Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Saturday 30 July 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Synodontidae and Simultanagnosia

 A much needed 10 days away from tomorrow so a quick smash and grab session !!!!

The chub were not interested whatsoever in taking it off the top, so on with the bread bomb, dunked in the drink and then squeezed to make it sink slowly....

Two chub caught, not the biggest but a bend in the rod 

Anyway travel rod in the suitcase and a few bits and pieces, hopefully I'll catch some species I've not caught before. Anyway better, go, a whole list of things to do !!!!

Synodontidae anyone ? 

Warwickshire Avon - Tomahawks and Tomographs

It certainly doesn't feel 10 years ago that I fished this swim, but I can remember it vividly because you see as a barbel novice I lost two certain doubles that did me over good and proper. You see after taking a rather large piece of luncheon meat they bolted downstream and got me in to a snag before I could say 'Ohhhhhhhh FFS'.

Eventually a nice chub succumbed to the same tactics but it was losing those two barbel that remained with me. Now this area was given a rather unfortunate 'butchering' for whatever reason around 5 years ago when the trees and cover were removed.

Thankfully the cover grew back faster than I thought it ever would which brings me to present day where I now have a different vantage point available to me on this new syndicate of mine.

It is the upstream bit of water that really interests me as it is largely un-fished and offers a big barbel if there is one around some peace and quiet from the bait chuckers.  

Now as usual I didn't have long but fishing come sundown and half an hour past dusk I'd give myself the best opportunity to get a bite. So it was out with the big bait method I've used successfully before, in-fact some of the biggest barbel I've caught have come to the biggest of baits especially in these clear and summer conditions. 

You'd have thought it would be counterproductive wouldn't you, but I've found, not only are the smaller species put off by it, but the fish are often so taken back by the head turner they've just got to get in on the action first.

Now the handy thing about this stretch of river is that I can drive the whole length and park behind my peg which for short session is ideal especially when I'm only ten minutes down the road.

The swim from this vantage point looked almost too perfect for Barbel with a deeper area straight out in front and cover in abundance. No small fish in the margins though in-fact the whole area seemed devoid of fish. An hour in though when I was just about to fish my torch out to illuminate the rod tip a few tentative pulls turned in to a proper bite however I struck in to nothing on the end. The bait had gone too, hmmmm

The bats were in numbers when dusk came and they were hitting the line every 30 seconds or so and there was a creature to my right that eventually dropped in to the river with a rather large splash followed by a rather large wake.

An otter I assume but then no surprise to me, I've seen more over the last couple of years than I ever have. The theory I have it that those bites at dusk and well in to dark are less prevalent than they used to be as the fish are in hiding, but then this is the Warwickshire Avon, not exactly huge numbers of Barbel.  

Anyway this new garlic version of the dynamite frenzied meat stinks like the discontinued proper spam offering but has a great texture to mount directly on the hook and offer the perfect resistance to casting and yet the hook pulls though it no problem. It will be prefect on a coloured Avon I know what, anyway, a big Chub ? who knows but that was the only bite I got despite fishing well in to dark. 

The Avon has never been easy but I know there is a PB beating barbel here, I just need to rack the sessions up. I'll try the hemp and pellet approach next time though. I'm liking it here, and looking forward to exploring more of it, as Carl Cox would say (just turned 60) Oh Yes, Oh Yes !!!!

Thursday 28 July 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Shrapnel and Shunamitism

I remember fondly the nineties where it really was a carefree existence, for me and many growing up in ones twenties it was such a simpler life compare to todays madness, and the money, yeap the money, you see as a CAD jobber I was earning a year what my first house set me back when I bought one at 23 years old. 

It really was the Life of Riley, well it felt like that anyway !!!....

Heck even the football was watchable with the crowds fuelled with enjoyment not anger having to watch the diving dross you get to see a quarter of a decade later, but I hit the hay day especially when I sold my house for 3 times what I bought it for a decade later, sadly its been going downhill ever since. 

Those bundle of notes left in my pockets every month, now swapped for shrapnel, where these days the average age of someone getting on the housing ladder is mid to late thirties !!!! Life's pressures increasing year on year, heck I might have to do a 'Gale' and get myself a motorhome and disappear if it continues at this pace, or maybe seek 'help' from a younger woman, yeah, I thought about that for less time than it took me to type it. 

Now at least I've got fishing to keep ones mind away from the realities, you see this hit and hold swim needed some planning, the barbel that are holding up here are not as stupid as their barbule boasting brethren, and despite getting the odd one feeding over ones mixed pellet and hemp buffet, the 12mm Dynamite Baits durable hookers, obviously stood out like a horse-fly on an overly white 3 tiered wedding cake.

It didn't help that its so clear that just getting to the swim means a stealth approach and, being low'un all, if you can see the barbus it can see you. Twice now I've crept down on all fours, spotted the fish in the baited swim for a split second before its buggered off to its sanctuary, never to be seen again. 

The third time a nice distinct fat fish of around 7lb drifted in and over the freebies and joined the chub in the mosh pit, however, seeing it clear as day, it was obvious there was something about the end tackle that it wasn't happy with. In the end I gave up, became inpatient and vowed to return better prepared.

Now the overhanging canopy provides shelter and a rolling approach with the bait trundling upon the bottom, brought only bites from small chub and not the barbel I was after, so I'm sure it was the presence of me as an angler that got it suspicious. 

It didn't help I don't think that despite trying to keep away from the 1ft deep water and much of my body hidden behind some tall nettles and cover, the 11ft rod was still breeching the swim when viewed in plan view.

So I dusted of my less conspicuous and underused Angling Direct River Ambush 7ft jobbie and would bait drop some pellets and hemp as before, leave for an hour and then fish a small discrete but glugged (hot fish) banded pellet on a size 12 hook on a long (for me) flurocarbon hook link, that I'd drop in to the swim half an hour before dusk.

Planning is the key in my fishing, you know that if you have been reading this blog of mine for a while. The engineer in me I suppose, ad-hoc does not compute, well it does from time to time I suppose when I need some peace and quiet quick smart away from the ear benders. 

Now Nic's YouTube subscribers tally had just clicked over to the 6k mark this week and he was also bankside with a similar intentions and fed a few swims with pellets and hemp with a bait dropper and would check each swim in rotation before getting a bait out if any barbel were spotted. 

Where as I hunkered down in to my swim and was there to stay. It didn't take long to see the first barbel when a small fish came out from the streamer weed to the left fed from the swim for a few seconds and then went northward under a overhanging canopy. 

At least I knew there were barbel around, however there were chub too that were getting their heads down feeding on the pellets. So it wasn't a surprise that after some determined pulls and plucks the first fish to hook itself was a small chub.

The swim is small and this grumpy chub had wrecked it for a while so after returning it I fed some more pellets and hemp and then went for a wander to see what Nic was up to.

He'd spotted a barbel drifting over his baited area in a really shaded areas where I've caught barbel from before. They just seem to like it here and what I didn't expect that within a few minutes of getting his boilie bait out, mid natter Nic's baitrunner went screaming off.

A cracking scrap too, run after run this 6 or 7 pounder really was giving him a run for his money where the whole battle could be seen in plain sight. It was eventually in the net and after a rest and a quick picture it was rested again and returned to the gin clear swim it came from.

Nic called it a day on that fish and we said our goodbyes where as I stuck it out another forty five minutes for another small chub that really was determined to make acquaintance with my landing net. So no barbel for me, as I ended the session a little early, but still an enjoyable session and always nice to have a catch-up. 

Monday 25 July 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Gut Buckets and Gynotikolobomassophiles

I was umming and ahhing whether or not to wet a line post a rather large Sunday roast, but I was only a small glass of wine down and I'd have only fallen asleep on the sofa anyway, so the car was loaded with a few bits and pieces and I was off down the Avon.

Like the majority of anglers, if a fishing fix is needed there isn't a fat lot you can do apart from going fishing, otherwise a few hours later if I'd have not gone, I'd be kicking myself, wondering why the heck I didn't. 

It was in my head so I needed to go, anyway something a little different for this session, you see, as I'd fish sections of lamprey in some deeper swims I'd discovered in the driving stretch of convenience. 

There was a threat of rain all day and it was quite windy but to be honest I only planned to fish a couple of hours max and I was more than happy with one fish. 

I have caught chub on lamprey before so not a bait I was unfamiliar and after I fed two swims with bread and followed the white wafters down the river 100 or so yards without them being taken by Chub, a bite on lamprey within 5 minutes, I'd made the right choice. 

One of the changes that made a huge difference in fishing static baits for chub was to use as light a quiver tip I could get away with. 

In this case a 1 ounce glass tip and not only are the bites registered with a rather large movement of the tip but the chub seem to pull at the bait first to check for any resistance and if they are confident there isn't an angler on the end, they properly nail it.

The key is to leave the rod well alone until those plucks, pulls and twitches turn in to a full on fish on affair. 

The first fish after an initial powerful run decided quite quick that he wasn't up for a scrap and it was in the the net quicker than a big chub like this usually is.

A really long fish that was rather slender but it went exactly 5lb's on the scales, a lovely fish indeed that I'd love to catch in the winter when its filled out its rather large frame. 

I got the inch section of lamprey out again in the same place which was between some reeds and an over hanging tree.

Another bite came within ten minutes and again a nice chub succumbed to the bloody offering. Not quite as big this one but a 4lber all day long and was well worth the trip out. 

No more bites in that swim and another one after so I called the session early and decided to head back to finish off the wine I started after putting the kids to bed.

So lamprey, give it a go, then again, these are chub, as Nic from Avon Angling UK said, "such, gut buckets !!!!" there isn't much they won't eat, or will give it a go once at least. 

Saturday 23 July 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Nymphalids and Nympholepsy

I remember the first camera phone I had back in 2002 when for my birthday I spoilt myself and bought a Panasonic GD87, which was a flip phone with video and picture taking capability.

The actual pictures taken were literally the same size as the screen, so roll on 20 years the quality of the pictures taken on modern phones really are quite incredible really especially when the lenses are so small and the pictures so big with millions of pixels. 

After a bit of a butterfly drought in this neck of the week this year there seems to be plenty about now which is encouraging.

I even saw a woman the other day with a net and a clipboard I'm assuming recording the different species are frequenting the local area. Ok only the humdrum for us this morning but a few other species were not playing ball like these two were. 

Anyway to the fishing, with a couple of butterflies down on route to the first swim on a stretch that Sam had chosen the evening before, ok it was very much groundhog day where we'd fish maggots for gudgeon and also bread on the surface for chub, but so what, especially when we had the stretch to ourselves. 

Sam like me loves this technique to catch wary chub in the summer because despite them sometimes ignoring it completely, however it's often when the bleak and the other smaller bait fish start attacking it where Mr Chub decides to get in on the act and shows them who is boss.

This first swim downstream there is an overhanging tree and often the fish are tucked up tight to the far bank cover, but feed bits of bread most of the time they venture out for a nose, and when they are feeding with confidence that's the time to put a piece down with a hook buried in it. 

The problem is they take it quite a long way down the swim so you need to crouch down to focus your eyes down the line of attack and Sam was demonstrating the method in this picture perfectly. 

Nothing big turned up today but it is great to see Sam with the confidence to bully the chub away from snags when hooked, and boy, like me, they know this convenient stretch intimately so it's not an easy task. He is turning in to a cracking little angler that's for sure, I hope his interest doesn't waver like mine did when I had a lay off for 20 years. 

After we'd got through the half a loaf of bread it was on to the gudgeon where there are plenty here, the problem is there is an abundance of other species that like the maggots too so the key is to use a wand rod with a light running set-up where you ignore the taps and wait for the tip to properly go round. 

Ok, not quite cricket but even Sam who loves catching minnows knows that we need to adapt the set-up to target the species we are after.

Only a whistle stop two hours but enough to satisfy the fishing fix for both of us but you know me, I like to mix it up with most of my fishing sessions so I'll have a think what to do where to go without resorting to the familiar. I'm lacking a little enthusiasm at the minute but these sessions are palatable, so not all lost. 

It is becoming a little groundhog day'ish though, I freely admit it !!!!

Friday 22 July 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Targaryen's and Tartarology

This 11ft TFG X1 River and Stream is probably my favourite rod from my ever growing collection, because well, for fishing for chub it really is balanced to perfection.

You see not only does it help restrain the snag lunging Chevin but you get such a fight from these hard battling chub playing fish is addictive and there is no need to reach for Thor's hammer when this light rod is more than enough for the job.

I thought I broke the top section the other day however, when a chub did me over good and proper when one left me stuck well snagged within some reed roots.

I had to pull for a break where when walking backwards with the rod low and the line tight eventually the the quiver tip (std Drennan) came flying towards me like a Targaryen's arrow straight towards ones nether regions.

Anyway thankfully the rod was intact it was only the quiver than needed to be rehomed in the black wheelie bin as this post after work session wouldn't have been enjoyable. 

You see 7 chub caught all on floating crust where if it wasn't for the otter turning up I'd have probably had a few more fish. They were literally on it as soon as it drifted down the shallow river where a bow wave would appear quickly followed by a wake.

With a thunder storm threatening to spoil the peace and tranquillity the best I could muster up was this 4lber, but it gave such a cracking scrap like Sandy Saddler in his prime I really thought it would have gone a couple of pound heavier.

I actually left before ones curfew but sometimes when you've had a good day that isn't a bad thing because you leave on good memories. 

Before I left I fished a hemp and pellet pre-baited swim where a some small chub were properly on to the free offerings. 

After one took the hookable pellet and disturbed the swim, the 5 or 6lb barbel that gate-crashed the party decided to bugger off before he had its collar felt by the bouncers and I didn't get a change to get a hook bait near it. 

Oh well and decent session all round, my sort of fishing these, short and sweet !!!

Thursday 21 July 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Lollies and Lithochromy

I found out this week the kids have actually got their uses, you see not only was their ageing paddling pool made use of, but those cheapo lollies buried in the back of the freezer were actually perfect to suck on in the near 40 degree heat for some much needed ray relief.

Now in hot, summery weather, the fish go off their feed. Now So you sit there, sweating, without a bite. In cold, wintry weather, the fish go off their feed. So you sit there, freezing, without a bite.

Most fish can be guaranteed to come back on feed about five minutes after you have packed up to go home.

Careful observation of the weather pays untold dividends.

Nip out after a summer shower, when the water will be cooled and oxygenated and the fish will be on the feed again. By the time you have tackled up it will be time for the next shower. You’ll get soaked.

In winter, wait for a mild spell and give it three or four days to warm the water before you go out. This will get you to the bank in time for the cold snap and the heaviest snowfall in living memory.

If you fish through a rainstorm do it under a bridge. All the fish will be there, keeping dry. 

Now talking about keeping dry these sadly leaves haven't got that problem because the extraction of the rivers are part of the course especially in these conditions,  where Sadiq Khan had been preaching his virtues and was warning his followers off having a BBQ and telling them how to keep safe in the climate crisis. 

Jesus, what would Londoners do without him !!!

To be honest I didn't have much planning for this session, it was one of those that dictated itself following the days proceedings and I really needed a fishing fix. 

The stretch of convenience was chosen mainly because I can get from door to door rather quickly, and with only a couple of hours till dusk and a spare loaf of bread, chub off the top was the plan. 

One up on the carp trolley pushers !!! my own toilet

It flows here quite well despite the levels and also it is nice to spot fish coming up to feed on the white fluffy offering.

It didn't start well to be fair with the 2nd drift down of the bread a chub took the bait with one foul swoop and a decent chevin was on. 

The problem was it picked it up at the tail end of the swim and there are reeds sticking out of the water here and it knew exactly where to go. 

Yup straight in to them !!!

So not long after the grating of the line could be felt the hook came back with a reed and not a fish on the end, Bugger !!!

Despite fishing quite a few swims though the chub were ultra cautious often seen running for cover as soon at the bread hit the surface.

Slow sinking bread caught me a few small fish and eventually a near 2lber was caught at the tail end of a snag filled swim. Still nice to see the fish in their summer colours it really is.

And that was my lots, a piece of flaked fished on the bottom at dusk produced naff all, still at least the walk back to the car was nice in my t-shirt.

Well it was 20 degrees less than 24 hours before, crazy 😶

Saturday 16 July 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Grandiloquent and Grammaticasters

Sam wanted in on the gudgeon malarky, so a shaded swim was chosen away from the suns rays where he fished the light wand rod to get the bait to the bottom as quickly as possible.

After a few pesky perch eventually the gudgeon showed up and quite a few were caught in the short morning session. No monsters but certainly a few gonks turned up amongst the smaller gudgeon. 

These fish are really bold biters so the key to hook-up success was to ignore the pulls and rattles and basically wait for the tip to go round properly.

A few bleak, tiny chub and dace also succumbed to the red maggots and kept Sam entertained throughout the session. I've never seen it so low here to be honest but being a little more oxygenated the fish don't seem to be suffering at all. 

I wanted in on the act though and after an hour or so the first drift down of the floating bread out from cover a black shape appeared and nailed the bread within a split second of it seeing it.

No messing here whatsoever and yet recently they have become more wary of taking the bread off the top and often mess with it without taking it. 

Sam did the netting honours after a bit of a mad battle. At first I thought it could well break the 6lb barrier because it was a proper fatty but it was a short fish and that meant it 'only' went 5lb and 7 ounces on the dials.

A superb specimen though and I love it when chub get this statue. What it would weigh in the winter who knows but it would definitely be a PB fish I'd imagine. A 6lber ain't far away I don't think because certainly the Chevin in the Warwickshire Avon seem to get bigger and bigger year on year. 

I just need to be in the right time and the right place I'm sure and the prize will be mine. 

So a short and sweet session AGAIN but so what, when you catch fish like this I don't mind so much. No barbel were spotted and in-fact many of the swims when walking back to the car seemed devoid of fish, well big ones anyway, plenty of miniature maggot munchers to be caught. 

Friday 15 July 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Schwerpunkts and Scribbleomania

A short afterwork session was well worth the trip out because I saw something I'd never seen before in the Warwickshire Avon which hopefully I'll act on once these bought of hot weather has left us.

The river is so low and clear but with a wand rod and a handful of maggots I fancied a few bites from some gudgeon that reside in this gravely stretch.

They didn't disappoint either and were in almost all the swims I fished. A smattering of other species such as roach, perch and small dace but in the main gudgeon.

These swims have pace, so ok I'd like to have fished a float, but a light link ledger set-up is more suited especially when you can get the bait to the bottom much faster.

None of the big'uns showed up but still a welcome sight especially when the sun makes their colours even more vibrant. 

What I didn't expect was a 4lb 8oz chub to dash out of cover and hover up the maggot within a split second of the underarm cast. 

A proper battle ensued but the light rod did a decent of restraining its lunges and it was soon on the net. A short smash and grab session but these are my bread and butter.

The fishing fix ticked off and back before the sun would be properly beating down. 

Short and sweet, love it !!

Thursday 14 July 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Philistines and Physiognomancy

Probably not the best idea a home concocted spicy prawn curry but a little like fishing, the feelgood meter cranks over to right rather than hovering vertically or well over to the left.

Life is all consuming at the minute, but then it is for many you just need to find those little windows of opportunity to get back control of ones own diary rather than having it dictated by others. 

I didn't really have the urge to go fishing if I'm honest but with the river low I decided a mooch down the new syndicate stretch to check out some spots was a worthwhile exercise.

The weather is going to be hot and humid for a while so venturing out either early doors, or when the sun was setting was probably the best idea. To be honest I didn't have much of a plan but trying to locate some chub via some floating crust and try and spot some areas for a future bait and wait approach. 

This stretch of river like much of the Warwickshire Avon these days does hold some nice chub and a winter campaign is planned here where I'm sure a 6lber would slip up.

The farmer has been busy bailing the hay so the access which was pretty decent anyway was now a breeze. I didn't see the resident owl though as I assume with much of the cover gone for its prey, he might have buggered off somewhere else where the furry four-legged picking were richer.

It didn't take long to find some feeding chub the problem was they were not up for taking the bread off the top. Knocking it, nudging it, staring at it, you name it but not actually taking it properly.

It was clear there was some bigger ones literally hiding deep in the reeds as the odd piece of bread drifted within them and was taken almost immediately. 

The problem was I couldn't get anywhere near them but the key was some slow sinking wetted bread which fell through the water column and was taken almost immediately. 

A decent fight from a summer Chevin but I had to bully it away from the reeds and it was in the net quickly enough. A nice one too at 4lb and 8 ounces but I've no doubt there are some far better ones here to be caught. 

I thought that was the start of things to come but sadly not. The swim went dead and after I found some chub willing to feed off the top in a swim I couldn't reach I decided to get the lure rod out in to dusk.

A small jack pike and a couple of small perch and that was it. There was plenty of big fish topping so I'll be back for me. Heck a fish (possibly be a carp) was surface feeding around some lily pads. I'm going to like it here especially come winter, a 6lb chub will be mine I'm sure and also a PB barbel if I'm lucky.  
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