Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Saturday 31 December 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Bye 2022 !!

My late Dad's rod rest deserved a run out so with one of my recent additions to ones rods armoury it was out with the Avon Quiver. 

This was a proper blustery morning again and to be honest the 1 ounce quiver on the TFG Rod wouldn;t quite cut the mustard. This Avon Quiver is a broom handle in comparison but with the lightest tip fitted perfect for a river that was still swollen from the recent rain.  

I found bites hard to come by here last time and I'm not sure why because a few days ago they were climbing up the rod but the 5lber I caught a reward from putting the effort in.

10 to 15 minutes max in each swim if you haven't had a bite by then it's time for a move but this time rather than the fish coming at the end of the session this was the opposite. 

Before the rain started (the rain that gets you wet) I'd managed a 3lber from a swim I discovered when the river was at summer levels. I've caught quite a few fish from it now, nothing big but it is often a blank saver like it was for this session.

You see that was my lot, after another 3 hours dropping in to swim after swim, nothing !!!

And that was my 2022 fishing done right there, slightly disappointing but I've caught some nice fish this year and fished more than ever.  

Some highlights not in chronologic order !!!

PB Chub caught 19.12.2022


LRF fishing Saundersfoot 28.10.2022

Some nice canal Zander and river Pike in 2022, nothing huge 

Best Barbel 2022 - 20.06.2022

Probably a few I've forgotten too, overall I've very happy indeed and as usual tried to get a variety of fishing sessions on. I've largely neglected the smaller rivers and streams though, no to get back on board with them really. 

But other than that, thanks Blog Readers and Tight Lines for 2023, I'll be back in 2023

Warwickshire Avon - Meat Eaters and Mechanolatry

I fancied trying for a Barbel for this session, because not only was it windy, overcast and quite mild I had the evening to fish rather than the morning that I've been doing now for the last number of sessions.

There are some right old lumps that swim in this convenient stretch but they have eluded me thus far but this is the Warwickshire Avon after all, one bite can mean a PB beater and that's why I will keep plugging away to I catch one. 

I went for an explore along this section the day before and actually singled out a swim because it looked perfect to hold fish.

There cover to my left, some decent depth out in-front and the lead dropped with a satisfying thump which is ideal to present a bait properly.  

The water temperature was half decent and with a couple of hours to fish, and hour and a half of that in to dusk and well in to dark I was hoping something big would show up.

It's a big old river though so to track these elusive fish down isn't going to be easy but you know me I like a challenge. So a large piece of garlic meat on the hair and some chunks of meat as freebies the rig went out half an hour before dusk and I sat back and preyed for a 3ft twitch.

Not much happen until the light went and then the chub moved in. These pellet stops I use though have a really big span so even the most determined of chub you can almost guarantee the bait is still going to be there.

Some of the bite were quite ridiculous but I wanted to sit it out for a barbel not a chub which I'd give a go tomorrow morning again. I just don't enjoy catching chub on my barbel rod. Don't get me wrong I don't like blank sessions like all anglers, but chub fishing for me is all about the battle and a 1.75TC Barbel rod isn't a fair fight.   

I could have scaled the bait right down and mounted it directly on the hook and I'd imagine I could have netted a chub but no, I stuck to my guns and persisted with the large bait.

With the torch doing a grand job of illuminating the rod tip sadly the bite from a barbus never materialised before ones self appointed curfew came and I headed back home on with an expected blank, on to the next one !!!

Friday 30 December 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious and Ectypography

Angling is full of surprises, and no two days are alike. So be prepared to Be Prepared. Follow the example of the Kitchen Sinker, often an Eager Beaver in a previous incarnation. He finishes work early on Fridays, if he goes at all. He has to: it takes until the small hours of Saturday morning to get everything ready. (His lady wife, meanwhile, retires early to bed. Often with a Jackie Collins novel, box of chocolates and bottle of gin. She knows better than to get in the way.) 

He starts with the bait. Breadpaste, cheesepaste, flake, crust. Sliced loaf for punched bread. Several cans of maggots: gozzers, pinkies, specials, squatts, anattos. And a big tin of casters. Worms from the scouring tins: lobworms, brandlings, redworms and blueheads. If his eyesight's up to it, some bloodworms from the water butt.

Meat, frankfurters, peas. Get the pans simmering with A quick clean-out of the pantry for sweetcorn, luncheon wheat, hemp, pearl barley, macaroni, rice and spuds. A safari round the garden while the light lasts for slugs and snails, earwigs and caterpillars, perhaps a near-suicidal raid on a wasps' nest. While the swellings are time to mix up several different consistencies of ground- bait, each with its own Secret Ingredient.

That'll have to do to be going on with. Perhaps pick up some elderberries and swan mussels at the water. Time to organise the tackle: Match rods, ledger rods, river rods, roach poles, fly rod. And boat rod just in case. Three king-sized keepnets and carp-sized landing net. Check the cabinet of floats: Avons, antennae, sticks, balsas, balsa-and-sticks, crows, porcupines, peacocks, zoomers, wagglers, sliders and bubbles.

Check the cabinet of lines, weights, hooks, swim-feeders, blockends, disgorgers, forceps, spring balances, thermometers. Case of spoons, spinners, flies, plugs. Reels... fixed spools, closed face, centrepins, multipliers. Baskets, bait waiters, bank sticks, rod rests, catapults, brolly, tent, windbreaks, groundbait bucket, tackle trolley, picnic hamper, stove, spirit lamp, handwarmer, foot muff and nose cosy. Now we're getting somewhere. Spare jumpers, jackets...

The car is loaded with the basics in the early hours, an operation not looked upon with much favour by neighbours who open their bedroom windows and shout abuse or throw things. After a couple of hours' sleep, our hero is up and at it again, braving further neighbourly hostility, which may include a visit from the bleary-eyed neighbour next door, who jumps on his maggots and hits him with the cat. 

But, with luck, he's off; boot, back seat and roof rack packed solid.

At the venue, he has a problem: whether to carry all his gear to the water in stages or to attempt it one go. Both have their drawbacks. Doing it in stages means that a lot of the gear he left on the bank on the first trip is no longer around when he arrives on the second, the Brotherhood of the Angle being what it is. Carrying it in one go gives him a funny walk and makes his eyes water; early warnings of an incipient double hernia.

Eventually, he makes it, and spends a happy hour or two setting out his stall. There are a few holdups caused by other anglers who are not in sympathy with the thoroughness of his preparations. In the attempt to get to their own swims, they stumble into his gear, do themselves a mischief climbing over it, or kick it in the water.

Finally, he's ready. Snug in his windbreak under the brolly; tent set up behind in case the weather turns inclement. Water temperature taken, depths recorded, currents noted. Landing net set up, swim groundbaited and rod assembled. Time for that magic first cast. It's a pity he can't see his float, darkness having fallen so quickly due to the unforeseen rotation of the Earth. Time to pack up, good job he remembered the head torch. 

Anyway to the session, 8 or 9 swims fished with bread flake and one 5lber on the nose landed on a river that had risen overnight and was on the drop. That's a 60cm landing net btw so you can see how big these chub are. This one stayed hugged to the bottom and to be honest I thought it was bigger when eventually I got it in the net, as it gave me a proper battle. Still after getting the monkey off my back which was a Warwickshire Avon 5lber, I've caught plenty now !!! and with a 6lber now banked too, what next a 7lber ?

Thursday 29 December 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Curries and Curiology

The Curry night we host for friends is always between Christmas and New Year when the only requirement is to bring a pot of curry and a bottle or three. We all have busy lives but this is always in the diary because well, it's such a good do.

After getting my first proper winter energy bill (>2.5x the bill the same time last year even with the £67 from the Government), Jesus the 2kg's of shin of beef I bought for ones slow cooked spicy and coconut offering could have been toned down to some chicken or something. To be fair, this is once a year after all, lets hope 2023 is better than 2022, because been a bit rubbish hasn't it. 

Some valuable advice stay off toxic social media, delete those news apps on your phone and don't bother watching anything the BBC has to offer. ( Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing the only exception I can think of).

Oh and go fishing (every couple of days over the year me 🤯), again where the heck is everyone ?

I shouldn't moan the Just Stop Oil Protesters have vanished from the streets and the local single track country roads free from sanctimonious finger pointing cyclists, so the lack of anglers 

Anyway I had to get back to start the preparation for the curry night where the poppadum's had to be awoken with the extra hot vegetable oil and my offering the beef and coconut curry had to be sorted before the rabble turned up. It's a winner every year and despite me hoping there will be some left for me to eat the following day there never is. 

The other anglers may well be put off by the rain but I'm quite lucky because the stretch of convenience I can drive up and down the rather boggy and muddy field and drop in to to some chubby looking swims. I love these smash and grab sessions as you know !!!!

The river had turned to an almost Stour shade of green but more than enough clarity for a chub to see a piece of bread flake wafting around in the flow. The river wasn't as high as I thought it would be because the evening before it really was tanking it down.

And boy the chub were on it !!!

The key was to fish as many swims as possible and those swims where you know a chub is likely to hide. Those are quiet easy to find when the river is on the drop so despite the rain (the type that gets you wet) it really was a pleasant morning.

5 fish caught in a few hours and one missed bite. Not huge fish with the best going 4lb on the nose but they were all minters and the smallest fish was a 3lber. I can only think after having to batten down their hatches, their stomach were rumbling !!!

 Lovely Chubbly !!!

Tuesday 27 December 2022

Warwickshire Stour - Curmudgeons and Curvicaudate

Is there a rod you rate above all others you own ?

A rod you'd sell the Wife and kids for ?

For me it has to be the TF X1 River and Stream 1.2oz TC rod, (Free spirit blank I believe)

For the chub fishing I do on the Warwickshire Avon, the Alne, Arrow and the Stour it really is a perfect tool the job. The pencil thin blank makes the rod as light as a feather but hook a 5lber for example the rod literally bends double and it resists the lunges of a hard fighting chub no problem.

But its the fact that the rod is Sooooo balanced for chub that even a 1lb splasher makes it an enjoyable fight and the 1 ounce tip I've fitted (Standard Drennan Fitment) I'm sure the often cautious chub just want to be hooked by the end tackle as they have even heard just how good it is. 

Even swims like this where once a chub is hooked from underneath the raft you need to bull the fish away from the roots of the tree or any cover, it has enough backbone to steer it away from hook pulling danger.

I dread to think what would happen if I broke it, because I'm not sure what I'd replace it with. I've tried all manner of rods and nothing compares I've found. For Christmas I treated myself to a John Wilson Avon Quiver rod, but I bought that for larger rivers where I need to chuck a feeder. The blank is much heavier and just by eye looks twice as thick too.

The problem is I've been trying to get hold of a spare but they rarely come up for sale and when they do they are usually >125 quid. Ok not a problem but they getting on for nearly 20 years old now I think, they are getting as rare as rocking horse poo. I think the issue is those that have them keep hold of them, because like me, I'd not part with mine. 

If you have me, you know how to contact me if you want to get rid !!!!

Anyway to the fishing, a roving session this, this is the Stour after all where often one fish from one swim an that will be your lot. Now Nic was on this stretch 24 hours before and he was struggling for bites but the river would be lower for this session and to be honest you can often have a good day or a bad day, depending on how the fish are feeling.

With a fish from the first swim I thought they would be crawling up the rod, but no they had other ideas. I had to really put the work in and I lost count of the swims I fished. Those chub banker swims with rafts and thick cover didn't produce oddly, with only one of those producing the smallest of the day.

Nothing big, but in the end the hard work I managed 5 chub with the biggest probably a piece of breadflake over 3lb. But fishing small rivers like this is not about the specimen potential is it. 

The Warwickshire Stour and its green waters offer so much more than that. You would have thought that a river flowing through open farmland would be devoid of fish especially when some swims can be rather characterless, but having caught the biggest from one of these featureless swims the fish really don't care a jot.

I'm sure the colour helps because the Stour rarely goes gin clear and I'm sure that helps the angler at least get a bite or two and that's one of the reasons why it is always on ones radar. I've not seen another anglers in probably 10 to 12 sessions I reckon, where is everybody ?

Sat at home drinking tea ?

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.41

Now Lashfords sausages have operated through two world wars, 30 prime ministers and five monarchs yet one thing has remained unchanged their passion and commitment to the industry. A Christmas dinner you deserves some better quality pigs in blankets with the artesian butchers in Stratford supplying the bacon and the sirloin roast. These Lashfords sausages are not that expensive but they are just so damn tasty, especially their bog standard pork offering. 

It's the Faggots made using their Great Grandmothers 70-year-old recipe which uses English pig’s liver and pork, fresh onions with a blend of our own herbs and spices. A true traditional Midland necessity if you find yourself in the area. 

So the Boxing Day late afternoon couldn't come soon enough as I had quite a bit to walk off, with the Christmas pudding and brandy cream later followed by cheese and biscuits and quite a few glasses of port. 

The local rivers are full to the brim so it was the canal forthwith via the tiny stream to try and catch a few fish....

A few small brook trout succumbed to the float fish bread but oddly despite fishing a few swims those nice dace that reside here in winter didn't show whatsoever. 

I only fished it for an hour or so and I've rather neglected this little stream because I realised just how much I like fishing it. There are some surprises to be had here and Sam especially has a soft spot for it because, well we've caught bullheads on rod and line after all. 

The canal adjacent to it handily contains Zander so I had a deadbait rod with smelt where I'd also fishing some bread to try and catch anything that comes along.

I had a nice roach here last time so I was hoping one of those would turn up. Some liquidised bread to prime the swim and a piece of bread fished slightly over depth with the same small float as fished on the stream. 

An hour again and in that time, a couple of bream, one roach bream hybrid that was taking me all over the swim and a couple of missed bites.

The Zander had other ideas though and I left when I couldn't see the float. To be fair it was getting rather chilly as the once the sun had set the wind picked up and my hands were getting cold. Still variety is the spice of life, isn't it. An enjoyable session to be fair. 

Sunday 25 December 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Pothunters and Potamography

A walk in to Stratford with the rabble the Avon looked a perfect colour for a Barbel. It was on the rise but when I would be bankside it would be falling, so heck why not.

The Wye trip I knocked off 10k quite easily going back and fore the unsuccessful swims so this time I'd be anchored to the spot.  Those steps were with lugging tackle too, not easy with 50 year old knees, still got to keep some sort of exercise up, and fishing gives that for me at the moment. 

Anyway fellow syndicate member Dave had managed a 7lber the day before the Wye trip which is a small fish for this stretch to be fair, but at least it showed there were younger fish around which is always encouraging for the Avon and also that despite the temperatures they were feeding. 

When I got bankside and unloaded the car in "Dave's" swim I was amazed still at the height of the river, it was nearly over the banks in places and there were areas of standing water but not problem for the little Jimny, it revels in this stuff. After the snow the banks have become rather soft and muddy so a 4x4 is required now here where I can drive the whole stretch more or less.

A rather lovely morning and wrapped up warm it was very pleasant indeed whilst watching the rods. The upstream rod a paste wrapped boilie with some stinky groundbait and the downstream rod a lump of chilli flavoured meat.

A bankstick in the side when I got there the river level was slowly dropping and it looked an ok temperature if there were any barbel around.  

The odd recast was required but both baits were positioned nicely on a hard bottom for any barbel feeding in the area to easily find it. 

Nearly two hours in though without even a nibble I decided to up sticks and move to the 'Good' swim where again both rods went out in similar fashion. Nothing doing though and even a switch to lobworm on the boilie rod only brought the odd little nibble and pluck.

I nearly went to sleep at one point as I'm not used to this sitting and watching motionless rods for this length of time. The water really was pushing through and to be honest I could do with a beefier rod to handle the conditions because I'd imagine if I hooked a 14lber it may well be a battle that is one sided.

Still some sales on at the moment I'm sure I can pick one up to add to the ever growing armoury. Anyway after a natter with a guy who lives on the farm he's given me a tip that may well put me on the right track to catch a barbel off'a this section. I'll keep trying though because like I said any bite from a barbel here could well be a PB beater.  

RIP Maxi Jazz, seen him quite a few times live, heck even the Wife has seen them once, and she hates dance music. 

Anyway Merry Christmas blog readers hope you have a good one !!! 

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