Monday, 5 March 2012

Pike, Dace and the closed season chase.....

This week the end of the river season has played heavy on my mind and also what targets I want to set myself for the three months the rivers are closed.  I wanted my targets to be achievable and not too taxing as for the fishing to remain enjoying and also I wanted to set myself targets that I see as achievable based on the waters we will be visiting.

It would have been very easy for me to write on here dream targets like catching 250lb of fish in one session or a 30lb plus carp but in reality, given the type of fishing I will be doing these targets are not going to be realistically achievable. 

The targets I have set myself for the closed season are as follows:

1)      A 10lb+ carp:  Venues I will be targeting this fish include cicily mill and rixton as I know both hold a fair amount of these fish over that weight, hopefully luck will be on my side when I visit and I will manage to get one if not I am sure going to have a good time trying.

2)      100lb of carp from Flushing meadows: the venue speaks for itself and I had many good days on here last year but I feel a lot of them lacked direction and I hope this target will help me have more of a purpose when I visit there. No keep nets allowed so I will have to weigh each fish individually and I think this one may be the hardest challenge to achieve.

3)      To try at least one new commercial venue this summer, after breaking my commercial duck last year I want to see what others hold and if they differ much from flushing meadows.

All of the targets above are going to be thought of a side quests to my summer fishing like the 10lb+ pike was on my winter river campaign and at times throughout the summer I will be actively trying to achieve them and if I achieve either of 1 or 2 I will be a happy man indeed.  Until then we have 2 more weeks on the river to look forward too and this week there was only one place you were going to find me and that was on the banks of the River Dee and I would also like to take this opportunity to say again what great reception this blog has received on the bank again this week with two more people approaching me who follow the blog and I hope both did well in their pending river match and their quest for a bin lid bream respectively.

On to this week’s update:

The river this week had an air of change about it and I think the above picture shows it perfectly as the trees bear all the signs of winter being devoid of leaves and bare while the sky behind them is bright blue with a few wisps of white cloud and the changes where all around me on Saturday from the warm breeze to the rough scales of the dace preparing to begin spawning all the changes where all there and the feeling we are slowly moving out of winter was very apparent.

I set up in the same swim as I had last week hoping that the big pike I had been dreaming about all week was waiting for me to catch her and I hastily began to prepare my peg in preparation for mornings trotting and an afternoon hoping for another beautifully marked pike to find my bait. 

When the first rays of light became strong enough for me to see my 6no4 float as I plumed the swim I knew it was nearly time to make that magical first cast of a new session and in the early morning dim light of a new dawn I strained my eyes as my float trundled its way down the swim and I connected with my first dace of the day on my first trot down, always a good sign.

One thing that became very apparent with the increased light was just how much the river had dropped since our last visit a week ago with the level being at least a metre down.  The low conditions meant a trot that last week was medium paced and relatively deep was now quite shallow but amazingly had held the same medium pace it and I wasn’t surprised at all to see the dace where still around. 

I had caught around five or six dace when, as I was lifting a dace out, a big swirl appeared below the fish and I knew in that instance there was a pike around and it was feeding so I quickly grabbed for my pike rod and introduced a bait that just had to entice the pike back as it bobbed and dipped around the swim.  After around five minutes the bait shot into the crystal clear margins at my feet and just behind it a saw a big dark shadow corralling the bait in the edge before in the blink of an eye shooting in and engulfing the bait and showing its true size as it roared off into the middle of the river.

The fight went on for around 5 minutes and the fish was beat and ready to be netted and looked bigger than the 13lb fish from last week but in one final flip it threw the hooks and was gone and I couldn’t help but feel disappointed at such a fish getting away but you have to remember back to the previous week when none of the four escaped capture so I suppose I was due one of them throwing the hooks.

I returned back to my trotting and continued to pick fish up all day sometimes the fishing was one a chuck and others I had to work hard for the bites feathering the bait down the swim almost trying to drop the bait in the dace’s mouth and what again was amazing to see was the diversity in the size of the dace with all year sizes being caught.

By 2pm I had put together a decent bag of dace and I was more than happy with my efforts and decided to weigh my bag of fish and I was again surprised that I had amounted over 10lb of fish again and although it is becoming a regular occurrence now on my days on the river I have to take a moment sometimes and think just how happy I would have been with this bag a year or so ago, it would have been a bag of fish I could only have dreamed of catching and now I had amassed  it with two and a half hours to spare.

After weighing the fish I decided to turn my attention to the part of the day I had been looking forward to all week and that was chasing the impeccably marked pike that reside in the river Dee.  The instant action I had experienced earlier on in the day in the swim was not matched in the afternoon and I spent a barren hour and a half trying to entice a pike from my trotting swim.

I decided to join my dad and uncle in there swim where my dad was picking up some nice dace on the tip and my uncle was, as it’s the norm now, bagging up and making it all look very easy!!

While I was there I thought it would be wrong of me not to drop a bait in next to a sunken tree and I sat back and had a great time fishing with my dad and uncle and I must say the past few weeks my dad hasn’t been coming with us I have missed him being there and it was great to have him back on the bank.

Just when It was approaching the time where you think its not going to happen the float disappeared under and I struck into a pike that although wasn’t in the same league as the morning fish still put up a stink of a fight and had me feathering the clutch as to not let the fish make it to the tree to my right.  Thankfully unlike the morning pike there was no such hook pull and my dad assisted in landing the pike and it was time for its picture to be taken, weighing in at 8lb 4oz it was a decent pike with exquisite markings.

All that was left to do after returning this fish was to try a few swims vacated by the other anglers which didn’t produce and more takes and weigh and picture my uncles net of fish which again was an impressive net of fish weighing in 14lb 14oz and a net to be proud of.

We all thoroughly enjoyed out day on the bank and with only weekend to go now till the close I am determined to get on the river Dane for one last session and the Dee so fingers crossed for a good week weather wise and hopefully next week will see us giving the river a proper send off.

Till next time

I wish you all tight lines

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