I’d brashly claimed to my fishing pals that I was aiming for a maximum of six points and a minimum of two across these two days fishing. When I turned up on the upper Avon on a hot and bright day and saw the water clarity and lack of flow I thought I might be eating my words.
|Low and Clear.|
I started by bouncing bread down stream after chub.
I mould the bread around a hair and run it down the current off a centrepin. It’s a method that’s proven reliable for chub in the past. Not dissimilar to free lining apart from the small amount of weight added to the line to ensure the floating bread flake bounces along the bottom layers.
Here’s how I tie the hook up:
The lack of flow hampered my efforts. I tried the method in three swims but like a plane without airflow it stalled and the bread fell to the bottom and stuck amongst the proliferating weed.
In the bright sunlight the river looked devoid of fish apart from millions of minnows. It was like all the big fish had disappeared.
Slightly hot and exasperated I threw some pellets from a bait pouch into a swim where I’ve seen chub before. Fish came out from under shadows, tree roots and every other hidey hole and started to chow down. I put some paste on the hook and had a chub first cast.
|Here's a chub.|
I worked my way downstream taking a fish from all likely pegs like this. I soon had the chub point sewn-up. Great fun once I’d cracked how to catch them in the heat. Often the paste was taken before it had chance to reach the bottom.
[Danny, Jeff and Pete. I have loads of photos of chub lying in the net if you want to see them but they're not that exciting!]
I carried on downstream and focused on locating barbel. I found some out in the open feeding greedily, probably on bait put down by previous anglers.
I crept into position, topped up the swim and caught two more chub. No matter what I did the chub always got to the bait before the barbel. I even resorted to pulling the paste out of the chubs mouths as catching them was just spooking the other fish.
Eventually I hooked up with one of the gravel Hoovers and all hell broke loose in the tight swim. Playing the fish in an area the size of a car park space is nerve jangling stuff. I was shaking with excitement before and after I hooked it.
On the bank this fish constantly broke wind. Something I’ve never experienced before. When it first blew off I thought the noise must have been from the head end as fish can grunt and grind when on the bank. But no, it then let out another massive toxic event and I could see full-on bum-hole vibration. Guff after guff after guff.
When it was recovering in the edge the bubbles were still coming out. Hemp perhaps?
|Get my best side!|
|9lbs 12oz Barbel.|
The first peg I tried was dead so I took a wander up towards the church meadow end. A decent looking area was free but the river was in shadow so I couldn’t make out the bottom contours. I rang Leighton for some intel on the best spot to fish.
|Centrepins in tight swims are a real benefit - Instant clutch control.|
I had four more chub up to about four pounds before connecting with something more solid.
Another amazing fight with the reel singing and the line cutting the water. This fish meant I needed just one more barbel for a point.
|9lbs 0oz Barbel.|
Whilst on the phone to Pete who was downstream I had another take. I put him on speaker and I whinnied like a little girl when I saw the size of the fish. It was another white water fight and the pound shop hook held firm.
The competition only really came into focus once I’d appreciated and safely returned this third barbel, but the fish secured a challenge point and found me punching the air and whooping in jubilation.
|Massive fish tiny head - 11lbs 4oz Barbel.|
I’d scored two points in a day and cracking the barbel point at the first attempt buys me a lot of time to chase other things. I nearly did it in two fish with the first and third fish.
Here are the scores on the doors today:
And finally here is a gallery from today of how not to take fishing photos!
|My complexion's never looked so good.|
|Out of focus.|
I love the Warks Avon.