Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Warwickshire Avon - Waltonians and Wallydrags

Luckily the capture of the huge canal Zander came just when the drawbridge on the river season was about to be lifted. If I'd caught it the middle of May I would still be twiddling ones thumbs I think wondering what to fish for.

The quest conclusion means I've some thinking time now so when the closed season comes round again where hopefully I will have an idea one what the heck I am going to target next.  The roving aspect of canal Zander fishing was very much part of the appeal of it where often 4 to 5 hour sessions I'd ticked off the 10,000 steps really quite easily. 

Zander got to me like no other fish really, well apart from one other and I'll get on to that later. You see I've already some ideas where one involves roving the other no so much and that will have to feature in the decision matrix because I'd have to do one or the other.

 Carp naturally is another species that could offer similar rewards as the previous quest because again, its all about finding the fish but to catch a 20ber on the canals on my radar I'm sure will be another needle in the haystack challenge. The stretch this big Zander came out of also used to have big carp in it (rumours are a >30 fish), I say used to, because there are Otters there now, so their time may well be up here and they might well have to relocate or succumb to the inevitable.

I did hook one when after a canal Tench though so the odd one or two may well be around thankfully. I've seen plenty of carp over the 6 years I've been chasing that double figure Zander I just need to repurpose the tackle, from overdepth deadbait rigs to floater set-ups and bolt rigs. The biggest I've seen ironically near my house was easily over 20lb, so you never know despite carp being well of my radar, maybe the could now be firmly on it.

Pole fishing also has some appeal though especially at the hallowed stretch where in some swims there seems to be more fish than water, A bite a chuck on maggot, a sleeper rod out for an even bigger Zander ?

Again I've got so many ideas in my head, I just need to channel those thoughts and make a decision. Over those 6 years I've spoken to so many anglers who have their own stories, even pictures to back-up their ramblings so maybe acting on one of those could always feature ? A canal Barbel, yeap really and the last conflab with a carp angler a flight of locks where a catfish resides, there is no smoke without fire blog readers, maybe I'm the stupid one to actually try and target it....

Decisions decisions, luckily I've time to mull it over now and whilst I'm waiting for that Barbel bite it will give me some decent thinking time....

Now talking about thinking time, none of that here for the first trip of the 2021 river season, I'd be off chub off the top you see and maybe try and winkle out a Barbel from the fast shallows by rolling a chunk of meat along the gravely bottom amongst the stream weed. 

 I'd a well deserved day of work though so after a few hours wading in the morning I maybe well return after dinner and fish in to dark at the syndicate stretch, where a couple of days before I'd hacked a load of the 5 ft stingers down to make a few swims fishable. Whilst I was there I also put some bait down in a swim I'd caught 11lb Barbel from and that was the swim I'd fish past dusk to try and snare an early barbus.

Chub are probably my favourite river species where this year I want to catch a Warwickshire Avon 6lber and the Barbel, well a 14lber will be nice despite the bites thinning out significantly from previous years. They are still there to be caught and they suit my short sessions, they really do. 

Anyway back to the chub, I'd seen some nice ones at the start of the week bridge gazing where they were tucked up under some cover and ventured out in the main flow for a few seconds and then tucked themselves back under again. A couple of them looked in the magic 5lb mark and that would be nice to mark the the start of the season now wouldn't it.

I always approach surface fishing for Chub the same way I like to have a small crank bait rod that can be cast further than bread (often they grab the bait as soon as it hits the surface) but the main attack would be well, a rod and a large hook, that's it. I can wade here so its matter of feeding some chunks of bread till you see a rise and then keep on feeding pieces till they get confident and actually swallow the bait rather than nudge it and snatch at it. 

They are the most cautious of fish Chub at times, but then they are confident in feeding the change in behaviour really is quite dramatic, they will hook themselves when they engulf the bait you just need to watch the line tighten and the disturbance in the water from being quite dramatic when they are circumspect to one of certainly and the wake changes from a dive bomb to a perfect 10. 

Get them when they are in the perfect 10 mood, a fish is guaranteed. !!!

Enough of the prelude lets get fishing !!!!

It was great to be back on the river and literally with the first drift down of the bread I was playing a nice chevin. Ok not a monster but most welcome especially when the tactics need a hook and a piece of bread that's it. 

It didn't help a couple of ducks were hanging around the swim for ages and to be honest they were a pain in the backside trying to get at the bread at any opportunity they could, even the lure got their attention so in the end after two fish I went to try another few swims.

All but one swim I fished produced bites and I probably had 8 fish, most on the bread but a few small ones on the lure. The river is very low as you can see in the pictures but in places I was wading up to mid thigh level. 

One swim was perfect for rolling meat but run after run not a jot despite seeing a couple of smallish Barbel in the swim.

The pool swim which you can only get to when you wade really produced one small fish but the larger ones spooked off down the tail end of the swim but were not interested at all. 

Not a bad start to the season though and nice to bump in to a couple of likeminded anglers.

I'd got bankside for 6.30am and was off 4 hours after, the sun by this time was high in the sky and the bites had dried up.  So only one thing for it, a beer and chicken wings with salted caramel and honeycomb for lunch (don't knock till you've tried it 😀) and I continued on that vein when the Wife turned up to join me.

It is 27 degrees as I type this and I had planned to go later for a Barbel but with a smattering of rain on the way I will go tomorrow evening now, I'm sure it was spice things up a little and the evening was too nice not to enjoy with the rabble. 

Slip and Slide anyone ?


  1. Best way to catch chub - off the top. Looking forward to the 6lb chub quest...

  2. Chub on opening day have replaced tench in my book and having them on floating crust - well, that's just being greedy. Great write up MIck.


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