Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Sunday 31 December 2023

Goodbye to 2023

I've really enjoyed my fishing in 2023 (you only have to look at my post count for that 210 which meant I went fishing every 1.7 days 🤯), despite the weather being absolutely rubbish towards the end of this year when I really wanted to spend quality time on the bank. 

Some of the highlights can be seen below, where a surprise big dace came out of the blue on the nearest river to me the River Alne. The mission to catch the canal carp I kept on seeing also was a highlight because that was a right old challenge that was, however in the end I finally succeeded. 

The roach were a high point as well, because when I caught the my PB as shown in the featured picture, it got me thinking about targeting them properly in the closed season, just to see if there were any even bigger fish to be caught. I also caught a nice one from the Warwickshire Stour, an old warrior but a cracking fish from a small river.

A 4lb hard fighting roach bream hybrid from the canal, catching barbel on the float with a good mate Nic from Avon Angling where we fished numerous times on the Wye together this year. Oh and also catching a stoneloach by design which was concluded much faster than my usual fishing quests, I've really mixed it up this year which is what I wanted to do when I started 2023. 

So some highlights of 2023, not in chronological order

No huge fish admittedly, but it's not often all about the size now is it.... 
So Mick what's the plan for 2024 ? well I fancy trying to beat my Barbel PB of 12lb and 14 ounces, and also fishing more new venues and casting my net wider, rather than trudging old ground. I also want to target roach properly on the canal, they will get some attention in the closed season that's for sure, as will Zander no doubt. Bid perch on the river ? speak to me !!!

Oh and a Warwickshire Avon 7lb Chub, yeah I fancy one of those too, as well as a river or canal 2lb roach. 

So thanks for putting up with my ramblings blog readers, tight lines for 2024 and dream BIG , on to the next one, no where is that cat !!!

Canal Zander - The Hallowed II Chronicles Pt.12

I watched old Luke the 'Nuke' Littler absolutely demolish Raymond van Barneveld in the darts last night, what a performance, my twin brother was in Amsterdam watching the same match in a pub that gave appreciation of the win for Litter no matter who you wanted to win. 

I really haven't a player like him to be honest, what a talent, but a short dip in to social media the negative comments about him and his family really were already there to see, what the heck is up with some people !!

I wish him all the success for the test of the competition and in the future, and considering he is only 16, I think it will be only a matter of time till he wins the PDC world championship, In all my years watching darts I don't think I've seen a player like him, well maybe Michael van Gerwen the exception. 

Being only 16 I'm sure helps with his confidence and competitive darts is all confidence at the end of the day. Now talking of confidence with heavy rain overnight the local rivers are unfishable again I decided to venture over the Hallowed to at least try and get a bite from a predator.

My PB Pike of 17lb's and 8 oz's came from this canal and almost exactly 2 years ago, and the Hallowed is home to my PB zander of 11lb's and 8 oz's, and the likeminded have caught both Pike and Zander far bigger than mine too.

Anyway I didn't have much time so I hotfooted it to the swim when I caught both of my PB's from and got fishing with 2 deadbaits. Now this canal is hardly fished down here because well it's a good 15 minutes walk from the parking area and with the towpath as muddy as everywhere else, not exactly an easy task.

It usually throws up bites quite quick here especially if there is no boat movement, but I gave it a good hour and forty odd minutes or so before heading off on the rove.

I tried another couple of areas with the same result to headed off to the 2nd banker swim, not this was an area of extensive cover, in-fact easily the thickest I know of on this stretch, however sadly the cover is no more. It's been removed almost in its entirety so those predators that were here have now gone to another area of sanctuary.  

I crossed my fingers and toes but after half an hour without even a nibble I decided to head down to a moored boat and give that a go fishing tight to the hull. I've had zander here before but nothing big but all I wanted was a bite but again nothing doing here whatsoever either.

This wasn't going well at all !!!!

After netting a pole anglers skimmer bream for him as he hooked a fish that needed a landing net, before setting up his own just on-route to here, that was the only fish action I got 🙈, the canal was dead for me sadly. 

So no fish for the last session of 2023 and a stinky landing net to rub it in !! damn it

Friday 29 December 2023

The Warwickshire Stour - Cockalorums and Coconuts

You can tell a good curry recipe by the state of the page in the book and this beef and coconut curry from the Hairy Bikers really is very nice indeed. I wanted shin to use however they had sold out of it in Barry the Butchers however 2 kg's of casserole steak was a nice compromise.

You see it is the annual curry night round at the Newey's later where we have a house full of close friends where these days it's about the only night of the year we have a good turn out. 

Like many I do seem to be getting busier and busier as every year passes and to be honest that's probably not a bad thing. 

It's a chilled and relaxed evening where the only requirement is to bring a bottle or two and a pot of curry. That means we generally have at least 6 different homemade curries on offer, and you know me I love a good curry. 

Anyway my go-to dish most years has been this beef curry because much of the prep can be done the night before when on the day of eating, you slow cook it in coconut milk where the beef goes really rather tender, and the flavours really intensify. 

Before I went to bed I checked the local river gauges and they really were looking unfishable especially the Alne and the Avon where the Alne especially would have been well in the fields.

The Avon looked just about dooable though and I decided to get the luncheon meat out of the freezer and have a go for the barbel in the floodwater conditions. It would have been banging through but I'm sure it would have been ok provided I could find a slack. A new location I fished recently was the plan and I was looking forward to 4 hours of blanking. 

The Stour though can drop significantly like the Alne and it looked like it had peaked so I was pleasantly surprised in the morning it had dropped like a stone, a good half a meter down and it would have been within the banks. So the barbel idea was kiboshed and I decided to try and winkle out a roach instead.

I didn't have long to be honest before I had to get back but enough time to try for one and I caught a cracking roach here recently that went 1lb and 9 ounces on the scales. That was caught in similar conditions too where there was literally a handful of fishable swims.

I had some bread, worms and maggots and that was it !!!

Well ok some black roach groundbait for in the feeder to put some extra attraction in the water. In these conditions when the fish have to batten down their hatches often the fish can be easier to find in theory. Why would the fish be right in the middle of the mosh pit ?

So finding those slacks is the key for this sort of fishing and like I said I was really quite surprised just how much the river had dropped when I got bankside. Ok it was still very high but after walking passed a few fishable swims I settled in to one that is usually quite productive.

There was a nice back eddy to my left and then over at the otherside another slack swim that looked fishable if only the feeder would hold bottom. I settled on a small but heavish 25g feeder and it worked from the off.

As long as you present to bait the best you can in floodwater you have a chance of a bite however a good hour in this swim without anything at all, I decided to go on the rove.

The swim I caught the decent roach from (actually my mediocre river PB) was a few minutes walk downstream and sure enough when I got there it looked perfect for a bite. A large tree in the water hinders the flow and a satisfying donk of the feeder meant at the least I was fishing on a clean bottom.

What I didn't expect though was that after a few unstrikeable twitches on the 1oz tip the tip sprung back where I lifted in to a fish that had already made inroads and was trying to get in the reeds to my left. When I saw it is was a decent sized roach, easily over a 1lb, but that was the only glimpse I'd got because one last lunge it got right in the middle of the reeds and that was my downfall. 

Yes my foul language would have been heard by the locals I'd imagine, but I hate losing decent fish as does every angler. I stuck it out for a chublet which took worm and maggot and then decided to head downstream to the tailend of the stretch where there is another nice slack that could be fished.

There were small fish in the swim straight from the off because the bread was being battered around and the quiver tip rattling away. 

I got to find what the culprit was though because with time motoring by I switched to a size 16 hook and a couple of red maggots where within a few minutes I had a gudgeon on the bank. I'm sure if I stayed longer I'd have banked some more fish because it was clear they were holding up in the slacks. 

On the way back to the car having had to set up again after getting caught in some hidden tree branches I fished this raft swim with a couple of SSG shots and a large piece of bread flake, but the chub that usually hang around here didn't seem to be home, so after 15 minutes I headed home feeling a little disheartened. 

I'm sure if I fished cheesepaste I'd have had a better chance of catching one of the chub but it was a decent roach I wanted and it did feel like a kick in the balls considering that was the target at the start of the session for me to lose a decent one. Oh well I'll be back !!! I might try another Stour stretch next time mind you, because I might be missing a trick. 

Thursday 28 December 2023

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.84

If I look back at my blog around this time of year exactly a year ago and also from the previous years often the local rivers are in the state they are now. The relentless rain over weeks and months the river and the water table for that matter full to the brim, and just when you think things are looking good again, then comes the rain scuppering the piscatorial pursuits on flowing water.

It's getting me down it really is 😞

Now I'm quite lucky where I live because I can be beside the canal in a few minutes by car, and canals that have been good to me over the years where Zander and other fish are concerned, so at least I can get that fishing fix.

Now I knew I had to take the long way around to get to where I wanted to fish because there is a bridge that always floods when the adjacent brook gets to a certain level, where basically the overflow dumps it right under the bridge.

The biggest problem is the height gauge at the entrance to the bridge is nothing like what the depth will be in the middle. A foot is just about dooable in my Jimny and I wouldn't want to do much more that that because I'd be having to change the oil in the diffs and transfer case most likely. 

So when the gauge says a foot deep at this bridge I know forwell it's much deeper than that, where in the middle it's probably another half a foot or more deeper as the road dips. To be honest the detour only takes <10  minutes or so anyway so not an issue for me, so I arrived at the spot without issue which couldn't be said about the car that attempted it.

He'd been dragged out by a mate in a 4X4 by the looks of it. Now when we have more settled conditions I'm tempted to mark on a foot deep at the deepest bit of the bridge to give me an idea what exactly that the depth is actually like, rather that rely on the gauge that is fitted now, which is basically lying to you 🤣

Anyway I did wonder what the heck I was doing when I negotiated the aqueduct with rain almost horizontal and the rain battering me from all angles. There is a reason why I have invested in some decent gear though because it wasn't an issue at all really. The EVA bag I have as well perfect for these conditions where I'd be leapfrogging sections of cover to try and find a zander. 

A good couple of hours passed though and probably 5 or 6 areas including a lock mouth was fished with two deadbait rods without even a dropped run.

The key to a bite was to retrace my steps to the other side of the aqueduct where eventually the right float jumped in to life and was motoring down the canal. I tightened up to the circle hook where I was fully expecting a schoolie Zander judging by the run.

I was wrong in my assumption though as it was a small jack pike that didn't fight much at all bless him. The circle hook right in its scissors so it wasn't coming out that's for sure.

Considering the water is strong tea coloured I really was quite surprised that it was a pike but I'm sure I must have dropped it where it was laying up. And that was my lot, to be honest with the wind still pretty bad, the towpaths hard to walk on because they are so muddy I gave it another twenty minutes before heading off before the rain started in anger again. 

The countdown to work on the 2nd of January is in full swing now, what a disappointing end to 2023. I'm hoping for a few more sessions but with the rivers the way they are my options will be limited I'm sure. 

Wednesday 27 December 2023

The Tiny River Alne - Sheep Shaggers and Shenanigans

After a couple of pints of sheep shagger at the local pub for the risk of offending the finer feelings of those who have never felt the need, I want to raise the burning topic: How Do You Do It On The Canal Bank?

Oh, it's all in the mind. Put down that pen, Disgusted of Didsbury,

and read on a bit.

I'm talking about answering the Call of Nature. Having a tinkle. A Jimmy. A wee-wee.

There. I've said them. Some of the naughties.

The problem was brought home to me recently with some urgency, embarrassment and discomfiture. 

Caught short, I was, on an open stretch of bank. Not only was it open, but thronged with mums herding toddlers with tiddler nets, matronly ladies walking their little dogs and little husbands, and courting couples on the verge. The water itself was a-throng. With little lads in lifejackets doing the Duke of Edinburgh bit in kayaks, and blokes in yachting caps doing dashing things on pleasure boats.

Woe is me, I thought. I am undone. But I did not dare get anywhere near undone. There would be panic-stricken screams from affronted and affrighted womanhood. Freelance guardians of public decency would put down their binoculars and rush across the lock gates, macs flapping in the wind, to point the accusing finger. An official guardian of public decency, in big boots and a pointy hat, would flick over the pages of his notebook and moisten his pencil. Convinced he'd caught the Phantom Flasher of Hatton Locks No 19 and seeing his sergeant's stripes already twinkling on his sleeve.

I was saved by a water vole. Who came paddling across the water, climbed on to a half-sunken piece of timber near the bank, woffled and scratched a bit, then dived off the near side. To keep my mind off things, I went to have a look. And there, between the timber and the bank, was a little bay where the stonework had fallen in. 

What was more, a bay surrounded by tall nettles which screened the place from the towpath and arched over to hide it from the opposite bank as well. Into the nettles I plunged. And into the bay did the necessary. Oh, the relief. The bliss. The sudden end to the long-drawn-out agony. I'd forgotten about the vole. Poor little thing. He erupted at the surface of the bay, coughing and spluttering, scrabbled over the timber and crash-dived into the unsullied water beyond.

Sorry about that, little vole. Next time I see you I'll give you a butty.

To get back to the point. What is the answer?

Do some men carry windbreaks around with them on the balmiest of days for the very purpose of tinkling undetected. Known others carry a spare wellie. Others still who wore army surplus gas capes which reached down to the ground and gave plenty of room inside for the necessary manoeuvring. Even then, with all the concealment, all the care not to offend the sensibilities of others, the Puritan streak in the British is so strong that people are upset by the fact that they know what you're doing, even if they can't see what you're doing.

It will be a long time before we treat the answering of Nature's calls in as adult a manner as the French. Dastardly Frenchmen think nothing of having a quick one in a waist-high whatnot on the boulevard and, with the free hand, raising the hat to a passing demoiselle. Dead civilised, that is.

Perhaps meantime we could use a special angler's cry. Something like 'Gardez l'eau!', which was shouted as a warning in the old days when people emptied slops from upper-storey windows into the street below.

We could try something like, 'Heads under!', 'Eyes down looking!' or 'Close 'em tight-here comes a fright!' But perhaps even that would not shield us from prying and unfriendly eyes. Like those of the old lady in the story who lived in the high rise flats near the canal. She called the police to complain that every day she could see nasty men relieving themselves on the towpath.

The police called round, looked through the window, and said, 'Sorry, missis. You can't even see the towpath from here.'

'Oh, yes you can,' she said. 'If you climb on top of the wardrobe and look through this telescope, you can see it perfectly...

Anyway to the fishing if you’re somehow still reading !!

I needed some distractions after this morning session down the Alne !!

You see a couple of swims fished in 2.5 hours, not even a proper strikeable bite, same colour, same height, same worm, maggot and groundbait tactics  naff all. When will I work this river out.

A Boxing Day Blank sadly !!

Monday 25 December 2023

Warwickshire Avon - Baboushkas and Babeldoms

The river was that lovely sort of light green colour and with the levels dropping considerably since the last time I was here , I knew there was a chance of a chub.

So a short roving session before I had to get back and start on the food prep for Xmas day, but also Boxing day and also the annual curry night. No let up I must admit but then I do enjoy putting food in front of others !!

Anyway short and sweet like this blog post will be !!!

3 chub banked all on cheesepaste, 2 were 4 pounders, the best going 4lb 10 ounces and another one around 3lb. All decent scraps as well and I was surprised that the biggest of the lot wasn't bigger when it was landed, because it was taking lots of line in the fight initially, a hard dogged fight where I was reaching for the drag. 

So it certainly worth getting out on Xmas eve, I had the banks to myself as well, where the heck is everybody. I'm not complaining though as I fished how I like to fish, prime a few swims and then drop in a bait over the top. 

Merry Christmas to my blog readers, hope you all have a good day and the big man got you everything you deserve !!  I've already registered more fishing trips than last year and still plenty of time to go in 2023, I don't think 2024 will be as frequent, but lets see, I'm still enjoying my fishing I must admit. 

Sunday 24 December 2023

The Tiny River Alne - Duniwassals and Dustbin Lids

A friend of mine Phippo put me on to Necessary Evil from Thornbridge Brewery, its a barrel-aged imperial stout, and if you find yourself in Birmingham often the Colemore Pub will have it on keg.

Like all imperial stouts Necessary Evil packs a serious punch and is to savoured not quaffed, so perfect for the Christmas break sat in front of an open fire watching a movie.

Not my usual tipple but it's nice to mix it up from time to time as things can get very samey if you stick to the same old same old.

I suppose fishing is similar, fishing the same carp lake or commercial I'd get bored pretty quickly, that's why fishing more natural venues such as rivers and canals have their advantages. 

Now whilst I'm on some niceties, I ventured over to the butchers which has just open up down the road. It's within the Field to Fork Farm shop. Now Eric Lyons is a well known butchers in Warwickshire and they have been around since 1903 so they must be doing something right, and I'm more than happy to see them closer to my gaff. Since I've moved to Stratford-Upon-Avon I've seen so many open and close sadly, but there is a good reason for the demise usually.

Offering great quality meat at a decent price is a must and this >40 day aged rib of beef not as costly as you think it might be.

In-fact a turkey crown is a similar price and I know what I would rather eat on Christmas Day and it's not the former. To be fair we will have both albeit the turkey will be a mere breast, wrapped in bacon and stuffed with stuffing. 

I do like cranberry sauce I must admit which I know is sacrilege on a roast dinner for some, but don't worry it won't be going anywhere near the beef so you can sleep easy tonight. 

Like I did last night dreaming of big dace down the Alne !!!

I've been speaking with Nic about the Alne, because it is a very moody river indeed. It seems to be boom or bust and more bust than boom in reality.

However Nic may well have be correct on his assumption that if the river is coloured and on the rise it can fish well like it did for me yesterday. Maybe the fish switch on when they know they have a higher probability to intercept any food particles ?

So 24 hours from not being able to keep a bait in the water the bites were so prolific would it fish the same again ?

To be honest I think I answered my own question before the session, because What a Diff'rence a Day Makes, nothing doing whatsoever in the same swim as yesterday fishing exactly the same way. When an otter skirted the margins right in front of me and popped its head up 30 yards to my left I decided to try another swim.

'Jacks Peg' is back over the bridge of depth and it's the swim where the big dace came from, would I fair any better in there ?

Errrr nope !!!

Another hour with only some minnow rattles on the quiver !!! Hmmmmm.....

So in the end I decided to return to the first swim and swap over from a helicopter rig to a simple running set-up and got fishing again. The thought being at least being free running at least I could see the bites easier. Now the swim is deep for a small river, easily 6ft or so and the feeder settles with a satisfying donk.

That cannot be said of some of the other swims where its a lottery whether you will get the rig back or not. At least in this swim you can be confident that the bait is presently nicely.

Now what I didn't expect that after another 40 odd biteless minutes, out of the blue the tip pulled all the way around almost to the butt and I lifted in to a solid lump that fancied the worm and maggot cocktail on the size 16 hook. It was a strange old plodding fight and I couldn't believe what it was when I scooped it up in to the landing net.

A big old bream 😭 of all things !!!

I have caught one in the past on the Alne to be fair and I know they have come out in the matches in years gone by but I didn't expect one this big. Ok not massive in the scheme of things but a 3lb 3oz bream is welcome on a small waterway like this. And that was my, lot !!!! No more bites and another blank avoided thankfully, but full of surprises these small rivers, and one of the reasons why I love fishing them. The dace ? where the heck were they this morning, oh well I'm not complaining. 

Saturday 23 December 2023

The Tiny River Alne - Bullheads and Buckminsterfullerene

With some skinny worms from ones wormey and some 6 week old maggots it was down to the river Alne forthwith. The Alne was at a nice level and catch it right when the water is coloured you can often get a few bites, and three blanks in a row isn't exactly confidence building for any angler now is it.

The Alne was on the rise again after a some more rain but for this morning session I looked to have caught it just about right. The problem with the Alne is that even now when I think I've worked this moody river out, it kicks me right in the balls.

I opted for one of the wider downstream pegs where the tree to my right often hold chub, but also most of the other species. For a small river it has some depth too which is an advantage in these winter conditions. I would usually float fish it because it's easier to register bites than watching a quiver but with the extra water on, the distance from float to hook would be very long and cumbersome. 

So a small cage feeder with Black Roach groundbait and worm and maggot on the size 16 hook. It was clear within a few minutes there were fish in the swim and a nice sized minnow rattled the tip quite confidently for the first bite. 

So at least that 4th possible blank was out the window so it was now all about catching something a little bigger. It didn't take long either when a fantastic looking big dace darted all about the swim before it was in the landing net. Lovely jubbly !!!

It went 10oz's on the scales which considering this looked like a really young fish what else could be lurking in these local turbid waters. The 12 ounce dace I caught here not long back wasn't from this swim either, so there must be some biggers ones milling around elsewhere too.

Anyway as the session went on, plenty of bites where most of the fish were dace apart from a few minnows and also a chublet. I lost a bigger fish and also missed a few clonking bites too so maybe a few rig adjustments are needed. Maybe a helicopter set-up is worth ago maybe, then again I find the short hook length always ends up slipping down the line no matter how I set it up.

So a couple of hours were quite enjoyable despite me taking a dunking where I slipped down the bank and my right wellie ended up full to the brim with water, with my sock acting like a sponge !!!

 A surprise bullhead ended up gatecrashing the dace party, and who doesn't like to see a bullhead on the end of their line. Such characterful fish it's just a shame these are mini species, imagine one the same size as a barbel !!!

A short and sweet session but with the Alne fishing well I may well end up coming back in the morning to try and catch some even bigger dace !!! I'm sure there are some more surprises to be had, and I want in !!

Friday 22 December 2023

Warwickshire Avon - Clickbait and Climacophobia

When a picture came through in one of my WhatsApp groups this week of a 7lb Warwickshire Avon chub from a friend of mine who was there to witness the capture, to be honest it didn't really surprise me like it would have done a few years ago.

The chub that frequent these barbel bare waters just seem to be getting bigger and bigger year on year, and although I didn't catch this 7lber, to be honest its nice knowing they are there to be caught. 

It took my ages personally to catch a 5lber and yet now I've lost count on the numbers of 5lbers I've caught. 

My best is 6lb 2oz. which was caught from a recently polluted stretch where many of those big chub sadly would have ended up in fish heaven. The stretch just seemed to be home to really big chub. I used to fish it in the early days of my blog where looking back it was always home to a good head of chub. 

When I reacquainted myself with the stretch because of the new syndicate I was on I was amazed just how big the chub were. Those short session I do was perfect to target them especially as most of the stretch I could park behind the peg and fish a night session if I really wanted to. 

I was just getting in to targeting them on the float too, with the biggest 5lb 10oz if I recall but then come the new season the farmer decided that he wanted to do horse trials on his land instead, so the syndicate was no more.

Anyway with another blank for chub during this session, I am looking for new areas to target so after been given literally the what3words location where the 7 lber was caught, that will certainly get some attention. The chub were nowhere to be seen on this session however after some small rattles on the tip in 1 of the 3 swims I fished I lifted the cheesepaste off the bottom where I'm stuck solid. 

I thought it was a big branch or something but I managed to ease whatever it was off the bottom slowly where a 7 or 8lb pike appears from the tea coloured depths. After and one look at my ugly mug its dived under and bit through the line in the process !!! And that was that !!! not going well is it this fishing lark, I need to get the maggots out. 

Wednesday 20 December 2023

Warwickshire Avon - Rhinophyma and Rhyparography

Though often found in tandem with Reservoir Ears, Nightfisher's Nose is another angling affliction however this one has a much wider range, and can affect anglers on almost any type of water and, in spite of its name, at any time of the day or night. 

An early symptom is the change of the epidermal hue to a bright cherry red. Often this is welcomed by unsuspecting nightfishers whose batteries have given out, because it helps them find their way in the dark.

Alas, this first symptom is swiftly followed by a steady secretion of sinusoidal fluid, which increases in volume from the classical dew-drop to a steady drip and then to a veritable torrent. This last condition is known as the Silversleeve Syndrome.

Worse is to come. The nose turns purple, then to a deep shade of ultramarine. And then it drops off.

Anglers should be advised to bring a detached nose with them to the surgery. Provided it has not been too heavily frosted, it can be sewn on again. Take great care to ensure that the nose is sewn on the right way up: the malformations of the nose peculiar to winter anglers often make it difficult to ascertain its original orientation. 

One of the medical curiosities of this century was Mr Fred 'Hooter' Broadbottom, of Ardwick Green, upon whom an early nasal reinstatement operation was carried out in 1926. The nose was, unfortunately, replaced upside down.

From then on, every time he sneezed, his cap blew off...

Now when Martyn the owner of my local tackle shop Stratford on Avon Fishing and Outdoors Ltd offered me a taster of this 1980 Ardbeg Kildalton I jumped at the chance, as it's not that often I'm sampling Whisky of this vintage, in-fact I've not been partaking in spirits for a while to be honest, so no rhinophyma to be seen here. A nice drop it was too and if it were unopened worth a few quid if you look at the winning auction prices. 🤯🤯🤯🤯

Now Rhinophyma is commonly linked to chronic alcohol use, colloquially being misnamed ‘whisky nose’ or ‘rum blossom’. However, the true reason for this disfiguring condition has no clear causative trigger. Some studies have linked rhinophyma with sudden emotional responses that trigger flushing. 

Rhinophyma is a benign dermatological condition of the nose, derived from the Greek word ‘rhis’ for nose and ‘phyma’ for growth. It is the end-stage presentation of phymatous rosacea, and may occur in patients with few or no other features of rosacea.

Although recognised by Greek and Arabian physicians as early as 2000 bce it may have easily been confused with tuberous conditions of the nose such as leprosy, syphilis, and tuberculosis. First accurately described by Virchow in 1846, it can result in significant facial disfigurement, emotional suffering, and even serious ocular complications.

Anyway after some pleasantries exchanged I wondered where to go fishing the following day. The Avon was on the rise again after yet more rain however when I was going to go it would have peaked, so I decided to try for a Warwickshire Avon barbel. I'm not one to wait behind a motionless rod(s) for 8 hours so I'd arrive after lunch where I'd fish to cerfew time which was just a gnats nadger past dusk.

Although the stretch chosen was only 12 miles away I'd not fished here for ages to be honest but a few like-minded anglers I know had been doing ok on this stretch, and catching fish from time to time that would beat my PB too. 

Even though the Warwickshire Avon isn't home to a huge number of barbel, those that are still milling around tend to be on the larger size. 

I cannot quite believe that my PB of 12lb and 14 ounces came in February 2019, so nearly 5 years ago now. I can remember it like it was yesterday and it was an impressive fish indeed that took a huge piece of meat, which would be the same tactic I'd use for this session. 

I don't really know this stretch well at all, in-fact I think I've only fished it once so I was fishing it blind, but I've done plenty of barbel fishing to know how to target them in these conditions. So it was out with the bigger barbel rod and some stinky Dynamite Big River stinky groundbait, with the robin red flavoured meat mounted directly on the hook. For this session I even decided to get out the comfy seat because the walk wasn't long at all !!, and boy it is comfy !!!

The Jimny negotiated the parking area and the lead up to it with no problem, however by the looks of it there could have been some cars that got stuck recently. Some sticks had been laid to aid traction in a few spots and also by the looks of it some discarded mats for I assume the same purpose.  The deep ruts evidence some cars had been sinking in the soft muddy ground. 

Because of the time constraints this area would have to do as prime time was dusk obviously and I wanted to be as close to the car as possible. After a lead about I decided to fish 3 swims for around an hour each where one swim seemed to have some depth, another swim in the middle of the river just off the crease and then the last swim would be a slack to the right which was a little shallower.

A quick temp check certainly mild enough for barbel and the water was coloured enough that in theory they might be feeding in the gloomy day.

To be honest this isn't really my sort of fishing, I rarely bring a chair for starters but I rarely give one swim an hour unless I'm trotting, but maybe a bit of a chillout is called for sometimes. Anyway the hour passed quickly in the first swim without any interest so I moved to the second. Again the hour went without even a chub pull, so it was last gasp salon in the last swim.

There were certainly fish in this swim because the meat was coming back nibbled away like an army of minnows were on to it, so at least I knew it was presented right. I was running out of time though and sadly curfew came round just as dusk came without a fish to grace the landing net, and I had another blank to add to the collection.  On to the next one !!!
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