Wednesday 1 March 2023

Warwickshire Avon - Moons and Monopsychisms

So it's the 1st of March as I'm typing this and with the river close season just round the corner I just had to get out for some fishing. It seems to have come round all of a sudden where I didn't really get in to a proper rhythm with my river fishing. 

Almost all have been ad hoc and spur of the moment. Chub and Roach (on the off chance) have been the main target species mainly because well they are up for feeding in almost any conditions, and at least for those short sessions I mainly do, at least they offer a bend in the rod.

Now I certainly didn't expect to catch a 6lb 2ounce fish especially on the Warwickshire Avon where I struggled for years even to catch a 5lber. I've caught plenty of 5lbers now and with the chub in the Avon now seemingly getting bigger and bigger year on year, so a 7lber is certainly a realistic target going forward.
I've neglected pike though this year and to me the joy of angling for pike is that the pike is at his best in winter. I have never caught a >20lb pike my largest scaled only 17lb 8 ounces and caught on the canal, with 16lb odd being my river PB.

But winter is the most likely time for the really big ones. And winter fishing has its own peculiar attraction and for me as a roving angling suits the season perfectly. 

It is cold we know, but we can wrap up to keep warm, and there is a greater sense of quietude beside the water than at any other time. Have you ever noticed trees in the mists of late November?  The leafless branches look like fairy lace-work. I'm not quite sure that the winter scene isn't more delightful than the summer. But there isn't any season when the waterside isn't delightful and lets be honest worlds away from sat behind a CAD screen.

There are many lakes, ponds and rivers in which a monster pike, capable of nipping off a swimmer's foot is supposed to live. Don't take these stories too seriously. However, there is no doubt of the pike's ferocity. I have seen pike grab a swimming water vole, drag a water-hen underwater, and even wild duck have fallen prey to them. Terrier dogs ? yeap I certainly let my dog (if I had one swim) where a big lady was potentially laying in wait. 

So for this session down at the deeper area of the syndicate stretch I fancied some double dipping. With three modes of attack, some mash in a few swims to prime where I'd fish in to dark for the chub on the link-ledger.

Then with a pike rod out in front of me I'd trot until I couldn't see the float(s). Again only a short session this but with I was hoping the extra depth would throw something of note up. I'd fished this area before a couple of times but no in to dusk and in to dark when the larger chub often start to surface.

It didn't help that whilst I was WFH Nic from Avon Angling UK (just hit 7k subs) had left his bread mash and trotting gear at home for once and actually went to target the pike specifically at an area where he'd had a pike attack the previous week, and he managed to catch a decent croc that gave him a bit of a run around. Not just in the water but on the bank too !!!

Now the trotting gear was put back in the car soon after I started, you see from near bank to mid river it was almost static, and then mid river to over at the far side there was some pace admittedly but I'd have no chance of getting the feed over there.

So it was back to feeding a few swims and then getting the pike rod out, where amazingly within 20 minutes or so fishing near some cover I had a bite. A few ripples around the float and then after a couple of minutes it started to move from left to right.

As soon as I tightened up to the circle hook I knew it wasn't very big and after quite a spirited battle from a jack it was soon in the landing net.

It clearly liked the manky piece of joey mackerel I found in the back of the freezer but not exactly the size of fish I was after. Still with the best time to come I thought I'd be on for something a little bigger, be it a chub or a much bigger pike.

What I didn't expect though was literally the quietest dusk in to dark session I've ever had on the Avon. Well ok maybe an exaggeration but the chub have been feeding really well as the light goes  But not tonight and I fished a few swims too.

Maybe the fish were off for some reason but something didn't seem right with the river. It just seemed dead when it should have at least shown some signs of fish activity. I actually called the session early in the end because I knew I'd be wasting my time. Still at least the moon was nice and bright this evening, it thankfully pepped up a disappointing session. 


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