Sunday, 10 February 2013

Avon Roach & Pike — The Brothers Mudd

When we set off for the river at 7:30am it was snowing. Wet snow, not nice snow, the kind of snow that should it keep coming would make life miserable, in the end. We traipsed through the tangled bushes up the muddy riverside path without mishap and chose a couple of pegs. Martin for piking, me for roaching.

Warwickshire Avon at the Saxon Mill

I know this place and know what to expect. Either a bite a chuck or a bite a day, it's as moody as you like. I sat down, set up, and in that first cast I knew I'd have my answer as to which is was to be. Regretfully, I wasn't going to be running down my supplies of bread disks to the bottom of the tin. The quiver tip remained stubbornly still, as it did on the next cast, and the one after that.

Warwickshire Avon roach from the Saxon Mill
My experiences fishing this mill race tell me that a move is required because a swim without almost immediate bites will remain that way no matter how long the stay. I gave it an extra half hour just to make sure and then took the bait, net and rod rest downstream and began swim hopping in search of active fish. Five pegs later I finally had a bite and caught a little chub. I moved all my gear down and started fishing there.

Martin hadn't had a touch and when he found out I'd located prey fish of course he moved downstream too. I managed a few roach and chub and then the swim just died off. Martin had no joy either. It was going to be one of those tough, tough scratching days on the Avon where casting into masses of fish you know very well are there, only one or two are in the mood. You catch them, and that's an end to it.

A stretch where quality is extracted through quantity, where you have to catch thirty dace to break the half-pound mark, twenty roach to even approach a pound, hardly ever see a chub over six ounces and where I have never caught bream or perch. However, all the species do run quite big enough to chase after but when the numbers are going to be very low, then you really have a slim chance of fluking a good fish.

And sweet Jesus it was muddy. The floods had deposited tons of sand on the banks and the ground was saturated. Chairs sank, boots stuck and within a few minutes our pegs looked like the Somme. It was very easy driving in a rod rest though. We decided to move down below the mill and fish opposite the mysterious ruins of Guy's Cliffe House.

Guys Cliffe House as a backdrop

Ah, the luxury of comfort. Lovely firm banks and hardly any mud! Martin chose a slack under an enormous London plane tree drooping its lower branches into the water and I sat in the next peg down. I got bites and banked a few encouraging roach and chub and a couple of hours later Martin had his first run and banked a pike. A little later he had another run but pulled out on the strike.

Warwickshire Avon Pike

It was tough going for me though. The only thing that improved matters was borrowing lobworms from Martin's deep bait supplies when the bite rate improved slightly and a better stamp of chub was caught. Another swim change to a large pool downstream did nothing to improve matters for either of us and we wound up going home before dusk because it was clear even that magical time wasn't going to be electrifying.

I think I ended up with about ten or twelve small fish in total but that's not enough here. No dace either, which is odd because one or two usually come along. I think all the fish got swept out to sea last month judging by the evidence of the water having been right up in the fields behind.

An enjoyable day out, but very hard going. Good for the conditioning of both body and soul, I've heard...


  1. Sounds a messy muddy session like my own yesterday upstream Jeff, at least you caught mate. FYI I have caught a solitary Bream about 4lb from the first peg you get to after walking around the back of the island, maybe the first pic in this post.......

  2. I saw a fella fishing for carp right under the stone wall on the far side if the weir catch a five or six pound bream, Danny. It was the only one I've ever seen from the entire stretch upstream and down, and yet it looks really breamy in the slow deep water. Even after dark, never had one.