Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Thursday 29 September 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Mammoths and Myrmidons

Working from home most of the time certainly has its advantages where this a toad in the hole came to the rescue when scratching my head thinking what the heck I was going to have for lunch. 

With the gas and leccy prices skyrocketing probably not the best idea when a cheese sarnie would suffice, but what the heck, might as well enjoy it whilst I can, cannot get that in the local Morrisons now can I. 

To be fair my mandatory once in the office week is going to be twice a week in a couple of weeks, where Monday and Wednesdays I'll be fighting for the parking spaces, where I'd be on to a loser, you see >130% heavier than the little Jimny the new 110 defender is certainly the behemoth is looks on the road where it looks a scale above the humdrum. It would be completely unsuited for some of the roads I drive where the width would be a massive hinderance. 

The Jimny eventually because of it's CO2 levels was eventually not economically viable for Suzuki to sell in the UK and they pulled it from sale, something doesn't quite add up does it. 🤔  It did come back as a watered down commercial version, but not quite the same to be honest, lets hope the 4 door hybrid version due next year is a flyer as might fancy an upgrade.  

Now being baron from anything decent on the bank of late a behemoth would be nice to see in the bottom of ones landing net. So for this session in to dusk I fancied venturing down a swim I fished recently where I was done over by a gluttonous chub.

I stupidly fished a normal boilie on the hair last time and after some perseverance from the persistent pecking plucker(s), I'd fished the majority of the session without a bait on. 

A school boy error if ever there was one !!!

It's happened before I might add, but not learning from my mistakes I went home fishless with the chub laughing from the sanctuary of their lair with their bellies bulging from the hemp and pellet freebie buffet, and boilies picked straight from the bag. Fingers and fins up, I can well imagine. 

The local rivers are still a bit pants at the minute but dusk there is often the opportunity for a bend in the rod. It was the barbel that I was after that tend to reside in this area from time to time so I was back to fish the same peg with the same tactics however a change of hookbait.

Now Wafters are harder than standard boilies out of the bag, thus help to withstand the attention of crayfish, nuisance fish and diving birds but I'd also reduce the length of the hair to try to try and least catch one of the chub.

I actually get a kick from seeing the chub give the hardened hookbait a good going over before eventually hooking themselves from their avid determination. Some of the bites can be quite ridiculous and at least catching a chub albeit on barbel gear means a blank is avoided despite not the target species. 

As we head in to Autumn there have been plenty of moans during every hot summer about the effect on fishing caused by the weather. Anglers (me included) complain of many quiet patches. 

Looking back at my blog though, apart from the lack of bigger fish, I've had plenty of bites and not many quiet sessions. Though the fish may not be over- helpful at times, every lull seems to be filled with incident. 

Now before I settled in to fishing behind a static rod in the pre-baited swim I fancied feeding some pellets to flutter down through the water column, and fish a buoyant float with some meat on the hook.

It's a nice trotting swim here and not that deep so before I parked my backside in to dusk and a nadger beyond I'll try to winkle out a chub or maybe even a barbel. 

An hour trotting without a nibble the only other angler on the stretch finding it very tough indeed the change from a chunk of meat to a banded pellet eventually some small chub started to show.

They properly nailed the bait and it was nice to see the very buoyant chubber float go straight under. Nothing big mind you but very satisfying in these gin clear conditions where the Warwickshire Avon can be very tough indeed. Nic from Avon Angling UK had messaged me at the start of the session and he was finding it proper tough on the Wye, so much so he headed home early.

It was cold though and once the sun was down it almost felt winter
I'd primed the swim I'd static fish an hour before with a mix of hemp and pellets and within 5 minutes of getting the wafter out I had the first chub pull and then for the next half an hour the bites, plucks and taps kept on coming.

Prime barbel biting time now but after a foot pull that stayed there and I struck in to nothing I decided to sit on my hands and wait for a proper bite. 

I didn't have to wait long where a fish had hooked itself and I knew the culprit straight away. Yeah a persistent chub really wanted the back of the bait fridge ancient Sticky Baits krill wafter doused in Dynamite Baits Hot Fish liquid. 

A decent fight as well despite being on the barbel rod and I knew it was well over 4lb when it was in the net. I was correct too, as it went 5lb exactly on the scales. A lovely fish indeed, the barbel as elusive as ever but as expected dusk and beyond the Avon transforms. Curfew came and went and I went home a happy man. 

Sunday 25 September 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Insouciant and Intussusception

 Half an hour to try and winkle out a chub on bread nada....

So a simple stick float approach and some maggots in a swim with pace.

Literally a bite a chuck till I rang out of maggots, >100 fish maybe,  !!!

It really was fantastic sport, this the shortest blog post out of the near 1300 posts, quite possibly !!!

Warwickshire Avon - Muggers and Myasthenia

 Some small'ish barbel spotted recently in a low and clear river !!!!

Bait dropped hemp and pellets in two swims, the last would be fished past dusk, however this evening a river seemingly devoid of fish.

The only bites came when the light went, some proper chub pulls and plucks. The long hair avoiding the chubs advances, the barbel rod not needed yet. 

Then the bites dried up, another half an hour fished in to barbel biting time, curfew up, so I reeled in the bait only to find. 

Yeap the boilie gone and I'd been mugged off by one of the chub, bugger !!!! 

Saturday 24 September 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Kwarteng's and Kreatophagia

Any of us suffering from the stress of modern living could do worse than return to our childhood. So it seems, anyway, from a scheme for women to re-live their schooldays. It all happens at a school in Ireland (it had to). 

The women dress in gymslips, sit at desks with inkwells, eat stodgy school food, play leapfrog at playtime and knock the hell out of each other at hockey. And if anybody wants to bring a teddy bear or have a blub in the dorm, nobody minds.

The idea could catch on, you see....

<----Mick-----------------------------------------------------------Modern Life---->

Thankfully a small amount of respite away from the madness, you see last visit here really was certainly worthwhile because especially upstream it looked very chubby. Plenty of cover and some depth in places and it deserved more of a reccy. It was the solitude that I remembered from when I visited it many moons ago and wondered why the heck its been largely off ones radar.

To be honest the WBAS WhatsApp hasn't exactly been pinging to chunky chub activity but there has been some nice fish that have been caught and so I thought I might as well give it a go myself. I did plan to trot maggots but I think I'll wait for a little more pace on the water.

It was just about doable in the downstream swims but it was still a little lethargic for stick float fishing If I'm honest and I'd go back when the conditions improve. So with a loaf of bread, some mash as feed and a spring in my step after the budget announcement to repeal the IR35 the off-payroll legislation to potentially going back to jobbing again, could I winkle one out ?

Anyway to the fishing, being able to drive this stretch is quite handy because there is plenty to go at in the mile or so, but for this another reccy I fished the upper reaches only to see what potentially I had been missing. 

Some deep swims, some shallow, some narrow but seemingly devoid of fish in many areas. Not unusual for a clear Warwickshire Avon but track the fish down to their hide up area you can get a bite or two. The reeds and weed were a hinderance in some swims but maybe in winter it will be in better fettle as swim choices were limited. 

To be honest it was tough going with swim after swim fish with only nibbles from small fish to begin with, but eventually a few splashers succumbed to the large piece of bread flake fluttering in the gin clear water.

All came from darker swims as any swim in direct sunlight was baron as my post pandemic cash reserves. But rove around and it's surprising what can reveal itself and in this case after disturbing 4 cormorants I noticed literally by my feet in relatively shallow water a few chub milling about. 

Not massive ones admittedly but certainly worth catching. So I crept up with rod in hand and cast the bread bait underarm and it was taken before it reached the bottom. I don't think the fish realised it was hooked at first but went it felt some tension it bolted off downstream taking some line with it.

It was quickly under control though being only a 3lber it turned out but at least it was a nice bend in the rod to add to the lovely afternoon spent in the sun. And that was that, one more swim fished and nothing to report, I thoroughly enjoyed that. 

Friday 23 September 2022

Warwickshire Avon - L-Plates and Lumpenintelligentsia

Now the little Jimny's ALLGRIP PRO system includes three modes: 2H, 4H and 4L. 2H and 4H are rear-wheel and four-wheel drive respectively. Where as 4L engages the low-range transfer box which is a great for off-roading when the conditions are challenging. Wet grass doesn't seem to be an issue and I rarely need it in 4H even for slopes where many cars would be struggling for grip. 

To be honest I've not got it stuck yet despite driving some testing deep muddy tracks. The low ratio means that once moving and the clutch lifted off the car creeps at snails pace and you could open the door, get out the car and literally walk next to it admiring its scale (less than half the weight of a modern defender)

It also means 11 year old Sam who with the seat slid all the way forward can actually drive it without issue as doesn't need to use the clutch. After the initial stomping of the throttle pedal I'm allowing him to drive from swim to swim. Thankfully the cheesy radio station turned down for him to concentrate. 

There are a couple of stretches where there is plenty of scope for him to have a drive without any drama, wish I had the opportunity when I was his age. 
Ideal really as when we got bankside for a couple of hours of fishing the rain really was quite heavy.

There are bait fish in numbers here and initially after casting a maggot baited float rig out you'd wonder what the fuss was about, but bung a handful of the grubs in to the swim, within minutes it will be a bite a chuck.

Not just annoying bleak either some proper miniature species, from dace, chub, roach and the odd rudd.

The fish eventually start to get bigger when the small fish have their fill so if you want a few for the predator rod that initial half an hour plays dividends.

This session was no different in-fact both swims we fished held bait fish in decent numbers with one swim in-particular chock full of tiny dace. 
Now what we didn't expect was that it took a good while to get a bite on the predator rod, in-fact the perch that were here in numbers last time just didn't show whatsoever. 

To be honest like many of the local river we are desperately in need of some rain. It's surprising how baron the rivers look at the moment for the bigger fish, especially the chub that have seemingly gone to their hiding places. 

Sam was happy initially catching the small stuff as it was literally a bite a chuck but he got bored in the end and fancied something a little bigger. 

It didn't take long to get his request though because in the last swim a jack nailed the bleak within a minute of getting it out. A bit of a scraper too, proudly displaying his nashers that will terrorise his fellow water dwellers. 

There was a reason why I wanted to fish this swim last though and that was because there are some decent chub milling around here. 

So with Sam sheltering in the car from the heavier rain his stupid Dad was fishing a chunk of liver in to dusk. A ridiculously powerful bite out the blue I struck so hard in to nothing the 3SSG link ledger came flying out the water and 'PINGED' against the passenger window glass with Sam wondering what the heck just happened.

After getting the windscreen replaced recently that was a close call as it thankfully went the right way of two of the possible outcomes.  I fully expected another bite but it never happened, oh well, some good father and son bonding time, it's not all about the fish these trips out.  

Wednesday 21 September 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Spongers and Spindle Shanks

Back to work from the long weekend with a bang, the mainstream but big bouncing beats of Camelphat from Creamfields on in the background, the speakers cranked up to near neighbour annoying levels, Jill rolling her eyes again when on que when put the bins out she decided to look where the 'noise' was coming from. 

Those low frequencies tickling the floorboards as a nice distraction from the mind numbingly boring GD&T drawings that needed to be done to finally put this project to bed and move on to the next one. 

Ones mindset is starting to change with me, getting old, don’t want to work anymore, but the bills not going away!!

Bugger !!!

Now talking of annoyances Gnats, the minuscule curse of the water's edge, are particulars attracted to the subtle aura of the angler. They cannot resist the blend of old fish, cheese butties, draft ale and venerable socks covered in pike slime.

They can be kept at bay with a mixture of Winter-green, sump oil and hydrochloric acid smeared liberally over the angler's exposed extremities. 

There is the danger here, however that after two or three applications the angler might not have any extremities to expose.    

Less drastic is the building of a smudge fire. By using fuel such as damp leaves, shredded tram driver's gloves, toenail pairings and and minced long johns, a particularly pungent smoke can be raised. 

So long as he keeps his head in the pale of smoke, the angler is perfectly from attack. It has been estimated that the use of a smudge fire each by 150 anglers along a one-mile stretch of canal for eight hours would result in the death of 3,758,435 gnats and 150 anglers.

The real danger from gnats, however, comes when the call of nature has to be answered. I was once bitten by a gnat in a place not normally exposed to the elements.  

As the day wore on, the bite began to swell until the effected part assumed monstrous proportions (it's all relative).

When I got back home and showed the Wife, she didn't feint as suspected but was so convinced of ones demise she hotfooted it to Tesco for a bottle of Verve Clicquot and some matching truffles. 

Still the swelling went on and the kneecap got bigger and bigger before some antihistamine got it under control. 

So, before answering Nature's call by the river bank, arm yourself with a swatter. Use it with extreme caution and as little force as is compatible with efficiency. 

Anyway to the session the insect life was quite ridiculous really, but this one of my favourite swims on the Warwickshire Avon is usually good for a few bites and that was why I was here. 

I did consider some liver but I'd stick with bread because as the light was going for this <2 hour session it's quite a visible bait.

I fed some liquidised bread for a short while and then got the bread out on the link ledger and expected a bit of a wait for the first bite, within 5 minutes though I had a chub in the net and one of the hardest fighting 3lbers I'd ever come up against.

It gave me a right out merry dance around the swim trying to get in to every damn snag and bit of cover and I was amazed just how small it was when it surfaced.

After that 2 more fish of similar stamp certainly worth getting out for some fresh air at the stretch of convenience. Dusk came and went and with two proper decent bites missed it went dead and I decided to call it a day and was just the tonic I needed. 

Monday 19 September 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Fin-Fanners and Figdeans

Now the three-spined stickleback, or tiddler, is one of the most widespread, prolific and (behaviourally) most interesting of all North European fresh-water fishes. Although some populations live and breed wholly in fresh, water, others are anadromous breeding in freshwater, migrating to the sea, and then returning to freshwater to spawn.

Yet others are wholly marine. (It's relative, the ten-spined stickleback Gasterosteus pungitius, is much less tolerant of salinity.) This fascinating little fish grows to a length of 2-4 inches and is of little direct interest to the angler, but for many like Sam and I when an WBAS member caught one in his net were were up for a challenge.

"A minnow with a Mohawk basically ?" according to Sam when I tried to explain to him what they looked like, well Sam only one way to find out. 

Now sticklebacks swims in a series of little bursts punctuated by stops and much fin-fanning. This strange mode of locomotion coupled with eyes which are much too big for their bodies give the impression that sticklebacks are very intense and deliberate.

Most anglers will confess they were first entered into the sport of fishing for sticklebacks, which abound in all the ponds and ditches of they locality, they are also very common in many canals (the stagnant the better). 

Back in the day kids used to go out fishing for 'tiddlers', their apparatus used to consist of a stick, a piece of thread, and a short piece of worm tied in the middle without any hook; if expert, they sometimes pull out two at a time in this way. The fashion is to take them home in pickle-bottles and even flog them for a few coppers.

To be honest the mention of a stickleback raised ones eyebrows as I'd not caught for for years, and it would be nice for Sam to tick another species off of his ever growing list. 

It also gave me a kick up the backside to visit this rather underfished stretch where I've not fished in ages. In-fact I tried to rack my brains when I fished it last , but no, keep on drawing a blank on the answer to that one. 

So a maggot approach and maybe a predator rod out for good measure !!!

Well with the rain intermittent there was plenty of bites to be had but minnow after minnow after minnow away from the rod benders there were no sticklebacks whatsoever. 

We had planned to get the predator rod out but that remained on the ski rack and fish maggot until Sam got bored. To be honest I don't know why I've neglected this stretch for so long.  Solitude and then some , and another stretch I can drive the whole length the Jimny the perfect tool for the job. 

Warwickshire Avon - Koh-i-Noors and Koniscopes

A vibrant red sunrise greeted me when I got to the weir swim, shame the river wasn't in similar fettle. The Warwickshire Avon is all a bit mhhhhhhhhahhhh at the minute with many areas lacklustre and lethargic because of the levels being so low.

At least the weir disguised what was happening upstream and here there are bites to be had from chub.

The levels are very low indeed though and I could see the bread settling on the bottom but trundling some bread and also some meat from time to time, I was hoping a moving bait mixed in with some static fishing would trick a chub or barbel in to taking the bait.

One of the swims just to the right of this picture I also fed some liquidised bread, where after leaving to rest and hopefully get some fish to feed and get confident before dropping in a bait. 

I really didn't think it would be this tough though because after some quick bites with a static bait that was small fish I think, those proper bites from chub never materialised. 

These fish are fished for a lot and to be honest not my usual haunt but I've some some chub here in the past that would easily beat my PB of 5lb and 15 ounces.

No PB beaters this morning though,

Just a measly 3lber that took a static bait from the pre-baited swim!!

All a bit pants to be honest !!!!

Warwickshire Avon - Bait Snatchers and Ballistocardiographs

An early start this one as with a busy day ahead if I didn't get out for sunrise then I wouldn't have managed any fishing whatsoever. A tad chilly initially but the clear fresh air was most welcome as I'd been housebound for much of the week. 

I'd a few maggots in the bait fridge so a waggler and some groundbait to kick the swim off I just fancied a few bites without doing anything too strenuous. 

It didn't take long to get the fish feeding but with it being gin clear mainly bleak but with a smattering of roach and dace as well.

The swim has some depth but despite trying to get the maggots past the bleak as quickly as I could those shoals of roach that reside just didn't show whatsoever. 

With a few of the smaller baits retained I put a livebait out from time to time but nothing doing in the main bay swim so I went for a rove. 

The first swim with cover a small perch buried the float and nailed the bait within a few minutes of being out but despite fishing a couple of similar swims that was the only predator action I got. 

Till I got back to the main swim that is, because with the landing net in the margins out of the blue a pike decided to attack it and at one point the net and pole was headed swimward.

Sure enough an underarm chuck of a ten a penny bleak the pike took it straight away and bolted it when it felt the resistance. 

A decent bend in the rod but after a couple of runs and one jump where it came clear of the water it was soon in the net.

A nice fish of around 8lb and worth getting out but as soon as the same rose above the river the bites even from the small fish dried up completely. Not unexpected but improved my wellbeing no end, I'm an angler after all and just that right amount of solitude I needed before the day gets busy.  

Sunday 18 September 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Slothy and Slubber De Gullions

Now the Warmies 'Slothy' Hot Water Bottle Ben reluctantly leant to me by Ben "That's Mine Daddy, give it back" helped with the trapped nerve and my left buttock cheek is seemingly getting to normal from its recent ordeal. 

Some of the worst pain I've experience in a while but chilling for a couple of days with various pain killers, lotions and potions I felt good enough to go fishing again. From literally not being able to make it downstairs to almost normality, 🤯

Almost a spring in my step as I hopped skipped and jumped the few paces to the river from one of my many syndicate waters. To be fair we had a walk around the village after lunch and with the skies nice and clear with the warmth of the sun I felt fine to go and have a dangle. 

Still slightly tender but keeping mobile whilst I'm not in pain is the way to approach it from past experience and luckily as I type this I'm continuing to improve. 

Only a 2 hours session this but small stretch of the Warwickshire Avon I've caught some nice fish from double figure carp and barbel, some clonking bream and the reason why I was there and that was the chub.

It's hit and miss if they are in front of you or not but when they are especially when the light levels go bites can come thick and fast and catch one, it's is usually a good'un. I've caught a few 5lbers and I'm sure that 6lber is just a piece of liver away.  

When I got bankside though there were fry being chased by Perch so it would be rude not to have a few chucks of the Salmo Hornet and sure enough, the fish were on it straight away.

Not the biggest stamp of perch admittedly but plenty of action in an hour or so. As the light started to go I got the chub rod set-up and it looked good for some action. A chill in the air but the river was like a mill pond and there was a lovely sunset. 

As I said before you know when the chub have moved in here as you get bites quite frequently once they are on the bait, but apart from the off nibble and tiny pull from small fish the 1 ounce tip didn't get any chub action whatsoever.

I stuck it out for 45 minutes after dusk with the torch illuminating the rod but I was wasting my time. The river is clear, so so clear and that often means it's pants on the Warwickshire Avon.

Not all lost though, at least I can get back out again !! 

On to the next one !!
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