Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Wednesday 31 August 2022

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.40

The float is in the water and the angler is sitting like a crouching cougar, with every nerve, every fibre ready for instant response to the slightest tremor. Or he
should be. More likely he is scratching, slumping, dozing, or trying to take off a bottle top with his teeth.

The float trembles. But the experienced does not strike immediately. He deduces from the action of the float, what kind of a fish it is likely to be. A roach, if it does not pull the float sharply under, will nudge it, move it sideways, perhaps lift.

A perch or a gudgeon will give a bob-o-bob before pulling it under. A tench or a bream will fiddle about and lay the float flat before taking it away. 

A barbel or a chub will take the float straight under with a bang. An eel will fiddle, run, and stop for another fiddle. As all this goes through the angler’s mind, as he attempts to deduce from the actions of the float what kind of monster is at his bait, the fish loses interest and goes away. 

The time to strike is when the float dips just under the surface, and the striking movement should be a turn of the wrist—enough to lift the float out of the water and no more.

If more anglers were to remember this there would be fewer reports of unidentified flying objects over canals and fewer stories in local papers about people being struck by gudgeon during freak storms. 

Now once the fish is on, by design or accident, there is the job of getting him safely to the bank. The first rule is: Don’t Panic. Nothing is more damaging to the
image of the calm, philosophical angler than screams of, ‘Omygawd! I’ve got ‘im! T’ve got ‘im!’ Especially when the end product is a four-ounce roach with one eye and half a tail. 

Rod up, lad. Keep the tip in the air, the line taut and the upper lip stiff. Let the fish do the Pulling, give line when you have to, and turn him bath with sides strain. And don't play him for half an hour if all you've got is a three-ounce bleak on a 2 1/2lb line. 

There are two methods of using the landing net: classic and popular. The classic method is to have the net in the water by the time the fish arrives at the bank. The fish is drawn over the rim and the net lifted up in one smooth, clean movement. 

The popular method is to get the fish splashing around at the water's edge and then to give it a karate chop with the rim of the net The fish leaps, the line breaks. The angler goes running up and down the bank telling everyone what a monster he's just lost, and some poor little fish is left with a mouthful of hook and a thumping headache. 

There are classic and popular methods of unhooking fish, too. The classic method is to take the fish in a wet hand or a damp cloth, ascertain the position of the hook and lift it out cleanly with either fingers or disgorger. 

The popular method is to clutch the fish in a hot dry hand and to wrench out the hook with a fair proportion of fish still attached to it (I wonder if the anti angling finger pointers think that anyway ?) . This leaves the angler wondering why the fish in his keepnet are floating belly-up, and leaves the fish muttering 'Bloody' ell....'

I jest but any distraction from fishing at the minute is most welcome. You see if I look back at ones blog I've not caught a decent fish in AGES and to be honest it's hit my motivation at the minute and I've not been eager to get out really, especially with the local rivers the way they are. 

With the Zander rods set-up though the Hallowed can wait and for this post work session I'd take a trip to a local bit of canal that has been kind to me in the past. The problem is, it is hit and miss if the fish are there or not, but if they are there some of the fish to be caught are very nice indeed. 

The double has been ticked off the bucket list but I still love catching canal Zander especially when this area is 10 minutes door to door, where the mobile signal is not existent and all you can hear is the rustling of trees.

To be honest the bites were hard to come by, but out of the blue when retrieving a chunk of roach a fish grabbed it and did a fat legger. Only a schoolie though but maybe they wanted a moving bait.

Bigger Zander can often be lazy scavengers though so for the last hour I decided to stay put in one swim and wait for something a little bigger.

Not a fat lot happened until the sun disappeared behind the trees and out of the blue the float after an initial bob or two started to cart all round the swim and that can only mean one thing generally.

Yeap a better stamp of Zander !!!

I tightened up to the circle hook and sure enough this was a little more solid and felt at least something to bend the rod.

Not a big fish but most welcome and after a spirited fight the 4lb 8oz fish was in the net. Now I fully expected another couple of bites, but no, that was that. I like these short sessions though, the fishing fix ticked off and a nice fish in the net, I felt far better for it, long may it continue.  

Monday 29 August 2022

Canal Zander - The Hallowed II Chronicles Pt.7

Every time I arrive waterside here I am always amazed at the colour of the water, you see being from Bards country the boat traffic colours up the water significantly, and it was only in the lockdowns I got to realise just how shallow many of the local canals are.

They went clear, proper clear and not only did the bait fish reveal themselves but also much of the bottom as well. 

Here is very different and despite the boat traffic churning up the bottom after some initial turbid swirling after ten minutes or so the water is back to a lovely green colour again.

There is plenty of visibility and I'm sure that's why the biomass of fish is by far the most in any canal I fish. I've said before feed some groundbait and maggots literally anywhere on the canal you will pick up fish no problem.

Considering what lies beneath I'm sure the location puts many angler off, with many literally fishing where they park for the convenience. 

To those in the know though there are some cracking predators to be caught and if you have been reading my blog for a while it was some to the canal Zander monster that brought a 6 year quest to an abrupt end, when a 11lb 8oz fish graced the net. 

It's not just the Zander that get big because the Pike as well I broke my PB a couple of times culminating with a 17lb 8 ounce fish that I caught last Xmas Eve

I didn't have long for this session and it is a bit of a trek but I still managed a few bites. Nothing big though although out of the blue after a few bobs of the float it went straight under and I felt something on the end for literally a few seconds before it sadly dropped off.

In one swim after a boat went thorough the Zander went on the hunt and it was bite after bite from schoolies with eyes far bigger than their bellies.

Even a perch of around a pound and a half fancied a deadbait but the larger fish just didn't show today oddly. Still there are bigger Zander to be had here than my quest concluder and it will always stay on my radar because of that.

So not quite the session I expected but then I was only there a few hours as I had to get back to ride on this steam train with the rabble.

It feels like I've not caught anything decent in yonks, still I'll keep racking up the sessions and I'm sure the fish Gods will be looking down on me soon enough.

Sunday 28 August 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Dog'os and Dontopedalogy

So I'm finding the fishing a little tough at the minute but fish maggots and the smaller fish are always up for a munch. Here there are plenty of bites to be had especially from the Rudd where they are often queuing up in numbers and take the grubs falling through the water almost in bleak ferocity. 

Sam wanted in obviously but mainly because he wanted to "bring the predator rod, to try and catch a zander, pike or perch. 

To be fair Sam was right on the money as within seconds of getting a bait out the meandering float started to bob and then sailed right under.

After a few seconds though the fish whatever it was spat the bait out and Sam was back to square one. These are predators though and after the bait went back the fish must have taken almost the fish on the drop. 

Only a little jack but it gave Sam the runaround and ticked off his predator craving. The rudd were suspicious in their absence but because most fish caught on the whip were skimmers and perch, but as soon as the light started to go the bites all of a sudden became thick and fast.

After the initial quick bite on the predator rod though it was very quiet indeed. Surprisingly quiet really because we were expecting some perch as well to be interested. 

To be honest there was another reason that we both wanted to come here and that was to meet Tess, Nic from Avon Angling Uk's new golden retriever.

And what a lovely little pup she his too, and already quite well behaved considering her age. Hopefully Tess will make a great fishing companion given time, no reason why either they are a great breed. 

Anyway a few bites but a little disappointing considering what can happen here when the maggots start flowing.

Still come father and son bonding which is always most welcome especially when we have a shared passion. So where to go what to do ? The Hallowed deserves a visit me thinks, I'm not really feeling the rivers at the minute. 

Saturday 27 August 2022

The River Arrow - Chips and Chronosynchronicity

An impulse purchase, so much promise, so little return !!!!

Who'd have thought that would also how the fishing session would go the following morning....

You see after discovering masses of minnow at the river Arrow recently I fancied seeing if there were any decent perch around and if they were not, one of the numerous chub fancied a Salmo Hornet. 

Best laid plans and all that !!!

Because swim after swim after swim, there was nothing doing whatsoever....

Still at least some fresh air in some lovely countryside !!!

Even the chub were suspicious in their absence with only one 2lber spotted 

On to the next one....

Friday 26 August 2022

The Tiny River Alne - Fat Cats and Fallibilisms

Ben loves water he always has done and the recent family holiday to Playa Blanca in Lanzarote he couldn't wait to get in to the sea, because why the heck not, it was warm and inviting after all. He is the definition of a water baby and with autism and global development delay, the term is almost befitting. Back in Blighty though a hot weather dunking needs to be considered carefully.

You see earlier this year the outgoing chief of the Environment Agency, Emma Howard Boyd, said water company bosses should be sent to jail for allowing raw sewage to be pumped into England’s waterways.

Instead, many are enjoying multimillion-pound salaries and bonuses, as billions of litres of sewage are poured into the country’s rivers and oceans. You see water companies are allowed in some circumstances to discharge raw sewage via “combined sewer overflows” (CSOs).

The idea is that these overflow pipes act as a safety valve during period of heavy rain, allowing excess effluent to be released untreated rather than flood the network and people’s homes. 

In practice, however, these CSOs are discharging sewage even in just the lightest drizzle, and what was meant to be an emergency solution is now everyday practice in the water industry.

Campaigners blame decades of underinvestment in the network as well as a growing population for the problem. They say money spent on high salaries and share dividends should be redirected to increase capacity in the network.

But how much are the bosses of water companies being paid, and how much sewage is being released?

Well I stupidly turned on the news recently (don't bother it will only depress you) and didn't like what I heard, you see, Liv Garfield, Severn Trent CEO the boss in my area was paid £3.9m in  2021(WTAF) where under her watch there was  >59k hours of CSO discharges when her bank account was lined with gold and then some. 

In December in the same year Severn Trent was fined £1.5m by a court for illegally discharging sewage from its water treatment works in Worcestershire. Around 360,000 litres of raw sewage was discharged at four plants. Easier to pay the fines isn't it, bit like football managers rewarded for failure, well that's what it seems anyway. Now where is that hosepipe, I can think of somewhere to forcibly inset it, and it's not the clematis in the back garden. 

Anyway better get off my soapbox and go fishing hadn't I.....

....now this the small syndicate of the Alne I'm not sure I'm going to re-join again because although it's handy, in-fact the nearest bit flowing water I fish, I've sort of outgrown it. I know it intimately and maybe that's the problem, maybe a trip to waters new on the Alne could spark my interest in it again.

I love this sort of river I really do and the water quality cannot be that bad as it has some wild brownies frequenting its shallow waters. Some big'uns too however those other than the hundrum I've hooked and lost sadly. Anyway as I type this we'd had quite a bit of rain during the day so with an influx of water would the predators be up for a bite or two ?

Only way to find out, out with the Salmo Hornet !!! 

As normal I had the stretch to myself and what a lovely short session in solitude. The chublets were on it with around 9 or 10 caught where I got to see the take. The trout though were very cagey with a few small ones appearing out of nowhere to nudge the lure but not take it. 

Then one of around 3lb made an aborted take literally by my feet but it was clear they were having an off day. Oh well, I love this sight fishing for predators, oh the fish are not the biggest, but so what, just the session I needed after a testing day at work. 

Tuesday 23 August 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Forests and Folkloristics

The Heart of England Forest is a charity that acquires land to try and achieve their vision of creating a 30,000 acre Forest which will be here for future generations.  At the moment the Forest covers a mosaic of habitats across 7,000 acres of land in Warwickshire and Worcestershire, including 4,450 acres of new woodland and 600 acres of mature and ancient woodland.

At just 23% of the way towards their 30,000 acre goal, they are already the largest new native broadleaf woodland in England. 

The Forest will benefit the environment, wildlife, and people for hundreds of years to come, so owning the land to give it permanence is vital. 

Last year they secured new land at Bearley, Perry Mill and Cleeve Prior, adding 240 acres to the Forest.

To continue to expand the Forest, the charity is assembling a three year land bank. 

Each site can take anywhere from one to over three years from acquiring the land to planting trees and shaping the Forest on the ground. 

More recently March 2020 they purchased 200 acres in Bearley 
(where I live and we walk it most weeks after discovering it in lockdown.), a site which offers great tree planting potential, but it also buffers some mature woodland, enhancing this habitat, too, and is only a mile from land they own and have planted at Newnham.

A further 20 acres was acquired at Perry Mill is adjacent to a disused railway line, so this is a strategic purchase for Forest connectivity and finally, 20 acres was purchased at Cleeve Prior, adjacent to a Cleeve Prior Heritage Trust site, which is excellent example of habitat creation and enhancement undertaken by local volunteers.

We know that many species within the Forest rely on linear features to migrate and to feed, from barn owls which can be seen hunting along mature hedgerows at dawn and dusk, to hedgehogs snuffling along hedge bottoms hunting for food whilst remaining out of sight from predators, so this sort of thing can only be encouraged. 

Talking of predators, with Sam catching a 2lb Perch the other day I fancied a lure session to try and see if there were some other decent perch around.

Even when the river is gin clear I still find a bright green lure can often provoke a reaction from a predator when many a lure angler would be reaching for a more natural colour. Chub especially I find like something that stands out more, almost wtf is that. 

Now Nic from Avon Angling Uk was bankside too and he would do what I was going to do later on in this short session. He was baitdropping some pellets in to a few swims (we had the banks to ourselves) to see if he could see any barbel feeding to try and stalk one out.

It was clear as the session went on the barbel and the bigger chub were suspicious in their absence in-fact so much so, Nic after a returning to the baited swims time after time, knew what the outcome would be, and cut his session short.

I managed a perch on 2nd cast but boy it was tough, even in the the weir banker swim cast after cast no hits whatsoever. Other swims the same result, the fish were just not having it.

I stayed in to dusk a swim where I spotted a decent Barbel when I was bankside with Sam but nothing doing whatsoever not even any chub pulls on the reliable Hot Fish Boilie. Oh well nice to catch up with Nic and some much needed fresh air after the dry air-conditioning I had to endure in the office !!!. 

Sunday 21 August 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Slipslop and Snafflers

Something different for this session, you see after Sam caught that lovely Perch I fancied one of them for myself. I had earmarked an area as well down at the syndicate stretch where two adjacent swims have some nice slack areas away from the main flow, where I planned to fish a live bait.

One of the swims has some nice depth to it as well, where a couple of sessions ago there were chub milling around at the bottom really not interested in the bait at all. The plan was to also drift some bread down to see if any chub were up for feeding off the top for another potential option too.

One good thing about being able to park behind your peg means I can bring all manner of tackle and bait and if need be the kitchen sink.

So apart from my float rod with some maggots, I had ones chub rod with bread and also a predator rod set-up with a float to try and see if there were any decent perch here to be caught. It certainly looked the perfect hideout for Perch, ticking all the boxes for their needs and desires.

Only a quicky but what's new, you know me !!!

Now I had planned to fish on my tod but sam wanted to tag along, not a problem but having some time on my own is one reason why I fish. Peace and solitude is must needed but plenty of time for that when winter hits and Sam is less keen on joining me. 

Now the biggest issue we had on this session was catching some nice sized live baits. They were either too big or too small. 

There were bleak around but fish shallow the minnows nailed the bait on the way down and literally sucked the life out of them within seconds of falling through the water column. Still the live bait bucket after 40 minutes or so had enough snackets for any predators milling around.

What we didn't expect as the sun was setting was bite after bite after bite. As soon as the livebait hit the water within 30 seconds or so the float would bob and go straight under.

The culprit(s), well sadly small perch, in-fact in both swims there seems to be an abundance of them with none of their parents or grandparents showing whatsoever.

We were fast running out of livebaits but almost the last cast from Sam in the flow bought an instant bite and the float submerged out of sight within a split second.

Thankfully more of a rod bender this where a jack had snaffled the tiny dace livebait and gave Sam a merry old run around. An enjoyable session for sure, but sadly the stamp of perch I had my mind set on before the session has started didn't materialise. 

On to the next one !!!

Friday 19 August 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Cadets and Caduceators

Work slowly easing up, the last DFM (Design for Manufacture) ticked off on all the components I own, just the dotting of i's and crossing of t's left, which to be fair can be a laborious affair. 

3 years of full on work coming to fruition thankfully, although when the parts start to come off tool can be the fun part, but it will be nice to see the next round of prototypes and eventually cars rolling down the production line. 

Still I will worry about that when they do, which at the moment could be later than expected as Chongqing in China where one of my suppliers resides, are on enforced Government shutdown at the moment. 

A heatwave (43 degrees) meant factories were ordered to close to allow the grid to cope with the extra demand for air-conditioning, fans and the overly stocked beer fridges. 

Bugger !!! 

I've already been told of the next project I'll be working on, which is back to what I like best. Conceptual and Concept work, and it sounds right up my street too, no rest for the wicked. Cannot complain though, as it will see me to retirement at this rate. (I wish !!!)

Now 11 year old Sam is 7 years in to his fishing and he likes nothing than going back to basics with his fishing.

In-fact a whip is very much in his angling armoury because what kids doesn't like catching fish, sometimes its all about the bass, all about the bass !! 

....sorry bites.

He is a dab hand at chucking a lure, can bully a chub from a snag, holds the Newey roach bream hybrid record, can stalk fish off the top with bread and more recently confident in unhooking and handling fish himself. 

That has taken some time to be fair because he doesn't like "pooping rudd" "they are disgusting" and after feeling the spikey dorsal of a perch once, he is very wary of those too.  

So he was well chuffed to win the Cadence Cadets competition where I entered the out of focus gonk picture that still brings a smile to my face every time I see it.  Who doesn't love a gudgeon, one of the most characterful of all our coarse species. 

So when his prize of a CP10 4.7M elasticated starter Pole turned up this week he wanted to go to where he caught that gudgeon and that was the "brook brook". His cap is still en route sadly but still won't stop Sam getting a few bites now will it. 

"Daddy it has elastic on the end !!"

The fishing to be honest was tougher than expected, but still enough bites to keep Sam entertained. Not unexpected though bright sun and a gin clear river. 

Bleak, small dace, tiny chub and the odd small perch were hardly tackle testers but the best was yet to come. Sam did moan a bit about the weight of it but to be honest the cheapo Drennan Acolyte whip is amazing considering the quality of it and the fact it is feather light. 

That would have struggled with this 2lb 2oz perch though, where it pulled the elastic quite far out the end of the pole. Sam doing a sterling job of playing it and I did the honours for him and landed it. He's not seen a proper perch and was amazed at the scale of it. 

I was well chuffed for him as he really was shocked an impressed on what he just caught. He didn't want to hold it mind you, cannot blame him though, a serious impressive looking predator.

Another hour the same again, small bait fish and the odd perch mixed in with them but this fish was the highlight and we will both remember this session in years to come.

'The biggest fish of all' they certainly are when they reach this statue !!!
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