Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Saturday 25 November 2023

Warwickshire Avon - Snags and Spectroheliokinematographs

One of my most memorable catches was back in February when I landed a lovely chub of 5lb and 10 ounces whilst trotting. It's a great way to search a large area of water and feeding bread mash can bring the fish out from their hiding place. 

With a hard frost to greet me the skies were clear and with the water temperature also dropping (almost 2 degrees since I last checked) I knew it would be tough going. Still you cannot catch a fish lying in bed now can you, so I unfolded myself from a couple of rather large warm plump pillows and headed down to the Warwickshire Avon. 

Now a study of catches of specimen chub reveals that a high proportion are caught by anglers who were not fishing exclusively for chub, which might suggest that the angler who relies upon luck alone is just as likely to catch a specimen as he who seeks them deliberately. 

Such a conclusion would however be false, as for every angler who catches a specimen by luck there are many thousands who fish their whole lives through without catching one, and many others who sometimes hook one, only to lose it through using inadequate tackle. 

In contrast, the angler who deliberately seeks specimens not only finds them more consistently but is also more likely to land them successfully because he is using tackle of appropriate strength. The odds against any angler catching a real monster are very great but it is possible to reduce them by a considered approach to the task. 

The first step is obviously to attempt to locate them by sight but if the colour and depth of the water makes this difficult or impossible it is a good plan to fish all likely swims patiently and methodically, using only those baits that are least attractive to small fish. 

Really big chub can be found in many different types of swim but are seldom far away from a hiding-place. The overgrown snaggy swims that are so often passed by are the kind that big chub favour more than any other.

If chub show signs of wariness to the common baits an unusual one should be tried; either one that can be found in and around the water, such as a small frog or crayfish, or a bait that is completely strange to them such as one of the seed-baits or a meat-bait. This will sometimes bring success when all else has failed.

In those waters where night fishing is allowed the possibility that specimen chub might be caught more easily after dark is worth experiment, especially in rivers that are very clear. There is a definite increase of feeding activity at dusk and the specimen-sized chub are then more likely to be feeding in open water.  

I had the stretch to myself so I had the pick of the swims however I had one in mind and got to the task in hand. Making some bread mash up when the air temperature is still below freezing is not to be taken lightly so the hands took a while to feel comfortable again.

The rod guides were freezing up as well and it took an hour or so to get in to a good rhythm. Trot after trot there wasn't much happening until oddly the sun had come up and was illuminating the river where eventually out of the blue the float buried and I struck in to a solid lump.

That solid lump though headed straight towards the far bank cover and despite my best efforts trying to stop its powerful run, and the 15ft rod softening its lunges, sadly the fish did me over good and proper and we parted company.

You can only imagine the language because I must have known that was the only bite I would get in the 3.5 hour session. I did explore another couple of swims before heading back and when I got snagged up having me to pull for a break and losing my float in the process. And that was that, one bite and one lost fish !! Still at least the weather was nice, just shame about the fishing !!


  1. I use a drop of glycerine gel to stop my ring freezing .. 😬😬Baz


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