Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Sunday 30 June 2024

Warwickshire Avon - Treadmills and Transcendentalisms

Sam was up for fishing again so we decided to head down to his favorite bit of the Warwickshire Avon to try and catch a chub off the top. We also had some maggots with a float rod to try and catch some gudgeon. A bag with bits and pieces,two rods, and a landing net, simple roving tactics, no kitchen sink to be seen here.  

Now the landing net, this comes basically in two pieces, the net and the handle, and is used to net the fish as it is drawn on the line to the bank. The golden rule is to make up the landing net before anything else; before you even assemble the rod.

Many anglers, in their hurry to get to the fish, neglect to do this, and find themselves with the catch of the season on the line and the landing net lying in two pieces at the top of the bank. Assuming, that is, that it's been unpacked at all. Those who do make up the net tend to forget it in their wanderings and hook a whopper 50 yards round the river bend.

Those who keep the net constantly by their side can also suffer from the application of Sod's Law when the bottom of the net which has frayed a little and which they have been meaning to mend for weeks  gives way under the weight of the first decent fish.

The handle gets far more use than the net as a cow-prodder, swan-blonger, duck-dissuader and dog-basher. 

A telescopic handle allows cows to be prodded, swans to be blonged and ducks dissuaded at some distance from the bank; dogs can be bashed well before they can steal your butties, sneeze in your maggots or cock their legs up against your leg.

When landing a fish, the idea is to have the net in the water before the fish gets to the bank, and then to draw the fish gently over the tim, dropping the rod tip as the net is lifted clear of the water. Why so wait until the fish is thrashing almost at their feet and then bash it with the next, causing it to jerk and break the line, is one of the deeper mysteries of angling....I jest !! 

Anyway enough of that, Sam out fished daddy, today, well to be honest I couldn't get my hands on the rod, because the chub were really up to take the bread off the surface today in almost all swims we fished. 

So after catching a few maggot munchers it was Chub that were the target and I was really proud of Sam, barely a teenager he is a cracking angler and battled with some hard fighting chub this morning and lost a few too sadly. I've taken him since he was 4 years old though, he's had some experience over the years. 

Sam actually caught the biggest chub that went 4lb and 14 ounces on the scales and I couldn't be more made up for him, as he chose the swim, baited the hook, cast out and followed the bread quite a way down the river before the chub hoovered it up and the fish was on. 

The first fish in this swim I caught in the swim was retained in the landing net out of sight of the other fish, because they can easily spook the other fish in the swim. The next cast was Sam's turn, and and wallop !!!, I saw the fish come up and nail it it and there was no second takes from this fish. 

It's snag city here and Sam did the business with no coaching whatsoever, getting on top of the fish asap before they could get tangled up in the reeds, where the inevitable would happen. A lovely mornings fishing, the chub just seemed to let their guard down today, for some reason. I bet they would have seen us too in a couple of the swims, odd behavior I must admit. 😆

Friday 28 June 2024

The Tiny River Alne - Mongrels and Monopsychisms

Great white sharks are one of the most feared animals across the globe and according to the marine experts at Ocearch they could end up in UK waters in the near future. 

You see their investigations based on tracking showed that the creatures have started to regularly swim north as they search for food, being spotted at the United States’s New England coast more and more in recent years. 

Before the 1970s, Cape Cod, a peninsula in Massachusetts, had virtually no great white sharks, but the area is among those that have seen a rise in the number of great whites near its shores in the past 50 years. Experts believe that this is due to the number of seals that have migrated towards these regions.
The US Government’s efforts to protect the seals have ended up helping the species thrive and seals are one of the key sources of food the great whites depend on.

The Ocearch team are hoping to visit the UK next summer and expect to locate some of the vicious predators in British waters. 

Talking to The Times, the research group’s founder Chris Fischer said: “We believe they should be moving up past Brest [in Brittany, France] and Cornwall”.

Marine biologist Gregory Skomal disagrees with Ocearch’s theory, sharing that there have been zero white shark spottings around Cornwall. He’s explained: “They should be there but they are not and we don’t know why.” However, according to the University of Plymouth’s records, great whites have been spotted around the UK since 1965, with nearly 100 credible but unconfirmed sightings being noted in the last decade.

Great white sharks are most commonly found around the coastline of California, Hawaii, and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as in Australia and South Africa. They are predators that are known for swimming great distances to get to food and are said to be able to smell a drop of blood in one million drops of water.

Previously, scientists have warned that climate change, which contributes to rising ocean temperatures, would force the species to migrate and end up off the UK coastline by 2050.

So the huge quantities of seals in British waters better watch their backs !!! 

Recently, in April, a rare smalltooth tiger shark was discovered at a beach in Wexford, Ireland following the first shark corpse find in Hampshire in March. Experts believe the species, previously rarely seen in British waters, are making UK shores their full-time home.

Anyway I'm going to start at the bottom with my own research as gudgeon were the target  on the river Alne for this ((you've got two hours !! (The Wife)) short session with a float rod and maggots. One swim in-particular seems to hold them in numbers as I managed something like 40 odd last time here and I reckon I could have caught even more before the curfew bell sounded.  

Anyway the gudgeon were there straight away and I was building up a decent number of them fishing two maggots on a size 20 hook, but then a trout turned up and spoilt the action, because after that no bites from the gudgeon, in-fact no more bites in that swim whatsoever so I went on the rove to try and get some bites.

The next swim it was minnow, minnow, minnow, what the heck is that ? 

Obviously a hybrid of some sort DaceXBream (George Burton)

I thought it looked silver breamy from first glance, anyway the minnows were getting a pest so I changed swims again where I had 2 more small brownies this time where the water was carrying some pace.

The sun was beating down by this time and bites were not exactly frequent, so when the minnows turned up again it was time to call the session early. Shame the gudgeon didn't show after that trout because I was enjoying it, either that or I had caught all of them out of the swim. I'm not feeling 100% at the minute so I'm no desperate to get out, but we will see what tomorrow brings. 

Warwickshire Avon - Gormless and Gourmandizing

As we know Kingfishers have excellent eyesight and can see underwater, but there is a good reason for that as they can apparently adjust for the refraction of light in water, allowing them to accurately judge the position of their prey.

You see light rays reflected from the object are refracted at the surface of the water, however our eyes and brain trace the light rays back into the water as though travelled away in a straight line, and not refracted at all. 

This results in an image of the object that appears at a shallower depth to where it really is.

Not an issue for the Kingfisher...

As someone who has seen one close up and actually handled one back in 2019 when I discovered one injured, they really are stunning creatures. 

Sadly despite our best efforts it ended up in bird heaven where I hope it is looking down on us, and especially for this short smash and grab session for Chub or  Barbel, this was once its stomping ground you see. 

Now one thing that I saw that stood out was it could spin its head 270 degrees (at least) which I'd never seen before because despite seeing loads of kingfishers I've never noticed that ability. But then again most of the time they wizz by with that distinctive call of theirs, and it was nice to see some again for this trip out. 

Arriving a couple of hours before dusk and having to leave 30 minutes after dusk isn't a lot of fishing time, but with a low and clear river, when the light levels drop, things start to happen when you'd usually be thinking were there actually any fish in the river.

This trip out played out exactly like that because having been in no rush to get set-up, I'd had a natter to another angler fishing just upstream of me before getting the rod set-up. Simple barbel tactics of a Dynamite Hot Fish boilie with a PVA bag of hemp and small pellets and positioned in a gap between two sets of streamer weed.

Nothing happened until the bats arrived and then there was the first chub clang, then soon after a slow foot long pull of the tip towards the river that the novice might have stuck at. Using a long hair though there is no need for that because you'll know if a fish as hooked itself, like barbel, or gluttonous chub tend to do.

Now chub are the most shyest of fish and then the most aggressive of fish when they want to be. This session well, played out exactly that as there was determined chub in this swim to get the bait no matter the consequences. 

So this culprit slipped up and probably knackered the swim because of it, the water is only around 2ft deep here and the commotion probably scared the other fish away, as despite retaining it in the landing net the strict curfew time arrived and no more bites.

So no barbel slipped up, but unperturbed I'll give it another go especially with the long days as they are. Not my usual kind of fishing session to be fair, but from time to time I don't mind them. 

Thursday 27 June 2024

Warwickshire Avon - Légion étrangère's and Lecanomancy

This was Ben's choice from the schools book fair, and to be honest, I'd got to put my hands up because after a rather lovely lamb curry (still on the bone) that was put in front of me last weekend, the repercussions are still evident. 

Thankfully the pungency is weakening as the days and hours go by, but God knows how much garlic was used, enough to get any Transylvanian nobleman quaking in their boots, that's for certain. !! 

Anyway at least this section of the Warwickshire Avon still has some nice weed and reeds to give the fish some cover. It's handy as it's on the way home after working from the office at MIRA but with the temperature on the car saying 30 degrees I wouldn't be fishing for long that's for sure.

Chub off the top was the plan because I could see them under my polarised sunglasses with the river being so low and clear, and I do like a bit of sight fishing I must admit. 

What I didn't expect was that the first chuck of some freebies was out of nowhere a huge chub of around 5-6lb took the biggest piece within a second of the bread hitting the surface !!!

Did it come back for more ?  errrrrr no !!!!

I'm sure I must have spooked it, and that's how the session continued to be honest, because the fish seemed to be very cagey indeed for some reason. I watched probably 6 or 7 chub with the bait within their mouths but they either ejected it straight away, or I failed to hook up 😬

In the end the elevated banker swim came up with the goods where I had them competing for the slow sinking bread, because they refused to take it off the surface oddly. Problem is because it's such an intimate swim they all spooked after landing the hard fighting 3lber.

I retraced my steps to try and catch another but with the sun beating down when in the full sun I called it a day after a couple of hours and decided to head back home instead. Boy it was a scorcher, the new hat is perfect though, despite looking like a reject from the French Foreign Legion !!

I've heard on good authority (a bloke I bumped in to when leaving the padlocked gate 😀 ) that there has been some barbel coming out, so with the temperature dropping I'm planning to have a go in to dusk to see if I can catch one myself.

I prefer chub to barbel as a species personally, but there isn't an angler that has caught a barbel that doesn't' recount their fighting power, you can see why anglers target them. Problem for me is I fish mainly short sessions, so an hour drive to a productive stretch and an hour back, is often how long my barbel sessions are. If I trot for them it's all day usually, because I struggle more than a couple of hours behind motionless rods, that's why fishing at the witching hour seems to suit me. 

Tuesday 25 June 2024

River Wye - Fuzzy Rocks and Furunculoids

As we head in to July this month the river is softer, gentler, and à a more even flow. This means that the fish spread out more, are less inclined to stick with their traditional haunts. Weed growth is plentiful, and usually where there's weed there are fish. 

Where the heck is all the weed on the River Wye though ?, certainly doesn't look a healthy river does it, thankfully it's been getting media attention of late since, the River Wye’s health status was downgraded by Natural England a year argo, as wildlife charities accuse the government of failing to stop farming pollution harming the waterway. The government nature watchdog has updated the status of the river from “unfavourable-improving” to “unfavourable-declining”, meaning its condition is poor and worsening.

Usually barring heatwaves, July is a good month. Pleasant weather, everything in leaf or bloom, plenty of wild creatures dropping off overhanging vegetation to the chub waiting below, and plenty of fish on the move. The fly fisherman is happy. If he's not, he should be. All he has to do is count the flies that are buzzing around his head. If he can't match one of those, he's not really trying.

More of that later. Meanwhile, the bream are coming into their own, recovering from spawning and feeding heartily. The bream's habit of moving in shoals of roughly the same- sized fish, and of patrolling to a regular time- table, means that the dedicated and observant angler can whop in a whole shoal, especially if he's prepared to stay up all night.

It's the time of the photographs in the press of dozens of bream laid out on the grass, or packed into swollen keepnets, in front of an angler who is failing totally in his attempts to look modest. It's also the time of the letters of complaint from fish lovers anglers and non-anglers alike about such exhibitionism.

It's the time-and here we get back to the flies-of bites from creatures other than fish. The angler who prefers not to be eaten alive by gnats and midges, stabbed through through by wasps, or chewed up by horseflies, is wise to wear a hat and to use some form of insect repellant. The little perishers always find somewhere to sink their gnashers, but it's worth trying to restrict their choice.

Here follows a list of old country remedies. For God's sake, don't use any of 'em.

One is a mixture of beeswax and turpentine dabbed behind the ears. Perhaps you don't get bitten behind the ears, but you do everywhere else. Another is a mixture of sulphuric acid and seal oil, which is supposed to ward off colds and rheumatism as well as keeping the insects at bay. It has the distinct disadvantage of leaving the user smelling like an old fish dock, which not only gets him thrown out of the pub, but pounced on by every cat within sniffing distance.

The North American Indians covered themselves with rancid bear fat. Very effective, apparently, but not highly recommended if you're using public transport.There's always the good old good one: the smudge fire. This you build on the bank to windward out of damp straw, leaves, wet wood, old socks; anything guaranteed to raise a lot of smoke. Then you sit with your head in the cloud. Coughing.

Though the smoke does keep the insects away, it certainly doesn't have the same effect on the bailiff, who turns up and books you for lighting fires on the bank.

Anyway a short post this because the fishing wasn't exactly prolific and even Nic from Avon Angling struggled for bites with only a few chub caught, from usually productive swims. I ended up fishing two swims as well, with only one swim producing the goods for me. Trotted meat being the downfall of around 20 ish chub, these being the main stamp.

The barbel showed sporadically throughout the day, but they were clearly not in a feeding mood, I'm sure the coloured but low water level didn't help and they could well have had other things on their minds, it's the fuzzy stuff clinging to the rocks I'm more worried about, and how coloured it was, needs a revist soon me thinks.  

Saturday 22 June 2024

River Arrow - McMuffin's and Musomania

If you’re anything like me, you will have noticed that indulging in a late night cheeseboard can sometimes lead to some freaky dreams, such as this mind dump with the picture on the right !!

A side stream off the river Arrow I'd not even noticed before, where after and sat there bitless after chub on the main river, I was led away by an attractive lady who had a tame otter with her. She kept looking behind her saying, "follow me, follow me !!!" with the otter egging me on too. 😁

Then I was rudely interrupted by early riser Ben,  🙈 just as I was getting in to it !!!

Now while it’s not entirely clear why this is the case (it hasn’t been scientifically proven) there is enough anecdotal evidence from our cheesemongers, customers and the internet to have us wondering… why do we get weird cheese dreams?

The myth has been kicking around since the Dickens era, when famous protagonist Ebenezer Scrooge blames a bit of blue cheese for his freaky visits from the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

That would be enough to make anyone lay off the Roquerfort late at night!

Back in 2005, the British Cheese Board tried to put the rumours to rest with a little study of their own.
While not particularly scientific in their approach, the Board gathered 200 volunteers and fed them 20 grams of cheese each about half an hour before their bedtime, then asked them to record their dreams and sleep quality (it’s worth noting there was no control group involved here).

Of the 200 studied, 67% recalled their dreams clearly and none of those participants reported having any bad nightmares whatsoever.

What they did find, however, was interesting - that the type of dreams you have depends on the type of cheese you eat! Stilton will reportedly make you trip out. There were reports of talking teddy bears, soldiers using warrior kittens in place of guns and a vegetarian crocodile who was distressed that he couldn’t eat children featured among those dream diaries. Freaky !!

Cheddar will allegedly make you dream about celebrities, a good choice if you’d like to solve world problems with the Kardashians while you sleep. There was no research into why exactly cheese might cause weird nocturnal visions but one internet theory makes sense to us - that the bacteria and mould contained in cheese (particularly potent in blue cheeses) might have psychoactive effects on the brain’s chemicals (It certainly works for mushrooms!) 

Another interesting outcome from this informal study was the finding that cheese can actually help you fall asleep. It contains an amino acid known as tryptophan this same chemical compound is found in turkey, and is to blame for those unavoidable afternoon naps after Christmas dinners

Tryptophan helps the body produce melatonin and serotonin, both hormones which contribute to a restful night. Just so long as you choose the right cheese, it appears! If you’re interested in exploring the world of weird cheese dreams, give it a go it works for me. 

Anyway what I didn't expect was that Sam was ready to go not much after 7.00am to have a go down the Arrow. I'm sure it was the promise of a Sausage and Egg McMuffin which he polished off rather quickly and he's literally the world's slowest eater.

The Bloggers Syndicate BBQ match was on today and sadly we couldn't attend as we had a BBQ to go to later ourselves as it was my nieces 2nd birthday. So a few hours max roving this small river to try and pick up some chub on ledgered bread flake. It was very clear indeed but most small rivers like this one have deeper areas and cover where the fish often hold up.

It took three swims to get the first bite though and the weir didn't produce which I was surprised at. After a few tentative plucks tight to some cover the tip pulled round confidently but Sam struck in to nothing sadly. Shame he didn't connect because he did everything right.

As the morning went on it was clear things were going to be tough but after that missed bite Sam and I had two more opportunities and both landing fish of similar size. This one I'm holding really did a good job on me initially and I thought it was much bigger when I eventually landed it. To be fair it's a snaggy swim but boy what a fight.

I thought it done me over good and proper at one point because the line was singing but I gave some slack and it swam out luckily. A lovely fish around 3lb in weight where after that fish we tried a few more spots without any more bites. An enjoyable morning though and Sam wants to go again soon so hopefully with the weather no improving he will be up for some more trips out going forward. 

"Daddy, why do you play the dance music so loud"

"It's the only way Son !!!"

Friday 21 June 2024

Warwickshire Avon - The Untrodden Pt.2

It is an unproven and wildly inaccurate fact that 50 million people are born into this world every day, one third of them Chinese.

To put it another way, if everybody in China were to start marching past you four abreast, making eight, they would never stop marching. The ones at the back would be breeding so fast that they would be queueing up to join in. After ninety years or so you would probably get tired and go home.

I am trying to get round to the subject of overcrowding in angling, and I am sorry I mentioned the Chinese, because they are not a problem on our canals. Though no doubt they are in China.

I should have started with the Japanese, whose shortage of angling waters is so acute that they fill up municipal swimming baths with fish on a Saturday night and all crowd round for an inscrutable oriental angle. The Japanese are not a problem on our canals either, come to think about it. So without more ado I shall get to the all-British heart of the matter.

Have you noticed, over the past few years, how many other people are fishing where once you never saw a soul all day? How there is always someone at your favourite pitch, no matter how early you get down there?

You can't blame the immigrants. Unless you count the Irish feller who cadged a hook, shot and a double handful of maggots from me on the Grand Union. This is a British problem and we have to tackle it in a truly British way. By cunning.

The average angler wants peace, quiet, solitude. If he doesn't get it, he'll move on. What you have to do to ensure your own peace, quiet and solitude is to make sure that nobody else gets any. (Eh, this is rotten, isn't it?')

Start by sitting close to the next bloke. So close that he can hear the irritating personal habits you have just developed. Suck noisily through your hollow tooth. Sniff up loudly and regularly. Clear your throat with a proper hrumph...hrumph... HARUMPHHH! Whistle through your teeth. Tunelessly. Tap out a staccato and offbeat accompaniment with your fingers on the top of the bait tin.

Sing. Quietly and flatly. Some of the good old good ones. Only A Rose. A Bird In A Gilded Cage. Come Into The Garden, Maud. My Yiddisher Momma. Who Hit Nellie In The Belly With A Barbel?

If he stays put he must be tone deaf. Or just deaf. So stomp over heavily.

'Morning. Anything doing? No, I thought not. There's been nothing much caught round here since they dumped the cyanide. You can't lend me a maggot, can you? And a couple of worms? Will you be using all that bread? I did a silly thing this morning. Came out without the groundbait. You've got plenty there, I see..."

Generous soul that he is, he might load you up with maggots, worms, bread, groundbait, hooks, shot and a fill of baccy. In which case you will have to start the scratching routine.

Gently at first. On the back of the neck. Then under an armpit. Then both places at once. Suddenly you switch the scratching to the knees.

'Oh dear, the doctor warned me I was due for another dose of these. He reckons I picked them up in that Spanish prison when I was stranded after the international. Little devils, you can't see 'em and you can't get rid of 'em. You wouldn't like to scratch my back, would you?'

It is possible that he doesn't lose his nerve, even when faced with the dreaded Spanish invisible things, but gives you a scratch between the shoulder blades with a rod rest.

All that is left, as a last desperate throw, is the Third Reich Twitch.

Twitch mildly at first, and increase the severity and frequency as your monologue progresses.

"That doctor. Knows nothing, I tell you. Nothing! He spent hours yesterday telling me I was not Napoleon. I know I'm not Napoleon. My own retreat from Moscow was much better organised. And I was not retreating! I was advancing backwards merely to regroup. If Bormann had not left me in the lurch we would have swept back... swept back, I tell you!'

Finish by sticking your arm in the air and letting rip with a couple of Sieg Heils. If that doesn't shift him, nothing will.

It has just occurred to me that if this catches on, our canals could be lined with blokes sucking their teeth, sniffing up, clearing their throats, whistling tunelessly, singing flatly, borrowing shame- lessly, scratching furiously, twitching madly and shouting Sieg Heils all over the place.

We might be better off with the Chinese.

Anyway a bit of a distraction that, because after arriving at the new stretch of the Warwickshire Avon after an hour feeding some bread where there was the odd rise from chub, but they were non committal so couldn't really be fished for really.

The good thing was that I wasn't really here for the fishing, I was here to make a few more swims because much of it is unfishable really. What a lovely evening though and it only got better with a rather nice vibrant sunset.   

However it was a full(ish) moon and I've never done any good with a full moon (excuses in already) however after baiting up a spot when I got there with hemp, pellet and some groundbait I sat behind a rod to see if something decent was up for taking the bait as dusk and a good half an hour afterwards.

The river was alive with fish again, but nothing big was showing and after a few sharp chublet pulls, despite crossing my fingers and toes the tip didn't jump in to life.

It's not all about catching fish though is it, as one's mind was put at rest with that short session and I gave a thumbs up when I left (11.00pm self imposed curfew) with the head torch illuminating the mist that was at head height. A rather surreal experience I must admit because it was almost complete whiteout.

Plenty to explore here especially when the other swims have been opened up. I might pop back here with Sam with a float rod and maggots to see what we can pick up, because there seemed to be plenty of small fish milling around which is a good sign for what the condition of the river is in. 

Thursday 20 June 2024

Warwickshire Avon - Cackhands and Cantankerous

As someone who had very little free time, well during the week anyway, you'd have thought those one that depend on you would be more forthcoming on their welcoming, but no a chore complete on a detour on home from work I was quite clear I was becoming an inconvenience.I did wonder why the gate was open and the shears where leaning against the house. 🙈

My presence was getting in the way of a program starting I'm sure, and with no internet and the like, watching live TV is the only option. Anyway having after being thrown out early 😬 I decided to drop in on the way back to somewhere I would be welcome, yup the adopted local pub.

I literally opened the door to...

"Alright Mick, hey we have Tower Ale on today from Hook Norton !!, right up your street I reckon" said Danny the landlord !!!

My mood was improving by the minute, anyway half way down my pint I asked "fancy seeing the fruits of my labour"

"Sure, go for it"

I'd been working from MIRA during the day and we'd assembled an almost production ready console for the forthcoming Polestar 5 / 6 and I'd got it in the back of my car, ready to do some CAD design tweaks to improve the gap and flush, and also a couple of fitment issue we have. Nothing major thankfully but still more to do.

Danny couldn't have been more different, as he very interested in the work I'd been doing and asking loads of questions over various different areas of the console and it's design. As someone who has been designing various bits for cars for years, it's nice for someone else to see just what work goes in to these complex assemblies, because believe you me, it's staggering.  

I've a patent for the cupholder in this console, so it will be nice to see it eventually on the road, a labour of love ? far from it, because as I get older I get less excited by work as the years go by. Means to and end, these days, but as the main breadwinner, what choice do I have. If circumstance were different and it was just me to consider, I'm sure I could retire by now and make it work, lol

Anyway to work on a car from a sketch to seeing a car going down the production doesn't happen very often, in-fact it has only really happened a few times in career, mainly because I took a break from designing the parts and actually had a good number of years as a studio engineer working with the clay modellers. Concept work that ends before you get in to the proper design engineering, which is the hard bit really. 

This job I've involved in the whole process. Anyway enough of that, back to the fishing, with my mood improving what better way to get it back to being good again and go fishing !!!

So after a BBQ I headed to an area of the Warwickshire Aven where barbel often show at the start of the season. It's gravely and oxygenated you see and barbel often gravitate here because of that. A short smash and grab session this where after baiting up an area I went on the rove to try and catch some chub off the top. 

I managed a 2lber in the first swim, then lost a fish that went straight in the reeds within a split second of being hooked.

After that I managed a better fish of over 4lb that took a good while to get hooked up, because after tempting it with freebies I somehow failed to hook up on quite a few occasions, God knows what was going on.

Eventually I managed to get it on the end of my line where it really did give me a right old battle. 

They do seems to fight really hard at the start of the season when they are lean and fighting fit, I love catching chub because of that and the fact they can be caught on a variety of methods.

With the sun now beginning to set I went back to the baited swim where I'd sit behind the barbel rod headed in to dusk to see if any barbel were there and would be up for feeding.

This swim gets darker than the surrounding area and before the bats appeared the rod had the odd tap and that was it, but then all change when the light levels went.

All of a sudden the greedy chub turned up and those unmistakable chub pulls started to happen. 

The first chub I subsequently caught was determined to hang itself because after some right old clonking bites a barbel esk bite ensued and a small chub was on. Only a 2lber bless it, with the Vortex cocoon boilie hanging out of its gob, and despite the long hair it wanted whatever I was offering it.

Another chub followed soon afterwards which was slightly bigger but then the bites stopped which I assume was because that last fish had disturbed the swim. The rod tip light was required by now despite the clear skies, but that is because the swim is naturally dark, rather than the ambient light elsewhere that was available.

Anyway the writing was on the wall I knew that, so left around 1lpm with the skies still rather pleasant indeed.  I'm going to make the most of the long days so next will be the Untrodden again and with a session booked on the Wye next Monday with Nic from Avon Angling where we will be trotting for barbel. Hopefully I'll also get some short trips out in-between too, and with the weather improving day by day, things are looking good !!!

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Warwickshire Avon - The Untrodden Pt.1

It's worth looking more closely at things floating down the river. They may not be all they seem.

Naturalist Dieter Plage, filming in Indonesia, noticed a leaf moving upstream against the current. He netted it to find it being used by a small fish to protect itself from predatory birds, swimming upside-down and manoeuvring the leaf with its ventral fins.

Pretty smart fish, that, smarter than the birds anyway, who still haven't cottoned on.

A strange floating object nearer home was the artificial leg which came adrift when a bloke fell out of his dinghy at Lancing, in Sussex. Luckily another boat was passing, and the skipper saved the bloke, his boat and his leg. (What do you say at times like that?: 'Excuse me, is this yours?')

Anyway enough of that we've a virgin bit of water to fish for this season, it's around 700 metres in length with some deeper bits, pools, lots of cover and also some nice trottable swims. This untrodden stretch hasn't been fished for years I believe. Before the hymen is broken on this virgin bit of water I went for a nose a couple of days ago to take some pictures for the like-minded.

It was discounted for this year for a reason because there was a pollution incident a year ago that might well have affected this stretch, so we've an opportunity to try and winkle out some fish before committing the hard earned pennies.

Now judging by the size of the bankside Dryad's Saddle or Polyporus squamosus, it's going to an interesting water to explore, because it's so unknown and hasn't seen any angling pressure. Btw John 'Lofty' Wiseman once told me on a survival course I was on as an apprentice, said that any fungi on trees can be eaten, so I might give them a go 🍄

Anyway when I was there the other day for a nose I drifted some bread down in various swims to see if any chub were going to take it off the top but I didn't see any sadly. The water is gin clear at the moment and I could see 6 foot down so not unexpected to be honest.

I did see some flashes of silver and also some fish that were topping that might have been bleak so at least there was some fish activity. 

The stingers are 6ft in places and blocking access to the river however the further you go upstream the access improves and you can get down to the river. So i'll return with the hedge trimmers to make a couple of swims in the area of the river that looks pacier where a barbel might feel at home. 

Anyway for this evening trip in to dusk and in to dark I decided to see if I could at least get a bite from something to put a bend in the rod so chub or barbel were the target. When I came for a reccy the fish didn't rise to take the bread of the surface but what a change for this evening because a swim I couldn't really get to had some fish taking it of the top quite readily.

I followed the unabated bread to the pool swim where it slowed in pace and out of the blue a huge boil on the surface where a chub I assume came up to take it 😎

I derigged the barbel rod and tied a hook directly to the line and cast out a chunk of bread where the nearside flow took the bread in a 20 foot arc skirting the surface, where within seconds a boil on surface and a chub had nailed it.

I was in to a decent chub for the first cast and it was pulling back a bit I must admit and as I teased it in to the landing net the size 6 Korum Grappler hook looked like it had a decent hold. It's an elevated swim so luckily I had the long landing net handle with me as it was a bit of a reach. A cracking first fish of the new venue.

Jacob who was also fishing this evening had arrived just as I had landed it, so I shouted him over for a nose and told him about the fish taking it off the top. He employed similar tactics and also ledgered to catch 2 chub himself during the evening, where his waders came in handy to battle through the stingers as he was fishing the downstream section.

Catching that fish spooked the other fish that were in the pool however I fished another couple of swims and caught another 4 chub on ledgered bread. I baited up one swim with some goodness grenades (© Buffalo Si)  and rested it for an hour, and  as the sun was setting I got the boilie out with a PVA bag of freebies to see if dusk would bring some good fortune.

I couldn't believe the amount of fish activity just in this one swim, it really was quite ridiculous with fry everywhere and bleak breaking the surface and getting chased by perch from time to time. Maggots I'd imagine would get mullered but I might bring Sam sometime to see what we can winkle out.

A lovely evening and with the sun now set it felt a bit nippy with the temperature dropping considerably. The boilie was getting attention from the smaller fish and a few small chublet pulls but generally it was a quiet evening. 

I gave it a good forty minutes after dusk but that rod never hooped over and it didn't for Jacob either as he and I arrived back at the car at the same time. Considering I didn't think I'd manage to get out because with lots of things going on at the moment limiting my time on the bank, I'm glad I decided to go even if it was just for a few hours.

A great start I feel especially when this area was in the pollution zone a year ago, and myself and the members are looking forward to see what we can catch on this stretch. It's summer so the reeds are a hindrance in accessing some swims and I'm sure that will improve as the weeks and months go on. 
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