Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Saturday 31 July 2021

The Tiny River Alne - Pinkeens and Pismirisms

There are a few other points connected with summer fishing the angler can hardly fish too early or too late (except for gudgeon and chub) during the hot months. Many a man who might have become a reputable member of the fraternity has been " choked off " to use an unclassical expression by making his first attempts at the gentle art in the broiling heat of a July or an August sun. 

From sunrise to breakfast-time, and from sunset to dinner-time, are the hours which should be devoted to angling in hot weather, but I need hardly say that during the summer occur dull, showery days, with a gentle breeze from the south or south-west when the fish feed on and off from morn to eve. 

One great advantage of wind or rain is that these otherwise unpleasant elements ruffle the surface of the water, and thus hide the angler from the fish. Fish rarely feed well before a very heavy fall of rain. They seem to have an instinctive knowledge of a change of weather even before it is indicated by the weather-glass. I have repeatedly noticed that after a very bad day's sport when the weather has seemed

Now perch, barbel, and gudgeon after spawning delight in gravelly shallows where the current is swift and the spark-ling water full of invigorating oxygen. 

At the end of two or three weeks they gradually work into water of a slightly greater depth-3 ft. to 6 ft where the stream is lively, but barbel very quickly take up their quarters in their regular haunts, which are for the most part weir pools, mill tails, deep holes, and eddies under clay banks. 

Chub, also, show a preference for swims under banks, especially those overshadowed by trees (having a weakness for insect food), but the majority of coarse fish do not move into deep water until about the end of July, and even then will often be found in only a few inches of water if the weather is very hot and the stream undisturbed by boats.

Until about the middle of August gudgeon remain in shallow water, in the stream, and are most plentiful in swims border-ing deep holes, but later on the largest specimens are caught in swims 9 ft. or 10 ft. in depth. Tench and carp do not shift their position much during the summer, and are to be found mostly in moderately deep swims, close to weeds. 

Bream also love deep holes where the current is gentle, but are often taken in heavy barbel swims. The thing to look for when river fishing in the summer for roach, dace, perch, gudgeon, and pike, is a stream. Many anglers spoil their day's sport by fishing quiet corners where the water is still, and where there are no fish, except a few tench, eels, and a possible jack. 

Another thing to be borne in mind is that most fish will be found near and among weeds which give them shelter, and among which lies a large proportion of their food. The ideal swim for stream-loving fish during the hot months is one with weeds all round it, the bottom of soft, sandy gravel, the depth 5 ft. to 10 ft, and the stream moderate. August, time coarse fish begin to get into first-rate condition, and are found in somewhat deeper

Rivers usually run fastest in the centre of their channels, and therefore, in very dry seasons, the fish work out towards the middle to be in the stream. As a general rule, the higher the water the nearer the fish are to the bank, and vice versa. September and October are, all things being considered, the best two months of the year for bottom fishing. 

In August the angler has been handicapped by the great majority of fish taking up impregnable positions in the weeds, but now the weeds begin to rot, and become unpalatable to the fish, which therefore leave them. 

I fully expected the Alne to be up after the heavy downpours we have had recently but no, when I got to the river I was disappointed. It really did look lifeless again and it was carrying quite a bit of colour. The nature of this sort of river though is that it changes so much in such a short distance you just need to travel light and find the fish.

Fish will show themselves on the quivertip quite quickly when you drop a bait in and this short morning session was no exception. The problem was the fish were greedy little minnows that were so determined they were going to get the worry offering they literally hung themselves. 

There were a few 'bits' in-between but nothing that tested the rod at all. Minnow after minnow after minnow. There is a reason I hardly fish the Alne with bait in the summer. In desperation I fished a slug for forty five minutes or so but nothing was interested in that so I went with a tip from a match guy I bumped in to here.

He said the fish are often really tight to the bank and it was the change that I needed. I fished a larger hook and three worms on the hook and roving around I managed a couple of chublets, one chub and a brownie. The key was to fish tight to cover and where the water was carrying a bit of pace. All those fish came in the last hour and actually made the session enjoyable in the end as I really was struggling. 

Small rivers = bites and exactly what I needed for this chilled session with plenty of solitude. 


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