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.
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.
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