Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Tuesday 31 January 2023

The River Leam - Quacksalvers and Questmongers

After the loss of a certain 4lber at the last trip here I was back on the Leam to see if I could reacquaint myself with the culprit. I had planned to fish the same swim but when dusk came and also well in to dark ,an open swim with cover to the left and right, had some big fish boshing on the surface.

Assuming they were chub, I was back with the proper gear this time not the scaled down roach set-up which ended up being my downfall last time. So it was out with the size 6 hook, 5lb line, 1.25TC TFG River and Stream rod fitted with a 1 ounce quiver and enough bread to induce a carb coma. 

Sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami are the five primary tastes detected by human palates. But scientists could be about to add a sixth sense to that list apparently. You see New research from Oregon State University has found that humans can detect the taste of complex carbohydrates, found in bread, pasta, and potatoes. They've labelled the new taste "starchy"

Chub, well they just about eat anything don't they, but bread, they just love the stuff don't they, visual ? hunger quenching ? the smell ?

Well I missed a bite literally within 5 minutes of getting a bait out but as the 1.5 hours panned out they were certainly up for a feed.

The first fish came as the sun setting and once hooked they always seems to head for the same sections of reeds, a hook-link doer over'er if there ever was one. Stouter tackle this time so not really an issue as not only was it a longer rod to steer it away from its escape but the line also more suited to the quarry.

Once dusk came bites were every 10-15 minutes or so with a couple of missed bites but two more chub of similar stamp. I had to leave sadly as I reckon there were more bites to be had. Still odd bites though really tentatively pulling the 1 ounce quiver, often a number of times before eventually going around properly.

It's quite a handy location this where I'm in the office not far away on Monday's so I might make it a regular trip and maybe mix up where I've been fishing. Don't want to get on fish name terms with them now do I.  There were roach topping (I think) which is encouraging, I've just not managed one yet !!! I'll be back. 

Saturday 28 January 2023

Warwickshire Avon - Rodizio and Rodomontade

My dads ashes scattered at his favourite fishing lake, peg 11 his favourite according to the chairman who was there. My mum with something else ticked off her list !!!

Very apt, a dead mans shoes lake, someone on the waiting list will get to enjoy it like he did over the years. 

Anyway to the fishing, as Gale mentioned in his blog post little and often is the key to my fishing these days....

Take this session, a convenient location, the target chub, 2 hours max....

You see a rare day and night out with her indoors to indulge ourselves on Picanha, Tri-Tip and Alcatra and other meat delights !!! 

Red and Green card at the ready !!!

27 days without a drink, yeap even some red wine too, after a trip to the local for some ale naturally !!  

The fishing well, tough to be honest, with the river clearing at a fast rate dusk is the best time for the bigger fish.

2 bites this scraper 3lber and a one hook pull sadly on one of the biggest chub I have seen for a while.

Bugger !!!

Better go, things to do, people to see etc !!!

Friday 27 January 2023

The River Leam - Misdemeanours and Misoneisms

Back in the lockdown days I actually received a reply to an email I sent to my local MP, who was none other than Nadhim Zahawi. Now unless you've had your head in the sand, Nadim you see has just had to pay his dues and hand over a load of unpaid tax to the treasury. Nothing new there really as not long back he had to put his hands up as he claimed expenses to supply his stables with electricity.🐴

Yes really, both misdemeanours were an easy mistake to make apparently !!! But then who likes to pay tax, I certainly don't, he's done well for himself, I wish I could lose that amount under the sofa. 
Anyway I merely asked the question, when we were all confided to our homes and to twiddle our thumbs why the heck couldn't I go fishing, what harm would it do ? I'll be away from others, on my own, "it's great for ones wellbeing"

And he agreed, common sense, not a problem, fill your boots reading between the lines in his well worded reply. 

Remember these were times when taking exercise meant exercise, not having a coffee with a friend whilst strolling in the park, no m'lud. 

A rule breaker right there, a fixed penalty for you !!. I was amazed I received a reply, Nadhim can you have a word with your compadres to do the same please.  I never had to use that email as a get out clause because not long after after lobbying by the angling trust, we could all get out fishing again, whilst the club swingers couldn't frequent their fairways. 

Talking about rule breakers, a stop off to get some maggots on-route to the Leam (Mick get back on track) who'd have thought that two doors down from my local tackle shop, 430 cannibals plants would be discovered, I did wonder how Martyn could sell hemp so cheaply !!!!. 

Now as angling literature goes there doesn't seem much on the river Leam. Author and angler Tony Miles being a local lad fished it over the years and when he got in to specimen hunting and fish chasing, the Leam was still on his radar because those pockets of 4lb chub he was catching, eventually threw up a 5lber.

A decent fish in any river let alone an often forgotten tributary of the Warwickshire Avon, where even in 2023 it's a river largely unfished. These sort of rivers are not to everyone's tastes through are they. 

For me it's a bit of a trek to go fishing there, because the Alne,  Arrow and Warks Stour are much closer, very similar in appearance and piscatorial pursuits and also hold fish of similar stamp. Even in Tony Miles writings there isn't much on the roach population and if it is wasn't for the syndicate I'm part of, I'd be none the wiser that there are some specimens to be had. 

As Nadim says above, it's a team game after all !!!

It's all relative I suppose, a 1lb and a half roach caught on the Southern chalk streams, would barely raise an eyebrow, but in the Shires, that's a very good fish indeed. It was below freezing last time here but at least it was a few degrees above for this session in to dark. 

This time it was a two rod approach, a scaled down helicopter rig on an alarm and bobbin (yes really) as a sleeper and then a running rig with feeder and bread would be the main attack. 

The sleeper rod I'd use maggots and black roach groundbait though, roach love maggots and having only fished bread so far down at this deeper area was I missing a trick ?

Only one way to find out I suppose, better get fishing....

Nothing much happened for half an hour or so but then a pluck on the bread rod out of nowhere I was a little premature on the strike and I missed the bite. As soon as the rod went back out it didn't take long for another bite and I was in to a fish.

It was giving a good account for itself as well and quite good fun on the scaled down roach rig. It was soon in the net though and was quite a nice looking fish. Not the biggest but in good nick.

I lost another fish soon after that felt much bigger but after getting it out from the reeds by my feet another run it it got tangled up sadly and the hooklink parted company. It looked a 4lber too, hmmmm. Maybe I should bring my proper chub gear next time.

Anyway another fish caught of similar size on the bread and the maggot rod, well not even a bleep. Then an hour where there was no bites whatsoever and then as dusk approach again another tentative pluck and the odd tap I decided to strike and I was in to another fish. 

3lb 4 ounces on the scales and then that's when things upped a gear, 3 more fish caught within the hour and one well in to dark. The maggot rod, well I won't bother next time as that had no action whatsoever, all very odd.

So 5 fish caught in 3.5 hours or so, ok not prolific, but for a small river and the fact I stayed in the same swim , that's not bad in my book. The roach ? well, sadly as elusive as ever. !!!

Warwickshire Avon - Stalagmites and Stauroscopes

Now recently temperatures in China’s northernmost city Mohe plunged to minus 53°C its coldest ever recorded, meteorologists said. Located in the north-eastern Heilongjiang province supposeand nestled near Russian Siberia, Mohe is widely known as “China’s North Pole” and is one of the few places in the country to have a subarctic climate.

So a recent purchase a Ocoopa handwarmer, I don't think it would quite cut it where if you'd taken a pee outside you would end growing a stalagmite from ones appendage . Initial trials really are encouraging in a typical winter in the UK, not only does it heat up fast but the battery lasts a decent amount of time too. I don't mind fishing in cold weather, I have the gear after all. 

But after handling a fish without gloves when the mercury is hovering below zero, or having to re-bait or re-rig, or when trotting without gloves, ones donnies can really become very painful indeed. We are talking temperatures when a wet landing net turns in to a rock hard one a few minutes of removing it from the drink, oddly anything above freezing my hands are not too bad thankfully.

Anyway, a few minutes with hands clasped around this, all is good in the world again !!!

A Piscatorial Quagswagging seal of approval anyway if you're in a market for this sort of thing, the battery on it isn't massive, but the fact it is almost instant heat you don't need to be draining it all the time.  

Oh and the colour, well hopefully I'd not lose it so easily when fishing in the dark like I do. Talking of which, for this short smash and grab session after work I'd fish three swims, two primed with some bread mash and both primed swims would be fished in to dark. It's all I could muster up to get that fishing fix sadly. 

These are ideal trotting conditions to be honest and not helping that Nic from Avon Angling UK messaging me this week who has been bagging up on the Avon with the aforementioned with one of his best sessions ever, sadly I didn't have that option (well half an hour trotting about all I could muster up). Still, oddly I don't mind fishing in to dark, often the biggest fish appear from their slumber in these clearing conditions.

After removing a rubber ring from one of the swims I got fishing. The river had dropped considerably and having to lay down fat and stretch out to get water in to the bread mash bowl, I just knew it was going to a scratching around session. You see it's very shallow up this end and when you can see the bottom in two foot of water they fish tend to bugger off elsewhere.

When it's like this though when the light goes the fortunes can turn and it would be dusk half an hour after turning it anyway, I was in prime biting time. 

Talking of which I was trying out a new sliding rod rest fellow syndicate member Dave put me on to. I certainly won't lose this, can probably be seen from space I'd imagine, but it was helping him with hook-ups with these often cautious biters.

I use a 1oz glass tip if I can get away with it because it offers little or no resistance when the chub are biting. When there is one iota of resistance often one pull is all you will get.

This mitigates that in more times than not. Sadly though to cut a long story short despite fishing past curfew time, well in to dark and 5 or 6 swims not one bite. In banker swims too, all very odd. But that's fishing for you, cannot have it easy all the time now can we. 

Monday 23 January 2023

Warwickshire Avon - Torture and Toreumatography

A wet net propped up on the peg post the other day lead to torment, you see the drips started frequently at first and then once most of the water had expelled from the now vacant chub scoop, a drip every few seconds !! It really did get my anxiety hackles up however, plip, plop, plip, plop "FFS it's drop of water, Mick, get a grip !!!!"

Now Chinese water torture or a "dripping machine" is a mentally painful process in which cold water is slowly dripped onto the scalp, forehead or face for a prolonged period of time. The process causes fear and mental deterioration in the subject. The pattern of the drops is often irregular, and the cold sensation jarring, which causes anxiety as a person tries to anticipate the next drip.

Apparently there is very little evidence pertaining to the effectiveness of torture for interrogation purposes. The method itself causes lasting mental damage in victims proportional to the intensity of exposure. The television series MythBusters investigated the effectiveness of Chinese water torture, and while it was found quite effective, they noted that the restraining equipment was providing most of the effect by itself, and when testing the dripping water alone on a relaxed, unrestrained subject, it was found almost negligible.

The key apparently is randomising when the drops occurred was incredibly effective, you see anything that happens on a regular periodicity can become a type of meditation, and you can then tune it out. If you couldn't predict it, a psychotic break could be induced within 20 hours. (or me within 10 minutes)

In addition to the victims experiencing mental deterioration, psychosis is a common side effect when undergoing the Chinese Water Torture. During the psychosis episode, victims experience delusions, hallucinations, and losing touch with reality. 

Wonder if I could pass go and head straight to the happy ending ?

Now I'm no swim nicker, pot hunter, glory hunter, Instagram appeaser or instant gratification seeker (like many youngsters seem to be these days) usually, but James the boyfriend of a work colleague and fellow angler let slip of where he "Lost an enormous chub around there, it had to be a six" and I wanted in on it. I was disappointed I didn't require the shackles and the torture device though because without much pushing, or finger prodding I'd been given the actual bush where he lost the huge Chevin.

To be fair I've got him on as a guest on one of my club books sometime when the rivers are in better fettle for Pike. You scratch my back I scratch your back etc !!! nought comes free in piscatorial pistolography. 

It wasn't far from work you see, so once the days CAD bashing had finished I could head to the spot and would have the opportunity to fish in to dusk and beyond it need be. More of a reccy I suppose because would there be chub still there for starters ? it wasn't a week ago he lost it by the way, reading between the lines quite a long time ago. 

Still if "Steve's Bush" down the canal holds Zander year on year maybe this bush would hold the chub in similar vein.

Only one way to find out, better cast the bread out !!!

Now after making my way through to the river which is a public footpath 'the bush' was quite easy to spot, the problem was it had a visit to the Lady Garden parlour because it was rather sparse lets put it that way. With the clear and shallow on most of the stretch not ideal really as the cover had all but gone.

A good hour fishing static and also moving the bread around with the flow no bites at all, I got itchy feet and went opposite the other fish. This seemed more like it, a slack over at the far side and also to my left. I fed some mashed bread to that swim and gave it a good half an hour at the far side and also got the bait to drift right under the overhanging bush, but again no takers.

With dusk approaching the primed swim was my only hope with the clock ticking thankfully after dusk went and well in to dark the tip after a small pull, continued on its way riverward and a pulled in to a fish.

Within seconds it was trying to get under my feet but I knew straight away it wasn't a monster. It was in the net quick enough and looked 3lb or so. Still a fish is a fish is a fish. 

Just not a very big one, oh well blank avoided !!!

With a quick picture taken I was already running late but would I venture back here again ? maybe (thanks James), but after negotiating a fence to get in to the field in the first place, when I was there I was expecting a tap on ones shoulder !!!

It was a cold'un too, but thankfully with the Wife heading out to yoga when I got back, at least I had free reign of the kitchen and could concoct myself a winter warmer.

Prawns and lots of them, vindaloo hot with a sprinkling of extra chilli, not for the feint hearted, a bit like the fishing to be fair, the walk through the graveyard under the cover of darkness was 'interesting' lets put it that way. 

On to the next one !!!!

Sunday 22 January 2023

The River Leam - Zoomers and Zoomorphisms

The passing of the seasons brings changes to the river. As autumn merges into winter, the reeds begin to wither and die. The bottom of the river becomes covered with decaying vegetation, which can foul and obscure a bait carelessly fished on the bottom. The water often becomes murky and inhospitable looking. 

The temperature drops. Cold days and colder nights lie ahead, the frosts and snow of winter carpet the banks and silver the water with ice. Fish become harder to catch. Faint hearts begin to desert the river banks. Only the true stalwarts fish on. The experienced angler can still catch fish. There will be many mild days during the winter and spring months to look forward to.

Meanwhile, the angler will use his knowledge of the river and its fish to achieve some measure of success, even though the conditions may seem to be against him. No longer will he fish as keenly for roach, or rudd, or bream. 

Instead, he will concentrate on those fish which experience has taught him must offer the best chances of sport: chub, pike, perch and, above all, roach. Now that the reeds have died away, the water will be much clearer if the river isn't in spate or running off. This is where will be more opportunity to use a spinner or dead-bait. He can keep warm and interested by searching for his fish instead of waiting for them to come to him.

He will also know that roach will now be found mainly in the deeper water and that the later hours of the day will be better than the early hours, which he used to such telling effect during the summer when the predation is often an issue. The water may be clearer, devoid of cover; but by way of compensation, the fishes' natural larder is not now as abundantly supplied as it once was. 

There will be days when roach will be looking for food and will bite freely. The angler may even find that he can break the ice and still catch roach. Low temperatures are not as detrimental to the angler's chances as many seem to think. Indeed, the angler who has learned to understand his river and had made a study of it and its fish will not be unduly apprehensive about the winter. He will already know where to fish, at what times and on which species he ought to concentrate.

There are many fish and many ways of catching them. The river angler must be every bit as versatile as the river angler, his repertoire of methods and baits are just as extensive. 

No river angler should neglect bread though. It is cheap, easy to obtain and clean, and most species of fish will accept it. Some anglers use little else and have brought the fishing of bread- flake 'on the drop' to a fine art. In my opinion, bread in all its forms is one of the most useful baits available. I use it often- particularly during the winter months, when it is especially deadly for chub and my quest for this mornings session then roach.

No preparation is necessary. A new sliced loaf is all that is needed. Flake is torn roughly from the crust and squeezed gently around the shank of the hook. The size of the flake depends largely upon the type of fish being sought. 

Very small fragments, fished on size 14 or 16 hooks, might be called for when small to medium roach are the quarry, but for the larger fish, both the size of the hook and the bait can be increased proportionately. I often use thumbnail-sized pieces on hooks of up to size 6 for big roach, and even larger than this when chub are the quarry. For this session it was small bits of punch. 

Anyway this exploration trip to the Leam I wanted to familiarise myself with the swims during the day before giving it a go with some sessions in to dusk. There could well be some PB beating roach here which I want in on and being part of the WBAS waters I will only ever bump in to the likeminded. Successes and failures are shared amongst the group and that can often be a much needed leg up the red-finned ladder. 

Success if often because of hard work and dedication to the cause, not by contacting a handful of people via email, phone, Instagram or Facebook where one may divulge their hard earned swims. These type of sort small syndicates are different though usually because the foot fall is much lower and those you share the information with, you are likely to meet on the bank. 

George you see kindly knowing that I was going to fishing the Leam in the morning messaged me the evening before to see if he could share the bank with me, albeit he'd hunker himself in the deep pool swim and allow me to rove at my hearts content.

"No problem George" the good thing about George being there was that he has spent more time than anybody on the syndicate here and had managed some lovely fish because of it.

"The deeper swims are where you want to be fishing for the roach" and downstream from the pool there are some proper deep swims for a smaller river. The first plop of the feeder, a finger in the cold air (-6 when we get there) when it finally hit the bottom it must have been 8-10ft.

Decent depth for a small river, with the pool George was fishing was around 15 foot . With liquidised bread in the small feeder flavoured with aniseed and a few nuggets of hemp it didn't talk long to get the first bite.

I missed one first, being premature on the strike (story of my life) but within 30 seconds of the punched bread going out again, another bite with this time after the strike I had a fish on the end.

I thought it was a big roach at first, but no it was a chub that was determined to get underneath my feet. After a calamitous netting (it nearly did me over) it was a lovely Leam chub going 3lb on the scales. A thumbs up from George within a few minutes he had a chub on the bank too !!!,  considering we had disturbed a couple of cormorants when we got there, even more so in my book. 

Lets hope they move to bigger waters and leave the roach here well along, only time will tell I suppose. 😬

Considering the conditions with both avoiding a blank within the first 30 minutes or so, that was a win win for me. I moved in and around the deep area with the same set-up but with no further bites forthcoming I decided to get the float out and do some trotting.

A perfect colour to fish bread on the hook and liquidised bread as feed but after half an hour my hands were that cold I sacked that idea off as didn't want to do a 'Harry'. George luckily is only 5 minutes away by car and when he decided to leave when the sun came up and bites dried off, I stuck it out for another hour and half back on the feeder but to no avail.

And that was my lot. An enjoyable morning in good company and with the weather improving going forward I may well have another go here soon, maybe on the way home from work maybe and in to dusk.

I'm sure as George has proved fishing in to dusk and beyond has its merits and lets be honest, that is the time the big roach could show themselves. I was already running late when I left but with the tunes cranked it, it only took 25 minutes or so to get back. 

Saturday 21 January 2023

Warwickshire Avon - Arse Ends and Architectonics

The problem with fishing in to dark and beyond is that despite using all manner of head torches, powerful hand held jobbies, and and even more recently a flood light on the Jimny's roof, the inevitable happens and you leave something bankside, or basically lose a valuable item of fishing tackle, or in my case even a camera in one of those calamity moments.

Over the years, I've forgotten whole fishing bags before that I've had to retrieve in the morning prior to work, as the bag contained my fishing licence and all my books and permits. T.W.A.T springs to mind !!!

Brass scales, bank sticks, landing nets you name it, yeap even complete buzz bars and Optonics. The last session on the Warwickshire Avon where a chub mugged me over in one swim, despite only fishing four swims over that short session in one of those swims, I managed to lose the arse end of one of my more expensive banksticks.

I realised I'd 'misplaced' it during the session to be fair, but could I find it ? Errrrrr nope

So I was back or this morning session where hopefully I'd manage to find it. I did plan to trot with bread but with not much bread left I decided to fish the TFG River and Stream lighter set-up to try and winkle out a chub. The wind was non existent too, so ideal to watch a 1 ounce thin tip rather than the cumbersome AD John Wilson rod which is much easier to see when illuminated by torchlight . (It has its place don't worry)

It was proper whiteout when I got bankside a little later than planned, you see a movie with the wife the night before I went to bed a little latter than I thought I would, which meant that I woke up when I should have been next to the river. I could have set an alarm I suppose !!!

Oh well, anyway a cold'un this with -4 degrees showing in the car on-route, luckily I'd packed the car with the stove for a cockle warming cup of tea and an XL (proper) buttered crumpet on the Ridge Monkey Sandwich Toaster.  This is a stretch I can drive the whole length pretty much, it's a no brainer really. The gas bottle needed a defrosting on the windscreen demister vent as it was a mere dribble when it first kicked it in to gear.

No slumming it with a flask of lukewarm tea and a cold butty, I spoilt myself for this one. Anyway with a Pike rod I'd use when there were slacks and a chub setup (link ledgered bread) I fed a few swims on-route to the first swim with bread mash and was hoping there were fish up for a feed.

The water temperature was hovering around 4 degrees so pretty nippy but chub especially they don't really mind do they. A couple of swims down though without a bite this likely to be the odd fish if any. 

On a positive note I found the arse end of the bankstick so at least that part of the session was ticked off !!! I just needed a fish now.

I love these fishing in these conditions especially when the wind is non existent, the rings on the rod were freezing up from time to time but overcomes with thumb and forefinger. Swim after swim there wasn't much doing though, even in both primed swims, not even a nibble.  

The key in the end was to fish those intimate swims that have probably not seen a bait before. It helps being winter that some of these were easier to access.

The first fish came from this swim where literally a minute of the bread flake dropping to the river bed a couple of plucks the tip bent round nicely and I struck in to a solid fish. I thought it was bigger at first after a spirited fight but it was soon in the net. 

Probably a scraper 3lber but at least in testing conditions it was a fish on the bank. With that retained in the net I thought there could well be another fish or two in that swim because the bite was so quick. But no after another half an hour (longer than I usually give it) I decided to get on the rove again. 

A swim only 50 years downstream was similar and after making another cup of tea I dropped in a walnut whip sized amount of bread mash. The proper old school version not the modern shrinkflation offering. The pike rod went out in the margin as well and after I enjoyed a piping hot Rosey Lea, is there anything better in brass monkey weather? (well maybe a port and brandy combo), I dropped the bread in a tasty looking swim and the same thing happened.

A sharp pull on the tip and then again as before it went round confidently. No missed bites like the last session, another fish was on. It was clear it wasn't a big fish but so what, not all about the specimens now is it.

Still a 3lber or so and most welcome in a river again devoid of anglers. To be fair after handling that fish it literally was like a block of ice, and within minutes my hands were starting to get painful. A quick defrost in the car, happy days again. But that was that, no more bites from chub and the pike rod, well, zilch. Still an enjoyable session, and on to the next one !!!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...