Friday, 10 August 2012

The dangers of river fishing

They say two of the most stressful things you do in your life are having a baby and moving house so with our baby due some time this month there was no better time than now to move into our new house, what a week its been, very tiring and non stop but at least its all done now and I even managed to get it all done with Sunday to spare for a few hours on the river!!

On to the fishing:

All week there have been high tides showing up on the level stations on the Dee so we travelled to the Dee knowing the river would be dropping and due to rise again around 2-3pm in the afternoon. With the water levels due to be so changeable through out the whole session I decided not to trot a float through a swim but settled in a swim where I knew there was a decent slack behind a sunken tree that I could easily reach with 3 sections of pole.

This type of fishing can bring some real surprises and can on certain days see you really bag up and can out fish the float rod in some instances. My plan for the day was to fish the pole for a few hours and then pack the gear away and try a pike spot that has been good to me over the years in the afternoon hoping to pick up an odd jack pike or two.

In the dark setting up I could hear all manor of rodents rustling around in the undergrowth but it was a large animal swimming across the river that caught my eye. In the dark I could not make out what it was only that it was really large, certainly not a mink. It was a few moments later my uncle came down the bank saying he had seen something on his peg but like me couldn’t make it out. We will never know for certain what it was but after looking on Google it does seem from time to time seals make there way up the estuary above the weir chasing the salmon runs I can only imagine it was one of these as it was too big to be anything else. If anyone reading this fished the Dee a lot leave a message in the comments if you have witnessed anything like this before on the Dee.

​As the morning broke we were treated to some glorious sunshine I started to feed the slack with castor and hemp and it wasn’t long before my efforts paid off and I was into some dace and small roach. I did hit one fish that was solid on the strike and went straight out into the flow when the hook pulled which was more of a relief than anything because there was no chance of me landing it, it was a serious fish judging by the power of its run.

Surrounded by a dense patch of nettles and other flowers it at times felt like there was a whole swarm of bees and wasps behind me as they both worked the blooming flowers in vast numbers, it was at time quite deafening.

The fishing after the hook pull went really quiet as can be expected but after feeding the swim for around half an hour without a bite the float buried and I was into a decent fish that had the elastic really stretching as it made dive after dive for the tree roots. I managed to turn the fish and it came to the surface and revealed itself to be a beautifully marked perch which I was more than pleased with.

After this perch the small silver fish seemed to return and I continued to pick up dace, roach and the odd small chublet and I thoroughly enjoyed the change from trotting. I packed the gear away around midday pleased with my morning efforts on the pole and I feel I improved as the morning went on with my presentation.

The gear packed away and my keep net drying up the bank I decided to take the opportunity to just relax and have a coffee on the bank and I for a good 20 minutes just sat back and took in the sights and sounds of the river, after a few hectic days sorting out the new house, ringing energy providers, building and moving furniture it was bliss to have a few moments to relax and in my opinion there is no better place than by the river bank.

After finishing my brew and watching the resident king fisher scurry back up river it was time to make a move myself and I made the short walk to my uncles peg to store the gear behind him and see how he was getting on. He was having a good day on the float rod picking up some stonking roach along with the dace that are so plentiful in the river dee system now.

I decided to take a wander onto the gravel bar that was no accessible with the low tide and I was amazed to see all the fry that was a bout, the place was teeming with small fry. I did manage to catch one and it was certainly a chub fry judging by the size of its mouth. This bodes really well for the future of the river to see so much upcoming life and also goes to explain the presence of some nice perch in the stretch which would make short work of these fry.

After watching the fry for a bit I decided to get my trust pike rod out and began to wobble dead bait in a spot I know holds a few pike. It is always a great feeling when you get it right and a plan comes together and after a few casts I could see the silver bait fluttering in the clear water before a massive bow wave rolled in behind the bait and a sharp tug on the rod tip registered the pike was on and I struck into a real feisty pike that did everything to throw the hooks giving me a right display of its aerial capabilities.


Pike in summer can be really full of energy, more so than winter where there fights seem to be more hard runs than tail walking leaps from the water. I know I mention this a lot in my blog but giving the pike time to recover in the margins before release is even more important in summer for these fish and great care should be taken to make sure they are ready to go back.

The pike safely returned I joined my uncle for a bit watching him catching some lovely roach and dace that moved into his swim late on in the session. After while I returned to my pike fishing and managed to entice another, much bigger pike, but thankfully it threw the hooks as when I looked at my feet the tide had started to rise around me and I was stood in a foot of water with it rising fast. I quickly grabbed my gear and made my way to the top of the bank looking back to see the plateau where I was stood 2 minutes earlier covered in water. This goes to show the dangers of fishing the rivers and how vigilant you need to be at all times.

I had lost track of time, I should have know that at 3pm the tide would come in and I needed to be off but I got complacent, it is so easy to do. Arriving at the top of the bank we could hear loud rumbles of thunder approaching so we quickly grabbed a quick picture of his net of fish which for the swim was really impressive.

We literally packed hi gear away as the heavens opened and in the space of 10 minutes we were both soaked to the bone as was all the gear. We quickly loaded the car and got on our way and already the roads leaving the beat where approaching being impassable with flood water. We made our way along the B road towards Chester and at times it was approaching dangerous with water literally flowing off the fields and into the river, I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say in my 7 years of driving so far it was the most scared I have ever been in my car. The water in places covered the whole road and we had no idea just how deep it was. Thankfully we managed to navigate our way along the road, safely and continued on our way home through the torrential rain.

I can honestly say I have never experienced weather like that, as you can see form the pictures the morning was glorious sunshine and even when the thunder was rumbling we where still in the warm sunshine, yet less than 30 minutes later we where navigating completely flooded roads. It certainly opened my eyes to the dangers of fishing the rivers.

Till next time

Stay safe and tight lines


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