Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Saturday 8 October 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Hogs and Houghmagandy

Portugal as a holiday destination for the Newey family has been off the radar for years now. The costs sky rocketed for some reason and those fantastic Villa holidays we use to have in the Algarve sadly no more.
There are destinations in sunnier climes just as nice that a re-mortgage isn't required and that can still give us the space Ben needs to be, well Ben.

The food I missed, those big fat Alheira De Mirandela's, overly stuffed Bifana's and The mother of all custard tarts, Pasteis de Nata doesn’t just have a continental standing but a global one. Sent all over the world, the best have lemon juice squeezed through their custard and a little nutmeg sprinkled upon their glossy film of a lid, oh yes, oh yes.

It was the freshly grilled sardines that I missed because having tried them in various countries, Portugal well, just got them right, the fresher the better and cooked to perfection.

Also those small tubs of sardine pate that accompanied literally every main course with the warm chunky bread and lots of butter 👌. 

I always used to bring a job lot back. Anyway the Wife was in Lidl and spotted these (Iberian week apparently), so at least I've got a few lunch options next week, warm buttered sourdough baguette, job's a good'un. Few Portuguese meals seem to pass without the transportation of pork from plate to lips. Bowls of thick caldo verde, traditional cabbage soup, are plumped out with slices of chouriço. 

Cubes of shoulder are braised with clams, oregano, garlic, and white wine to make the delicious porco à alentejana. But lording it over all of these dishes in the affections of the Portuguese is the leitão assado da bairrada, suckling pig roasted and basted until the flesh is creamy and the skin develops a prerequisite crunch.

Anyway I'm getting hungry now, talking of sardines with some nice chunky roach caught recently I fancied a double dipping session down at the WBAS syndicate stretch. 

With roach of that stamp you wouldn't have thought that the Pike would be too far away. In-fact the very swim the roach were showing George landed a 10lb pike that grabbed his >1lb chub on the retrieve. 

I fancied more of a chilled session this time and having done quite well using a worm and maggot cocktail, I was hoping the worms harvested from ones wormey would throw up a slightly bigger roach. Liquidized bread in the small cage feeder to hopefully get to the fish to home in on the bait. 

Pike thrive on neglect and this stretch is hardly fished so was there anything here of note ? 

I'd not used the deeper down this stretch so a quick look-see before I started the session I was hoping to spot something that would help me to narrow down which area to fish. Talking of which I need to re-visit the Bomb Hole  swim again, but as always I've got far too much water to fish. 

Below the bridge the river has some decent depth, and in-fact not on this scan but I did see a nice drop off to 9ft at one point, not that there was any fish showing mind you.

The Avon is back to being proper clean again so any extra depth is good because the light penetration is obviously less when its deeper. It was 7 degrees when I started fishing and my hands to be honest were pretty cold. 

A quick go in a couple of swims with a sink and draw smelt no pike showed so I settled down in the chosen peg and began fishing. 

The fish were on to the maggot and worm cocktail right from the off and fishing a helicopter set-up the key was to ignore taps and pulls until the fish hooked itself on the weight of the feeder and the tip would go properly round.

If I'd had used maggots only I'd have been minnowed out I'd imagine. Anyway a couple of hours in plenty of bites from chub. Nothing massive but entertaining all the same as it's amazing how much disturbance on the tip a small chub can give.

As soon as the sun came up over the bridge though and illuminated the swims the bites dies off completely. So much so I reeled on the feeder set-up and went after a pike again. The roach didn't show either, all very odd. 

When the water has some colour the fishing can be completely different , not just in fish numbers but also those shy roach can often turn up out of the blue. Anyway to cut a long story short the pike rod didn't have any action whatsoever.

The smelt looked perfect fluttering up and down the water column but no hits and even when fished static next to some cover and fish holding areas, nothing. Oh well cannot win them all. 


  1. Wonderful looking bit of river that Mick!

    As for the holiday situation I feel your pain! But I do feel it's not just Portugal, everywhere just seems to have gotten really expensive since the doors have all reopened and the cost of Covid is being reigned back in for those who survived the economic constraints of the last 2.5 years. Let's hope it all comes back down to some sort of cost relative to pre-pandemic levels.

    But, one can only hope!

    1. Yeap, even in the UK James, holiday accommodation for example on headed one way to claw back some of the COVID downtime. Pain in the knackers


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