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 Smörgåsbord 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 !!!


  1. Great session, and some cracking barbel - that 12 is a beauty. Bet it’s not long ‘til you’re back..!

    1. It's quite an intimate section Brian, will give it a week or two before going back !!

  2. Replies
    1. Cheers Darren !! tight lines for the new season


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