Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Scotch Eggs and Scrotiforms

Now the Coach and Horses at Weatheroak used to be a watering hole of choice when I'd worked out of the Longbridge car factory site various time over the years. The Weatheroak Hill Icknield Pale Ale brewed onsite really was a fantastic beer and my favourite from the other good'uns that were brewed at this historic pub. 

A twice weekly visit often the norm to break up the monotonous day designing bits for cars I'd not spend my own hard money on. The pub is situated on the Roman Road Icknield Street, which was the first stop from Birmingham to London on the ancient stagecoach route. 

The building that is now the Weatheroak Hill Brewery was originally the stabling for horses while their passengers enjoyed the hospitality of the Inn. 

Despite the beer garden feeling a world away from 'Longbridge' even at this time of year when you walk in the pub and your foot falls in to the well trodden hole in the flagstone floor and you've a roaring fire to greet you. 

The countryside setting unbefitting from what faces you 10 minutes down the road. 

It was a proper pub too, freshly made cheese or ham crusty rolls or 'cobs' stacked up behind the bar, with real ales naturally out numbering the other offerings. 

With the proper gammon ham and the cheese 10mm thick, the bowl of onions on the bar and a pot of mustard, lunch was enjoyed time after time in this traditional watering hole.  

Not many places where a fiver you'd be fed and watered and be ready for an afternoon nap. The clarity and quality of the beer really was unrivalled and it's just kept so well, they really do know what they are doing. 

And the stilton chips, my God, those stilton chips really were to die happily for. You'd feel an onset of gout by just looking at them. Proper hand cut chips, none of this frozen humdrum fodder many a pub serves up these days. 

Huge freshly made pork pies and sausage rolls, yeap a substantial meal right there, shame they cannot open with these draconian tier restrictions. 

So why the post Mick, well you see I wanted to try and order myself some polypins for Christmas and hopefully I'll get to do that because with all the restrictions going on they have sadly decided to close the doors throughout December, but the brewery is still doing what they do best luckily. 

What I didn't expect to see however when browsing their Facebook page though was Bill the bar manager  / landlord that used to serve us over those many enjoyable years sadly passed away recently.

Pubs are all about the staff and Bill was a proper old school barman. Always up for some banter and every pint was poured to perfection such the pride in his work. A top fella and the pub and the many regulars will miss him big time no doubt. 

I've always been a frequent pub frequenter and our adopted 'local' so to speak is luckily owned by the village now as I'd fear that would struggle to get through this nightmare that is hitting the industry at the minute. 

Lets pray we are over that hurdle and better times are on the way for the sake and sanity of the people that work in hospitality, we need them back stronger than ever come the restrictions end. I for one cannot wait for that first proper pint poured from being stood behind the bar. 

Seems mad doesn't it, who would have thought that at the start of the year, pubs offer so much to the community, some elderly people with that pint of bitter and a packet of pork scratchings the only contact they get all week with others, without the pub, they don't get to see anyone. If offers some familiar faces and boosts the wellbeing no end.

Anyway as a tribute to Bill and the stilton chips he recommended to us those many years ago, it was out with ones stupidly pungent cheese paste. It's easily the best batch I've concocted, the pungency off the scale.

I planned to fish in to dark which seems the best bet for a bigger fish these days, the wise big Chub seem to move come sundown probably because with this clear water they are having to tuck themselves out of the way of the predation they are under and the back watching they have to do.

I'm not talking Nibbles the Otter who frequents this and many other stretches of river I fish, but I'm talking Colin the cormorant. 

I've noticed of late an influx of him and his cronies over the last few weeks and the skies seem to be awash with them at the minute, so much so I've started to count how many I see each session.

The last trip here in three hours there were two in the water just downstream of me I disturbed and 21 overhead. 

The biggest group was 8-10 strong, and it's only when you see them close up you realise just how big they are, and how much the fish must fear them. 

They really are top dogs for sure, they don't mess around when they are on the hunt, as underwaters performers they are very impressive indeed, heck I've seen them.

Now I've really struggled for big Chub of late and yet last season and in to the New Year I managed some really nice fish. After struggling to catch a Warwickshire Avon 5lber eventually I found some decent fish and I bettered 5lb quite a few times if I look back at ones blog. A 6lber is now my target and that's why I was here.

Anyway enough of the preamble, how did I get on ?

Well what a cracking session. I only fished a couple of hours and within 5 minutes had already lost a decent fish to a snag, but the fish were well up for a feed. The cheesepaste not left alone throughout the session and 4 fish were banked in a bit of a mad feeding spell. The best fish went 5lb 4oz and the smallest looked around 3.5lb. 

I missed 4 or 5 proper decent bites too where the manky cheesepaste was removed from the depth bomb in spectacular fashion. The bites were frankly ridiculous and amplified because of the light quiver tip but they proved difficult to hook at times.

I leave a slack line from time to time as I'm sure the lack of resistance they are more confident in engulfing it. The moon illuminating the water for most of the session and as it started to rise straight in-front of me and I watched it turn from an almost orange colour in to a super bright vibrant white.

I loved it so much, might give it another go Thursday evening, well I need to retrace my steps anyway, I've lost one of my neoprene gloves !!!


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