Monday, 31 October 2011

Winds of change blow hard on the Dee......

  Driving along the dark country road towards the river Dee my head clogged with the memories of last week and the delights that lay in front of me, talk along the way from my dad and uncle of past trips to the Dee in years gone bye in the pursuit of monster of the deep only fueled my imagination as in my mind the day would pay out like I had dreamed in the week.  The swim would be the same as last week and the fish where as ravenous as ever, crawling up the line and into the keep net, today just had to be another dream session on the Dee.

  The headlights cut through the dark country lane illuminating my path to the river bank and before I knew it we where pulling into the car park and the lights slowly lit up the pegs only for the pegs from last week to be taken and a pike angler bivvy'd up on the peg I was on last week!! my midweek dreams up in smoke in split second but not to be dismayed we knew that the whole stretch was fishing well and we set up on some of the more less fancied pegs.


  With the days getting shorter every day travelling to our destinations during the hours of darkness is essential and will become even more so the deeper we get into winter.  With that in mind I decided to purchase a decent torch for setting up in our chosen pegs as soon as we arrive and as others waited it out in their cars for the first rays of dawn to break through we where busy setting up our pegs and the torch was even enough for us to thread up out rods in its glow, by day break we where all set to cast in.

  The forecast for the day ahead was for some small showers and moderate winds and for once the weatherman was correct.  The swim I chose was the same one as two weeks ago and I knew from that trip their was a bad snag further down the swim so today I would have to try and get the fish where I wanted them and I knew from past experience this can be a all or nothing tactic and I set myself a target of twenty fish.  Sometimes you have to be realistic about the swim your fishing and accept you can only catch what is there in front of you on that day and with that in mind I began to lay my trap of hemp.


  The swim I chose shown above has a tree upstream and a overhanging tree downstream and the flow can be reached quite easily around two rod lengths out but that line was out of the question today due to the snag downstream and the wind which was blowing into my face.  The church in the distance not only beautiful to look at also serves as a reminder of the time and really doesn't help you judge if you are overfeeding or not putting enough bait in.  As you can see on the far bank the cold weather of the past week has already began to claim its first victims of the year with a lot of the bank vegetation turning a dead brown, roll on the first frost which will open up the swims further and make viewing your float a lot easier as it travels downstream.

Vegetation dying back:

  As I said earlier the wind can be a real problem on the river when trotting and can really be the kiss of death and the only way you know how each stretch will be in certain conditions is to get out there on the bank for example I knew from experience that the "bull stretch" would be a no go on Saturday due to how open and exposed it is to the elements and although the river level was spot on for that particular stretch the wind there would be really blowing downstream and would make trotting impossible.  The other side of the coin is we knew the stretch we had chose to travel too would be calm in comparison due to the high rock formations behind the pegs which shelter it from the worst of the wind and although not ideal at least here the wind was manageable.

Protection from the wind:

  After the success of last week on castor's I decided this week to go with an all out castor approach and purchased a pint of castor instead of my usual half pint and only took along a pint of maggot in case they were not having it on castor.  The swim was slow to begin with and it took a while for the fish to start coming with any regularity but what I was catching was a lot of very fat gudgeon, one after another and being an all round angler as long as that floats going under I am a happy man.

Plump Gudgeon 


The gudgeon seemed to be holding a line closer to the bank in the slacker water and every now and again the wind would subside and the trot would hold a better line, when this happened I started to get dace of all sizes and with great regularity until the wind returned and it was back to the ravenous gudgeon.  During the day I always like to take in the wildlife around me and sometimes get caught up in the moment and forget to grab the camera but when two swans strutted upstream wings puffed out with aggression looking to dominate a younger swan which still carried a great deal of brown down I quickly grabbed the camera.  The two groups of swans where swimming head on till the smaller swan got the message and then swiftly turned on its heels and made a break for it.



  The session again flew bye and before we knew it it was time to get together and see how we all had done, my dad had said he had caught a few decent dace but had missed countless bites on the feeder, both me and my uncle trotting knew why as we were catching a lot of this years dace fry which would be nearly impossible to hit on the feeder where they give lightning bites but with our floats dotted right down we were managing to get them on the float, my uncle had also been catching some nice dace and gudgeon but also mixed in he had caught a few perch on the pole while myself had a mixed net of gudgeon, dace and a nice roach.

uncles stripeys:

My uncles net:

My net of fish:

One picture that for me sums up a good days fishing is the scene of your keep nets drying out after you have finished fishing and today was no different.

  Next week we have already decided that we are visiting a new venue, after weeks of fishing the river Dee a change is definitely overdue, of course this decision will depend on the levels of the river we have our eye on but fingers crossed.

till next time

tight lines 

danny

Monday, 24 October 2011

Dace Dee-light on the river.......

  A week on from posting that you can now follow the blog on twitter by adding @satonmyperch I can report that so far it has 12 followers which for a first week is not bad at all and well surpassed my expectations and I must admit I am really enjoying exploring this new community of anglers that exist on twitter.  Such a vast array of fishing all come together on this great tool from carp anglers to maggot danglers there all part of this network of anglers and also what a great avenue to contact and follow the more well known anglers in our sport like Martin Bowler and Steve Ringer who regularly give out some great hints and tips.

On to this weeks fishing.....

Saturday22nd October.

  The cold weather last week tried its best to grab a firm hold on our country and for the first few days of the week it looked like we where certain to experience the first frost of the year by the weekend.  The mornings where ice cold and the early morning wind had a real chill to it, great I thought and long may it continue as this would see my target silver species shoal up and become easier to pin down to where I want them and also it would see some of the big pike start moving into the deeper areas of the river as they follow their prey, the shoals of dace.

  The cold weather though was only a brief visitor and by Friday morning the barometer had certainly risen a few degrees as I made my way into work, my head full of excitement for the weekend to come and as ever optimistic for the challenge ahead.  As always decisions had to be made about which venue we where due to visit the next day and after great deliberation we decided against the River Dane and chose to again visit the River Dee and what a great decision that proved to be.................

  The River Dee at Farndon was the chosen venue and with the river carrying a bit of water and having a tinge of colour to it I knew we where in for a good day.  I set up in a new swim to last week for a change of scenery and just before I started to fish I took a picture of my bait tray and my method of attack, some things never change.

Bait Waiter:


  The peg I chose to fish was in essence a silly peg to have chose given the high winds that where forecast due to how open and exposed it was but I just had a feeling about the swim and decided to bite the bullet.  My uncle set up a few pegs upstream which meant I was on my own tactics wise and it was up to me to put into practice all I had been taught by him over the last few months on the river.

the swim


  As you can see the swim was really exposed and to be honest was a peg I should have walked past as when we arrived we had a choice of all the swims on the beat.  All set and ready for the first cast of the day I got speaking to a few regulars and they explained there was a match due on the other bank later on in the morning, Great!! I though as this usually meant for me a day of sitting without a bite while the match length caught an endless amount of fish, but that was then and I thought to myself how far I have come as an angler since then and it was time to put it all into practice. 

  To be honest there is not a lot I can say about the fishing other than it was a dream session I caught fish from the off and for the first hour I was catching quality dace every cast and boy did it feel good.  The fishing was how you dream it to be with the fish coming at the same spot down the run every trot down as my bait reached to point when my free offerings where hitting the bottom.  The fishing for the whole session was first class with fish coming steadily for the whole time I was there.  

  The wind obviously had a say on the proceedings and made bite detection really difficult at times but even after three hours I knew I had already had my best day ever on the Dee and could not complain one bit.  My uncle visited my peg and was also having a good day on the stick float but was also having some real trouble with the resident pike with him having two fish taken on the strike and even hooking one pike for a few minutes before it bit through the line, good signs for my pike quest and from this week I will be putting out a sleeper rod if the swim I am fishing allows it.

  The session like all good things came to and end far to quickly and it was time to see what was in the nets, we started with mine and I knew it was something special, for me at least.  Lifting the net out it felt like it weighed a tonne and as I saw what was in the bottom I was over the moon.

My net of fish:


My uncles net:

  To put into perspective how much this net of fish means to me I take you back to last winter on the Dee on the same stretch I set out to try my hand at trotting, not really knowing how to do it and having only basic knowledge of what I was doing picked up from watching what I thought the people who where catching around me where using.  I sat there while everyone around me pulled out fish after fish from the peg above me and below, not to mention the anglers on the far bank match also getting a bite a cast.  Its times like that when you realise you are doing something seriously wrong and I can say without any apprehension that this was the lowest ever point of my angling life.  Saturday I was catching fish after fish after fish while people in the match across from me struggled for bites and after being in that situation I did feel for then but deep down I could not help feeling a great sense of satisfaction and really felt for the first time ever on the river like I had cracked it and what a great feeling it was from where I was only last December.

Sunday 23rd October 

  My dad had stayed at home the previous day due to recovering from a bad flu bug the previous two weeks but we decided that a fishing trip was long overdue and we made our way to the Dee for a short session.  My dad started off on the feeder and I started by trotting the few maggots I had left from the session the previous day.  

  The fishing gods really where shining down on us this weekend as me and my dad proceeded over the next 5 hours to take no fewer than 8 grayling over the pound mark with the specimen below being the best of the bunch going 2lb 4oz on the scales.


  The session did have one bad point though when a flock of 18 cormorants flew over head, this bird was a problem last year on the river with then landing on farndon in great numbers and talking vast numbers of fish.  The birds, i thought where now under control due to the lack of sightings of them recently but this flock has got me worried as a flock of birds in that number could devastate a stretch of river if they land on it daily.

  Both me and my dad enjoyed our session on the Dee on Sunday and looking at the net at the end we had no room to complain and we left two very happy anglers.

the net:

 ONE WORD OF WARNING TO ANY NEW ANGLERS TO GRAYLING FISHING IF YOU ARE GOING TO KEEP THESE FISH IN YOUR KEEP NET TIME MUST BE TAKEN TO HOLD THE FISH IN THE LANDING NET IN YOUR KEEP NET WHILE THEY RECOVER FULLY WHICH WILL NORMALLY TAKE UPWARDS OF 5 MINUTES I NORMALLY LET THEM GO AS I CATCH THEM BUT KEPT THEM ON SUNDAY FOR A FINAL PICTURE OF THE BAG AT THE END.

That is all for this week and I done forget you can follow me on twitter by adding @satonmyperch 

till next week

tight lines 

danny

Monday, 17 October 2011

Short carping session and trotting the dee plus blog update...

  This week I made the decision to set up a twitter account for the blog, you can follow me by adding @satonmyperch to your list of people you follow on twitter.  I will be using the twitter account to provide weekly updates as soon as the blog is updated as well as updates from the bank and will also be posting throughout the week about all things to do with fishing.  You can easily follow me by clicking on the link situated on the right hand side of the blog. I have also added a widget to the side bar as well showing my latest activity on the twitter account and I do hope if you are on twitter you decide to follow me on there as well as the blog.


  The past few months have been hectic and although I have been updating the blog on a weekly basis I feel I have been neglecting some of the other pages I have set up, mainly due to spending all my free time during the weekend fishing, but I have been toying with a few ideas of late that I hope to put into fruition in the coming weeks that I hope some of you new and old to fishing may find helpful.

On to this weeks fishing....

Saturday 15th October

  After a week of thinking about nothing but the coming weekends fishing my plans changed form day to day but eventually my schedule for the weekend was firmly set in stone late on Thursday evening when the weather forecast predicted some late autumn sun.  The plan was simple to get up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and try and winkle out a final few carp from flushing meadows before returning home before 1pm to catch the derby match between Man United and Liverpool whilst Sunday would see my on the banks of the River Dee again.

  The alarm clock echoed in my ear with its pulsating unforgiving monotonous tone but unlike in the week where this noise would be greeted with a groan and a moan as I strived for the compulsory "five more minutes" this was a Saturday morning and the noise was met with me shooting out of bed as the electric buzz that only comes with the excitement of a days fishing shot through my veins and after a quick breakfast and my flask of coffee made it was off into the darkness on my way to the fishery.

  My arrival at the car park at flushing meadows was greeted with an icy cold blast as I began unloading the gear from the car, my breath clearly visibly showing me that we were not far off our first frost of the year.  The icy cold air was obviously down to the lack of cloud cover through the night and from experience I also knew this lack of cloud cover would see us basked in sunshine once the sun rose from its overnight slumber.


  My method of attack for the day was my 13 metre pole and would see a final outing for of the year for my black hydro top two kits as after Saturday I will only be using my pole for silver fishing on the river and local canals as we move deeper towards winter.  Saturday also saw the first outing for my new pole sock and I have to say what an ingenious piece of kit it is as up to this point I had been using my bank stick and I have to say it made the fishing so much easier, highly recommended.

  I set my target for the morning at two carp and with the cold weather I expected to find the fish on the bottom of the nearside shelf so I started out on a top 5 rig and lightly fed a mixture of corn and meat although my feeding was not as heavy as on previous visits due to the conditions and my short time schedule, I wanted to attract the fish in and catch them quickly and was in essence fishing for one fish at a time.

The swim:

  The early morning came and went in a flash and before I knew it the sun was creeping through the gaps in the tree to my right its glow warming my face and lighting up the far margin which was showing signs of activity with carp cruising up in the water and the unmistakable sound of a carp sucking against the far bank giving them away.

The Far margin:

  After a little reorganisation of my pole roller I was ready to to fish at my poles maximum length of 13 metres right up tight against the far bank, you almost have to imagine the far bank has a really undercut bank like cave and you are trying to get your bait right inside their where the carp feel safe.  My bait had not been in position more than 20 seconds when the float slid away and eventually sunk into the carps underwater labyrinth, a sharp lift of the pole and I was connected with my first carp of the session.  Having now lost count at the amount of carp I have caught on the pole all the apprehension of breaking my pole has gone and I am now at a stage where I just enjoy the fight and boy did this pint sized carp fight, half way to the target...

First carp of the day

Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth it was straight back over to the far side again to see if I could winkle out another fish as although the last fish put up a valiant fight it did so down the marginal shelf towards the middle of the pool so I hoped its initial run had not spooked any of the other residents of the far bank shelf.  When I fist started pole fishing at distance the pole felt really heavy and clumsy but you quickly learn there is an art to holding the pole and I think I have got my stance well tuned as while waiting for my next bite I had a chance to admire the wealth of wildlife on show at this fishery in total I remember counting two birds of prey in the resident buzzard and a really hungry kestrel which working a nearby field as well as countless species of birds from the local heron to my first robin of the year, no doubt encouraged by my overflowing pot of maggots as I have said before British wildlife is a big part of a days fishing for me.





  Caught in the bliss of the moment surrounded by all the songs of the wild I failed to notice my float going under and the only thing I knew about having a fish on was the feeling of my pole moving in my hard as the carp erupted from the swim causing bow waves across the whole pool the fish like all the fish put up a spirited fight but at around two to three pound was soon worn out and in the net and a quick glance at my watch revealed the time to be 10.45am and it was mission accomplished.

  With the mornings target in the bag anything now would be a bonus and with all the commotion of the previous fish I knew the far margin would be quiet for around half an hour so I tried the nearside margin but it was unusually quiet.  During a session on the fishery you can almost guarantee a fish from under your feet but today was different as the normal signs of carp stirring up the bottom as they gorge on the bait that has fell in as you are baiting up was non existent which reflected in me spending the next half an hour hunched like an expectant heron in vein.


  A quick look over to the far margin showed the fish had moved back in over my bait and it was back over to the far margin and it wasn't long before my piece of luncheon meat coated in my special spice mix attracted the attention of a carp and what a lovely marked carp it was with a full set of scales across its back and I couldn't help thinking what a cracking carp it will be once it gets around 10 to 12 pound in the next few years.
  Midday came and went and it was a case of one last cast syndrome as one last cast turned to five as the the race against the clock to bag a last gasp bonus fish got out of hand and just as I was about to call it a day I connected with another carp which thankfully didn't put up too much of a fuss and was soon in the net and having its picture taken.


  With the fish returned to the water all that was left was the unenviable task of packing away all the gear which is never the best part of the day as we all know but after all was done I was home just before the match kicked off, my only comment on it is I wish I had stayed fishing such a boring game.

Sunday 16th October 

  In past weeks my fishing on the river Dee has taken up the bulk of my blog report for that week so this week I decided to devote the bulk of the blog to the carp fishing which would allow me to put my full concentration into trying to get to grips with trotting the deep stretches of the river.



  Farndon was our chosen destination again and we set up in the same swims as last week hoping for similar results, from the off the fishing was a lot slower than last week for both of us and for some reason the "flow" of the swim changed dramatically throughout the session  which made fishing the same line very difficult as no sooner had I got a line going than the flow changed and I found myself putting my hemp in another location.

  I always say with river fishing that when the fishing is hard make sure you learn at least one lesson from the trip and on Sunday I learned a massive lesson in that no matter how slow the trot you can still catch some really large fish and it was after again watching my uncle trotting that I returned to my peg and stuck to my guns on a slower trot and the after a few smaller fish my perseverance was rewarded with some nice roach and dace. 

  My final net did not contain as many fish as last week but what it did contain was a better stamp of fish than the the previous week:

  My uncle in the next swim also caught a decent stamp of fish with one real stand out roach showing the potential of the river and also had another of a similar size taken by a pike on last knockings which engulfed the fish whole so also shows the potential of this stretch to produce a large pike of which I have witnessed a 23lb pike banked last year.

nice roach:

My uncles final net of fish:


  The weather this week is due to change dramatically with rain and sleet due to be coupled with a drop in temperature, if this is the case next weekend may see me visit the intimate river Dane for its chub which would be a good change of scenery.  If the weather doesn't materialise I am hopefully going to travel light on a tributary of the river Dee for grayling or try the main river for a barbel.

Don't forget to follow the blog on twitter to find out first hand where I decide to go and get a glimpse at some snippets of the blog before they go live.

till next week

tight lines

Danny

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Silver fishing on the River Dee at Farndon....

 
After around two to three months of fishing both Saturday and Sunday continuously I purposely decided early on last week that I would only be fishing one day come the weekend to one, give me a little break and two to catch up on the mountain or errands that have crept up over the weeks and to be honest as we delve deeper into winters grasp there will be a gradual decline towards a one day a week approach which isn't anything new in my angling year but will have an effect on the blog in that the updates will not be as long as normal, obviously as there is one day less to report on but this will not effect the frequency of my updates which will continue to be posted weekly.

 With that out of the way lets get onto this weeks fishing:

Saturday 09th October


  I recently got asked in an email from a regular reader of the blog, who contacted me via the "contact me"  page on the blog, asking if I had any tips I could give him regarding river fishing and  I replied with tips on what to look for feature wise and what rigs I use etc but I thought I would share with you the biggest tool in my armory as a river fisherman and that is the Environment Agency Water Level site found here http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/default.asp.  This site gives you the current level of the river at certain points along its course and if you are lucky one of the water stations will be situated at your chosen destination like mine was this week.  Studying this chart before and after you go fishing you can get to learn the river you are fishing and how catch rates and conditions change in relation to the water level and whether or not the river is rising of dropping after a recent down pour, it also will save you a lot of money in petrol as you can see before you travel if the river is in flood and unfishable, a brilliant source of information.

Saturdays destination was dictated by the weather and with high winds and rain due this weeks destination would have to be easily accessible and easy to "batten down" against the weather on.  One destination sprung straight to mind and that was Farndon and that is where we headed for.As I said earlier this stretch has one of the environment agency water level station situated on it and it was this graph I monitored during the week and is shown below:

River levels over the past 48 hours

  As you can see the river was carrying around half a metre of water which considering the amount of rain we have had the past week was about right and as the river had stopped rising when we were due to arrive on Saturday morning it meant we were in with a good chance of a few fish.

  The river Dee at Farndon is well known in angling circles as being a top dace and pike venue in the winter months and to be honest I thought we might struggle as its a venue I usually leave till a few weeks after the first frosts of the year to visit but after our success of late on the river I was really optimistic.


  We arrived at the river quite late on Saturday and it wasn't until the local church bells rang 8 times that I made my first cast.  As you can see the pegs at farndon are really sheltered and ideal for getting out of the wind.  This cover though will eventually die away to the point where you will be bale to see the person fishing the peg below and above you, good if your catching but soul destroying if your not and they are.

The church in the distance:


  My past visits to farndon have not been the best to be honest I really find it difficult when trotting swims over 7ft deep but in the past few months I have done more trotting and I set myself a target of just getting a few fish throughout the day but making sure I was accurate with my hemp and bait placement to get as much practice as possible in preparation for when the river is deeper in winter.

The swim I chose had a sunken tree at the end off the run which would stop re running the float down too far and also had a sunken tree at the top of my swim that would help me get my bait going in consistently at the same spot.

Few pictures of  the swim:

Upstream tree:


Downstream trot:

    As you can see on the bottom picture the downstream visibility was really hindered by some bank side vegetation hanging out over the river but this only really became a problem if I trotted down past my bed of hemp.  My bait for the river was the same as any other week with maggots, caster and hemp making up my line of attack.

Bait waiter:


 The day that was forecast to be wet and windy lived up to its name for the first twenty minutes at least as after that we were treated to flat calm conditions which came as a real surprise to say the least.  My uncle was the very next swim up from me and to say he got off to a flier was an understatement as every few seconds the peaceful noise of the world going by was broken by the unmistakable sound of an angler striking into fish and from the sound of it he was doing very well indeed.

  From my peg's point of view I made a slow but steady start and although my bait placement was spot on I was struggling with smaller fish, the bait was coming back battered but there was no indication on the float to show a bite, a change was needed and I scaled right down and manage to fish with some regularity and all over my baited area how I had planned and got to the stage where even if I hadn't caught another fish for the rest of the session I would still go home happy.

  During the morning I had a regular visitor to my swim in the form of a majestic swan that elegantly moved from angler to angler picking up any bait that had fallen into the margins, it constantly amazes me how close you can get to the birds on the river its almost as if they know the anglers pose no threat to them and it was a real privilege to get so close to this beautiful bird.

Visitor to the swim:


  I 
  
    The swan game and went throughout the whole morning just like the bites from the fish came and went from time to time although it never seemed to be the case from my uncles point of view who had set a target of 20 fish for the day when we first arrived, such a target now seemed silly as it was easily passed after the first hour.

  I did eventually get snagged on bottom which is par for the course when fishing the river, days where it doesn't happen are few and far between but rather than get annoyed about it I always take the opportunity to take a few minutes away from the peg.  I would normally go for a quick wander to see what wildlife was about but there was a masterclass on how to trot a deep river on the peg next to me and it was like poetry in motion to see how methodical he is in catching fish and like all things when done well made to look very easy.

  Full of enthusiasm I returned to my peg and put in to practice the little changes I had seen moments earlier with instant effects as my catch rate increased dramatically for the final few hours of the session.  The river was not being kind to everyone it seemed though as this picture below shows, a car park that was full when we set up was eerily empty, a sure sign not everyone had fared so well.


  The day, like all good days on the bank flew by in a blur and it was over all too soon and we were both still catching right up until we had to call it a day a 2.30pm.  It is one of the hardest things in the world to leave a swim whilst you are still catching but when the time is up the time is up and we both met up to compare our catches.

My bag shown below is by no means the heaviest bag of fish I have caught from the dee but that net of fish below meant a lot more to me than any other bag of fish I have ever caught on the dee before as it stands as a marker of how much my trotting has come on.  A year ago I fished the same stretch and caught a seven fish trotting in the whole day and left so dejected I only ever fished the stretch on the feeder there on after so this bag of fish marks a real landmark for me on my continued apprenticeship on this mighty river.

my bag;

  My uncles net:

  As you can see my uncle had a cracking day on the river and what was really good about the bags of fish they had all ages of fish in them from this years fry to well established fish approaching a pound all good signs for the future of this river.

  Next week will see my back on the river again and after this weekend i cant wait to get back on the bank and do it all again!!

till next week

tight lines

Danny

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Red hot fishing and testosterone filled bulls on the River Dee.............

  Late update to the blog this week due to me falling ill on Sunday night and having to take Monday off work and not being in any fit state to even consider writing about my weekends escapades, so sorry to all those who checked on a Sunday and Monday night.

  Last week the whole county found itself in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures down south reportedly getting up around 28 degrees which is barmy for this time of year.  From my point of view I had made plans to visit the sankey canal in Widnes to try and winkle out a carp off the top after work but for one reason or another it never materialised which did disappoint me a little as I reckon that was the last chance of the year to try for them but there is always next year for that.

This week the weather is forecast to be really wet which I hope will see the River Dane water levels rise and make a visit there worthwhile as at the moment she is running on empty if the EA river levels site is anything to go by, I really hope it does get some water in as the river season so far hasn't been the same without my chub fishing visits to this enchanted little river.

Typical river Dane swim and chub:


And with those pictures we move onto this weeks fishing:

Saturday 01st October

  The weather all week had been really hot as the whole country was bathed in glorious sunshine which it seemed the whole country was taking advantage of with beer gardens and local parks bursting at the seems but my mind was fixed on thinking what the river Dee would be like come the weekend.  I expected her to be holding steady around her lower limit of 4.6m but upon inspecting the EA river level website it showed the situation to be a little different as on a 12 hour cycle to river would rise sharply and slowly drop down over the next few hours till it reached the twelfth hour when the cycle would repeat again.  Obviously this was down to controlled releases of water from Bala Lake and was only making a slight increase in water level but it would be interesting to see how it effected the fishing as the water would be dropping when we arrived and the flush of water was due around noon.


  We had decided quite early on in the week to visit the River Dee at the stretch we had done so well on a few weeks ago and due to a alarm clock malfunction the dawn was already breaking as we made our way to the river bank, although running late there is always time to capture the moment.  To think the amount of people in the country that where still in bed a missed the most beautiful part of the day. I love fishing and the special moments it allows me to experience.

  We arrived at the river not too long after this picture was taken and she was looking absolutely spot on for a days trotting, not a breath of wind and the trot I was fishing for the day had a smooth pace to it at would be perfect for shotting the stick float right down to detect even the smallest bite.


video

  The river really was perfect and I was that confident I took my time setting up as began to build up a bed of hemp and kept a steady flow of maggots through the swim as I set up.  Having fished the swim a few times before I had a fair idea of the depth and it wasn't long after my uncle cast in I was ready for my first trot through of the day and I was full of expectation.

  My first trot through and just over my hemp the float buried and a small dace became the first fish in the net and to be honest he wasn't in there long on his own as the very next trot down my tally for the day was doubled. The stamp of fish was not on par with past visits but I was fishing maggot so I hoped the better fish would turn up eventually and I could move over to castor which is notorious for picking out the better fish.


  The fishing continued to be stupidly easy as every trot through I at least got a bite and all was going very well indeed, that was until my swim was visited by the local herd of young bullocks.  Now usually they give you a wondering glance and continue on their merry way munching the grass as they go, today however was different and as you can see on the picture above one of the herd decided that the couple of acres of grass in the field wasn't to his liking and he wanted the grass on my bank.  I had one eye on this fella when another bull appeared on the top of the bank right behind me and he kept coming and coming till he was on the edge of the bank above me and looking for a way down!!.

Taking a picture was the last thing on my mind but to give you an idea of how daunting these can be here is a close up from the same field on our last visit:


  Now usually walking towards these young bulls giving them a loud shout and a wave of your arms is enough for them to move on but not this fella on Saturday gave it a blow of his nose and held his ground, stalemate!! backing down now would only encourage him and after a heated few moments he backed up to the top of the hill shaking his head back and forth and in a split second charged towards me,luckily it was a false charge and he cut off and at the end ran back up into the main field, that was an experience to say the least and not one I was hoping to repeat any time soon and I returned to my basket but could not help but keep checking behind me. 

  The bull on the top picture was still slowly munching his way along the bank to my right and as I was trotting down towards him I could see he was slowly getting closer and it was time to take action sooner rather than later and it was back into my matador costume and armed with my landing net pole i made my way along the bank,  this bull had read the script thankfully and moved back up on the top bank straight away.  Hopefully these signs of aggressive behavior means they are at an age where they are due to be turned into prime steaks and I will be able to fish in peace lol.

  With my visitors happily moved on their way I got back top the job in hand and what a joy it was to be on the bank in the glorious early morning sunlight trotting an absolute gem of a swim.  The quality of the fish improved as the morning  went on leading to me catching two really nice grayling right at the end of the trot.

one of the nice grayling:


  It was after the second of these grayling, as i was recovering the fish in the margin before putting it in the keep net my eye was taken by all the fish in my keep net shooting to the top and a split second later a pike of around 5-6 pound motored in and was literally attacking the fish through the keep net.  Of course the fish spooked as i moved closer but it had such vivid colours, these pike in the Dee are so veracious and i just hope come winter they are still as forthcoming.

  The two of us caught well all morning till around 12.30pm when both our swims died completely to the point were even the minnows had dispersed away from the bed of hemp.  It was during a brief chat with my uncle I remembered the EA water level site and Saturday surely showed me the river fishes well as it drops off but the fishing is badly effected by even the slightest rise in river levels.

The final bags of fish again show how well the river is doing after the pollution of a few years ago that effected it so badly the river will i think in the next few years, if left alone from pollution, will go from strength to strength for all species of fish but most notably for the silver dart, the dace which i think the river has the potential to produce a real specimen.

My uncles net of fish:

my net of fish:


Sunday 02nd October

  Sunday saw both me and my uncle visit the carp pond hoping to take advantage of the warm weather to catch a few carp on the pole.  The weather although warm was not what we expected with some really prolonged showers moving in from time to time but we still managed between us to put a decent bag of fish together totaling over 15lb.  The carp in this pond are really shy so from past visits anything over 10lb is a real bonus and as always on our fishing trips the banter was of the highest quality and i thoroughly enjoyed my time on the bank.  

The net of fish:

The best few fish from the net:

Pic of the scales of fortune:

  The wildlife at this location is truly breathtaking with ornamental wildfowl, coots, sparrow hawks, herons and buzzards all putting in an appearance and all this only 10 minutes away from a bustling town centre we truly are spoiled as fisherman to have a sport that gives us such front row seats to the wildlife of the British isles.

till next week

tight lines

danny

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