Sunday 3 July 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Work Lights and Wretchocks

Although big strides have been made in modern fishing techniques, present-day barbel fishing specialists are unlikely to catch the quantities of fish hooked by earlier anglers. During eight days on the river Trent an angler before the last war apparently caught three hundred barbel to his own rod, and individual catches of 97,100 and 123 recorded in a day.

Most of the old timers pre-baited their swims or had them baited by local professionals with huge quantities of groundbait, as many as three or four thousand lobworms (yes really !!!) used for this purpose.  Today, although such bags are probably long past, barbel fishing is enjoyed by more anglers than ever before. 

Hempseed was one of those baits that revolutionised barbel fishing, because let's be honest they can still get utterly preoccupied by it whenever it is in their swim and they are up for a munch. 

Now the other syndicate members I know on this new stretch of river for me, freely admitted they didn't venture up to the top of the stretch because, why did they need to ? The barbel that frequent here have been caught all along the pegs of convenience which appear right in front of you as soon as you get to the river. 14 lbers and even 16 lbers 😯 and I want in.

However when Sam and I came for a reccy recently if I'm honest there was one swim I really fancied right at the far reaches, where it was a little deeper and also had plenty of features for barbel to hide. The fact that you can park right behind your peg is perfect for my short Barbel sessions where I like to fish coming up to 'bite' time and leave an hour past dusk.

When the river is up and coloured it's a different situation all together as the barbel can be caught any time of the day, but I've found when the water clarity is gin clear, Warwickshire Avon barbel like many rivers only really show when the light levels have dropped considerably. 


I'm a newbie on the stretch and effectively fishing blind almost, however the only way to suss out a river is to fish it isn't it. So swim chosen, hemp and pellet fed via a large dropper and I'd fish a bait over it coming up to dusk and a little beyond. 

Another reason why I earmarked this area initially is that not only does it see little or no pressure whatsoever, whereas the swim downstream can have anglers opposite, well until dusk anyway, as come dark they 'should' vacate them due to the clubs rules. Here fishing in to dark isn't an issue which is a huge advantage given barbel feeding time. 

To cut a long story short a blank on the barbel front, the swim had some decent depth 6 or 7 foot and either side much shallower but apart from the odd chub pull half an hour past dusk I decided to head home for a rum nightcap. The magnetic roof light worked a treat when packing up and at least the drive back was uneventful. 

The Jimny is perfect for the job though which its decent suspension travel and ground clearance as the upstream swims are a little more undulating, let's put it that way. I didn't blank though as a few chub and a couple of decent perch went for the lure as I was leaving the swim rest post bait dropping. I'll return when there is a little more colour as I could see it almost the full 7ft down, The Avon is proper gin clear at the minute which cane make bites from the bigger fish challenging. 

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