Monday, 23 January 2012

Gale Force Trotting on the Dee

This week my attention has solely been on work and at one point last week it seemed there was going to be little chance of getting on the river bank to wet a line, what with overtime going in work and the forecast of really bad weather I actually was thinking that a weekend away from fishing might just be a good thing.  This was my feelings on a cold Monday afternoon in work having been fishing the previous day but by Friday the need for my fishing fix was burning strong within and it was with a beaming smile I received the news that overtime was only going on Sunday and quickly arranged a fishing trip with my uncle the following day to the River.

  The weather all week had been relatively settled that was until Thursday night when the rain started to come down quite heavily and didn’t show any signs of relenting and sure enough I awoke on Friday to the pitter patter of rain and hail peppering the front door.  This weather continued for the whole day and the forecast for the following day didn’t bring any good news with gale force winds due to hit over night. 

This amount of rain falling was certainly going to have an effect of the already saturated water table and in turn the river levels and sure enough a quick check on the EA site on Friday night showed the levels to be rising slowly but still well with a fishable level and I set to work on making some hook lengths for the following day.

 I have only recently started tying my hook lengths the night before and I must admit it saves so much time on the bank, both when setting up and of course when you inevitably loose hook lengths during the session.  Friday nights hook tying session was adeptly done whilst watching the movie Jaws and must admit to having a little chuckle to myself as I sat there tying size 20 hooks to 1lb 7oz breaking strain line whilst the famous scene on Jaws played out where the two men are hooking up their missus Sunday Roast to the biggest hook ever and tying it to the jetty, if only they had finely tuned their drag eh lol.

  Saturday morning came and upon opening the door to load up the car I was greeted with howling gale force winds which had the tall trees opposite my house bent double!! My honest thought at the time was I must be absolutely mad!! Looking at it though I think all river anglers have that must needed streak in them to love the branch of the sport we do.  Arriving at my uncles we quickly checked the river levels and realised they had again risen overnight and we set off hoping to find a secluded corner of the Dee out of the wind.

Arriving at our chosen venue it became apparent as soon as we arrived that we were not the only fishermen mad enough to contemplate fishing in such conditions and most of the “better pegs” where already taken and to make matters worse a few of the pegs that where left where unfishable due to the high water levels.  I decided to set up on a peg I had fished before and I knew held some decent fish while my uncle set up further upstream.  My new basket again made the peg I was fishing so much more comfortable to fish and had I still been using my old blue Shakespeare box I would have been facing a day stood up trotting but with this box and footplate I could look forward to a comfortable days trotting.

As you can see from the pictures above even the ready-made pegs on the river are a far cry from the cleanly prepared pegs we are treated to when we are on our spring and summer campaigns on the commercial’s and I would say overalls or even better a thermal bib and brace are a must for any fishermen looking to fish in winter, even if only for the sake of your car’s interior. 

After setting up the peg the next thing I do is set the rod up and holding 17ft of carbon in the air certainly gives you an idea of how strong the wind is and believe me Saturday was as bad as it has been since I have started to write this blog and in all honestly feeder fishing would have been the more sensible option but I really do love trotting on the Dee and decided to give it a go and if it really did become impossible to trot a float down then a feeder rod is only a few minutes to set up.

The video above shows the true magnitude of the wind and at time resembled more a rough day by the seaside than it did a day on the river with waves rolling upstream that wouldn’t look out of place on Bondi Beach.  The swim itself was deep just of the rod tip and had a gentle flow to is and I after a first trot through I thought to myself I could be in for a few fish judging by how the float was running through the swim and that is when my problems started, second trot down the float buried and I struck into something solid, no not a pike like the last few weeks but a snag and a good one at that that took my hook length.  Another hook length was quickly tied on and a adjusted my trotting line and hoped to miss the snag and again the float buried a quick strike and I was connected again with a snag, not a good start at all and it was on with another hook length and another line and thank fully this one was clear but a bit to bar out for my liking and very hard to feed in the gusting wind and all it wasn’t long before my fist fish of the day was on the bank, a fin perfect roach.

  The wind till now had been gusting up stream and the tree at the bottom of the trot had protected me from the worst of it but a slight change in direction saw the wind blowing my float into the bank and into the territory of that snag and for the next hour or so I caught a total of six fish and the snag two more times.  The most frustrating thing about it was I knew the fish where there if I missed the snag it was a bite every time but in the end there was only one option and that was a change of peg and I moved upstream to another peg that was a lovely trot down to a sunken tree and more importantly snag free.

The new swim was ten times better than the previous one and it was not long before I was into some fish and it was no surprise to see the majority of the fish I caught in this swim where dace due to the extra pace it contained and as both me and my uncle have come accustomed to now on the River Dee all the dace where of a high quality and average weight truly magnificent trotting and after the torture of the freezing cold blank last week we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves taking nice dace steadily throughout the day and my uncle even catching a few bonus grayling to again demonstrate the diversity and cleanness of the Dee at this moment in time.

The morning’s when you are struggling go so slow but when you are into the fish and catching the days go by so very fast and Saturday was no different, the time just went nowhere and before long it was that time again to pack and as the light faded we began to load up the car for the journey home and the end of another adventure on the banks of this most elegant rivers.

my net

 uncles net

(the net pictures get worse every week lol)

The river season now only has a few weeks left until its three month break and we both intent to make the most of the few weeks we have left to fish her, talk on Saturday inevitably turned to future trips in pursuit of carp, tench, crucians and that most beautiful of summer fish, the rudd and a few destinations are already earmarked for a visit. This year has been dominated by river fishing and the close season will offer the blog some diversity away from trotting and barbel fishing but already the thought of leaving the river is in the back of our minds and come march 16th we will hopefully have a few more nets lined with silvers to enjoy to help us through the longest three months in the river anglers year.

Till next time

tight lines


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