Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Disruption and Discontent or The Fish won't Feed 'cos the Weather doesn't Know What to do Next

It's been a tough year for the angler thus far...and sheep. Thankfully the latter, with their special feet and woolly coats, can cling-on through the worst of weathers

If it hasn't been gales, heavy rain and rising filthy rivers it's been frozen canals, lakes affected by fluctuating temperatures and excessive colour in the waters. Not the greatest of recipes

The decision had been made to seek to gain blogger's challenge points on rivers or seek-out pike where their seasons are limited until March and then revert to still-waters and canals but it has proven almost pointless, in both respects

Until just this last Tuesday six consecutive blanks on a wide variety of all three categories of venue and numerous methods had been fruitless since the last week of January. It feels longer. Most of the visits didn't produce even the merest hint of a bite and none of them saw fit to offer reward with any sport at all

Then on Thursday three bites all hooked and two nice chub of 3.6.0 and 3.4.0, with one  perhaps a touch larger lost at the rim of the net, were offered-up by the Upper Warks Avon and, at last, razor blades were not a consideration for the journey home

The better of the brace added a measly two points to the challenge tally but it was a pleasant event adding that couple to the chart having been so long away from it. I estimate that the past four point-scoring fish have added a sum total of around 6 to the aggregate. Not great.

The winter birdwatching has been okay while out there sitting by a range of waters, the highlight of this was a small flock of siskin feeding on weather damaged alder in the glorious and thermal-layer eschewing sunshine of last Sunday, together with close-up views of treecreeper and the, ever confiding, long-tailed tit flock, and of course it's always a pleasure to see the immaculate and continually diving goldeneye.

Kingfishers have been abundant and a brown hare brightened a cloudy lakeside stroll with lures, though he seemed uninterested in an imitation perch, perhaps a fake blade of grass may have been more to his liking

It's quite incredible when I think back through the tactics used in that spell that link-legered bread and lobworm, free-lined lobworm, cage feeder with groundbait and maggot/worm/caster hookbait, lures, deadbaits, etc., etc., have all failed when in different conditions all would produce the necessary goods.

The fish simply shut down.

Even these wouldn't work
The weather hasn't been all bad though. When the river fell, and at the same time it was suitably cold, fantastical glistening pendants of ice formed as the stiffening receding waters clung on to strands of vegetation bent like small spinning rods to the lowering surface; extensive sheets of magically thin ice were left floating in the air over the shallows and those natural, but rarely seen, phenomena formed in the riparian margins turned boredom to wonder

A glimpse of the chocolate merlin commuting through her wintering quarters in the valley of the stream was enough to bring confirmation that sometimes it's acceptable to think all is well in the real world. Well enough for now anyway, pending a turn in fortunes

A planned day off was looking perfectly timed until the rains returned today and by the time those clouds are drained the rivers will be rising again, the lakes will be coloured by cold water and the canals likewise.

What are we to do?

The Boy Wonder and I satisfy ourselves by working-out imaginary comedy situations. An evolving episode of which currently involves a tramp working as a barrista in Nero, or Costa, or Starbucks, or somewhere. Anyway it was funny to us, wherever it was staged. He even found a better way to get his groundbait out to the middle of the lake...

Things became so bad on Sunday that I sat with the dead-bait line metaphorically tied to my toe, Huckleberry Finn-style, when the incredible quantity of, mainly plastic, refuse settled in the debris left behind by the receded Avon became interesting. I actually found myself sifting through it to see what I could identify, until I heard a rat scuttling below the land-based raft and thought better of inviting Weil's Disease upon myself

The badger footprints in the deposited silt were good though, among the rat impressions - not ones I had trodden on, I do mean the footprints


Mouse training -
Bubble still runs at the sight of anything that isn't known to her to be in her cage.
Squeak is now taking sunflower seeds from my fingers
...and I found out they can eat celery, which they love.

Blogger's Challenge -
Everyone is struggling in the Midlands and James just gets further and further in front with his ever-increasing dace, grayling, unicorn and other mythical beasts we can only dream of up here in Warwickshire. Next time I think it unquestionably necessary to handicap him like a champion race horse. I don't feel a weight disadvantage would help much though as he's probably fit enough to deal with that too. I'm leaning toward a straightforward ban, that should do it

Snow-caught Chub Challenge (commenced 2012/13) -
I have always loved seeing experts with their pictures of chub in the snow but it has not been until the past three or four years that I have tried it and, at last, in the most recent fall, it happened. Not huge at 2.6.0, and not the deepest snow cover, but welcome and an ambition achieved


  1. Some nice photos there George, particularly the chub at the end. It's been a tough period for sure. I'd like to think prospects will improve, but the Avon and Leam are full again as I speak...

    1. Fluctuations continue Sean but there appears to be a period of settled if chilly weather starting now, so hopefully the rain induced issues will go away for a while

  2. Wonderfully written George and congrats on your snow chub. Weather here is all over the place too. Very uncomfortable fishing at present. Yes points are gold dust at this stage. I'll be trying to gain an bonus ten in the canal category by knocking your perch off its, erm... perch.

    1. Thanks Russell.

      Another gauntlet laid down! Well, I'll just have to find a bigger one then ;)

  3. Had an hour after them before work this morning. You're still safe, for now.