Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

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. 


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