Tuesday, 13 September 2011

high winds and floods........ide better grab my rods and get out there....

  This weekend goes to show just how dangerous river fishing can be, my hometown of Runcorn escaped the majority of the rain during the week and although we had the odd prolonged downpour it was nothing to be worried about and I thought would only give our local rivers a much needed flush through of water, how wrong I was!!.
  As has become normal now on a Friday night I checked the Environment Agency website to see what the river levels are like on the river we are visiting the following day.  To my surprise the river Dee according to the site was running well over  6 metres high, this level would be about normal for fishing in winter but for early autumn it came as a real surprise to me.  It just goes to show that it doesn't matter what the weather is like where you live it is all down to whats happening weather wise high up in the welsh mountains. 

  Just to show how a bit of flood water affects the river, below are two pictures, a picture taken two weeks ago and picture of the same swim taken on Saturday.  The river on Saturday had fallen a fair bit as well and the recent levels could be seen all along the bank and showed the river had fallen significantly in the past few days.

Two weeks ago (about as low as the river gets, 4.5 metres @ Farndon)

And the picture from last Saturday (over 6metres @ Farndon)

  As you can see the banks after a flood are very dangerous and care must be taken when accessing a swim if like this one its down some steep banks.  The pictures taken of the river in summer also come into their own now as well, just looking on my phone at the above picture told me what lay beneath the surface and how far out I needed to trot to avoid the bank side vegetation.

On to this weeks fishing.......

Saturday 10th September 2011

  Saturday morning and even while packing the car with the gear there was an cool breeze meandering through the trees opposite my house, wind this early in the morning from experience is never a good sign for the day to come.  The car loaded and we where on our way off to the River Dee to the stretch we fished a few weeks back and did so well on.  The three of us all had decided on Friday that trotting would be our chosen methods of attack so our bait boxes where heavily laden with maggots, hemp and Castor's.

  Two months ago arriving at the river at 5.30am would see you bathed in early morning rays of sunlight but not now the clock said 5.30am and it was still dark as we parked the car up and began unloading the gear, bags that once used to carry every bit of tackle we owned had been put on a crash diet due to the long walk to the river and only the essentials for that days fishing where brought along, this also meant I left my pole at home which would in the end prove to be a costly error.

  We eventually arrived at the final field and we got our first glimpse of the river and she was well up the bank, falling from the look of the tide marks up the banks and was really pulling through at a rate of knots in the main channel.  The last few weeks we have really timed our journey time dead on and this week was no exception as no sooner had we arrived at the river banks than the light was clear enough to set set up in and we all settled down into our chosen swims.

River fishing is not for the faint hearted as just below the water line lay 6ft of water we have it so easy on the commercials don't we:

  My swim was the same one as a few weeks ago just about 3ft further up the bank, my dad set up on the corner down stream and my uncle, who was the only one of us unfortunate enough not to be able to get down the bank to his swim as it was well under water set up behind a tree on his pole in the slack. 

  The fishing was a lot harder than we had experienced in recent weeks and for the first hour we didn't have an awful lot to show for our efforts and to make matters worse the wind was picking up really badly.  I personally had picked up around three or four fish but they where all what you would call decent fish while my dad and uncle also had got about the same from their chosen swims so far, all the fish came on maggot, for some reason none of us could buy a bite on caster.

  After a while the wind really got up on my stretch of river and my dad on the bend was having it even worse but my uncle did manage to find a more secluded run and set up a trotting line and was having some success catching some nice dace and some really good grayling.

  The stretch over the past few weeks has screamed chub and barbel to me in a big way but it is so hard sitting there waiting it out for a big fish knowing you could be catching but weights of silver fish trotting, with the weather being so bad today and trotting being nearly impossible I decided there was no better time to wait it out on a bigger bait and I quickly made up the rig above.  A simple maggot feeder with a ESP Stripteaze hook length with a korum

  The swim chosen and with around two hours till we packed up for the day I settled into the peg and began to build up a bit of bait along the crease in the river behind the tree.  Meanwhile my dad moved up onto my peg but in all honesty he was fighting a loosing battle with the wind constantly blowing the line into the nearside  bank and making bait presentation impossible.

  From my chosen peg I could clearly see my uncle trotting away and in the gaps in the wind it was a bite a cast but the bites completely dried up once the wind got up again, looking at the reports afterwards there where gusts reported over 70kph. 

  The two hours flew by in a blur and although I have a few "knocks" on the feeder no proper bites where forthcoming although I was treated to some wonderful aerobatic displays from the resident buzzards who have made an appearance every time we have been and I must remember my camera next time so I can zoom in on them.  Other wildlife of note on the day was the pair of swans taking off in front of me, a flock of five cormorants struggling to follow the course of the river, the ever busy kingfisher's where also busy catching their mid morning minnow snack and later on in the day as we where packing away this small guy below made an appearance.

amazing what you see on the river bank:

The final bags where no where near the level of a few weeks ago, conditions seen to that but as you can see below there was some decent dace and roach caught in mine and my dads bag and my uncles net was far from a bad day at at the office and I continue to learn more and more from watching how he and my dad go about approaching the river Dee using trotting and feeder tactics respectively.

Mine and dads bag:

Better fish from the net:

Uncles net of fish:

  I regularly read another local anglers blog called "Roaming Free" by a man called Stu Maddocks and he often refers back to his many years spent on the banks of the river Dee as being him serving his apprenticeship with angling and that is the way you have to look at sessions like this you learn much more from tough sessions on the river than you do from the easy ones and I learned a great deal about the moody river Dee on Saturday and faced with the same situation again I would approach it very differently.

Sunday 11th September

  With a mountain of bait left over I made my way to Flushing Meadows Fishery and unusually I arrived at the gates to find no cars waiting for the fishery to open.  I have only ever fished the canal pond on flushing so far so for a change I decided to have a go on the more mature snake lake, my plan was to fish till around dinner time and be home before the forecast bad weather arrived.

the Swim:

  With the whole lake to myself I took my time in choosing a swim, with a small breeze already blowing on the first bit of the lake I decided to fish the middle of the snake on peg 6.  I chose this peg as it didn't look as breezy and also the margin on the picture above has no pegs on it so in my mind it looked like a natural "safe" spot for fish to hold on this pressured fishery.

  As I have said above I had quite a lot of bait left over from the river session and I also decided to take some cubes of meat should this lake be like the canal one and the silvers take over as  more maggots go in.  I decided to start off down the margin on top of the shelf using only my top 5 sections in case the winds rose and started by potting in a few kinder pots of hemp and Castor's. My first ship out and the bait didn't even get half way to the baited are before the bait was taken.

first fish:

  With so much bait at my disposal my plan was to bait the area heavily throughout the session with maggot, hemp and caster so even after this first small fish I again kept potting bait over the top and the roach kept on coming.  Expecting some carp action I was equipped with my usual power sections with black hydro elastic.
 The next fish came just as fast as the first on a double maggot and was what I call a palm fish and this size fish after while became the regular stamp of fish I could expect from a put in and they kept the really small roach at bay early on.

  After getting pestered with these roach before my bait even got to the bottom I decided to change my hook bait to a double caster and although it didn't stop the smaller roach from taking the bait on the way down I certainly noticed that a greater percentage of the time bait was getting through them to the bottom.  I had to wait a bit longer for a bite but when it came it was a fight like I had never felt before, it had the lunging power of a carp but the jagged fight of a roach and when I got the fish to the top I was surprised to see that it was an Ide.

You don't mind wading through small roach if you are you connect with one of these nice fish every so often and throughout the day I caught a lot of these fish and I did notice that when you got one you always got another almost as if the moved in as a shoal and you caught two of them before they moved off.  This first fish was no different as the very next put in accounted for this hard fighting ide.

    As the bait kept going in it was stupidly easy fishing with the swim alive with fish and roach and the occasional ide coming every put in.  This continued till all of a sudden the bites died and the float settled and I knew this could only mean one thing that bigger fish had moved in and cleared the silver fish out, my money was on carp but a slight knock on the float which I hit resulted in a fish hell bent for getting me in the side of the lake in the over hanging snags, this was not normal for a carp as they usually make a determined run for the deeper water where as this fish was keeping deep and making hard determined runs an even on black hydro i couldn't bully the fish at all!! After a pro longed fight the fish came to the net and was a fin perfect big perch and came as a real surprise as I didn't know they had been stocked and to be honest I had my heart set on it being my first still water barbel.

Nice stripey!

  As soon as I caught this fish the silver fish moved back in and the steady stream of roach was restored and a few fish later the list of species for the day was added too with the battered crucian carp below, its tail was a right mess but it didn't stop if finding my bait.

  While I had been fishing the margin I was flicking pieces of meat out to a middle swim at the bottom of the shelf and I was starting to see the tell tale signs of fish moving over the area so a quick change over to me deeper top two kit and the float was instantly buried as soon as the bait hit the bottom and I was into my first carp of the day and boy it felt good, when I first started catching carp this year on the pole I worried about loosing these fish but now I am at the stage where I now am relaxed and I take my time and just enjoy the fight they put up.

 The fishing on the meat was far slower than in the margin swim on maggot but I decided to give it some time and kept putting maggot and hemp in by hand over my margin swim.  The meat approach as I said was painfully slow and I was just about to swap back over when the float shot under and I was into another carp that had me all over the swim in front of me and at one point I was sure the elastic was going to come flying back at me but amazingly the fish turned and for the rest of the fight fought it out under the pole tip and eventually tired its self out.  This fish is easily the most beautiful fish I have ever caught the mixture of colours along the flank of the fish and the mottled dark markings on it head had me staring at the fish for a good while and now even looking back at it I cant believe how stunning it looked.

Here are a few pics I took:

 After this fish I didn't care if I did not catch another fish but this being flushing meadows that was never going to happen and it wasn't long before another species was added to the list with a slimy bream taking a liking for my cube of luncheon meat.

  I fished the swim out with what little meat I had left but could only muster a few roach that managed to hook themselves whilst knocking the cube of meat on the bottom and I ultimately moved back over to my margin swim that I had been baiting heavily and by now the fish where well up in the water and some big fish had grown in confidence and where taking the free offerings with gusto and for the next few hours I lost count at the number of big fish I took on this method with big ide, Rudd and roach all coming to the net one after the other.  I have got so many pictures on my phone from this session I had to do some quality control and here is some of the better fish I caught up in to water on maggot and caster.

  As an angler that loves catching a mixed bag of fish this session was one to remember and I only wish this place had one slight rule change to allow anglers to use keep nets for silver fish as I would love to have known what weight of fish I caught on Sunday.  I will be visiting this lake again next time I go again just for the variety of species it holds and would love to get my first still water barbel on the pole before it gets too cold.
The session for me though on Sunday will be remembered  for that uniquely marked carp which for me will take some beating in the future.

Till next week tight lines



  1. Hi Danny,
    Sorry mate i thought i had already joined your blog, But i must have missed it out somwhere alon the line,
    Man i just love the pictures of the back of the carp, Stunning,
    Sorry again, Sorted now and i will put a link to your blog in the right hand column of mine,
    Best of luck,

  2. cheers paddy mate, the carp for a while i thought was a barbel due to the flashes of light under the surface but cant complain as its easy the nicest carp ive ever caught and its scale pattern just makes it even better. keep up the blog mate enjoy reading your piking exploits :-)

    tight lines mate