy for perch and, we need to make sure we use wire not line as there are Pike here too and Pike can bite through line.

Ever since I've started to take him fishing, after a year or three eventually he started to absorb the what I would consider smaller details and you could see he wanted to know more and more about fishing and was actively asking specific questions to help us on the next shared session.

It was a fairly quiet session to be honest, heck even the bleak were not in the numbers they usually are. Blue skies didn't help matters but eventually we started to catch some Perch. Nothing huge but they were up for a feed for sure.

A 2-3 pounder came out of nowhere and followed the bleak in on the retrieve but that was only big Perch showing. Still Sam was enjoying himself on the float rod though, and somehow managing to catch 2 minnows on the same hook.

Unbeknown to us though a Pike was waiting in the wings and when Sam was playing another 8oz perch the Pike grabbed it broadside and wouldn't let go. On a 1.5TC rod it was going a good fight as well, the fish taking like on the reasonably tight clutch.

Played a blinder though the Tangleator and I did the honours for him and both fish were landed. Even the perch went back safely despite its ordeal and to be fair I was fully expecting to see more damage, but no it had a lucky escape. I just need to work on his confidence in handling fish with teeth, he'll get there, I'm sure.

Friday 23 October 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Decrudescence and D’épouvantes

I don't watch a huge amount of tv, but when I do, it better not disappoint, so why is it then after investing some much wine time in the 'The Haunting of Bly Manor' four episodes down and not far off half way through we both cannot wait for it to end.

It really was a mixed bag, mainly bad, heck even the acting wasn't anything to write home about, no stand out performances, all very mediocre indeed.

It promised so much and delivered very little, a little like many of my fishing sessions for Barbel down at the Warwickshire Avon.

Still there was light at the end of the tunnel, you see after confining that American 'horror' to the 'don't bother list', we are now well in to Netflix's French horror Marianne where a famous writer is lured back to her hometown discovers that the evil spirit who plagues her dreams is now wreaking havoc in the real world.

Heck even the dubbing is good, but the visuals, soundtrack and all things that go bump in he night is amplified up a notch or twenty from the rather limp-wristed and matchstick eyelid affair Bly Manor was. 

Give it ago, proving you're not one to suffer nightmares if you watch such a thing. Not gory as such but well, just well produced, the soundtrack particularly. 

Now talking of nightmares, imagine losing your PB Barbel at the landing net, well that happened to me a while ago now not long after registering a 12lb 14oz specimen in the net.  To be fair it's something I've kept under my hat till now but since the loss I've tried and tried and failed to get anywhere near it again.

A 14lber for sure, heck maybe even more....

The thing is Barbel are not up there on my most loved list as there are other species I prefer to catch mainly I suppose because the smaller rivers I fish in this area don't really contain them. To be fair I fished the Arrow for a year or two and managed a few, however nothing of note really.

Before I will give the syndicate section a go properly having already caught a cracker there at the start of the season, this short session was all about convenience and trying to get a bend in the rod. 

Over the years this club section has been pretty good to me and it's about the only area I know and actually fish that have had fish in numbers.

They are well fed you see, and unless it's in flood or for some reason coloured ,generally most weekends sees the seat box frequenters and inevitable bait chuckers topping up the gravel bed that is along much of this stretch. 

Now the head of the Barbel is pointed and its eyes which are rather small are set high on the sides of the head, with its under slung mouth with thick lips and two short barbules on the top lip and two longer barbules at the corner of its mouth have taste and touch cells and help the fish to locate food on the riverbed.

Fishing up to dusk and a nadger beyond for me gives the best chance of banking a fish and two to three hour session are the norm for Barbel. Sat behind motionless rods is not for me, I like quick sharpish, try and catch a fish and then make tracks.

So groundhog day for this session a bait dropper of pellets and hemp an hour before dusk and I'll sit a boilie bait over the top to try and get the Barbel to home in on the Smörgåsbord before the drawbridge shut on the stretch closing time. The problem is there seems to be less Barbel on this stretch from when I first started so the biggest hurdle is having the fish in-front of you.

Still you cannot catch one without a bait in the water, so better get cracking hadn't I....

Another angler present, Tim from Bristol way a long sufferer and reader of this blog who I've met on the bank before. After a nice natter all things fishing and some pictures he shared pf some huge and mint Warwickshire Avon Barbel he set-up downstream and I was a few swims away, albeit probably just about shout-able.

Now I know the Avon so well now, there really is not point in fishing during the day when the water is a clear as this. Take your time, no need to rush and set your stall out prior to dusk and fish an hour up to it and just past it if you can. 

I got some bait out with a dropper and then fished two swims for 15 minutes to try and but a bite but nothing materialised. I decided to give my old phones camera ago to see if it was up to anything.

All was very quite indeed as expected and after a visit from the bailiff and his dog who was also enjoying the evening, he'd been speaking to Tim who sadly lost a big fish that he could do nothing about, properly did him over good and proper which I've had a couple of times to be fair. Once from a Pike and once from a Barbel or maybe a river carp.

I was planning to pack up early but then as the sun was setting the first proper bite came which at first I thought it was a Barbel because of the barbel'esk bite, but no it was a small'ish Chub. Unhooked and the same bait went out and again a proper unmissable bite and another Chub is on. 

Hmmmmmmm, so after putting some more paste on the boilie, it goes out again and yeap, another ten minutes go by and again a proper bite and a Chub has hooked itself. This one though properly messed up the swim and as I could barely see my rod top, it was time for the off. No Barbel but a nice chilled session just what the doctor ordered.

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