These early morning's closing in mean it wont be long till jack frost is knocking at our early morning doors letting us know winter is on its way and that got me thinking about what my plans for this winter will be. Winter on the Dee will see me targeting the vast shoals on dace that shoal up on the deeper stretches and also see me chasing the lady of the stream, the grayling, on the many tributaries that run into this majestic river. This year though I will also be trying for a fat river Dee pike, not a species I normally target but one I will be dedicating a few trips too in the colder months, if you are a regular reader of my blog you will know I managed to snare a few this summer up to 5lb but this winter i am setting my sights for their mothers!!!
on to this weeks fishing......
Saturday 24th September
This week saw the three of us back on the river Dee on a much deeper, well known stretch of the river at Eccleston Ferry. The river here is situated on the lower reaches of the Dee and that is shown in the pace and depth of the river which goes to over 15ft in places on this stretch and to be honest is more known as a winter stretch than anything.
As some of you will remember me and my uncle visited this stretch a few months ago and come 9am the place resembled more a boating regatta than a calm stretch of river but recently we had heard this boat traffic had quietened down so we decided it was worth another visit.
My swim for the day had a large tree to the right and the flow came straight off the end of its branches and that is where I started to set up a trotting line. My uncle was further upstream and my dad below me fishing the swim feeder just off the tree.
The fishing was really tough going for us all to be honest and although we all caught a few fish they where not of the quality we had come accustomed to on the other stretches. The best fish for me came around 9am and is the pristine roach shown above which shows the potential this water has for silver fish. The trotting line died completely on me not long after that roach and I decided to move onto the pole close in as the water was really deep just yards from the bank.
Although the water was easily over 7ft deep in the slack behind the tree and the bait was going straight down to the bottom it failed to yield even a minnow which is very strange for this river. I stuck to my guns and gave the swim a good two hours of baiting with no success and decided that being on such a picturesque spot to go for a walk armed with my digital camera and have put my findings in this short video below.
Unfortunately on my walk I also came across a swim where some anglers had been fishing earlier and had decided it was okay to leave all their crap on the bank, these people represent a small fraction of our sport thankfully but with all things the minority ruin it for the majority and the mess shown below is totally unacceptable, full stop!!
When I got back to our swims my uncle had started to get a few fish and was also into a decent fish that looked to be a lot better than anything we had caught so far. A quick change into gillie mode and the fish was safely in the landing net and ready to have its picture taken.
A belting roach and again shows the potential of this stretch the hard thing is getting the shoal nailed down over your hemp seed and I am sure this stretch will also hold a lot of pike in winter and will be a stretch I will be targeting them on in the colder months. The fishing till be packed up at 2pm got slower and slower and to be honest this stretch will be one we will visit later in the year again. Saturdays results where a little disappointing but like I have said before this year on the Dee is a learning curve and there are going to be hard days along the way.
Sunday 25th September
One thing the fishing on Saturday did do was leave me with a mountain of hemp, castor's and maggots and I decided to see just how many fish I could catch fishing these small baits on flushing meadows. So armed with these small baits and nothing else but a small tin of sweetcorn I made my way to flushing and as the fishery doesn't open till 7am it was a nice late start and I enjoyed a lie in, well compared to our river trips that is.
Arriving at the fishery to find the farmer driving up the track after just opening the gates I knew I would have the choice of swims and decided to again fish the "snake lake" and the same swim as last week, mainly because I still had my rigs made up from last week and knew it would be simple task to get fishing in the minimum amount of time.
I set up two lines, one top 6 rig fished straight out out in front which I "filled in" with pots of hemp and corn as soon as I arrived and another rig line the same length of pole along the margin to my right which I also fed heavily with hemp and castor's at the same time. That done all that was left to do was the simple task of putting on my rigs and putting my umbrella up as the sky had all of a sudden gone dark grey and on queue a heavy shower blew through the fishery.
Most anglers would get downhearted by this downpour but the weather was mild and I knew this rain would play into my hands as the fish would no doubt react to this rain by coming into the margins looking for natural food being washed off the overhanging trees and my margin line was as natural as it gets.
My fist put in on my margin line saw this nice roach come to the net and I am convinced it it impossible to blank on this fishery as it is absolutely stuffed with fish and I am convinced if keep nets where allowed you would struggle to lift the net at the end of a session on here. My target today was to see just how many fish I could catch on just small baits and this was a great start to the day and the fish came one after the other for the first half an hour, not all big fish but still a fish. After each fish no mater how big or small a pot of maggot or casters went in over the top and after every few put ins I potted in a full pot of hemp.
On this water that amount of bait going in eventually attracts the attention of its larger species and it wasn't long before my double caster on a size 16 hook was "scoffed" by a carp, this scenario was more than expected on my part so I set my white hydro as tight as I dared. I do have two power kits with black hydro in but to be honest I knew most of the fish I would be catching on the day would be small to large silvers and I still wanted to get a bit of a fight from them, black hydro just would not allow this. White hydro would allow the smaller fish to put up a fight and also give me a chance with the carp that would undoubtedly make an appearance.
After that carp carp I expected the smaller fish to move back in but the swim stayed quiet and I could see the bait falling clearly through the swim. A quick sneak along the bank showed their to be a fair few carp in the swim, an anglers dream!!.
Literally as soon as the bait hit the bottom along with the pot on bait it was away again and off into the middle of the fishery, this fish although a lot smaller than the previous had definitely had its two weetabix and had me in all kinds of trouble as it decided to head for the back of the island on the picture, I was sure the hook would pull but a quick decision to put the pole tip under the water saw the fish turn and once down to my top two came in quietly.
The water above my swim still showed the lazy swirls caused by carp feeding and to be honest I couldn't get my bait in fast enough and I am not ashamed to say I my arms where a bit shakey as the float made its way out to the swim. The bait this time settled on the bottom for what seemed like an age before it slid lazily away and again I was into another carp, three carp in as many casts and already was easily over 10lb of carp.
After the last carp I certainly thought the game was up as when it bolted the swim erupted and the true magnitude of the carp in the swim was shown as bow waves rolled across the fishery. I decided to rest the swim and potted in a few pots of hemp and castor's and sat back and enjoyed a well earned cup of tea. Half way through my brew I couldn't believe my eyes as the oily swirls returned over where I had just potted in the hemp and castor's minutes earlier, the brew could wait as I quickly got the rig back out there and again latched into another water pig.
After this fish the carp really did leave the swim as the next put in resulted in a small roach, in fact so did the next put in and the one after the fishing on here truly was too easy. I started counting how many fish in a set period and in a five minute period I caught 15 roach and a 2 small Ide, ridiculous fishing which soon got boring.
I hoped that some of this bait was getting to the bottom and I knew that is where the bigger fish would be, with that I bulked some weights on the line and my instincts where proven right with the nice ide shown above. I lost count at the amount of silver fish I caught throughout the day both on the drop and on the bottom of the margin line. Quick forays over my middle line on corn saw me catch the odd skimmer bream but compared to my frantic margin line it was pitifully slow. I did try in vein to get some castor's down on my middle line but it was quite clear by the swirls no bait was getting more than a foot below the surface before being picked up by the shoals of silver fish.
It was back over to my margin line and i decided to feed both by hand and by cad pot at the same time and it was during one of these loose fed offerings I saw my first flash of golden orange as a strange coloured fish kept shooting in and out of the rain of maggots. I had to catch this fish and all attention was focused on catching this oriental visitor to my swim.
To say it got out of hand was an understatement as I caught roach after roach but eventually after what must have been a good hour or two (it really did get out of hand) of trying he slipped up on a single caster and maggot combo.
God knows what species of fish it is, I think it is a ide and golden orfe cross which are also stocked into the fishery as well as blue orfe. The fish was a joy to look at and its colours where so bright and it definitely lit up a grey day on the bank, worth the days peg fee on its own.
The swim continued to be nice to me throughout the rest of the day with roach, ide and rudd coming thick and fast. I did have one more carp on the margin swim shown below.
I left the fishery content with my efforts and if this is a bad fishery fish wise I can only dream how good the other fisheries in the area are. This commercial fishing truly is something else and I can see its appeal to people who only have a few hours each week and want to be guaranteed a decent catch of fish. Now I have well and truly broken my commercial duck this year I am sure I now would feel comfortable on one of the better known commercials and intend to fish some of these next year.
Next week looks to be a late autumn scorcher so rumor has it we will be back on the Dee on Saturday but Sundays location is as yet unknown.
till next week