Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Friday 3 February 2023

The Tiny River Alne - Bishops Fingers and Bonbonnières

Now the Camo'd up Invisible Angler is a common sight by the water, especially those after the carp with first names, or he would be if you could see him. Otherwise known as the Camouflaged Kamikaze, he's the one with the Hawkeye complex, the invisible hunter stalking his prey silently and unseen through the undergrowth. 

To accomplish the disappearing trick, you kit yourself out at a government surplus shop with a camouflage battledress, bush hat and a yard of green netting. The netting you drape over your head and decorate with bits of twig and foliage.

To make sure that nothing reflects any light through the net, you darken your face with burnt cork, mud or cowpat. In the absence of hat, net or hair, do the same thing to your bald head. Take out your false teeth. Either remove your spectacles or paint them with anti-flash liquid or a coating of mud or cowpat.
To ensure that you can see, mark a cross in the middle of each lens with a matchstick. Toothless and half-blind, you can now make your way to the water secure in the knowledge that you are absolutely invisible to the fish. The technique has its drawbacks, though. In your purblind state, you could pack up after an exhausting day's angling to find you've been fishing the M42.

Another drawback is that you are not only invisible to the fish, you are invisible to everyone else, or at least in a state of camouflage sufficient to have you mistaken for a deformed tree or a heap of tangled vegetation. This few Invisible Anglers finish a day's fishing unscathed; many, indeed, are scathed beyond repair. The spirits by a succession of wandering dogs. 

It's bad the least that can happen is a thorough dampening of enough sitting there with your trousers all soggy, but with the taller or more ambitious dogs, you're really in trouble. Do not attempt the camouflage in a safari park, by the way, with giraffes or elephants, you wouldn't stand a
Courting couples in search of a bit of privacy are often disconcerted when the tree under which they are plighting their troth gives out with a polite, 'Ahem!'. The less understanding among the swains are liable to assuage their embarrassment by kicking the tree up the bole. Even first love has its dangers. 

Instead of getting straight into the action, the shy young wooer may pass the time by carving a set of initials and a pair of hearts entwined. You could try closing your eyes and thinking of England, but generally you can't hold out much above Wolverhampton.

Normally harmless wildlife can do a lot of incidental damage. Short-sighted woodpeckers, squirrels in search of autumn nuts, hedgehogs looking for a hollow in which to hibernate, all can take your mind off the fish and have you leaping about, screaming for a tree surgeon. Not to mention undernourished Dutch elm beetles, which in force can leave you with a nose like an antique cheese grater.

And if somebody walks along and chalks a cross on your bum, followed in the middle distance by a bloke lugging a chainsaw, it's definitely time to pack it in. The invisible angler technique has been tried over hundreds of years, but seldom without complications setting in. 

Switched off yet ?

Now the last trip to this stretch of the Alne didn't go particularly well to be honest, after being minnowed out and some swims not even a bite, eventually a dace turned up out of the blue and ended a pretty lacklustre session. I was back though with a Salmo Hornet for a lure approach instead because a stretch I fish further downstream a lure can often throw up the bigger fish. It also would give me an opportunity to explore some of the other swims I'd not fished before.

It would be barely a trickle in places looking at the levels but fear not this type of river has depth in many of the swims and that is where the fish usually hold up.  

After a quick stop-off at Dermot's store for a well deserved refreshment I was bankside looking at a gin clear river. Down stream on a syndicate stretch it never gets this clear even in the summer to be honest and maybe that's why the bigger fish prefer it there. 

Cheers anyway, got to love a Bishops Finger nearly as nice as a Champion !!!, Cheers blog readers. 

Anyway what a mad 2.5 hour session to cut a long story short I must have has 20 or so trout I reckon. At one point I swapped the hornet for a much larger hornet but they seemed to like that too. Some of the smallest brook trout I tend to catch but a healthy population.

The ground up here is littered with mussel shells, lifted up from a flood maybe ? and the banks covered in wooden debris. I know someone who lives on the farm here so I might see if I can get access and remove some and dry it for firewood.

Anyway overall an enjoyable session, but nothing big whatsoever showed and even at dusk when I thought a chub or two might have made an appearance.

I fancy some trotting for the next session so back to the Avon it is where hopefully I can pick up one or more chub. Fingers crossed anyway, the conditions are a little tough at the minute. 


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