Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

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.  


  1. Nice change Mick.
    I really hope we see some change with regard to protection of rivers or else it'll be all over before we know it.

    1. Love it down the Wye must admit, shame didn't catch it in its heyday


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