Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Warwickshire Avon - Cedric's and Chalypsography

Winter definitely seems to be behind us despite the recent frosts, for starters the birds in my garden seem to have a lot more vigour and getting through the Peckish Goodness Nuggets faster than the Tesco delivery man or women (insert other genders here)  !! can deliver them. Give them a go if you've not tried them as they do seem to have brought more species to the squirrel proof feeder of late. 

The meals are getting lighter too, much like the daylight which thankfully is getting more and more each day. Some marinated squeaky halloumi , with a red cabbage salad, pomegranates, parsley, turkish rice (it's there somewhere) and home made chilli and garlic sauce went down rather well I must admit.

It's almost given me a spring in ones step, literally because all of a sudden from a bit of a lull and feeling a bit blluuurrrgggghhh, from the post holiday blues where the rain seemed constant, the work too, I can see the light at the end of the closed season tunnel. The rivers might only be fishable for a couple of weeks before the barriers are put up again but fingers crossed all things flowing will be in decent fettle before that big hammer reigns down, and tramp alley beckons. 

Now I did wonder what to fish for for this post work session but I'd not been down the Avon for a while, and despite Nic from Avon Angling messaging me with the chub he'd been catching down the Stour whilst I was bashing the keyboard even harder than I usually do in a rage of jealousy.

I wasn't quite ready to join Nic in catching fish he is beginning to name now. 😁 Cedric was the last one I believe, but sadly I had worked to get finished off and that won't be achieved chucking bread at the chub down @theriverbank. 

Anyway I jest but to be honest, locally there hasn't been many options for piscatorial pleasantries, Nic has been right on the money with the Warwickshire Stour and his success demonstrates that, bites are good after all, blanks not so. 

His multiple catches of chub and even the big roach are getting in on the act as well recently, this clonker taking breadflake in a swim I usually blank in. I myself caught a nice roach on this stretch and there seems to show themselves when the river is really high and as coloured as Russell Brand's past. So those big roach unlike Russell Brand haven't been cancelled yet, there are there still to be caught but they don't show up that often.

Anyway back to my session, the stretch of convenience was in order to try and winkle out a chub and thankfully the river from being over its banks is now firmly back within them. The fish I bet haven't the foggiest what the heck was going on because one minute they are sheltering from a bad flood, then some short term relief, and then it's all batten down the hatches again. 

I was hoping bread fished in a few swims would at least bring a bit from a chub especially when I'd be heading in to dusk. I fancied a nose down here as well because with the river being well over the banks again it's always fun to see what damage it had done this time.

 The river was well up as expected and I fed a few swims before settling down to some fishing. The river despite carrying some pace still was a lovely green colour as can be seen here and I always do ok for chub when the colour is like this.

The main river was out but those slacks cna offer a bite when the river is like this. This first swim I tried two areas but after around twenty minutes in each, boredom got the better of me and I went on the rove. What I didn't expect from the next swim was a bite so quick, where after a satisfying donk in a deepish swim next to a tree, the tip jumped in to life and I struck in to a solid fish.

Not the hardest fighting of chub admittedly but most welcome I must admit after a couple of blanks recently. It was soon in the net though and went 4lb 1oz in the scales so not quite a fish to be engraved on the PB trophy having caught fish over 2lbs more than this on the Acon . After that fish I thought I might catch another one or two fish, but sadly not, 3 more swims fished without another bite.

Still I'm not complaining, a blank avoided and it is also nice to see one of my favorite species in the net and this time played on the centre-pin, a rod I specifically set-up for the Arrow recently. Hopefully the Avon continues to fall because it will be in decent order before the end of the season where fingers crossed trotting may be a possibility. 

Monday 26 February 2024

The Tiny River Alne - Trindents and Troglodytes

The river Alne has been up and down like the latest Trident Missile launch from HMS Vanguard. If you hadn't heard, the Ministry of Defence confirmed an “anomaly occurred” during the January 30 exercise off Florida, but the nuclear deterrent remains “effective".

The crew on the nuclear sub perfectly completed their doomsday drill, and the 44 ft long Trident 2 missile was propelled into the air by compressed gas in the launch tube. But its first stage boosters did not ignite and the 58-ton missile fitted with dummy warheads splashed into the ocean and sank.

A source said: “It left the submarine but it just went plop, right next to them.”

Apparently the biggest expense for the Trident program is the day to day running costs, which is around 6% of the total UK defence budget apparently, hmmm, better find out what the problem was then I would say. 

I suppose the key question is the credibility of the UK nuclear deterrent. 

While this recent setback would have Putin laughing his backside off, the overall reliability of Trident is well-proven and the state of the ageing submarines should probably be of greater concern than their missile system. 

Now the Vanguard class can carry up to 16 missiles although only 8 missiles would be carried routinely (5 warheads per missile). A quick google, test results, which may not fully replicate a real scenario, show Trident having a failure rate of about 6%. A very crude projection would suggest if a Vanguard boat fired its 8 missiles then only one might fail and 35 nuclear warheads would still be on their way.

Anyway as anglers we knew what the problem was with the rivers and that was they had been in flood for the week, roads flooded and no way to get the bank let alone cast a line.
As I said on the previous post I wasn't desperate to get out anyway and monitoring the levels they looked like they would be ok the weekend and that would do me to try and get back into the swing of things.
Knowing that the river would be coloured worms and maggots would be mainstay and I'd have some bread for back-up for a change bait if necessary. 

The 12 ounce dace I caught on this stretch  hasn't been forgotten so I scaled down for this session to see if I could stumble upon any that might have migrated up here to chill when the river had been over its banks AGAIN. 

Anyway talking about forgotten, well I had somehow hadn't packed my rod rest in the car, however at least it wasn't my landing net or rod, a rod rest is quite easily to fashion up now isn't it.

An overnight frost and with the river now bank in the banks again the colour looked good for a bite, although often when there is a drop in water temperature that can put the fish off feeding.

Bites were forthcoming though however I suspect they were minnows trying to get at the maggot I tipped the worm with.

I use a fine wire size 12 hook which is perfect for the quarry I was after but maybe not what was biting on the end of the line.

A good hour in that swim with only fast plucks and no proper bites I got on the rove to try and find the fish. There are plenty of swims to go at here so I thought I'd yet at least a bite in one of them.

Swim after swim I was getting the same result in most of them. Nothing that would constitute a proper bite and only indications from small fish with eyes bigger than their bellies.

The Alne is one of those proper moody rivers though because catch it right and it couldn't be more different where multiple fish can be caught.

I crossed over into the other field where you could see just how high the river had been because it was waterlogged in places making it hard work to get to the different swims.

All good exercise though so I wasn't complaining it not all about catching fish now is it. Although one would be nice in the session to make the trip here worthwhile. I crossed over the bridge of death again and fished a swim tight to cover where I stumbled upon a large pile of large scales and also a piece of flank around 4 inches by 2 inches.

At least the Otter was showing me how it is done. Anyway nothing in that swim I decided to fish the deepest swim on the stretch (12 ft or so) where I can now access it from the other bank. I thought I was on for a fish because there was some plucks after fifteen minutes or so, however the bites didn't materialise in to a proper bite, so I can only guess it was minnows again.

This wasn't going very well at all, so after 3.5 hours I decided to head home on a blank. One of those tough Alne days that I've not had for a while, I suspect the water temperature had plummeted and that put a kibosh on proceedings, oh well, on to the next one. 

Saturday 24 February 2024

River Arrow - Mojo's and Mogigraphy

Now perhaps like me at the moment your fishing mojo has gone missing of late, to give you a chance for pause and reflection ?, this lull in your energy and enthusiasm might be a sign to take stock of what's going on for you.

Instead of becoming frustrated by your change in mood, take a large spoonful of self-compassion and allow time to do its thing.

It hasn't helped that after returning from sunnier climes the countdown to the closed season is on big time and the rain well, it has been relentless hasn't it. 

Those days are flying by, and sadly dog poo / tramp alley beckons, a busy stillwater, or dread the thought a commercial fishery which will obviously be the last resort.  (Sam keeps on asking to go to Tunnel Barn !! 😭)
With the closed season being less than a month away now it hasn't helped that many of the local rivers have been over their banks again, so I've not really had the urge to get out there fishing, even though I've had the odd gap in my busy schedule. 

Work, life Blah-di-Blah etc etc all get in the way don't they, it's not like I can just decide to go spur of the moment, the diary makers as I refer the aforementioned too, have had their say much of this week. 

But then I've only added to that, because with a window of piscatorial opportunity (only the cut sadly) I decided to meet up with some friends for a big fat curry in Warwick and a couple of beers instead, rather than hit the river bank. To be honest my options were seriously limited anyway, some spice serotonin was the obvious choice, this garlic chilli chicken one of 5 main dishes shared between the group. 

Anyway a new river stretch to fish felt the best way to get back in to some fishing where this was merely a reccy really to try and winkle out a fish, but to also check some of the swims out.

I've fished the Arrow plenty of times and it's a lovely little river that suits my roving style. I fancied trying for something to give the string a pull for this session so the plan was to try for a proper pull on the rod using lobworm, cheesepaste or pungent meat as bait, and roving around to check some of the swims out too. 

Now a hard frost greeted me when I woke up and after de-icing the car and debating whether or not to go back to warm bed with overly large plump pillows, I headed to the river where the wife let out a breath in a sigh of relief. 

The river was still motoring through but despite that these small rivers there is always somewhere to fish so I got on the rove to try and find the fish. I started at a convenient point swim that looked good for a bite with two merging columns of water where there was a nice slack and some depth too, it looked a perfect swim to start my campaign on the new stretch. 

I gave that a good half an hour with no bites so made my way down the stretch where I'd fish the slacks and any likely looking fishing spots. I bet it looks completely different in the summer so I'm looking forward to that.

The water temperature was 6.5 degrees which I didn't think was too bad but swim after swim there wasn't much doing whatsoever. I even tried some bread at one point to no avail but then out of the blue a fairly open swim with a back eddy produced a bite using lobworm as bait.

The problem was they were fast rattly bites that I just couldn't hit and none of them developed in to a proper bite a chub or barbel would give. Small fish I assume, but at least it showed I should stick to lobworm.

There was only a couple of inches of visibility and the river was still strong tea coloured but I thought a chub might be up for biting. Sadly it wasn't though and after giving probably 5 or 6 swims ago and falling arse over tit at one point when I tripped on a partially trodden on fence πŸ˜†, I decided to call the session half an hour early.

So a blank but the session wasn't all bad because when I hacked out one swim to get close to a snag in the process I managed to bag myself a nice little stick float. A well worthwhile reccy though and I'll be back when the river is in better fettle. 

Sunday 18 February 2024

Lanzarote - Scorpions, Lizards and Wrasse.

I definitely chose a good week to jet off to sunnier climes where Playa Blanca in Lanzarote would be nice and hot and dry not cold and damp. The local rivers too, for at least the weekend anyway, and in to the following week most likely would be over the banks yet again and would put a kibosh on ones fishing !!

I've fished plenty of times now in the canaries and a small rucksack with the bare essentials and a travel rod would suffice for some piscatorial pleasantries. We hadn't stayed over this side of the island before but a quick look on google maps there looked to be an nice area to fish around 0.6 miles from the accomodation for the week, just by Playa Flamingo beach. Not only was there a nice rocky area but also a sea wall that protects the beach if I needed to get out any further.  

I had some LRF bits and pieces but also a float set-up that worked quite well last time. I caught plenty of fish last time and most of those were on bread or prawn, but I had some Marukyu Isome Sandworm with me for this trip. I did have some small crankbaits but to be honest for some reason the lure didn't do the business for me last time, don't get me wrong I caught fish but I was having more fun on the float set-up. 

I fished most days the last time here and that was 10 days, this was only a week and I didn't bring the laptop for this holiday so I'd post when I'd get back where hopefully I'd have caught a fish or two. Plenty of species turned up at the last visit and I was hoping for a few more to tick off the list. 

Later on in the week despite the wife and kids up for walking up the Volcano which can be seen above only I managed it. πŸŒ‹, they wanted to stay round the pool for some reason !!, but then it was 26 degrees that day, probably a wise choice to be honest. It was only a 40 minute walk from the bottom, obviously a lot easier going down, because it was a heart pumper in places.

The fishing well some new species were caught and I'd seen some the biggest mullet I've even seen but failed to catch one. The sea wall on closer inspection was unfishable really, the huge concrete 'Tile Spaces' couldn't really be fished from, to the right of one of them though was this rocky area luckily. 

Most sessions were only an hour or two, it was a family holiday after all, but what a fishing venue the canaries is. It's harder not to catch fish to be honest, the ornate wrasse were incredible looking fish and queuing up in numbers. A size 16 hook and 15mm Isome worm did the business or a small LRF lure on a jig head.

It was the mullet that were frustrating because even freelined bread and feeding in groups somehow avoided being caught. One was easily 70-80cm's a huge fish but obviously it had seen it all. The sea was too rough for float fishing on a couple of the days but a lure was used for a couple of small lizard fish and some rock pooling and inlets with the LRF gear was so much fun. 

Anyway a selection of the fish caught !!

what is this ?

I saw the odd angler but considering how fish filled the seas are here, I had the waters to myself. A couple of observations, using bread on the hook under a float was frustrating, on the surface more so. But so many missed bites and having to redbait.  The Marukyu Isome Sandworm worked wonders and to be honest I needed another couple of packets but they are pricey.

I fancy trying for some much bigger species from the shore next time but that obviously means completely different gear and fishing in to dark which might be a bit more palatable for extending those fishing sessions. The damsel fish were there in one area in numbers but the wrasse always got in on the act first, oh and apart from one day the bream didn't really show in the areas I fished either. 

We'll be back !!!

Well maybe Tenerife next time, got to love the canaries, not so much the daily sun cream. 

Thursday 8 February 2024

The Tiny River Alne - Pies and Piscicapturists

Now the term cottage pie originated in England in the 18th Century to refer to a peasant food dish. It was a meal usually eaten by poorer people living in small cottages because the ingredients were affordable. Over time, it became more popular and was crowned cottage pie.

It seems to have originated as a way for folks to make use of leftovers, in order to avoid waste, both of the food and money varieties. A pie though ? not in the true sense of the word I suppose, but certainly a winter warmer which is what we need at the minute to help with the mood, a 400 quid gas and electricity bill for last month, you what !!! 😒.

I know we are considered high users but come on 😑 the thermostat is 3 degrees less than what it was set at 12 mths ago and the washing machine, dishwasher etc are set to go on overnight to make use of the cheap leccy. I dread to think what it would be if we went back to our own ways. 

Where does all the money go each month ? God only knows, still first world problems and all that, however there is far worse going on in the world at the moment, so Mick get a grip and just pay the bill behind those gritted teeth !! 😬

Now yesterday evening's deluge of rain put the local rivers back up to teetering over the banks again, the Alne rises and falls quite fast and looked fishable following works daily drudgery. There is more heavy rain on the way so I think we chose a good week to venture off to sunnier climes, where the canaries will be a nice and hot whilst we are there , somewhere between 23-26 degrees during the day I believe, which is perfect for me 🌞

So this late afternoon and Friday (where I'd try for a barbel hopefully) were the only possible fishing days really. 

The bag of worms I bought the other week I decanted in to a bait tub upon receiving them and used one or two but obviously one met with the grim reaper and sadly took the others with it. 

My wormery despite being frozen a week ago came up trumps with a few worms thankfully, where I'd use one or two tipped with a red maggot on a size 16 hook.

Pungent and fragrant roach groundbait in the feeder to try and winkle out a fish from the slack I knew that would be there at this level. Now the 12 ounce PB dace I caught on this stretch was still on the back of my mind because the average stamp of Alne dace does seem to be very big indeed for a small river.

I'm sure there are bigger ones to be caught as well, because why not ? a fluke quite possibly but when the conditions are right and the fish are there, anything can turn up here, it's that sort of river. It surprises me every time I fish it. 

Ok, blanks are more often than not, but catch it on a good day, prepared to be surprised. It helps that it's 5 minutes from my house mind you because after a string of blanks I'd have forgotten about it a while ago. 

Now it took a good half an hour to get the first bite which I missed obviously !! but it meant there was fish in the swim so it didn't take long for a fish to hook itself. The 1oz quiver jumped in to life and pulled round all the way to where it pushes in to the rod.

Yeay a little dace, but not exactly what I was after being only a 1/4 or so of the size I wanted. I kept at it though and at one stage had to dig up a few worms because I wasn't happy with the mediocre ones the wormey had produced.

It produces a heck of a lot of worms I must admit but I've seen more meat on a butchers pencil so I'm obviously not feeding them well enough. Answers on a postcard please !! I basically feed almost everything really where they have a bumper amount when I've made a Sunday roast. 

Anyway a few more missed bites usually on the Alne this means fish will be queing up, well or so I thought. The bites suddenly stopped, dusk didn't help either and after having to illuminate the tip with the head torch after half an hour I decided to knock it on the head.

I had lots to do at home one was to print off the 5 year Spanish Sea Fishing licence off and sort my gear out for the holiday. I've used this company before run by Sunny who does the leg work for you (because especially in the Canaries it's a pain in the proverbials .I know you don't need one in the UK to sea fish, but in Spain you do for fishing from the shore so, when in Rome and all that and I go once or twice a year to Spain or the Canaries, so a no brainer really. 

Tuesday 6 February 2024

Is your iPhone Top Speaker Kaput ? This could well be a solution, worked for me anyway.

Now if you are like me and regularly drop your phone whilst fishing in all manner of gunk that does it no good, such as river water, groundbait, mud, grass and the juices of sweaty maggots, sometimes that can manifest itself with an issue.

For me it has always been the iPhone's top speaker where all of a sudden when taking a call, the person on the other end of the phone has gone rather quiet and sound like they have had a few too many Zombie cocktails (A behemoth of a cocktail that features three different rums Jamaican, Puerto Rican and 151-proof along with fresh lime juice, for the uninitiated )

Now all manner of scrubbing, brushing and blowing didn't fix it for me, however another method I stumbled upon has come up trumps more than once, so before you ditch the hardware and speak to the bank manager about a remortgage give this a go.

Basically they identified a 165hz tone as the most suitable sound to thoroughly clean the iPhone top speaker. So when combined with a little isopropyl alcohol this is an effective trick to really get all the gunk out of the little mesh at the top of the phone and back to working how it should.

Monday 5 February 2024

Warwickshire Avon - Sewers and Sesquipedalian

A session of two halves this one, you see I fancied going for more of a mooch at a new stretch I’ve been fishing which meant that roving for chub to cover the whole stretch, scoping some swims. But then the first hour I’d fish a deadbait in the marina mouth to try and catch a toothy predator.

When I arrived at dawn the marina was alive with fish. Some dimpling, fish jumping and rising it really was an eyeopener. If I had some maggots, I’d love to know what they were because some of the fish that topped looked a decent size too, well a half decent snack for a pike or zander anyway.

Because of that activity I fully expected a run on the deadbait and me being impatient, within 15 minutes I was wondering what the heck was going on. Then 30 minutes passed, then 45 and then 60 and despite fishing near the boat and also out in the open that bite never materialised.

As soon as the sun came up the fish activity stopped so it was time to get on the move because roving is more style really. I decided to also take the deadbait rod where in the next swim I tried with a slack to my left just away from the main flow I got snagged up. So much so I had to pull for a break but then being unprepared like I always am I didn’t have any spare hooklinks with me, so just the chub fishing it was then.

Now I headed up to the weir and started in there where I’d work myself down the stretch fishing any likely looking swims. On the way I dropped in some mash into a couple of swims that looked good for a chub to be holding up. Some of the swims were covered in a brown slick which clung to the surface in a very suspicious manner indeed, I think I knew what the culprit was.

There is a reason why I keep hand sanitiser in the car that I use after every session and that is because handing fish, using the river water to mix groundbait or to make that bread mash, you really don’t know what the water contains.

So many of our rivers are a dumping ground for dumps (excuse the pun) basically so will often contain all manner of nasties that I’d rather not know about, are released by the water companies. Because, well they are allowed to with the Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) which are permitted, but obviously well all know it also happens outside of the ‘legal dumping’. 

Thankfully this activity has been highlighted more in the media since COVID where natures benefits to wellbeing seems to have gained some traction, and lets hope water quality will only improve going forward.

 Anyway, enough of that as it only depresses me, back to the fishing….

A good hour in the weir and a swim just downstream of it which looked perfect for a bite never produced even a single nibble on the bread and the colour looked perfect for the aforementioned. Trotting was probably the best way to go but I couldn’t really explore the swims really that way. 

I was running out of option and was getting nearer and nearer to where the car was parked but then out of the blue a tentative pull in one of the prebaited swims the tip pulled confidently round. 

A fish a fish !! I knew it wasn’t that big after the first run, but chub do love to fight don’t they.  Only a 3lber but a nice fish all the same. Another fish came soon after and this one was much better at an ounce under 4lb so roving worked and trying as many swims as possible.

And that was my lot. A slightly disappointing session but at least I didn’t blank and at least I got to walk the whole stretch this time. I had the banks to myself which helped, I’m still amazed that the banks are so quiet. I’m not complaining however, I like it that way.

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