Friday 5 November 2021

Warwickshire Avon - Belly Fillers and Belemnoids

You can tell when the cold weather hits when the food in the Newey household turns to comfort. Foods more befitting to the mercury level where this week the temperatures from being below zero with a had frost have barely risen to double figures. In-fact as I type this at it is only 5 degrees.....

For many they rarely venture outside, well not in to the natural world anyway, it's almost like being in another lockdown for many, however foods such as this swede topped cottage pie a simple hearty and healthy meal that doesn't cost the earth and gets you feeling all warm inside again. 

Now the first lockdown, imposed in March last year, had a profoundly isolating effect. Casual conversation with colleagues and classmates stopped overnight, gone too were the after-work drinks, after-school clubs and after-hours bonhomie of pre-pandemic life.

There can be no doubt that this caused much loneliness and misery. Yet according to a new study, published this week the story is not as simple as that. You see researchers surveyed more than 2,000 teenagers and adults and found that all age groups experienced positive as well as negative effects from being alone in the early period of the pandemic. To seek solitude and being confident in your own company is something that everyone give a go at least, it works wonders for me. 

In fact, respondents descriptions of solitude included more positive effects than negative ones, with time alone making them feel competent and autonomous, and affording the opportunity to learn new skills. Life for many can be all consuming I suppose and ok, we all have opinions on lockdowns and the effectiveness of them but there were positives to be had.

One small tweak I did to my own life recently was to remove the two news apps from my phone and therefore meant that the notifications I was almost getting on an hourly basis, have now completely disappeared, and to be honest, I feel much better for it. But then I don't know why I hadn't done it sooner because whenever I tip my toe in to social media I quickly remove it as not to get caught up in the toxicity of it all. 

Lesser outside influence from others is so much better for ones wellbeing and fishing only amplifies that experience because there are no hard and fast rules are there. I for one never think about anything when I'm fishing and that is a complete departure from the daily grind where the diary makers have their foot in beyond ones control. 

Now talking about the odd one out, the Zander a fish I really have upmost admiration for considering they are here in these waters out of no fault of their own and have a bit of a bad rap over the years. Luckily for me having the canal network and Warwickshire Avon where I can catch this fascinating species I've been able to experiment with rigs, hooks and techniques to be able to increase my hook-ups. 

They can be a frustrating species to begin with but with trial and error my current light overdepth float set-up seems to give excellent returns. I've tried ledgering with limited success mainly because the swim dictated it because float bite detection is so much better especially when you know exactly what the fish is doing underneath it. It also means that a bite from a pike and a zander can be distinguished.

For this short session I hotfooted it to an area that I've been fishing recently that thankfully produces a bite or two. I've been scaling down the baits of late and the bites are still forthcoming and I'm always one for making efficient use of baits. Zander the 'fearsome predator' are more than happy to scavenge baits off the bottom and 90% of the zeds I have caught have been this way. 

Now the Avon is currently 9 degrees and is carrying some colour and it looked good for a Zander bite. The depth here can vary considerably but obviously by moving the float stop you can adjust to the swims depth easily enough. 

The first swim was around 9-10 foot deep and usually produces a bite quite quick but 45 minutes in I was thinking about moving to the next swim when a bite on the left-hand rod came out of the blue. The fist carting off upstream and taking the float under with it. As I closed the bail arm the fish tightened up to the drag itself and a fish was on, the tell-tale nodding felt through the rod confirming indeed it was a zander.

After a spirited fight it was in the net and was the usual standard as found in the area, this going 5lb 12ounces on the scales with a rather fully belly on it. They are certainly feeding at the minute, well I thought they were because despite fishing in to dusk and 4 or 5 other swims, that was the only fish I caught.

I had one dropped take and a couple of tiny nudges of the roach sections but surprisingly quiet given the seemingly ideal conditions. 10,000 steps ticked off and a nice fish caught, not all bad and an enjoyable session to be fair especially when I had the banks to myself again. 


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