Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Tuesday 29 November 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Mathematicasters and Metapsychology

I cannot believe just how fast the colour is dropping out of the Warwickshire Avon, a couple of days ago Augustus Gloop would have been revelling in the milk chocolate coloured clarity, and yet now I've drank similar coloured water from taps in countries where bottled water is a necessity.  

The water temperature has plummeted I'd imagine, so the unsuccessful barbel targeting of late, will become even more unsuccessful till conditions improve. 

There is now well over a foot of visibility I'd say and then some !!!

With my last errands for the family ticked off (had to register my Dad's death officially) I fancied a try for a Zander and also a chub.

This convenient stretch has been good to me over the years and it looked in fine fettle when I got there so it was a formality ? But then this is fishing isn't it, sadly there isn't a rule book.  

So it was out my my Depth Bombs and probably the best batch of cheesepaste I've ever made. The first swim I've caught Zander and Pike (River PB) from before and numerous chub so it was stupid of my to think it was a formality to get a bite.

I gave it a good hour but nothing, so it was time for a move. I put in some nuggets of paste when I left as I might well return as the light was going to give it another go. 

Another 6 or 7 swims fished with only the odd nibble on cheesepaste this wasn't going well. These sort of river bites show up pretty quick if the fish are there, but with it being colder overnight maybe they were laying up with their thermals on. It was quite pleasant in the sun until it disappeared behind the trees and the mist started to appear.

It was brass monkey's and thankfully I didn't remove that extra layer and leave it in the car that I did think about doing when I started the session. 

Eventually within a couple of minutes of the cheesepaste landing in one of the last swims I fished a sharp pull was followed by a proper bite and a fish was on. Sadly on the first bend of the rod only a chublet but at least I hadn't blanked.

I couldn't fish the predator rod in most of the swims because of the pace so I returned to where I started for a last gasp rod bender but sadly it didn't happen. Half an hour after dusk I decided to make a retreat with ones tail between my legs and will return when conditions have settled a bit. 

Monday 28 November 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Lumbar's and Lumpenintelligentsia

With George managing a nice Barbel off this stretch 24 hours earlier I fancied a dabble on the barbus front as well and have some well deserved rest as part of it. This Dave's peg, a hot spot for barbel in the past, for him anyway I'd not had one yet. I felt a bit guilty nicking his swim, you see Dave is currently resting with a gammy leg, but hey, Dave I was keeping it baited for when you return.  

Now this new Solar chair of mine really is quite lovely, ok, it wasn't particularly cheap even when I managed a decent discount but with long armrests, a lumbar support and decent padding to watch those motionless rod tips it really is a pleasant place to park ones backside. 

The river looked perfect for a bite, a nice strong tea colour and so so temperatures Georges fish showed that they could well be up for a feed.

2 hours in though fishing two rods which is unusual for me I only had a few nibbles on the lobworms and nothing on the meat and that was it Nothing strikable anyway, still it was nice watching the water and when the farmer turned up for a natter the lack of action was quickly forgotten. 

Turns out he used to live in the same village as I do now back in the 1950's 🤯 yeap he is still putting a days shift in at 80 years old and he certainly looked fit for it.

Where as I seem to be picking up more aches and pains everyday, I need to up my exercise I think, I'm sure I'd get the benefit from it. The COVID seems to be on the way out now thankfully, the sore throat was horrible for a couple of days and I still feel a little chesty and tired, but nothing more than a cold really. 

Anyway after the farmer left and with only a couple of hours left till I had to leave, I decided to get the gear back in the car and drive to the next fishable peg down the stretch to try and drop on the fish. 

As bite on the worms literally after casting the bait out I though I was on to a winner, but nope, again after an hour on the worm and meat, with feeders filled with shrimp and krill groundbait nothing to show for it.

The beauty of this stretch though is that you can almost drive the whole length so again, back in the car and I headed to a shallower area upstream. This change made the difference because within seconds of the lobworm settling a sharp pull straight away which I missed.

The bait went back out again and sure enough the next bite a fish was on !!! It headed straight for a snag and only a smallish chub but at least it was a blank avoider. Another fish 20 minutes afterwards it was time to go sadly. If only I'd started out in that swim it might have been a different story. The meat rod, yeap not a sausage. 

Saturday 26 November 2022

The Tiny River Alne - Gone Fishing

Chilling is something I rarely do, and to be honest with the World Cup on I thought I wouldn't bother with the games, but with COVID kicking in like a bad cold, it's actually been quite nice doing naff all for a few hours here and there. 

I certainly couldn't be a couch potato given my restless leg issues but just sitting there in-front of a roaring open fire certainly has given my wellbeing a much needed boost considering, well what's happened recently. It is going to be very odd picking up my Dad's death certificate Monday, but's that exactly what I'm doing, it hasn't properly sank in yet. 

The best tonic though is fishing, it always has been, it just gets me in a better frame of mind and when I'm fishing, I rarely think about anything. 

My mind is blank, that often turbulent thinking time turns to all things fishing related. You only have to look at my post count to see the increase in fishing and there is a good reason for that. So with some lovely fat lobworms literally in-hand I ventured to the Alne for a couple of hours which I knew would be in decent fettle. 

I remembered a session here where the dace and chub were really on to the worms so I thought I'd give it another go to see what was doing. 

The bridge of death despite showing the debris of the recent high water was easy to navigate and I was quickly in to some fishing. 

The key I've found to these sort of rivers when it's up and strong tea coloured is to find the fish by moving from to swim. If there are fish there in the swim you will know on the tip pretty quick as they are on the bait quick sharpish. 

I was still feeling pretty tired though so my pace not the usual speed and I probably stayed in swims longer than I usually do. 

It was just nice to get some fresh air and as usual the whole stretch to myself. I have thought about getting rid of this book next year, but it's so convenient it's hard to give it up.

The solitude too, usually in abundance if it wasn't for the leaf blower making a racket in the distance. Still I managed 3 chub and lost one that gave a bite like a Barbel. 

Nothing big, but then that's not the point of these sort of rivers where a 4lb'er would be a giant. The fish I lost the hook came back with a scale, and a decent sized one as well, so it looked like I'd been mugged off by something far bigger than the three I caught, which were similar stamp. The dace, well that what I was after really, but they didn't show whatsoever. 

And that was my lot !!!!

With George blogger taking a writing break (brain fog apparently, his words not mine) managing a Barbel on a shared syndicate stretch I'm sorting the gear out later to try and tread in his footsteps so to speak. I've tried quite a few times now for Barbel down there and haven't caught one yet, will my fortunes change.

Now my Dad was a very stubborn angler, he rarely fished any lake other than the one literally from a stones through from his house, where you had to be on a long waiting list and also needed to live in the village. I offered a few times to take him somewhere else for a shared session to no avail, but then fishing is what works for you. I bet he probably caught the same carp over and over again, but for him, so what, it's what he wanted to do. 

But like me, that was his 'me time' that we all need. I've no idea how much tackle he has but I've got some sorting out to do and depending on how much he has, donate anything I won't use to charity. I'm hoping there is a decent reel as it would be nice to have something he used to catch fish on, so I can do the same. Quite appropriate this song Chris Rea - Gone Fishing is going to close the funeral service as the coffin is taken away. 

Give it a listen, very appropriate I say !!!

Thursday 24 November 2022

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.4 - Deaths and Despots

I really cannot remember a weekend like it, bare in mind I've been to many many raves and dance events over the years. Such a likeminded crowd (1990's ravers like me basically) with Fatboy Slim attending the whole weekend where he performed from the most intimate of venues for a couple of hundred to the biggest of stages where he was on it for 2.5 hours in front of 6,000 fancy dress glowstick wavers, and even checked people in when arriving in Minehead. 

Huge wall art, pool parties, heck even some more mainstream music from his son Woody who was also performing. Plenty for everyone, well ok, a bit of an exaggeration but if you in to loud repetitive beats you'd have loved it.

Loads of DJ's Eats Everything with his history of rave, Idris Elba with his defected playlist and banging rave tunes from the past and all those dance music classics where from just one or two notes you can tell what tune it is.

Awesome stuff and my mates agreed, probably the best event we have been to from start to finish and I've got the tinnitus to show for it.

The worlds ills and normal life forgotten about for those 3 nights and 2 full days of revelling, however it had certainly taken its toll and after starting work on the Tuesday, word came in from my Sister that my Dad hadn't much time left after my Mum had to call the nurse out because of he was struggling to breathe.

Not unexpected as he was being cared for a home with my mum doing a sterling job with the help of carers, but the last month he was literally a living skeleton and he decided that time was up, and he took his last breathe, with the family around him.

Such a surreal experience when they wheeled out the body bag on to the waiting trolley, but thankfully he is in peace now after suffering from dementia and cancer, those horrible diseases that effect so many of our loved ones. His demise was a long and slow one, not nice to see at all. 

Anyway with that thankfully over with and he can now rest in peace I'd a few days off work to help out with all things behind the scenes it was nice to get on to the canal bank for a few hours. 

The local rivers were swollen to the brim so I fancied a dabble for a Zander or two.  

I did think about the Hallowed canal stretch as I've been shared some pictures of some beasts still being caught, but as I wasn't feeling 100% as still run down, I decided to have a few hours locally instead in an area that I banked a few recently. 

Now I didn't just return back from Minehead with an empty bank account either, you see after testing before I went over to see my Dad pass, the following day I felt groggy as anything. Yeap you guessed it COVID. 

Nothing to stop me going to do some fishing but clearly I need to be careful where I go, knowing that I have it. Feint positive line on the 1st day of testing with symptoms and not a full on red marker today as I'm typing this.

Not an issue but the register of death for example had been put back as well as a couple of things, Sore throat and stuff on my chest, but like a bad cold really.

Anyway after fishing two rods in three different swims I went on to an area where I caught those Zander recently, nothing was doing whatsoever so you need to find the fish, rather than them find you.
What I didn't expect was a tentative bite turned in to a proper one when I was fishing tight to cover and when I tightened up to the fish it felt solid. 

It was keeping low and was carting to the left but the first run after feeling the resistance of the rod, whatever it was bolted off at a rate if knots and the first proper bend of the rod the hook pulled and left me with a massive boil on the surface. 

And leaving me thinking "what the f**k was that !!!"

Almost certainly a Pike and a big'un I'd imagine but I've only caught the odd small pike here in the past despite seeing a picture of one caught about 40 yards away from here, that looked a good mid double. 

And that was my lot after fishing a couple more swims, the Zander didn't show whasoever!! I came here as there is hardly any mobile signal if any usually, but chatter from 'The Newey's" group was coming in thick and fast and I decided to head off before the rain started in anger and get on to my chores for the day. 

Friday 18 November 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Prototypes and Prosopography

So one of the first components I designed and engineered for the Polestar 5 came off-tool recently (a large magnesium casting for the centre console) and ended up at MIRA in Nuneaton where the new office and workshop is. 

Even though the kids didn't think the Polestar Precept was all that when we went to see it recently in Solihull. The Precept is the Concept Car the 5 is based on. 

Sam did perk up when I said I'd worked on the prototypes that are currently running around that were the fruits of my pandemic labour. 

"WOW, you worked on a prototype Daddy !!!" 

I've had a patent awarded too on an interior component that is ultimately >3 years worth of work is nearing tool completion as well. The assy one of many of the interior components I've been heavily involved in since starting with the company. The Wife happy too, she has a Volvo T8 XC90 to tool around in.

This sort of work is usually secretive for obvious reasons but Polestar have been open and transparent as part of their growth of the brand. 

Source: Polestar

It would be nice to see it finally on the road, in all those years I've worked in the industry its rare to work on a project from a sketch to seeing a vehicle on the road, but it's such a small team, nowhere to hide and all hands on deck. The issue is, I've been flat out since the project start, the tennis elbow kicked in because of it. 

Now talking of secretive the whereabouts of the beasts of the Warwickshire Avon is hardly a secret but when I was sent this this week (I don't use social media) you would have thought the big fish chaser would be happier with this fish on the bank, heck as someone "devoid of emotion" (The Wife) I did well up  when after many a year I caught the double figure canal Zander. 

A 20lber early in the New Year ?

Still lots of work to do though even though I'm already double dipping on the next project !!!

Anyway mid Teams meeting, I get a call "Hello,  Mr Newey, I've tried to get hold of your Wife to no avail, but can you come and collect Sam from school please, he has had a bang to his head from a hockey ball in PE and, still feeling a little dizzy after the icepack"

"Yeah no problem, the Wife works in a school at lunchtime and hasn't access to her phone, I'll see you in 15 minutes". Sam was fine especially when I fashioned up some ham, egg and chips to replace his packed lunch the lump on his head was quickly forgotten about. 

"The food of the Gods, Daddy !!!!" "Can I have some bread and butter too"

Anyway with that drama out the way, finally a decent dumping of rain that is hopefully going to hit the local rivers to turn them in better fishing fettle. The Warwickshire Stour for example, one of the those small rivers I love to fish at this time of the year has hardly been worth a look as it's been almost static or a mere trickle. The Alne, wow over its bank in places, same with the Arrow, onwards my friends,

I've persevered with the Warwickshire Avon without really that much to show for it really but with a weekend of revelry awaiting and no let up on the work, where this sadly would be my lot for this week  I was hoping with the river on the rise it would stir those fish to start going on the munch. 

For this short session it was out with the Barbel gear with a paste wrapped boilie as bait and a swimfeeder stuffed with stinky Dynamite Big Fish River Shrimp and Krill Groundbait, where I'd fish in to dusk and a couple of hours or so in to dark.

The bait tighter to the hair this time so at least if those elusive barbel didn't appear at least if the chub where up for a feed I might at least bank a fish. !!!! There are some good ones here as well, certainly big enough to threaten my 5lb 15oz PB. 

Now I'd invested in a Dynamite Baits bucket recently and ideal to store stinky groundbait in the bottom and hook baits, feeders etc in the top. You can smell Nic's car from 100ft where there seems to be a haze emanating from  his cars roof.  In folklore, the witching hour or devil's hour is a time of night that is associated with supernatural events, whereby witches, demons and ghosts are thought to appear and be at their most powerful.

Definitions vary, and include the hour immediately after midnight, and the time between 3:00 am and 4:00 am. 

The term now has a widespread colloquial and idiomatic usage that is associated with human physiology and behaviour to more superstitious phenomena such as luck.

Any boy I need some luck !! because ok I've caught a 12lb 6oz Barbel this season as can be seen in Nic video HERE. That group of fish I actually spotted though and I've an idea why they were there when the river was at its summer levels. 

Apart from that, I've failed on many occasions this season with lots of blanks. Next season a new book may well make my fortunes a little better on the specimen front even though I might have to grin and bear it with the hobos.  

The witching hour I find is the half an hour before dusk and the hour afterwards, but as I rarely fish after that, maybe I'm missing a trick ? Anyway enough of the waffle better get the rod out !!!

The river was on the rise and the amount of flotsam coming down the river really was quite ridiculous, so much so I had to move swims three times because the debris coming down was wiping out the feeder set-up so I couldn't keep the rod in the water for more than five minutes. 

 Not an easy task in the dark but eventually I found a swim where the bait was sat nicely. The wind was up and it was cold but I could position the car to block most of it out !!.

An hour in to dark and after a couple of recasts still not even a chub pull, I gave it another 20 minutes after changing to a lump of meat with the same result. So another blank !! Still, I do like these sort of sessions because fortunes can change with one bite, and that bite can be off a PB Barbel, and that's why I'll keep on plugging away. 

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Pigfish and Pigmentocracy

Sometimes you just have to get out don't you, even though the expected blank is a high probability. This is where some double dipping often pays dividends so for this short just past dusk session, zander and barbel or chub were the target. 

You see with the river rising as fast as the Bank of England base rate, this particular swim often holds Zander where it offers some sanctuary not far away from the low head dam, which probably feels like being thrown around the washing machine on the spin cycle. The barbel, well not a huge head of stock, but this is the Warwickshire Avon after all. The chub, well plentiful usually, but of late I've noticed not a fat lot happens in the day till sundown then they start moving. 

So with the tackle prepped a float rod for the Zander with a chunk of roach and then a lump of spam on the other rod. I didn't want to faff around with putting boilies on hairs in low light, and my biggest chub came to a large chunk of meat meant for the barbel so why not, especially when I had the gear set-up from last time (where I blanked again) . 

In-fact the last gasp 7lber on the Wye recently in this peg (Soon to be on Nic's channel) came to a chunk of Dynamite Garlic Frenzied Meat. Proper honks it does !!!

Now conditions are still not the best for barbel with the river still being clear but that witching hour can sometimes offer bites when sitting it out all day would be fruitless. The stretches I fish though haven't a huge head of barbel, but those barbel that are still around bucking the trend are often the forgotten fish that can offer the specialist angler a decent target at least. Blanks can be plentiful though so why these short sessions suit me perfectly. 2-3 hours and that's my lot. 

The barbel can be recognised by its habit of picking up anything left lying around, bit fat mouth and low forehead, characteristics not uncommon east of the Pennines. Has a very sad expression, just like my mate Hilly who's had to pay for a round. Known to Lancastrians as 'pigfish', a great smasher of tackle and uneatable with it. For all that. it's lovely. Underneath it all.

Now one of the most insidious hazards of a day's fishing is the possible psychological effect. Being wrapped up in so many layers of clothing, staring for hours at a tiny float, and perhaps over-compensating for early symptoms of dehydration, can have certain disorientating results. Deprived of sensory perception through the normal channels, the brain becomes susceptible to all kinds of hallucinatory phenomena. 

Luckily for me a break from proceedings this weekend where I definitely won't be dehydrated lets put it that way. But a good get together with the likeminded where life's pressure are forgotten about with the wave of those arms and the pounding air emanating from those subwoofers. 

3 nights in the company of Fat Boy Slim and other DJ's, back to those better days for a moment, the 90's. A time machine would be nice now wouldn't it, H. G. Wells' The Time Machine (1895) popularized the concept of time travel by mechanical means, a good read btw 

Anyway, enough of the waffle, better wet a line !!!

The rain started almost as I got there but with the minimum of gear it was minutes to set-up and I was fishing. A chub pull within 10 minutes or so I thought I'd be good for a fish or two....

How wrong was I though....

Dusk came and went and when the rain stopped it was rather pleasant but it was a bite I was after, but nothing fancied the deadbait and even the meat rod was quiet. I'd primed the swim with some pellets and some meat as well to try and draw the fish in, but they had other ideas.

In the end I decided to move to a swim I'd caught Barbel from before and ditch the deadbait rod. 20 minutes in a proper pull turned in to a decent bite and a fish was on. No match for the 1.75TC Barbel rod though and the 3lb splasher decided to make a right mess of the swim.

And that was my lot, I fished till curfew but with the Wife off to yoga at least I had a decent home concocted curry to look forward to. This a prawn offering with some thinly sliced scotch bonnets. Decent heat and one of those chillies a toilet roll from the freezer isn't required.

So a disappointing result however I suspect with the river being filled with the local streams going forward the colour it desperately needs isn't long off, hopefully with the weekends revelries out of the way I can get back to fishing a river in better nick. I might be able to squeeze another session in Thursday, but we will see, 

I'll be back soon enough I'm sure !!!   

Sunday 13 November 2022

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.40

I really didn't have a clue where to go fishing for this short morning session, the rivers are not being too kind to me at the minute, so, I know what, to the canal forthwith !!!

I'm slap bang in the middle of Zander territory luckily so a double dipping session this, a deadbait out on the overdepth float set-up and then a lift float set-up for anything that fancied the bread. 

This stretch 10 minutes down the road has been good to me in the past but this time of year it can be very tricky for the Zander.

When the boat traffic dies off the water goes clear and the predators especially are harder to track down. The key is to find some cover and any likely holding area such as locks and keep on the move basically till you find the fish. 

The first swim what I didn't expect was after half an hour without a bite on either rods out of the blue the float shot up a few inches and I struck in to something solid.

Not one of the hybrids or bream though, this was a bleeding carp where it shot off like a rocket down the canal to my left at a rate of knots with me following it. 

Sadly the inevitable happen and after a 40 yard dash with the centrepin screaming it did me over good and proper, Damn !!!

Another lost fish FFS not going well at the minute is it. Anyway I had to abandon that swim in the end because the leaves were wiping the float rods out every couple of minutes and was only adding to the frustration. Still plenty to go at here so I went on the rove. 

Edible ? Yes or No ? 

Nothing in the next two swims but then with the deadbait tight to an overhanging tree the first nudge of the deadbait after nothing for 15 minutes something has grabbed it and the float is off. 

I tightened up to the circle hook and the hook hold felt good. Yes a Zander, I've missed these stunning fish that are persecuted for no fault of their own. 

3 further Zander and a jack pike all from the same swim, at least things going to plan for once. Ok nothing big but still I'm very lucky to have the option locally. 

A couple of lure guys I got speaking to were struggling but managed perch before I left them to it. I put them on to the swim (gone dead at this point ) so hopefully they got something to at least put a decent bend in the rod. 

After a boat when through which was the only one in the 4 and a bit hours I was there I returned to the first swim to try and get something other than a Zander.

A feeding some more mash a bite came within 10 minutes where the float shot up with some vigour and stayed there. It turned out to be a nice roach, and oddly apart from the carp that was the only action I managed to get. Still an enjoyable session, the water actually felt cold to the touch, so despite the mild days the water is still pretty chilly. 
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