Normal service is resumed this week with a Monday night update, the camera I have been using of late packed up last week and I managed to get pictures off by removing memory card and placing that in the memory slot on computer. The downside is that I now have to revert back to using my Iphone4 which is ok but does mean a reduction in picture quality and a bit more trouble for me with regards getting the pictures ready for publishing as with the Iphone the pictures have a tendency to publish upside down, back to front and any other combination that I don’t want it to be lol.
It was with great pleasure this week whilst fishing a rather remote location on the River Dee that both I and my uncle received a visit from the Welsh Environment Agency to check our water authority licences. I am always glad to see these guys being so proactive on the bank and this is the second time this year I have been checked on the
Dee system. What was also great to see was the fact the man who checked our licences also stuck round and took great interest in what we had to say regarding fish populations with salmon sightings being low and dace and pike being high and more importantly he made a note of the poaching problems I had seen evidence of on a recent visit to a local tributary of the River Dee, all in all a great boost for my confidence in the environment agency.
The last few weeks I have been looking at getting out on a new River and a few times I have mentioned on my updates that a new river will feature in the next weeks article but from when that article is published at the beginning of the week something has come along by the following weekend to change our minds and after a few weeks fishing the River Dee at Farndon me and my uncle this week decided if we couldn’t fish a different River then a new stretch of the Dee was as good as and with that in mind we headed off to a quiet sweeping bend on the river big enough for us both to have a decent trot at either ends of the same sand bank. We could tell from our midweek scouting on Google earth that the bend was deep close in due to how dark the water was on the images and although not ideal for trotting what wonders it held we just had to try to unlock.
As normal with our trips to the River it was a strict 5am meet at my uncles house for a early morning cuppa and a chin wag about all things fishing before hitting the empty early morning roads, two explorers off discovering new lands which could be really bad but on the other hand could be a another jewel in the majestic Dee’s crown. This season has always been on of discovery for our fishing and even now we have a far more detailed picture of the rivers whole system and over time we will learn at what times of year and conditions these places fish best.
The best advice I can give someone fishing the river, from what I have learned this year is not to fall into the trap of thinking all fish live at Farndon, yes in winter there are a lot of fish shoaled up there but from my experience this year the whole river system is full of fish all the way down its length. That’s not to say you wont find me on the banks at Farndon though for example I was there this Sunday but I fish it more for convenience and ease of location than anything else as in you can park your car right next to your peg.
We arrived on the new stretch and was met with clear skies and the haunting sight of a family of swans cutting their way through the deep fog smothering the river which was made even more atmospheric by the fact the whole scenario was being illuminated by a full moon, fishing does at one time or another provoke the full range of emotions from within.
The bright moon made our big torches redundant as we set up our gear basked in its twilight, bait waiter, keep net, landing net and rods all ready for first light and all that remained was a quick brew and it was off to our stations. My uncle decided to fish from shore on his basket while I was a bit more adventurous and decided to stand in the river, a decision that almost instantly earned me a ‘welly’ full of cold water!! Not a good start but hey that’s fishing.
My trot was at the start of the bend and from the off I was having trouble with the float dragging under as the hook dragged on the sandy camber of the corner and for what seemed like an age I fed and fed the swim with only leaves to show for my efforts, a change needed to be made and a change of swims seriously crossed my mind. I made a few changes to trotting line and bait placement and almost as if someone had turned the light on I started getting fish, small dace and roach to begin with but then I hit something a lot bigger that was solid on the strike. I felt the fish on the end of the line for a good 30 seconds and then the anglers nightmare, a hook pull!! Chub and barbel crossed my mind but in hindsight I think the true culprit of this bite showed itself later on in the session.
My uncle was having better luck trotting the straight after the bend and was getting dace and roach from the off, from little eyes to palmed sized fish when he, like me, hit a better fish again we both thought chub as it was solid on the take but what came to the net shocked us all, a pristine big perch with not a mark on it like a penny fresh from the mint. To explain why this surprised us you have to look at the locations we where fishing, medium to fast paced water coming off a bend in mid river is where the fish was hooked a far cry from the snaggy backwater slow paced eddies where you would normally expect to find these greedy aggressive fish .
The day continued to plod along with better fish coming every now and again in the form of grayling which I suspect was the better fish I lost before and it wasn’t till later in the day I hooked a real donkey of a fish that fought dirty for the whole fight, staying deep then shooting to the surface with a aerial display of jumps to rival the high jumpers that will grace the London games next year, eventually I got the fish under control which is never easy on such light gear and a out of season trout lay on the bank ready to have its picture taken.
It wasn’t long after this fish we had our visit from the Environment Agency Bailiff who like I said we had a good chat with about all things concerning the River Dee and while he was there in the space of a twenty minute conversation we noticed the River starting to rise and when I got back to my peg water that had come half way up my keep net now submerged it, it was time for another welly full of water as I moved my bait water and net further up the bank. When the river begins to rise like this the fish go mad as they thing the river is about to flood and expect a rush of food coming down and they really come onto the feed and today was no different and for the last hour or so we both bagged up on dace and grayling.
On the way back to the car we spotted yet another likely looking swim with tree lined banks and a steady flow just off the rod tip, a trotting dream and if next weeks planned new river fails to materialise this is a sure fire bet as to where we will be.
Sunday 13th November
Sunday saw me going solo on the
Dee with both my Dad and uncle busy I was again left to put into practice all the lessons learnt over the last few months. If you follow me on twitter you will have seen me “tweeting” from the bank whilst I waited for first light and for anyone that doesn’t follow me it’s a great way too keep up with the blog and I always aim to post some pictures on there pre the blog going live and I also post my thoughts throughout the week on all things fishing related.
Angling brings people together and Sunday was a prime example of this, whilst unloading my gear the guy on the peg next to me came along and started talking to me about how the stretch was fishing, before we knew it we were onto other stretches of river and other angling cards and from no where the angler from upstream came along and joined the conversation who turned out to be a member of a forum I post on and also a reader of my blog and before we knew it there was four of us all stood in the car park chatting away about all branches of our sport, sharing experiences, giving tips and help on what rigs they find best and you know what it was great to see, four anglers who had never met before all happily chatting away as if they had know each other for years, the conversation so good it was well passed setting up time before we all dispersed and I am still yet to meet an unhelpful anger on the banks on the river bank.
You could be confused for thinking the blog has turned into a swan watch blog but honestly these guys find me wherever I go and Sunday was no different as these birds went from angler to angler in a circuit, my mistake was feeding them a hand full of corn and hemp I had in my box, big mistake never feed them as you cant get rid of them after that they hounded me all afternoon for that little mistake. On the wildlife front I was visited again by the local Robin but I still cant get a picture just a load of pictures of trees when I look at them, but don’t fear one day I will get the winter picture I am after.
The fishing was red hot from the off with fat dace and roach coming every cast to my castors and to say they where having it was an understatement with the float being buried on every trot down the swim which after a while caught the attention of the guy pike fishing to my left who commented on how many I had caught. The a angler on the far bank who was long trotting was also getting a fair few fish as was the angler trotting the peg below me and all seemed well till the wind got up a bit a really hampered me seeing the bites. The gaps in the wind meant almost guaranteed actions as the float slid away time after time and I fully enjoyed catching some really nice fish right under my feet.
It was during this hot spell of action the float buried and was met with a fish that kept deep and felt a lot better and was definitely a netting job, once on the bank the true size of this dace took me back, it was a colossal size for a dace and easily the biggest dace I have caught, its belly was one that resembled one of these big carp you see caught and although I don’t think it’s a record beater it was a really big dace.
The fishing continued after this specimen till the atmosphere on the peg changed, the fish in my net seemed on edge jumping up the mesh and boiling on the top, obviously the constant splashing had attracted the attention of something sinister from the depths and in my heart I knew a pike was about. The bites that where so predictable and solid before became sporadic and fast as if the fish where not holding but shooting in and out of the swim and I knew all was not well beneath the shimmering surface.
My thoughts on the matter where confirmed as the float buried right over my hemp and my light 17ft trotting rod arched over solid, at first I though it was a snag till the line began to move upstream and I knew what ever I had hooked was big and heavy. After around five minutes of playing the fish I tried to get it to the top and it surprisingly came up quite easily and the full extent of what had been in my swim became apparent as what I can only describe a as crocodile came up and then flipped and shot back down and it was with this that it mush have bit through the line as my float shot back at me.
After this pike the swim died completely and barring the odd fish it was hard work and it took me well over an hour and a half to get the fish back feeding confidently again and for the rest of the session I continued to catch fish with great regularity till I called it a day at 2pm, happy with my efforts. A quick apology for the quality of the pictures but as anyone who has ever tried to take a picture of a net of fish will tell you it’s not the easiest thing to do.
Till next week tight lines