Sunday, 25 June 2017

Warwickshire Stour – Ruffe and Tumble

I love the Warwickshire Stour, this diminutive little river meanders through some lovely countryside and eventually ends up at the Avon around Stratford Racecourse.

They fish don’t grow big, a good Chub 2lb, a good roach 1lb, a good Perch 10 oz’s but there are small fish in numbers and the smaller species were my target.
The Stour can rise very quickly after rain but times of little rain it can be very low indeed. That’s good for me though as calamity and accident prone 6 year old Sam would be joining me for this session, but not only that, holes which the Stour seems to have in numbers, can easily be seen.

I was specifically targeting the Ruffe (yes you heard right)


....and they appear to prefer spending their days hiding in deeper water, then moving to the shallows to feed at night on aquatic insects, crustaceans, small fish, bottom dwelling organisms, and occasionally the eggs of other fish.

The Ruffe you see is a shy little fish and these holes the Stour has in abundance are great places for the ‘Pope’ to seek some sanctuary. 

They rely on their well-developed sensory system to allow them to feed with confidence in the knowledge that they can detect their predators as well as being well camouflaged against them and having large eyes to spot movement: demonstrating very successful adaptation for a variety of habitats.


Apparently few things appear to feed on Ruffe, largely likely to their camouflage and nocturnal feeding habits, with predatory fish only feeding on them in numbers if other food becomes scarce. They maintain a well developed system of hollow bone canals within their heads that contain sensory organs called ‘neuromasts’. These are also found in the young of Perch, but they tend to solidify as they become adults, but in adult Ruffe they are still present: so providing them with very good sensory organs that detect water vibrations given off by both predators and prey and of course heavy footed anglers like pie eating me !!!!

In terms of body shape they resemble Perch, a close relative, but they are shorter and stouter and their two dorsal fins are joined. They are pale brown and covered with numerous black speckles that decrease in size the closer they get to its white belly, the head is large with a down turned mouth and the eyes quite large, appearing lilac in colour. The two dorsal fins (both spotted) are joined, the front one having a serious array of spines, as do the pectoral and anal fins, the gill covers are also spiky – a generally awkward individual !


Now talking of Perch they do seems to like swallowing the bait properly from the few that I've caught, so barbless hooks are a must, as is a disgorger.

Sams rod, the first outing of his Christmas present was fitted with a light float set-up and the red line he chose himself, and mine was my favourite TFG river and stream rod fitted with a 1oz Drennan Quiver-tip.

Now, knowing the patience of the dear youngest Son of mine this would likely be a short’un so no messing around, straight out the car, through the gate and get fishing.

Bait, well red maggots obviously, but then, from time to time a dendrobaena tail.

So enough of the bunkum…

Did we catch one ?

We didn't get off to a good start, after a late night of moderate bladderation after a family Chinese meal I was hoping for a lie in, but Sam, despite going to bed a couple of hours later than normal came in an hour earlier then when he usually does the weekend.


Quite frankly, I needed more kip. It didn't help either that, when I opened the bait fridge there was some more escapees, this time my efforts to try and give some air to breath for some bagged up maggots they must have sweated like Mr Rotavator with a new attractive guest arrival. They were everywhere to be honest, so only one thing for it, out with her prized possession

the Dyson handheld....

The little device really has some grunt, so after emptying the bait fridge and sliding it out it didn't take long for the red maggots to be re-homed in better suited accommodation.

Well, when we got to the river it was low, very low indeed and after concentrating our efforts on swims that were safe for Sam on the most part and swims that looked fishy we ended up Ruffe'less.


Plenty of fish though with minnows, dace, chublets and roach, but despite the slack and shady water where I thought I'd find them, they were nowhere to be see.

The issue was I didn't really have time to fish myself, luckily only a float lost and a couple of hook changes. What was nice was not only did he thank me for taking him fishing but he genuinely seemed interested and listened to everything I said. If he is ever asked about coarse fish, he would be the top of the class.


Now luckily a conversation with Martyn the tackle shop owner in Stratford has put me on to a couple of leads to catch some on the Avon. The thing with the Stour was that looking back at my blog, even though I've caught Ruffe before from there, they certainly haven't been the biggest.


Conversations with Sam, ranged from

"what are crickets made from", "Imagine if the German's were behind that hill sat in their bunkers" to "Why has Mummy got bigger boobies than Mrs Smith" and "When are you taking me to a dance studio with a DJ"

I love the mind and thoughts of a 6 year old, all very engaging.

Every weekend, no chance, well not just yet anyway, I value me time too.


He was a little restless come bored after a few hours but then after me talking him round to try the 'tip' out he was back to being interested again and back to me thinking, we ought to do this again.

Double dipping and upping the tackle is the way to go me thinks if I'm to catch a Ruffe, even a small'un would do....

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Batrachomyomachy and Bratwursts

Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill, the Wife wasn’t happy, a solitary escapee maggot found itself on top of the washing machine. Basket full of knickers and kegs up in the air with a reactionary screech a poltergeist would be proud of.

God knows what the neighbours thought....

They clean wounds Dear, nothing to be worried about.

Maggot caught and safely returned to the fridge, jobs a good’un.


I did relay the story of Breezy the Shanghai match organiser who borrowed his Wifes car, picked up the maggots for the lads and on-route to the fishery in his Rover 25 the bait tub managed to de-lid and 5 pints of maggots found themselves boot bound. Most never to be seen again, well not for a few weeks anyway.

That fell on deaf ears, she still wasn’t happy, cob still on.

Thankfully she doesn’t read my blog as I discovered quite a few more behind the tumble drier, and better not mention the dormant fridge ones I woke up in the sun on the decking, I'd be out on my ear.

Easily half a pint dropped between the boarding....


I’ve never caught a river Tench, and yet there are a few places on the Warwickshire Avon I know they exist. The problem is for this species challenge is that I’ve fished those areas and am yet to catch one.

That’s where double dipping comes in….

and the single minded approach needs to go out the window.

Tench like slow pedestrian areas of the river with lily pads, so that’s a good place to start, but then so do the carp, so do the bream.

For this early morning session up at the Bratwurst a helicopter feeder rig was deployed, maggots in the feeder, worms anchored by a quickstop, hook a QM1.

The other rod, a PVA bag of freebies, chopped boilie, small pellet topped with a fishmeal bait. Now last time I was here I saw some carp sunning themselves on the surface so a floater set-up was also in the armoury, cocoons donned throughout the session.


I prefer quieter areas so with rods made up I’d also try a completely different area of the river where the same species exist.

Enough of the guff....

I was bankside pretty early and settled in a swim where I could reach some lily pads. Helicopter rig to my left and carp rig and pva bag of freebies on the right rod.

It really was gin clear which I don't think would help the fishing as after a couple of hours without even a knock it was time to move.

The next swim looked far more inviting, it had been raked of weed which was stacked in the margins and a nice thicket of lilies to my right.


The boilie bait straight out in front, the helicopter rig to my right.

I got bites straight away here on the lobworm but after a couple or three small Perch and little chublets that wanted to be caught I changed to a small trimmed down boilie. Now after an hour after feeding small but often, eventually tell tale tiny bubbles started to appear, I assume a Tench, one at least was getting it's head down.

The more I though about the swim I was fishing was that the lift method and using a float would be far better suited. It's well off the main flow here so more or less static and I was fishing fairly close in anyway here so a feeder was probably overkill.

It was also much deeper here which would help considering it was so clear.


Not long after the bubbles started it was time to leave as one of the kids had a party, usually the way. Encouraging signs mind you so not all lost. So I might give it a go anyway soon, this time though the main rod a float set-up and the other maybe a small method feeder with a small yellow boilie or a small pellet. This time also, a bigger bed of bait as I'm sure I didn't have enough down.

I'm a Tench novice even on stillwaters so to catch one on the river for this challenge, ain't going to be easy.

Oh and the carp rod, apart from  a couple of tentative bites, diddly squat.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Big Guggs and Camel Toes

The Zander challenge disappointments and its inevitable motivation bollock kicking ability I’m now back fishing and well up for it. A recent family Holiday in (not) much sunnier climes, what with work and the busy family life, I've struggled to get out on the bank so three bleeding weeks without dangling ones maggot, hmmm not good.

Hopefully I’ll try and increase my session frequency especially as for this season I have an option of fishing in to dark if need be.

That's when hopefully the proper monsters will appear....



The kids can be full on sometimes and I’ve said before without a little solitude and a little time for myself I’d probably go off one’s rocker.

Usually I would try and fish the 16th but to be honest I’m not sure about anyone else but usually the first few months on the return to the rivers are usually quiet rod wise so I wasn’t really that bothered to be fair. Anyway, the Wife bless her cotton socks was on a Hen Do for the weekend dolled up as Su Pollard from Hi-de-Hi in yellowcoats leaving me to entertain 2 young monkeys determined to cause havoc.

Yes don't worry I didn’t forget to mention the Sunday was Father Day too....



It's been uncomfortably hot over the last week so to be honest I haven't really had the motivation to go fishing and drag me away from feet dangling in the paddling pool and the inevitable gin and tonic.

Apart from the canal where I fish for Zander in the closed season and the odd friendly match here and there on stillwaters the rivers are where my heart is. I took part in the bloggers challenge last year where a last gasp capture of either a decent Zander or a Carp on the last day of the river season would have bumped me up in to second place behind fish machine James Dension and a nadger above Sean Dowling on the river leaderboard.

It went far better than expected too, with a 20lb river carp caught with no skill whatsoever, it was a mere underarm chuck of a boilie bait in to the margins to try and trap a patrolling carp.


Angling is lots of luck after all…

The Bleak British record is only 4oz’s so some drug dealers scales are required, these Salter Precision Digital Micro Digital Scales where about the best I could muster up.

Metric and Imperial, job’s a good’un….

Now the other species I plan to target the river and locations have already been mapped out more or less, so it is a matter of getting on with it, get those species crossed off and the points totting up.

Sam wanted to catch his first Gudgeon, so I also planned to try for them on the diminutive river Stour where I know some Ruffe could be caught too, maggots catch anything that swims after all so they will feature quite a lot in this season’s campaign.



So for this short evening session to get some initial points on the challenge board, starting off small and get bigger, I wanted to fish amongst the swims at an area I refer to as the Camel Toe. This unusual area of the Avon I fish mainly in the winter for Chub as it feature filled, but there is one swim that bleak are in residence from the season off and in numbers too, and another swim that usually has some clonking Gonks, so with a trotting set-up for the Bleak and a light link set-up for the bottom feeding Gudgeon what would be the biggest I could manage.

They might not even be there, the rivers change so much….So anyway, back on to the session.



Exactly as planned the target species were in the swims. What was nice to see was the state of the river, the amount of fish was incredible, I should have come with my keepnet. The Kingfishers were as active as ever, the river looking alive.

Fish caught, Bleak, Gudgeon, Dace, Chub, Minnows....

So as usual the fish started small and got bigger.

Biggest Bleak, 1.06oz a battle scared warrior and the biggest Gudgeon a nice gonk at 1.26oz's that came at dusk.


Now I know there are much bigger Bleak to be had on the Lower Severn, so my quest isn't over for them yet, but the Gonk is about the biggest I've had and I doubt the Stour will throw up something bigger so that will have to be the scores on the doors.

So, so nice to be back on flowing water....

Friday, 16 June 2017

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam

At my local B&M store, and only a quid a tin....


Looking forward to trying it out when I get a chance :-(
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...