For a few weeks I have been harbouring a special secret from both family and friends and believe me it has been so hard not to tell anyone our little secret, especially over the festive period. But this last week the time finally came to tell all that I and my Fiance are expecting the birth of our first child towards the end of August. Today was the day of the first scan and was easily the best day of my life so far and such a moving experience and of course the rest of the day has been taken up speaking and visiting friends and family so understandably this week’s update has been a little more rushed than I would normally like.
What will happen to the blog!!, no more fishing for you!! Where the calls from all that knew how addicted and dedicated to my angling exploits I am and of course the arrival of a baby will affect my time on the bank, it is bound too, but I think this will only become a problem next winter when the evenings draw back in and I won’t have the luxury of long warm summer evenings to sneak off to my local commercial for a few hours carp bashing but come winter I will be doing my best to at least get out once a week but that is a long way in the distance and there is a lot of time to spend on the bank between now and then.
On to this week’s madness!!
Everything about the week leading up to this weekend said don’t go fishing and stay in bed, first of all the predicted -9 temperatures should have put pay to any trip but no we decided the trip was still on even after the second sign came of 5 to 10cm of snowfall during Saturday we still thought stuff it and decided a trip to the river Dee was just what any sane person would be doing come Saturday J.
Arriving at our chosen destination on Saturday morning the in car reading was a barmy -4 degrees yet upon leaving the car and walking the bank you wouldn’t have thought it as it actually felt quite mild as we walked the bank to our pegs. On the way to the bank we bumped into a young lad who was on the river bank for the first time ever trotting. I had to admire his dedication but dressed in only a hoodie and trackie bottoms I had to question quite how long he would last on the bank.
I set up in a swim I had fished earlier in the year and started to get a few fish from the off and was beginning to think my barmy decision to come fishing on such a cold day might just pay off with a bumper net of fish when I hit a problem that had actually popped its head up a few weeks earlier on our frosty blank on Almere, the problem being the tip rings on my rod freezing as the water from reeling in the line froze solid in the bitterly cold air.
I have been told many tricks over the past few weeks for sorting this out and this time I was armed with Vaseline that I was told on good authority stops the water from collecting on in the rings and hence the problem is solved. I can see this working in temperatures just around freezing but in the really really cold temperatures all that seemed to happed was the water froze solid before it could run off the Vaseline. The next tip I tried was when the line began sticking I quickly dipped the tip of the rod in the river hoping the river water may be slightly warmer that the air temperature and would either wash the frozen water out of the tip rings or thaw it and this proved the most productive if not unusual was of keeping this problem at bay.
Of course no angling blog entry would be complete without the ever present swan picture and this week the swans where in a less approachable mood and did not stick round long at all and probably sensed the bad weather that was making its way towards our location.
I had started the session fishing caster and was picking up the odd decent dace and at some points had the fish going so well they were one a chuck but all that changed when a finger-tip chilling wind howled down the river and brought with it sleet and hail that forced me to put my brolly up to protect me from its icy blasts. The instant warmth this brought me was I have to say more than welcome. The downstream wind really played havoc with my bait presentation and made long trotting almost impossible so I decided to make a massive change in my baiting approach to draw the fish to me and that saw me catching fish again at a steady pace.
My uncle, fishing no more than 20 yards away believe it or not had ice coating the full length of his rod, the temperature difference in the two pegs was remarkable and it totally put pay to any trotting possibilities for him and he stuck it out on the pole off a sunken tree in his near side margin. Big respect to him for sticking it out in such tough conditions on a day where it would have been all too easy to knock it on the head and sit in the car. My uncle being the accomplished angler he is still managed a respectable net of fish on the pole but nowhere near the net he could have had, had he been able to trot his peg like he had intended too.
One fish at this time of year you can put your money on showing up in you swim is the grayling, these fish that I am sure where left in our waters from the melting of our glaciers many many years ago thrive in the coldest of temperatures and Saturday was no different when the float buried right over my hemp and the fish glided into the flow straight away I knew I was connected with a grayling. These fish fight like no other fish as they twist and turn in the current using there brightly coloured dorsal fish as a sail in the flow to exert maximum pressure on your tackle and like a pike they give there all in the fight and will often need a few minutes held in the landing net to recuperate fully from the fight and like all fish should be shown the upmost respect and deserve this extra attention from ourselves for letting us have a close up glimpse of their majestic beauty.
To give you a few ideas of just how cold it got on Sunday I managed to capture a few pictures throughout the day as it went along.
Third place goes to the picture of my brolly at the end of the session which was frozen solid with ice.
Second place goes to my landing net picture that when turned upside down still held its shape in frozen form!!
And first place goes to this shot looking down my keep net which was full of icicles!
All in all it was easily the coldest day I have spent on the river bank and although my body was warm and toasty in my thermal gear the same couldn’t be said for my finger tips that where at times beyond numb!! The constant putting of my hands in a frozen slush of hemp seed and water added t this problem but when it was time to take a picture of my net of dace I was more than happy with my efforts and it was well worth getting out on the for. My fingers where so cold I didn’t weigh the net but estimate it to be around 13-15lb of dace and goes to shows the fish are there if you are willing or mad enough to go out in such bad conditions.
Video of net
Till next time one absolutely mad angler wishing you