Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Sunday 31 March 2024

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.92 (Canal Zander)

The change of clocks was a bit of a shock to the system I must admit, and I'm not quite feeling the canal fishing at the minute because well, I'm finding it a little tough. I've bought some new hiking boots though so fancied running them in so a roving session for Zander it was. The towpaths are very muddy and damp however wellies are a little overkill, well the ones I have anyway. They are far too warm and cumbersome.

I hotfooted it to the canal and got fishing with my usual overdepth float set-ups with a small roach as bait. It didn't take long to get the first bite either when the left hand float fished tight to cover all of a sudden jumped in to life and was off down the canal.

I'd been watching a load of bream bubbles before that and often I've found that they do seem to share the same water. After tightening up to the circle hook the Zander was up for a tussle initially but then after a couple of runs decided that its game was up. 

 A nice pristine canal Zander within fifteen minutes of getting there I couldn't complain and I got the rods out again to see if any more fish were in the facility. I had a dropped run in the same area then all went quiet so I went on the rove to try and find the fish.

I moved from section to section but those floats remained motionless....

...strange because after that fish taking the bait so early in to the session I thought I'd be on for a good day. That was my lot though, one fish and one dropped run, slim pickings indeed but at least a nice fish was caught despite not being that big.

I'll keep on plugging away though as I'm sure a bigger one will slip up eventually, they usually so and often when you least expect it. 

Friday 29 March 2024

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.91 (Tramp Alley)

Now the Livens Large Gallery Flame Projector was a 60 foot behemoth buried undeground and hidden from view that could engulf targets 300 feet away in flames. The terrifying weapon was deployed at the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War.

It was invented by William Livens, an officer in the Royal Engineers determined to create something even larger than the individual flame-thrower something large enough to destroy an entire trench system. The final product was an impressive 56 feet long, 14 inches wide, 2.5 tons and needed a crew of seven men to be used.

The weapon was powered by air pressure, which would push it out of the ground once it reached a certain level. A mixture of kerosene and diesel would then be ignited and shot towards the German lines. While there are no records that state how effective it was, historians believe that it was very effective where used at the Somme.

Some even argue that the Livens Flame projector was the reason by the British managed to break through at Mametz and Carnoy on the first day of the battle, despite losing 60,000 soldiers to injury or death.

Mick, back to the fishing !!!!

Well ok, but a good reason for a history lesson because a trip up 'Tramp Alley' cannot be taken lightly. 😁

You have to have your wits about you and need to react quickly when something dangerous or difficult happens unexpected. A Livens projector stealthily positioned would be perfect especially when it could be activated remotely. 

Hey maybe I could consult Colin Furze from YouTube as shown above (subscribe if you haven't he produces some great content), I'm sure he could create a compact version ready to tackle 'Tramp Alley' issues. Rabid dogs, waifs and strays, landmine creators, narrowboat dwelling stoners, tent frequenters (3 there this morning) and those generally up to no good !!!

Luckily it was safety in numbers because Nic from Avon Angling was already planning to visit the stretch and I thought why not, I'd give it a go too. I've had some nice fish from here, even some tackle testing chub and roach bream hybrids, but also a couple of clonking roach which would be my target really. A small buoyant and visible Guru 2SSG foam pellet waggler seemed to work really well, with more luck than judgment to be honest.

The bulk of the weight is towards the hook where a decent piece of flake would be fished close to the far cover. The set-up allows positioning of the bait tight to any feature where often the fish are holding up. 

It allows roving as well which is more my thing, I'm not one to be sat on a chair waiting for a bite. Because the float is really light the 2SSG's bulked near the hook do all the work, and the set-up is a precise as Jon Arthur on one of his bad days, pretty good let's put it that way. 

Obviously I'd have a Zander rod out as well, because there is some Zander here albeit, I've not caught anything of significance on this stretch. In-fact it tends to hold some of the smallest Zedlets I catch. Still you never know, there could be a big'un lurking in its turbid depths that has been feasting on these tasty morsels ....

....best laid plans and all that, how did it go !!!

Well I got there for just gone 6.00am and I didn't realise Nic was already fishing as I didn't see his car, however when I headed up to the area I've had some nice roach from, the angler there fishing was Nic, well who else would be stupid enough to go fishing at that, on this stretch.

He'd had a few nibbles but that was it. The rain started in angler and with the cold wind it wasn't exactly pleasant. Anyway we both got fishing and it was clear the fish were not interested in anything we threw at them. Looking back at my blog it's always like this until post spawning and then the canal warms up a bit (was around 9 degrees)

In the end we both decided at the same time to head back because with the towpath now becoming busy and the road noise on the increase our time here was up. But we are anglers after all, and after a break in the rain decided to fish the last section which has some reeds in the near margin.

I've had Zander her before and sure enough about 20 minutes in with nothing doing on the bread rod for either Nic or I, eventually the deadbait had some interest and it was off on a run. Only a small schoolie but at least not a blank. And that was that, anyway with the Zander more interested than anything else I might give them a proper go in the morning again. This time where I'm likely to catch something a little bigger. 

Tuesday 26 March 2024

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.90

A small window of opportunity, rain on the way, the diary full until after work Friday !!!

Better get fishing hadn't I...

...chop chop

Now as I parked up a lure angler was back at his car to get some bits and pieces to go fishing again and he'd been struggling. I actually bumped in to him on another stretch the weekend and he is up to visit his parents so was on a mission to fish the local canals to try and catch some predators. 

Anyway another angler on the stretch has just packed up and was making his way to the car, and this was the third session where he'd blanked. Not good at all and despite their being fish movement and bubbles galore in places nothing fancied the worm on the end of his hook. 

Not just him though many are finding it tough at the minute, me included, so after a natter I got fishing and the lure anglers was to follow and fish the same stretch. I stumbled upon an abandoned wellie, I could find the rightful owner mind you, hope he is ok πŸ‘€

Within 5 minutes of getting the roach dead baits out I had a run and actually was playing the fish as the angler was making his way down the stretch. I was just about say, "hey come of a look at this" when the small schoolie came to the surface and ejected the bait 😁. Typical !!!

With the countdown now on to catch a fish at least I knew if I fished enough swims and stumbled on a zander they would be up for a deadbait. A good hour in to the session though we were both blanking and then the rain started in angler.

I was going to stick it out in to curfew but the other angler had enough and left me too it. Literally 10 minutes after he had gone another bite and this time I managed to hook-up. Only a small fish but they pull back when they are this size and at least I caught a fish. And that was my lot, the next session is in a few days. 

Sunday 24 March 2024

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.89

So where to go, what to do ? tramp alley, carp corner, bream bay ? I fancied doing some float fishing for bream, roach etc but I was still undersided where to go. Nic messaged with with his whereabouts for the weekend and he also fancied the carp corner area because it often throws up some nie fish.

Often I say, because it can be hit and miss, because us anglers tend to forget the rubbish and mediocre sessions and only really think about those trips out that result in some nice fish.

I arrived just after 6.30am and Nic was already about to move because there was nothing doing in his first swims. There were signs of fish activity but nothing that pointed to fish feeding. I had a go in my normal area that was like a mud pit and might lead to trench foot if I stayed any length of time.

Now it's much shallower in the main this canal and the water temperature was 9.2 degrees so plenty of time to warm up in my experiences because sport can be slow when the rivers close. 

Talking about warming up, the wind was cold especially when I moved to bream bay because the lack of action. It is much more open here and the wind was howling making it uncomfortable to fish really despite being wrapped up.   

Now bream bay is a patch on its former self because a considerable amount of cover was removed here last year and the stretch is baron of the nearside features that existed here that seem to help hold the fish. All of that is no gone with only reeds on the far side giving the fish any sanctuary really. 

I spent a good hour in that swim without a nibble and after trying a couple of areas I'd had Zander from before this was just one of those days. Still some fresh air which is always  

Nic had already gone by this time managing a "microscopic perch" because he was finding it tough as well in often a productive area. With a boat heading my way I got on the rove and decided to fish a few of the lock mouths on the way back to the car. 

Those didn't produce either and by this time the sun was shining right on the canal and I knew no matter what I tried I was unlikely to catch anything. I tried maggot, bread and worm for this session and only one tiny indication anything was actually in the swims I fished.

So a blank for me sadly but then like I said, not entirely unexpected for this time of year. I'd imagine a another 3 or 4 weeks will make all of the difference. So I might stick to the dedicated zander sessions for a while and then give the canals a go for other species when it warms up a bit. It's a strange time of year as well with the fish thinking about spawning, they are often sluggish I've noticed because of that, probably to conserve energy I'd imagine. 

Oh and not even a bite on the zander rod either, nada, zilch, nothing !!!

Saturday 23 March 2024

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.88 (Canal Zander)

Another round of redundancies in work survived, I seem to be making a habit of this, I swear I was going to go this time and I did think after getting back in to darts again, if I was out of work and looking for another job. 

I could up the hours on the practice board and start to enter some open championships and then eventually join the PDC and throw darts in venues all around the country πŸ˜€ (That was a nice dream I had I must admit )

The kids are getting better at it too and Sam doesn't like it when Ben outscores him a lot of the time either, but then Sam doesn't like losing, he never has. 

Darts would suit me too as I've certainly got the figure for it because of my love for beer and food for that matter. 

Darts is one of those 'sports' that if you put the dedication in you can become a decent player just by practicing, practicing and practicing. 

Now the rewards of dedication of my quest to catch a double figure canal zander came good when I hit the bullseye back in June 2021, when I managed to land an 11lb 8oz Zander from a section of canal I labeled the 'hallowed'. 

It took me 6 years or so that quest where at once stage I didn't think whether or not to continue with it.

The thing is I actually enjoyed the roving aspect of fishing for canal Zander and it also meant I got to see different stretches of canal I wouldn't necessarily visit, if it wasn't for the quest that I started.  Although I know that the 'hallowed' has even bigger fish to be caught, it would be nice to try and catch a double figure fish closer to home. They do exist as well but they don't show themselves that easily these needle in a haystack fish.

Anyway for this session it was back to the canal zander fishing because rain was due and I don't particularly enjoy float fishing for anything in the rain nailed to one spot, when I could be on the move instead. I'd not fished here for a good while to be honest, but there was always fish to be caught and it's one of those stretches that has avoided the branch cutters of the CRT. The most recent sessions showed that the Zander seem to be tucked up in cover and there is an abundance here.

Well the rain didn't arrive till much later in the day so I could have float fished for silvers after all, but still at least I could have a good go for the Zander.

The water was 10.4 degrees on the Grand Union (Nick Duffy hope you're listening) so a little colder than I thought it would be but then it was a little nippy overnight. Swim after swim after swim though not even a bobble, a murmur or any kind of movement on the float whatsoever.

After a couple of fruitless hours I ventured to a new area a good fifteen or twenty minute walk away when eventually I had a bite. Obviously I missed that one as it came as a bit of a surprise but thankfully I got another chance a short while after.

Only a schoolie but a welcome fish considering that the fish didn't seem to be playing ball. I had a dropped run around half an hour afterwards, and when the rain came I decided to head back to where I started and give one particular section of cover some more time.

I didn't take long for the first bite where I felt the fish on the end but didn't hook-up. Another two bites missed in similar vein I assume it was small Zedlets with eyes bigger than their mouths.

A disappointing session really (14k steps) because lots of missed bites and not much to show for it. I wanted to give this area a go though because it used to be very productive a few years back when I look back at my blog.

The fish just didn't seem to be interested really because I know they were there to be caught. I had to stop off at the shop on the way home so hopefully this will raise the spirits to get back down the canal in the morning because with a restless nights sleep and mediocre fishing, maybe a lie in is the better option. 

Friday 22 March 2024

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.87 (Canal Zander)

Now Zander excel in their hunting style in murky and heavily coloured waters, so heavily boated canals such those in the Midlands are an ideal habitat for them. On those lockdowns forced upon us back in 2020 I couldn't believe the difference it made to the clarity of the water, when those narrowboat tiller ticklers also had put their feet up.

Those weeks went by with very little boat movement and when the silt and crud settled eventually the canals went clear, yes clear !! You see when we were eventually let back out again for some 'exercise' nice of them wasn't those canal towpaths were a godsend for to get some normality back.  

Huge shoals of roach, cruising carp, COVID carriers? meandering zander ?

Who knows because we couldn't fish them until they were back to their usual turd turbidity again. Zander love dark and dingy, cover, beneath boat hulls and gloomy corners so I bet it was a shock for them as it was for me as an angler. Despite what the press have you believe having targeted them for a good number of years now they are actually quite a shy species.
Zander are  however fantastically well adapted for life as a predator. They have a sleek body, capable of great acceleration through the water, and big grabbing teeth to grab and hold prey fish. 

But their best trick is the reflective lining to their eyes which means they can see in very low light levels and feed well from dusk through to dawn not bad for an animal that hunts by sight. It follows that this is the best time to catch that big zander!

Or is it ?

Well it's certainly not in my neck of the woods, in-fact not for the want in trying those in to dark sessions just haven't paid dividends for me, even when chasing the 'big'uns'. 

Let's be honest here there is no need for fishing in to dark when the waifs and strays venture out. Could I be missing something ? shall I give it another go ?

Errrr, nah !!!!

Those canal zander do seem to be up for a feed whenever really and throughout the day when the boats traffic is as its most too. 

That feeding time does vary mind you hence why leapfrogging stretches of cover does seem to be a good way of approaching canal zander fishing, because drop a bait on their noses that's a difference story. 

Put a kebab in-front of darts wonderkid Luke Littler he's not going to refuse now is he !!!

Anyway only a short after work session this to try and get a bite or two. I gave the first area a good go in a couple of places but those floats didn't move an inch so I decided to move lock stock and barrel over to the section where I caught the fish on the last session.

A boat had just come through after taking an age to get through the lock but it didn't take long to get a bite in the chocolate brown water once that had passed. 

Only a head shaking small schoolie though but a fish is a fish is a fish etc. Anyway I moved from cover to cover but that was the only bite I managed sadly. To be fair I only fished a couple of hours as I'm sure if I stuck at it I'd managed another couple of bites but I was happy with my fishing fix.

So what to do over the weekend ? well I fancy some float fishing and maybe have a deadbeat out in ones peripheral vision. I love the fact you don't know what's going to turn up on the canal once that float goes under and I've had some nice fish over the years. 

Tuesday 19 March 2024

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.86 (Canal Zander)

Now recently Henley-in-Arden Railway Station reopened with a new brewery and community bar. Yes you heard right, a new pub actually opening, not closing which seems to be the norm over the last number of years, and it's nice having a bar in a local railway station that seems to be the norm in London.

Having been empty since the 1990's, Friends of Henley Railway Station (FHRS) has spent the past few years working to take over the building and bring it back into use, and if you look at the above facebook link you will see what a great space it now is.

The group, which started life tending to the flowers and planting on the platform, first started negotiating for the lease from Network Rail in 2020, before being granted planning permission for the project last year.

Funding was secured for a variety of sources, including £250,000 from the Department for Transport and £150,000 from the Railway Heritage Trust.

A great thing about it is that the building has space for the The Henley Mile Brewery which is being run by local brewers, with their products being served in the bar alongside other local beers, local wines, soft drinks and snacks. I took this picture from the bar side so and it doesn't really show the space off that well to be honest, it's far bigger than it look in this picture, but yeah a microbrewery. πŸ‘Œ

All income and profits from the bar and community space will be invested back into the building, facilities and station area and we've visited it a few times since launch where 'Twice Hung' was gone in a few days when it first opened over the weekend and that was something like 700 pints apparently.πŸ˜€ There was some in last Saturday and what a nice pint it is too, a proper beer !!!

( Copied from the brewery page ) William Booth was born at Hall End Farm in Beaudesert in 1776.

Booth was accused of murdering his brother John while revisiting Hall End on 19 February 1808, but was acquitted for lack of evidence. 

After the Napoleonic Wars, Booth converted the top floor of his farmhouse into a fortified workshop where he produced forgeries of banknotes, coins, and other material of monetary value.

Once his activities came to light, he was arrested, charged and found guilty on all counts and sentenced to hang. Booth's public execution in 1812 was bungled, and he fell through the scaffolds' trap door to the floor. 

Within two hours, he was hanged again and died. He is buried in St Mary Church in Handsworth, but following a change of county boundary, his body was disinterred and reburied.

He was ’Twice tried, twice hung, and twice buried.

Imagine if you were a shoplifter back then, you certainly wouldn't get away with a slap on the wrist or scott-free like you would do now, to the pillory forthwith. A significant haul and being caught red-handed, the hangman's noose I would suggest. Did you know the last hanging in the UK was in 1964 ? well you do now. 

Talking of supermarkets I was in Morrisons in Coventry the other day and someone (Mae I assume) had taken pride in displaying the carp they had for sale. £14.99 a KG apparently, you can see they are stolen for the table and the reason why the otters are not queing up in your local supermarket with their wallets out. Pricey that is isn't it, there are far easier ways to come by carp if that is your thing !! πŸ‘€

Which is why with itchy feet with the like-minded fishing whilst I was working I fancied a most convenient area to try and catch a canal Zander, because there are carp here too, well from time to time. I'd not seen them for ages however with the weather mild (15.6 degrees as I type this) I fancied seeing if I could catch a Zander but also to see if I could spot any carp milling about.

Only a couple of hours but enough time to try and winkle out a fish or two along this usually thick section of cover. They tend to mingle up here ready for spawning time come at the sounding of the air horn but that is a little way off I suggest. 

Zander spawn in spring, typically April to June, when water temperatures are above 12ΒΊC. I'd measure the temp anyway when I remember because I didn't today, it would be rude not to, but I don't think it is quite there yet. But you never know especially when this canal is shallower. 

Anyway 3 fish caught in two hours roving sections of cover with the best going 5lb and 8oz, a lovely long fish that had plenty of time to develop and get bigger. I missed a few bites as well with fish dropping off and one swim was the height of activity. Anyway not rocket science this canal zander lark but it helps I've countless hours and hours walking miles miles and miles of towpath.

Those decent areas will always remain on my radar because of that and this areas is one of those. It is not for the lazy catching the larger specimens and in my experience >5lb is a decent fish, so a good result considering I was 50 / 50 in even going fishing. 

Saturday 16 March 2024

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.85 (Canal Zander)

Although I moan a lot about fishing canals, (I moan about lots of things to be honest), well I am 52 years old in November it goes with the territory I suppose. The world has changed so much in the last fourteen years since I've had this blog and certainly not for the better. 

The canals you see, since I've been fishing for zander, those numbers of fish I used to catch have certainly dropped off, no doubt some of that from having anodes stuck up their jacksies from the determination of the canal and rivers trust to get rid of them. 

But the cover too, much of that has been removed in huge quantities and yet I thought they were struggling for money ? I'm sure that money could be spent better elsewhere because ok, remove any that is hindering the boats but why remove the cover that just makes a canal look nice, rather than the baron landscapes they have become more recently. 

Cover provides a haven for these predatory fish you see and much of the time they are laying up not doing a fat lot, well until a deadbait is dropped on their heads and they decide to act on their instinct. They are also scavengers and it's difficult for them to resist any food items that comes their way especially when that food item is fish shaped. 

Canals despite the dog related landmines and the great unwashed provide an angler an option in the closed season which they will do me, not just the zander but other species too. They also offer exercise as well especially when targeting zander where a leapfrogging roving approach is needed to try and find the fish, where a 4 or 5 hour session those 10k steps are ticked off quite easily. 

Now this inaugural trip post closed season was to a local'ish area of canal that seems to be bouncing back if the reports from the like-minded are anything to go by. Not just schoolies either, because a picture shared showed a fish that some weighing scales were definitely required, and made me raise my eyebrows because of that. I knew where it was caught just by seeing the background even though the person that shared the capture has always been happy to share where he fishes and where he catches. 

That why Nic from Avon Angling was here today as well, a bit of a social really with said person being fish catching machine Buffalo Si from river masters. We've fished the same waters for a good while now and often share the towpaths because we have the same mission after all. His results are all there to see on his Youtube channel πŸ‘€ 

To be honest it took a good while to get the first bite which actually came when I retrieved the float when a boat was coming as it snatched the bait when it came up off the bottom. The canals locally are very turbid indeed most of the time and pike are a rarity so I use 18lb fluorocarbon for hooklinks and thin wire trace if there are pike around.  

Anyway the fishing wasn't exactly prolific so Nic went to a new area to fish which was a ten minute walk away and I stopped in the 'hot spot' with Si talking rubbish. After I had a fish that dropped off I myself went on a rove to where Nic had been fishing.

He managed a couple of zander which was nice and decided that was enough for him and left me to it. The fish didn't seem to be moving around that much hence why trying to find the fish is the key. 

I had a fish drop off within 10 minutes of having the baits out but it didn't take long to get another bite. This one was pulling back much better than the first fish but was actually much shorter in length but full of spawn by the looks it it.

I had another run but didn't connect and by this time I'd fished around 7 hours with not that much to show for it. With a busy day ahead I also decided to make my way back to the car fishing a few spots on the way back. 

And that was my lot, not exactly prolific with Si blanking when I left him but I'm sure they will be crawling up the line when they switch on and realise just who is fishing for them. 😁

I'm sure the cold overnight temperature didn't help our cause because they just didn't seem to be moving much. Still not complaining a few fish caught and always good to catch up with the like-minded. 

Friday 15 March 2024

River Arrow - Bangers and Ballistocardiographs

So it's the 15th of March today when I type this, another closed season where canals comes back in to play and also luckily for me the river Alne where I will target the trout from time to time. It would be rude not too especially when it's so close and those after work sessions come in handy to get that fishing fix.

Zander and other species will be targeted on the canals because I fancy trying for some big Rudd and also some big Roach on the Midlands turbid waterways, and whatever comes along basically.  Some of those sessions will be dedicated Zander sessions and then I'd have a Zander rod out in my peripheral view whilst praying the lift float method will come good with a big silver fish under it.

That's where I'm hoping these Temu specials will come in to their own a nadger bigger than my favorite float the 8g Korum Snapper Float but far more visible. They are foam so the issue I have is often I have retrieving floats from bushes with a hard yank, due to my wayward casting so they might not survive the punishment but I will just have to be more careful won't I.

Hopefully they won't act like a sponge and the dye's run !! but let's see, proof is in the pudding and all that !!!

Anyway for this last session I fancied trying for a chub at a section of the river Arrow I'd been fishing. Quite a handy stretch this and I'd already caught some fish here so the plan was to try and at least get a bend in the rod before having to forget coarse fish on running water for a while.

Now Nic from Avon Angling was on the stretch too and kindly primed some swims as he arrived before me. When I rocked up post work he was downstream somewhere so I decided to start off in a swim where I'd caught fish before, but I'd missed some unmissable bites the last time here. 

What I didn't expect that after the breadflake offering settled to the bottom after feeding some mashed bread within a minute or so after a few rattles on the 1oz tip it pulled round confidently and a fish was on !!!. It felt pretty decent too because with a powerful initial run I was reaching for the drag which was slightly too tight.

The battled continued however after a while it realised the game was up and it decided to grace my landing net. A lovely plump Arrow fish and sure enough "over 4 easily" it went 4lb 12oz in the scales, happy days, a nice fish to end the season.

The rain started to come down rather heavy after that fish, so with it retained in the landing net I went about trying to catch another from the same swim. I spent another half an hour in that swim and managed another chub on luncheon meat this time from a spot around 10 yards to the right of the first fish.

A smaller fish but still in cracking condition, could I catch a 3rd ?

Well sadly not despite spending another half an hour in that swim there was no more bites so I went on the rove and met up with Nic for a natter. He'd been mugged off in a swim missing those 'unmissable' bites and was determined to see what it was. 

The rain by this point had increased in intensity so I went about trying some more swims to trying and winkle out another fish. The ground was sodden and the banks were slippy, this swim in particular that didn't produce was like a mud pit and actually pretty uncomfortable to fish. 

In the end I tried another few swims without even a nibble so headed back up the stretch to see Nic where upon arriving at his swim his tip rattled in to life and I was living his frustration. πŸ‘€ Clang, Clang, Clang, pull round and strike in to nothing. 

Fair play to Nic he stuck it out in the rain and in to dusk sadly without success, because I managed one more swim for 10 minutes before deciding the rain got the better of me and that first fish was a cracker so I drove back a happy man.

A washout of a winter to be honest having to make do scratching about rather that fishing how I'd like to fish. Not just for us in the midlands but it seems countrywide too, I managed one two pike sessions that was it, a nightmare. Fingers crossed we get better weather in 3mths time as I'd be glad to see the back of this grim weather. 

Thursday 14 March 2024

Warwickshire Avon - Washouts and Wapenshaws

With my plans kiboshed because Sam was ill and was off school the late morning session wasn't going to happen on the Arrow as I had to wait for the Wife to get back from work. Always the way isn't it, best laid plans and all that what a disappointing end to the river season with the local rivers being a right state again, I should have stayed at work and not taken some of my hard earned annual holiday !!! Still there was always...

....go big or go home 

So gear packed, all ready to go after a cobbled together brunch, hurry up Sarah !! Now go big or go home is a widely used philosophical idea that encourages us to be bold and brave, like with sports or gambling. The idea is that you either win big or lose big, there’s no in-between. The phrase is said to have originated as a sales slogan in the 1990s. A motorcycle parts company in Southern California incorporated the term go big or go home in its packaging for some oversized Harley Davidson pipes.

I could fish in to dusk for this session so I decided to do what I generally don't do very often and that was to fish for one bite from a BIG barbel. Two rods, a comfortable chair (with a lumbar support don't you know πŸ˜€) a big piece of meat on one rod, a pungent Vortex Baits boilie on the other. Some goodness grenades to start the swim off ©Buffalo Si and then I'd fish over the top with a feeder full of groundbait and also a PVA bag of pellets on the boilie rod.
I rarely target the barbel on the Warwickshire Avon within my stomping ground because well I struggle to endure sitting behind motionless rods on a low stock river. 

Gone are the days where you could rock up at Barford which was once known as 'barbel alley' just down the road from me and catch a few fish especially in to dusk and go home happy. 

Those days were long gone well before even I became a member where I did manage some nice fish including my PB of 12lb and 14oz's which was caught in February 2019. The fish that are still frequenting the Warwickshire Avon  generally are on the larger scale and fish that can obliterate my relatively mediocre PB, hence why when the conditions are favorable ie banging through and well up like it was for today's session, it's worth a dabble for them.  

Now this stretch is only 12 miles away from me and is home to some right old lunkers but they are fished for because of that, they are not stupid these barbel especially when they get to PB breaking size. Luck is a huge part of it and also being there at feeding time which might be such a small window, there is no point trying to guess. 

That's why this type of fishing is not for me despite the rewards !!! if there was larger head of fish I might fish for them more, but for now, the odd session here and there will suffice and more than enough to keeps one's sanity.  

When I arrived there was already 4 cars in the carpark of convenience, not unsurprising as we were all after the same quarry, a barbel. Some familiar faces too so after a natter I got fishing. The river was banging through and after persevering in one swim after an hour I decided to upsticks and move.

Not only was the debris coming doing wiping out one of the rods from time to time it just didn't look like a fish would be feeding in such a turbulent area. So the next swim was only just up from this but a stream that entered it from the inside and the fact the way the river coarse went meant that the water was calmer in nature. Not bubbling and boiling but a nice steady pace to it...

Most of my big barbel have succumbed to overly large chunks of luncheon meat so that went in the swim as did the other rod with a boilie and PVA bag of pellets. This time the swim steady enough to deposit some big goodness filled heavy groundbait balls that would get straight to the bottom and the same mix went in the big feeders.

I felt at least this time the bait was presented properly where as before I didn't have that confidence. Anyway was the hours went by without much happening, the anglers started to disappear one by one, with only a report of one barbel being caught that was around 6 or 7 lb. 

So in the end I was left on my tod to fish in to dusk where hopefully a last gasp bite would bring me some success. There is a good reason why the barbel hang round here because you can park right by where you fish for the first handful of swims such is the convenience, and that means more bait goes in than anywhere else on this stretch.

Sadly not even a chub pull or nibble for me gone dusk, so 5 hours of fishing waiting for that bite that never materialised really did test my patience, especially when Buffalo Si from River Masters, had sent a picture of another massive canal zander he had caught not a million miles away from here, where he had already sacked off the rivers for this season, as had a couple of other anglers I know. Anyway the Arrow beckons where hopefully I can at least catch a chub or something before the season end....
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