Friday 30 December 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious and Ectypography

Angling is full of surprises, and no two days are alike. So be prepared to Be Prepared. Follow the example of the Kitchen Sinker, often an Eager Beaver in a previous incarnation. He finishes work early on Fridays, if he goes at all. He has to: it takes until the small hours of Saturday morning to get everything ready. (His lady wife, meanwhile, retires early to bed. Often with a Jackie Collins novel, box of chocolates and bottle of gin. She knows better than to get in the way.) 

He starts with the bait. Breadpaste, cheesepaste, flake, crust. Sliced loaf for punched bread. Several cans of maggots: gozzers, pinkies, specials, squatts, anattos. And a big tin of casters. Worms from the scouring tins: lobworms, brandlings, redworms and blueheads. If his eyesight's up to it, some bloodworms from the water butt.

Meat, frankfurters, peas. Get the pans simmering with A quick clean-out of the pantry for sweetcorn, luncheon wheat, hemp, pearl barley, macaroni, rice and spuds. A safari round the garden while the light lasts for slugs and snails, earwigs and caterpillars, perhaps a near-suicidal raid on a wasps' nest. While the swellings are time to mix up several different consistencies of ground- bait, each with its own Secret Ingredient.

That'll have to do to be going on with. Perhaps pick up some elderberries and swan mussels at the water. Time to organise the tackle: Match rods, ledger rods, river rods, roach poles, fly rod. And boat rod just in case. Three king-sized keepnets and carp-sized landing net. Check the cabinet of floats: Avons, antennae, sticks, balsas, balsa-and-sticks, crows, porcupines, peacocks, zoomers, wagglers, sliders and bubbles.

Check the cabinet of lines, weights, hooks, swim-feeders, blockends, disgorgers, forceps, spring balances, thermometers. Case of spoons, spinners, flies, plugs. Reels... fixed spools, closed face, centrepins, multipliers. Baskets, bait waiters, bank sticks, rod rests, catapults, brolly, tent, windbreaks, groundbait bucket, tackle trolley, picnic hamper, stove, spirit lamp, handwarmer, foot muff and nose cosy. Now we're getting somewhere. Spare jumpers, jackets...

The car is loaded with the basics in the early hours, an operation not looked upon with much favour by neighbours who open their bedroom windows and shout abuse or throw things. After a couple of hours' sleep, our hero is up and at it again, braving further neighbourly hostility, which may include a visit from the bleary-eyed neighbour next door, who jumps on his maggots and hits him with the cat. 

But, with luck, he's off; boot, back seat and roof rack packed solid.

At the venue, he has a problem: whether to carry all his gear to the water in stages or to attempt it one go. Both have their drawbacks. Doing it in stages means that a lot of the gear he left on the bank on the first trip is no longer around when he arrives on the second, the Brotherhood of the Angle being what it is. Carrying it in one go gives him a funny walk and makes his eyes water; early warnings of an incipient double hernia.

Eventually, he makes it, and spends a happy hour or two setting out his stall. There are a few holdups caused by other anglers who are not in sympathy with the thoroughness of his preparations. In the attempt to get to their own swims, they stumble into his gear, do themselves a mischief climbing over it, or kick it in the water.

Finally, he's ready. Snug in his windbreak under the brolly; tent set up behind in case the weather turns inclement. Water temperature taken, depths recorded, currents noted. Landing net set up, swim groundbaited and rod assembled. Time for that magic first cast. It's a pity he can't see his float, darkness having fallen so quickly due to the unforeseen rotation of the Earth. Time to pack up, good job he remembered the head torch. 

Anyway to the session, 8 or 9 swims fished with bread flake and one 5lber on the nose landed on a river that had risen overnight and was on the drop. That's a 60cm landing net btw so you can see how big these chub are. This one stayed hugged to the bottom and to be honest I thought it was bigger when eventually I got it in the net, as it gave me a proper battle. Still after getting the monkey off my back which was a Warwickshire Avon 5lber, I've caught plenty now !!! and with a 6lber now banked too, what next a 7lber ?


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