Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Wednesday 29 June 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Maggot Lovers and Magnetometers

This area of the Warwickshire Avon is one of those that is ideal if you want to get bites. Rudd you see are the dominate species and feed maggots under a float it really is bite a chuck.

Sam manned the whip and with the landing net in the margins he went about catching some maggots lovers. Now many ended up in the drink, lots ended up in the net and unbeknown to me some had escaped through rather large hole that has randomly appeared. 

To be fair despite being 'hook safe' a Salmo Hornet lure had got itself tangled up in it the other day and I had to nip some of the mesh with a scissors, as it really had got properly tangled.

Talking of lures Sam has been independently able to cast a lure no problem for years which is great for me, but despite trying for half an hour in the weir with a surface lure and also in the main river, nothing fancied a bite of the Salmo Ladybug.  

To be fair it was hard to get away from fishing the whip and rudd, after rudd, after rudd were up for biting with the odd roach mixed in-between.

Sam had seen some fish moving in a shallow area just ahead of the weir and sure enough some tiny dace, and a whip testing perch (we think) managed to get away, the highlight though a small gudgeon turned up out the blue.

A lovely little fish and that called time on the 2 hour session. Very enjoyable though so much so, Sam wants to go back the weekend and fish a 'proper lure' and also his 'float rod'. Lets see, with the Avon gin clear and low these sort of sessions guarantee at least a happy Sam.

I cannot have it my own way all the time now can I !!!

Sunday 26 June 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Roadkill and Rodomontade

A rather grim discovery heading over to the river for a morning session, yeap not the usual roadkill I usual stumble upon, and probably why I thought it was a badger at first.

I've seen plenty of otters over the years and some very close up indeed but its only when you get as close as this you realise just what an impressive animal it is, and no denying it is the apex predator in these flowing waters. 

The river is back to its summer best, low and crystal clear where in the daylight hours you can often be scratching around for bites, especially for the bigger fish.

The smaller fish are in numbers though and fish maggots bites can be forthcoming. I was after gudgeon though and this section of the Warwickshire Avon has had them year and year. Despite the size these little fish are bold biters and can offer some fun when the fishing is tough.

In one of the swims I could see a small shoal of them in the margins, almost sunning themselves in the morning sun, where initially I was wearing a fleece, and then come the end of the three hour session I was just in my shirt.

It was breezy with this couple or three days of low air pressure we are having and almost felt a spring morning despite it being summer. Maggots were doing the business and it really was a bite a chuck, however no proper gonks gave themselves up but plenty of the smaller fish were up for a feed.

Their blue sheen almost looked psychedelic when highlighted by the suns rays. I fished quite a few swims with bites in most but the chub were suspicious in their absence. 

Bits of bread were unhindered in the low and clear illuminated swims however there is one swim that is deeper than the rest and it is also largely in shade and can offer a bite when others don't.

And I wasn't wrong, a chunk of bread on the size six hook was cast underarm into a rather compact swim and within a split second, out from the far bank gloom came a chub and hovered up the bread with not a care in the world. 

A nice fish as well and gave me a merry dance initially but after bullying it away from the overhanging tree it knew who was boss and almost decided the game was up there and then, and I teased it to the waiting net. 

Small dace, perch, bleak and tiny chub were in most of the swims but the gudgeon were only in two swims. With the sun now high in the sky even the small fish seemed to be off feeding.

So it was back home early for some beans on tiger toast with, cheese and coriander, a flavour combination that everyone needs to give a go a some point. A Hindu mate of mines Wife put me on to it when we used to take an extended working lunch back in my apprentice days, when often the beans on toast was swapped for a plate full of chilli heavy vegetable samosas and tamarind sauce.

Fond memories !!!

Saturday 25 June 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Cenobites and Ceraunomancy

These opportunities don't come up very often, you see over a mile of Warwickshire Avon I can drive right next to the river and fish in to dusk and beyond is very rare indeed. I can park right behind my peg as well which for fishing in the dark is ideal especially when most sessions will be short and for barbel. 7 miles door to door, what's not to like. 

Last season here some PB breaking barbel were banked from the other members of this small syndicate and I wanted in on it. This area like much of the Warwickshire Avon holds some right old lumps but it was the fact that the old smaller barbel had been showing up got me interested, as well as the potential to beat my 12lb and 14 ounces. 

Now Sam who had just received his first phone as he is off to secondary school in September was up for a reccy too and as we drove up the stretch he got familiar with some the Apps his Mum had installed with him.

The access is ideal the Jimny making light work of the terrain and apart from the odd large depression not an issue at all, and as we stopped ever so often to check the swims out the further we drove up the stretch the better it seemed to get. 

The top of the stretch has it all to hold a decent barbel as there was some much deeper areas but mixed with gravel and streamer weed. 

I didn't spot any barbel though but I suspect if I baited a few areas eventually some fish would turn up. The Avon always fishes better with water on because it is crystal clear now being summer and low and can often look like it devoid of life. In-fact the smaller shoals of roach and bleak were suspicious in their absence. 

Extra water seems to switch the fish on but obviously in these conditions dusk and beyond is when the larger fish are likely to start to mooch about for food.

So I'll be back in the week I think and see if I could winkle anything out. Locating barbel is the hardest part in these quarters but find where they are holding up, I've found them not exactly hard to catch. The problem is blanks are inevitable because even if you stumble upon some, they have plenty of river to explore before the return to familiar areas where they can slip up. 

Chub on the other hand are in good numbers on the Avon and it didn't take long to find some fish. To be fair it took 3 or 4 swims to find any fish drifting the bread down on the surface.

But the tell-tale swirls in one swim they were in situ. Not a huge number of fish but the odd one, and after the baited piece of bread was picked up first drift down, Sam was up for having a go first off and wanted the rod off me without me getting a look in. 

A 3lber gave him a right run around after it tried to get in to some far side reed but the drag was set perfectly and some bullying from Sam the fish was eventually in the net.

I managed a 4lber in the next couple of casts and that was that, despite the first fish being retained the other fish in the swim disappeared completely. So I'll be back one evening and will fish in to dusk and then in to dark to try and temp a barbel. I think I will like this stretch and looking forward to seeing what I can catch. 

Friday 24 June 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Kettles and Kephalonomancy

Now ones Webber Kettle has been a trusty servant over the 12 years we have had it, from slow cooked briskets and pork shoulder to the usual burger and sausage affair it's been well worth the initial monetary outlay. 

Despite everything else in the garden of similar age showing signs of wear and tear to be honest a squint and a look, you'd think it was straight out of the box. That is not the case of cause, as the grills have seen better days and the moving vent underneath had rusted till it snapped off, oh and that handle, that handle. Luckily the main kettle is still good for another 12 years I'd imagine.

Certainly not Triggers Broom lets put it that way !!!! it has stood the test of time. 

Now the main 57cm grille though, needed to be replaced after the first BBQ of the year resulted in the marinated chicken thighs sticking like baby poo to a blanket. Ok a sharp shove up the jacksie got them shifted but it left behind chicken I'd rather have stuck in my mouth not on the grille. It had basically come to the end of its life like we all do eventually I suppose. 

So a replacement sourced, an official Webber one too , at £34.91 including P&P which to be honest I thought was a bargain especially when unofficial most likely inferior offerings weren't much cheaper.  

Now bread, yeap it seems you get what you pay for it you want to fish for chub off the top. You see I've been through all manner of budget breads and I always return back to the tried and trusted. 

The more expensive breads just seem to be that little bit stodgier, the crusts more robust so even after freezing and freezing once more they are still good to go. The budget brands just seem to crumble which leads to wastage and also frustration.

The Nash silicon bread bomb can often be a solution to the problem but like me when you prefer to use bread straight on the hook, those hard earned pennies sadly must come to the rescue.

For this session I'd fish for chub off the top initially with bread and from time to time a surface lure and after bait dropping in some pellets and hemp I'd fish over the buffet table headed in to dusk to try and tempt a barbel.

I have caught barbel in this area, the syndicate stretch not a million mile away and I'd also lost one when fishing for bream for in one of the Blogger Fishing Challenge years. Streamer weed, gravel and also some deeper areas it looks the ideal environment for a barbus to live its life quietly with all the habitat niceties' it needs without having to slum it.

Nic was also with me for this session as we both had this venue in mind for a dangle and both being members and local, these handy venues can offer short and frequent sessions without all the planning that is needed on stretches of river further afield. 

Nic despite happy to sit behind motionless Tench rods for 24 hours on Linear Fisheries would be trotting meat and the like and not sitting behind soul-destroying motionless barbel rods !! (His words not mine 😀)

But he has a point, as this section of the river the barbel numbers are few and far between like much of the Warwickshire Avon. 

They are there to be caught though you just need to be in the right time and the right place and be prepared for more blanks than the River Wye and the River Severn for example where populations are healthy(ish). There is always a chance of a lump on the Warks Avon though, as track one down, it can often be a double.

There were a few likeminded anglers already bankside when we got there but plenty of swims to go at, in-fact I didn't realise I could fish the next field too, happy days.

Now after going on the rove to try and find some chub it didn't take long to find some, the problem was it was a bit of a suicidal swim and after missing 4 takes on the bread eventually I managed to hook one. The problem was it carted off right in to some reeds and the hook pulled within seconds of being hooked.

To cut a long story short the Warwickshire Avon was back to its moody best as apart from Nic catching a few bits on his float set-up I and the others anglers blanked. Where were the fish ? they were just not interested. 

Even at dusk where usually the chub turn up and at least give the tip a good going over, nope they didn't appear let alone the barbel which were as elusive as ever.  A nice evening in good company though, so not all lost, especially when there are patrolling owls to watch in the adjacent field. 

So on to the next one !!!

Thursday 23 June 2022

The Tiny River Alne - Campanologists and Campaniforms

This usual quiet stretch of the river Alne where solitude can be found in abundence was sadly blighted, not by loud repetitive beats from a party nearby I might add, or a garden gathering where the odd'uns had consumed too much gin , but no 

Clanging campanologists....

Obviously a practice going on but I arrived at 7.00pm and they were still going hammer and tongs till thankfully it stopped at 9.00pm. 

They were loud, very loud !!!!

So not a great start, and to be honest the session wasn't much better....

I'd sourced a replacement lure rod that I broke here last time and after getting the Salmo Hornet stuck on the forth cast, I thought what the heck am I doing. Luckily that got stuck in the tree with the line snapping but a £6.99 mistake, but at least the rod survived this time. 

Not going well is it, anyway back to the fishing, the river was low very low despite the recent weekend rain but the trout were up for a predatory reaction or two. 

Just 4 trout caught during the 2.5 hour session where quite a few others grabbed the lure but managed to wriggle themselves free. The best shown above caught from the banker weir swim. 

The knack is try and set the drag so the fish can just about take some line, but then offer enough resistance to set the hooks. In one of the swims I chub of around 3 pound or so came out of nowhere and snatched the lure almost by my feet.

It bolted off downstream right under an overhanging tree and was on for a few seconds before somehow losing the hooks.

After losing another lure in a tree after the next cast after a nice trout also felt the hooks it was time for the off. An expensive trip again where as I type this I've still got bells ringing in my head, lets hope they have gone before the next session. 

Wednesday 22 June 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Butts and Bosoms

A full day of work sat behind a CAD screen, a visit to my Dad who is still in hospital, and then to meet a mate for a curry and a pint, the fishing afterwards would be most welcome indeed.

Mainly because post the belly buster I'd venture down to a convenient stretch of river and meet up with Nic from Avon Angling UK and whilst he was trotting with cubes of meat, I'd have a rare sit down on ones backside rather than crank up the Fitbit's step counter. 

Angling has never been just a matter of clomping down to the water and flinging in a baited hook. Fish are shy, wary creatures, ready to disappear at the first hint of anything untoward. They can see for quite a distance above the water and, through their lateral lines, can feel from yards away the vibration of a footfall, or a carelessly dropped bottle.

First and last, therefore, the angler must be a hunter. He has to crawl stealthily to the water's edge, to stalk the fish, to hide and stay hidden. What a fish can see on the bank is governed by the phenomenon of light known as refraction. When light travels at an angle from one medium into a denser one, and visa versa, it bends at the point of change.

This is why a straw appears to bend in a glass of lemonade and why those nice Indian Fella's in South America who keep appearing on telly because they're about to become extinct, always fire their arrows below the fish.

The effect of refraction on a fish's line of sight is to bend it, so that the fish would see a six-foot man but might miss a four foot one. So, unless you are four feet tall, it is important to keep low enough, or stay far enough from the bank, to keep under the fish's line of sight. 

It is also important to eliminate all reflective surfaces on tackle, clothing or person. Drab is fab, so if all you have are fluorescent pullovers and tangerine bobbly hats, coat them liberally in mud or rub them down with a cow pat. Spectacle wearers should cover their lenses with anti-flash liquid. Failing this, the spectacles should be rubbed down with fine emery paper, or coated with a weak solution such as liquid manure. 

Ok I jest but this section of the Warwickshire Avon really needs stealth tactics to be employed because the chub especially are so cautious this time of year. Where they are tucked up against cover most of the time and venture out in to the flow on the rare occasion.

If something isn't right they vanish completely.  You can see all this from the elevated swims you see where in this clear water the fish can be seen. 

This convenient stretch has always had Barbel over the years I fished it and after spotting a 4lber milling around over a gravel patch when I returned over the weekend to fish for Chub, I dumped a sandwich box of hemp and pellets in the margin in one swim to try and see if I could see any further fish.

Sure enough an hour later despite the slightly murky water two decent ones would drift over the bait for a few seconds and the head back out in the main river for fin stretching safety. 

Barbel are certainly not as suspicious as a Chevin, in-fact this same swim I had three feeding over ones SmörgÃ¥sbord that would happily bump in to the line and yet wouldn't spook off but return for more. Despite the fish feeding in the day though and even after changing to a few different hook-baits they avoided being hooked even after pulling the tip round a few times. 

The key was to go back the following day as when dusk was approaching the lower light levels the fish kicked up their feeding a notch and eventually a near double slipped up and after a decent battle it graced my landing net. Meet Mr Wonky, an oddly shaped fish that didn't seem to be bothered by its predicament the fight it gave, all bosom no butt !!

So a load of pellets and hemp dumped in the swim as soon as I got there and then its just a matter of taking ones times and chilling for a while.

Not my usual approach but this was a waiting game, so after a natter with Nic who was quickly on to the chub (he had a great session) I sat myself down proudly displaying my Red Arrows lucky socks the Wife bought me and waited for that wrap around.

It didn't that that long for a bite either once the small hot fish boilie drifted to the bottom slowly restrained by a PVA bag of freebies. 

I'd been watching the kingfisher patrolling up and down the stretch and then out the blue an hour in a sharp pluck the tip pulled round and kept on going and a fish was on. A decent scrap too but when it was out in open water not a huge fish, but having not seen their distinctive barbules for a good while, most welcome indeed.

Despite its obvious recent open wound from a brush with a predator it certainly was as powerful as I remember. Nothing fights like a barbel now does it.
The best was yet to come though, as after resting and returning the fish on the next peg down I rebaited with another boilie and pva bag and dropped the bait in to the swim. 

No casting required here, plop and drop !!!!

A decent chub pull within half an hour I made sure the bait was still on and then ten minute later all hell breaks loose. This felt much bigger and it bolted downstream with me hanging on for dear life.

Ones thumb and centrepin doing and admiral job of resisting its lunges. After 3 decent runs it decided enough was enough and I teased it in to the landing net.
This one in much better condition with the odd mark but otherwise a minter. A clear double and actually went 12lb and 6 ounces on the scales, which is my best from this stretch.

And that was a wrap, I could have stayed longer as there was still time till dusk but I decided to allow it to recover in the landing net whilst I packed up and then said my goodbyes to Nic who was still bagging up.

A memorable session this one !!!

Monday 20 June 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Tackle Testers and Tachistoscopes

Partner in crime !!!!

A pint of maggots, a Drennan 75Gram Whip, for an hour a bite a chuck !!!!

Bleak, chub, dace, minnows and roach. 

The big perch certainly a tackle tester but the whip did an admiral job of resisting the lunges and Sam was more than up to the task.

Dad, well despite it being fathers day, didn't get a look in.

Sunday 19 June 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Dragon Chasing and Drapetomania

The sunset last night really was quite incredible, in-fact the Wife and I both said probably the best we'd seen from our abode over the years.

There had been rain throughout the day and there was that lovely fresh feeling you get in the air during the summer months and a couple of glasses of wine down and an hour in to the movie, we decided to hit the pause button and enjoy it in all its glory.

It only looked like this for maybe twenty minutes where despite being well past 10.00pm the neighbours houses almost had a glow to them.

I'd have loved to be by the river waiting for that 4 ft twitch but to be honest in the summer months Chub tend to be my target species, because well, I prefer Chub to Barbel probably because locally anyway the Barbel numbers are few and far between, but I do like surface fishing for Chub and the summer months can bring them out from their cover for a look-see.

So a 6.00am start where after wading through the wet long grass it was only after the event that I realised that was a stupid thing to do. Because not only would I have wet trousers from ankle to knee for the next couple of hours, but that in the car I had a set of waterproof trousers.


And no, its not an i !!!

Now Researchers have managed to reproduce the way poppies create morphine in the wild, but warn that the technology needs urgent regulation

Home-brewed heroin could become a reality, scientists have warned, following the creation of yeast strains designed to convert sugar into opiates. 
The advance marks the first time that scientists have artificially reproduced the entire chemical pathway that takes place in poppy plants to produce morphine in the wild.

Scientists warned that the findings could pave the way for opium poppy farms being replaced by local morphine “breweries” and called for urgent regulation of the technology. 

In theory, opium brewing would be no more difficult to master than DIY beer kits, raising the possibility of people setting up Breaking Bad-style drug laboratories in their own homes.

Now thankfully despite being quite a few poppy flowers down this neck of the wood, probably not a harvestable amount anyway and not a bad thing I suppose and thankfully I had chub to keep me occupied.

I love chub in their summer colours and when I got to the river in just 48 hours the river had transformed from the recent rain.

Not only was it up, but those previously crystal clean swims where I could see 5 foot down, now I could just about make out the bottom.

Oddly the banker swim never had any rises to the bread crust whatsoever so I had to go on the rove to find the fish.

There really isn't much science to this technique of chub fishing off the top.

I use a size 6 hook and either a piece of crust or a large piece of flake squeezed tight to the shank. They often come up to inspect the bait and nudge it from time to time but usually with a large boil on the surface you know the fish has engulfed the bread offering.

The Chub are often tucked well away from the minnow mosh pit and are near overhanging trees, rafts and reed beds. They are Chub after all and they like the comfort of a snag they can head for if they unfortunately let their guards slip.

And slip their guard they did !!!!

They has switched on with the extra water over their heads, so 5 fish landed and the best going 4lb 9 ounces the smallest maybe 3lbs. It was 9 degrees when I started fishing and 13 degrees when I left. 

Once the sun was high in the sky you see, ones plans were scuppered. 

They were just not interested whatsoever and despite seeing dark shapes milling around a few of the swims they were a cautious as anything. Slow sinking flake brought instant pulls and plucks but these were small fish with eyes clearly far bigger than their bellies.   

Lovely Chubbly, I thoroughly enjoyed that !!! 

Saturday 18 June 2022

The Tiny River Alne - Maladroit and Malacophonous

The first BBQ of the year when some simple Greek chicken thighs was complimented with homemade tzatziki and wedges.

The key to these wedges is to cook them for 40 minutes in chicken stock, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and huge amount of crushed garlic and then for the last 20 minutes, drain the liquid so that they crisp up. Obviously some background tunes we needed and thankfully, YouTube came to the rescue. 

I've seen 59 years young Carl Cox plenty of times over the years but this mix recently from Sydney reminded me why I need to get back to seeing gigs like this.

A proper sensory overload to tickle the senses, nudge the neurones where my home audio despite what the neighbours think basically doesn't cut the mustard.   

Those acid undertones and those woofer moving techno beats a trademark ever since he began DJ'ing and not let up for the big man, as a DJ, he's still one of the busiest. 

Now he has become wealthy because of it and now resides in Melbourne, which having been myself, I'm not sure of the appeal of the urban sprawl. Then again with his spending power spondooolies I doubt he's slumming it. 

Anyway in total contrast to last nights moth removing, and subwoofer working, this session was a short crankbait session on the river Alne, which is the closest bit of river to me, just a short bike ride away (if need be)

The local rivers are in desperate need of rain but when the Alne is like this there are still bites to be had and this morning was no exception. These little Salmo Hornets dive just the right amount on the retrieve and have a fantastic action. 

I've had some nice chub and trout here in the past but for an hour an a half I couldn't get past the smaller fish. Plenty of bites though,  5 little chub and a few small brownies and even more aborted takes. It's quite amazing how some of these fish grabbed the lure and for some reason don't hook themselves. 

The rain was going to ramp up later in the day but after 31 degrees yesterday it was nice to have some respite from the oppressive heat. 

The Alne is rarely crystal clear but as its shallow almost every fish take could be seen especially from the more elevated swims.

I hit a problem though, a huge one !!!!

You see the last swim prior to my favourite the weir, I stupidly got heavy handed after getting the lure caught after a wayward cast and rather than walk backwards with the rod straight, I bent the rod so much the bleeding thing snapped. 

I thought it had just separated at the joint first, but not the 'snap' was a tell-tale giveaway and there was a small section hanging for dear life in the bottom section. 

Bugger !!!

I wasn't that far away from Angling Direct though, 6 miles in-fact and I needed to top up on bait so I ended the session early to try and get a replacement. Problem was there wasn't a direct replacement so I've sourced one for £31 quid (Korum Speed Spin) and to be fair, its a fantastic little rod and served me well since ownership. 

One of the fox rods looked perfect but I ain't spending £90 on a lure rod I don't use that many times throughout the year.

So that was that, 1.5 hours of fishing a broken rod and a costly error on my behalf. As I was driving home the rain was coming down in earnest and it will be a shower dodging day. Hopefully some of that rain will reach the rivers, because boy, (can I say that in 2022 ?) we certainly need it. 
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