This week saw me having some time to put together a few more venue videos and upload them onto the relevant pages within the blog. The venues added where the River Severn and the River Gowy to the Rivers I fish page and I hope they will provide anglers new and old who fish the Warrington Anglers waters with a bit more up to date info on the venues on the card. In this coming week I am hoping to get the River Alyn added to the rivers page and also make a new page or add the Bridgewater Canal at Daresbury to the Stillwater Venue page.
This year so far we have been really lucky with the weather and just shows how mother nature is in full control of it all, the past two winters have been some of the worst I have ever experienced and I am sure the wildlife that had to survive through such tough conditions really felt the effects of those two winters more than us, who’s main inconvenience was getting trying to get to work never mind trying to find a decent meal in such harsh conditions. These two harsh winters where mirrored this year with one of the mildest Autumn and Winters on record and as an angler that is on the bank every week you see the difference’s from the farmers leaving their cattle to pasture on the fields for longer to the birds gorging themselves on the bumper crops of berries that weighed heavy on the branches of the trees this year all these will see the balance restored.
This past week though marked a stark and abrupt end to that honeymoon period we had enjoyed so much the past few months and winter arrived with its full force of ice cold winds, hail and snow and the view out of my work window on Friday resembled a picture from a Christmas card. The snow didn’t bother me that much as if the temperature had held it would have just stayed on the ground, the problem came that evening with the downpour of rain which consequently melted most of the snow and of course this snow melt finds its way into our waterways and this saw our rivers that where just approaching a fishable level become swollen again with this added water.
The one exception to this was the tiny River Dane which on Friday evening was still recovering from a recent spike in water levels but was still just about fishable. A phone call on Friday evening between me and my uncle, who drives along some of the country back roads to work, put pay to any river trip as based on the roads around here we decided the farmer’s road down to the River Dane, which is really steep towards the end, was not worth the risk and it was decided there and then that the following morning we would be fishing on the local canal.
On to the fishing,
With the destination the following morning set in stone I quickly put the hemp I had prepared in the freezer along with the luncheon meat I had been “glugging” in a secret concoction that has served me well for so many year’s chub fishing, as I placed these items in the freezer my heart did sink a little knowing we wouldn’t be on a river but in the same moment I realised just how long it had been since I last visited the canal back in the spring time. The chosen plan of attack would be on the pole so I quickly emptied my holdall of all my river gear and packed in my pole and more importantly my trusty umbrella.
The rest of that evening was taken up preparing some rigs for the following day and as the canal we planned to visit, the Trent and Mersey, was quiet this time of year with boat traffic and even more so with the recent drop in temperature, rigs would have to be cunning and light to get a bite in the clear water. The main part of my rig was made up of 3lb monofilament line with 1.7lb line for hook length, the lightest line in my box and for a hook I chose a tiny size 20 Kamasan Animal micro-barbed hook to finish the rig. These tactics have served me well in the passed years and I hoped they would see me right the following day, all rigs done and it was time to sit back and enjoy this week’s episode of Tight Lines on Sky and an evening of “researching” on the lap top for a forth coming venue after Christmas.
The chosen canal was only a stones throw from my house so the meet up time reflected this and it wasn’t till gone 07.30am we set off on our short journey to the Trent and Mersey Canal just outside Whitehouse Industrial Estate. The rain was pouring down and the temperature a barmy 33oc on the in car temperature gage, empty roads showed us just how mad we where to even be contemplating fishing in such conditions and my uncles point the previous night was proven as although the main roads where fine as soon as we turned off the road down to the canal the snow that had frozen was lethal and I remember thinking I was so glad we hadn’t risked the River Dane.
The car tucked tightly into a lay bye we walked the short distance to the bridge to check out the conditions and it was the worst possible scenario, a frozen canal. We walked along to the area we had planned to fish next to some reeds and the canal was frozen the whole was across and was with no apparatus to break the ice, un-fishable.
We decided to take a look at an even more local canal on the way back home in the evergreen Bridgewater Canal and we where surprised to see it not frozen at all with only one floating patch of thin ice in residence and it wasn’t long till we found out why as we disturbed a big group of ducks under the bridge as we walked down, obviously their movement had stopped the canal from freezing in this area and we decided to give it a go in front of some dead reeds that just had to hold fish.
As we set up the day broke and was actually quite warm setting up in the early morning glow but our chosen destination at Daresbury Labs also overlooked the low lying surroundings and in the distance in all directions where dark grey clouds closing in on us and we knew the warming sun would soon be engulfed and when they arrived the temperature dropped and I mean it dropped you could feel the cold air dropping down, it was so cold…….
None the less we set up and as to not over feed the fish I introduced 7-8 maggots and a small nugget of ground bait to my chosen line tight to the reeds on the far bank and left it while I set my rigs up and made sure all my gear was tucked away tight as the wind was already beginning to get up. My uncle also decided to fish a line tight to the reeds but also set up another line on bread closed in and again rested the swim while he sorted his gear out, by 9am we where all set up and ready to fish and I was optimistic for a few bites.
Three hours passed by and I had been trickling bait in over the line every 10-15 minutes and hadn’t had so much as a knock the never ending precession of joggers and dog walkers questioning our sanity at first was funny by dinner time and still without so much of a chewed maggot became less so and I think our lack of enthusiasm in our responses got the message across loud and clear, things where not going well at all.
By 2pm we had endured the worst that the weather could throw at us and to give you an idea I captured a video of one of the first bands of ice cold rain to hit us, it did get worse with hail and snow but there was no way I was risking even picking my phone out of my pocket to record it as to be truthfully honest I had lost all feeling in my fingers so much so I struggled to even hook a maggot on the hook. I was wearing my new thermal gear and although my body was warm and my legs I must admit my face and fingers lost all feeling in them.
By 3pm we finally convinced each other the fish where not going to come on the feed and we graciously accepted defeat and began packing away. The day did however show me again how fishing is so much more than catching fish, time on the bank gives you time alone to think things over and this past week I had a real problem that was weighing heavy on my mind and after spending a few hours on the bank alone with my thoughts its now crystal clear in my mind what I need to do to sort it out and if anything came from Saturday it was that I now am not carrying that burden of a a problem around.
Thank you if you have stuck it out this far and I hope to be back on the rivers some time this week hopefully on Saturday so I can get an update out over Christmas and if not I will do one big update towards the end of the festive period. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and thank you all for the support you have shown this blog in the first year of its creation, thank you!!!!
Till next time