Sunday 18 December 2022

Warwickshire Avon - Shags and Shunamitism

Whose idea was is to fit the boiler in the garage I wonder ? you seen to prevent the pipes from freezing the frost stat kicks in and the boiler fires up to prevent any issues.

All very well but come next bill it will be interesting to see how many kidneys I'd have to sell. Still I shouldn't moan I'm not quite having to look behind the sofa just yet, but boy, like many being the main bread winner I'm certainly feeling the pinch. Look on the bright side though I've finished work being a permi now where being a jobber I'd be working right up to the time when I'd need to let the cat out. 

I'm amazed at the amount of cormorants I've been seeing over the last few months. Now fossils from the late Cretaceous period have been found for the cormorant family. This means that they were here when the earth had two giant continents with huge warm oceans between them.

They would have survived the Cretaceous–Tertiary split, during which 80% of all animal species went extinct. This bird evolved in antiquity and does not have the waterproofing oils in its feathers that more modern birds, such as loons and ducks, have. For this reason, the cormorant sinks when it swims this is to its advantage, since it prefers fish from the bottom of the ocean, or in freshwater any bloody where.

They were feeding quite heavily on a stretch not far from here where at thought it was a pike plunging stocks till I came to my senses. Pike are pike after all, they are not stupid enough to chase fish when the water is (2.4 degrees like it was today) and an angler will turn up soon and offer a baited sardine.

When the cormorant surfaced what amazed me was just how it wasn't bothered I was there and also how big the bait fish shoal it decided to help itself to. It really was an eye-opener especially when I'd not even considered chucking a wag and mag set-up over there before.

I really do love winter fishing now I've invested in some decent gear. Not only are the banks much quieter but sometimes its not about the fish as such, but the scenery and wildlife that go with it.

Ok, a summers day dressed in shorts and t-shirt heading towards dusk waiting for that unmistakable bite from a barbel is certainly appealing, but now that ones nads are cossetted and don't resemble acorns anymore, fill ones boots I say.

Now don't tell the wife but being under the weather at the minute, the kids too, I've had free reign of the kitchen where I'd set-up my present from Santa, a John Wilson Avon Quiver Rod. Ok, early I know, but at the end of the day it suited these conditions perfectly. 

My favourite chub rod, the TFG River and Stream is fitted with a 1 ounce tip and is ideal for those often cautious chub but the problem is the eyes are that small on the tip they keep freezing up and if it wasn't for the finger and thumb getting the ice off every so often I'd have certainly snapped it by now.

Angling Direct have brought out a modern version of the John Wilson rod recently as well as other rods he used to use and having had one ages ago that I sold (I think) I wanted to add another rod to the ever growing collection because it suits the conditions perfectly.

Looking back over my blog I don't think I've caught a chub when it was a cold as this. It certainly sorts the men from fishy boys, and the chevin, the dace, the roach and the grayling about the only fish that are likely to be feeding. 

Drop a smelt on a pikes head, a different matter, but in my experience pike are hard to come by when the water temperature gets as low as this. Even the chub can often be hard to temp but again this is where roving is the key.

Sit on ones backside in comfort is all very well but you need to find the fish as they will not find you. Only bigger rivers like this that can be a challenge but fish as many swims as you can and those swims that offer plenty of feature and cover where the chub are often found.

It took me a good while this morning though, swim after swim after swim nothing was doing on the bread and bread feeder set-up and I really wanted to see that new tip go round.

Even two pre-baited swims never produced leaving me wondering what the heck was I doing wrong. But this is fishing isn't it, it only takes one right move to pay dividends and sure enough a swim with a tree to my left, a slack just off the crease and some depth after a few minutes the first bite of the morning.

After a few taps the tip pulled round confidently and a fish was on. It gave a decent account for itself and was actually bigger than I thought when I netted it.

It was raining at this point and I couldn't be bothered with the scales but it looked a 4lber and most welcome in these winterly conditions. I released it downstream, got the bait back out and amazed that a few minutes later I had another bite and another fish !!!

A smaller fish this one, a scraper 3lber but not complaining after a biteless few hours eventually it came good !! And that was my lot, no more fish, I decided to take a look over at the syndicate stretch on the way back where the farmer was removing a bashed up Audi from its prang (black ice apparently) but all looks good to go when the water warms up heading towards the end of next week. 

So a last look of the snow that has been hanging round for ages as the change in temperature will mean it is likely to be gone completely over night where tomorrow daytime with be 14 degrees apparently. 🤯 madness, shame as I like having the banks to myself. 


  1. Nice one, Mick
    Can't beat fishing in such tough conditions and getting a bite or two
    Ultimate challenge alongside floods

    1. love it George, did a proper windy session this morning that resulted in a PB (as you know !!) embrace the weather I say, you're an advocate of that

  2. Mick, well done for braving it and a good result 👍.

  3. I think I’ll dig my original John Wilson rod out and give it a go 😊

  4. Lots of good quiver rods spoilt by having silly little rings.

    1. very true, need to look at tips to try and mitigate the problem from happening again !!


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