A warm welcome to this week’s Blog update and from an angling point of view it finally feels like things are coming back together. I have spent a fair amount of time in the past few days investigating the Dee Anglers AA card with a view to becoming a member next year, if there are any Dee Angler members out there who read my blog I would be eternally grateful if you could take the time to point me in the direction where I can find some information on the stretches of the Dee they have or if you know of them yourself.
Arriving at my desk on a Monday morning is very rarely met with a feeling of happiness but this Monday was an exception as I was greeted with quite possibly the best gift we have received for our little baby girl (in my eyes), what greater incentive to get our little girl into the joys of fishing than starting her off from an early age with a magnetic fishing game with real fishing rods, I literally can not wait now for her to be old enough to use it, lets just hope I can refrain from opening it till then.
On to this weeks fishing escapade,
The week building up to Saturday I was struck down with a Flu bug so I had plenty of time to see what the weather was up to looking out of my bedroom window and surprisingly the weather on the whole was dry. I kept a check on the Dee levels when I could and apart from some really high tides the river level was dropping slowly but the level was still well up with it being over 6m on the EA chart.
Saturday morning arrived and it was on with the Thermal bib and brace, 3 pairs of socks, a hoody and thermal bob hat, I was taking no chances on being cold on the bank of the river. We arrived on the banks with just enough early morning light to set up and to our amazement were greeted with a sight I thought I would never see on the River Dee and that was the sight of an otter working the river upstream of us.
The re-introduction of otters into our waterways over the past few years has been met with divided opinions form the angling community and to be honest I can see both points of view on the matter. I personally was privileged to have witnessed one of these rare and beautiful creatures in the flesh and will certainly be approaching the river from now on with stealth in mind in this area and I agree with the introduction of otters but only in rivers that can support such a predator. The river Dee is a huge expanse of water with a healthy population of fish both large and small so I do feel this river could support a controlled population of otters, would I have been so happy seeing it on the River Dane, probably not as I don’t think this water could sustain it long term given the stocking of fish in this river being mainly big chub and barbell, I have heard from a reliable source that there is otters now on the River Dane.
The otter was not the only predator we saw on the bank on Saturday morning with both a kingfisher and a Grebe also working the area we had chosen to fish, the sight of these predators ciupled with a lot of fish topping in the area filled us both with confidence that we were in for a good days sport and we couldn’t set up fast enough, like two school kids we hurriedly set about our work whilst priming the swim ready for our first trot through.
I was situated downstream of my uncle and as there was only a small section of banking available to fish it would mean we were fishing closer than we would normally like. Over the course of the year on the river this scenario pops up from time to time and we take it in turns to be the downstream rod, mainly because the person downstream generally has the better day as some of the bait introduced by the upstream rod inevitably runs through the bottom rods trot and its almost like it receives twice as much bait.
We both started fishing at the same time and from the off we were both into fish, myself I seemed to have hit on a shoal of dace while early indications suggested my uncle was attracting the beautiful grayling into his swim.
I tried to feed a different line to my uncle as much as I could to give him the best possible chance of attracting fish upstream to him and for the most part it worked as we both then started to catch mixed bags with myself starting to pick up the odd grayling and my uncle started to see some “stonking” dace come to the net.
Grayling of a certain size should not really be kept in your keep net and I have to hold my hands up and say I have been guilty of this in the past but ideally its best to walk them down the bank and rest them in the net before letting them go. My uncle throughout the day must have been shattered walking back and two as he actually finished the day on 36 grayling between half an pound and a pound and half. I also lost count at the number of grayling I caught and below are some of the grayling we landed.
The grayling has to be one of the most beautiful fish swimming in our rivers and time after time I am taken back by their beauty and its not only in their majestic dorsal fins but all along their silvery body that every so often catches the sunlight and reveals all manor of colours from deep purples to electric blues they really are a joy to catch and best of all they feed in the coldest of weather.
Grayling spots and gill cover
As the day wore on many anglers visited our peg and chewed the fat with us and the fishing went from strength to strength with dace and grayling coming with great regularity and the sport only improved as we approached the later end of the day as we began to really “hoof” the bait in.
After so many hard trips on the Dee this year it was a joy to be catching so well and the swim must have been literally jam packed with dace as time and time again the float buried in the same spot and a plump dace of grayling made its way to the net, the grayling providing a great strong thudding scrap between the short jagged fights of the dace.
As the session came to an end it was time to weigh in our nets and we started with my uncle he weighed in 8lb of dace from his keep net but he did return 36 grayling which were all of a decent size which would have easily took this net into the 20 to 25lb bracket.
uncle net pic
Uncle net weight
It was time for me to weigh my net in and I was absolutely knocked back when I lifted the net from the water I honestly didn’t realise how good of a day’s fishing I had done. Lifting the net from the water my uncle instantly said well done to me and congratulated me on a cracking net, but to be honest I owe so much of this to my uncle 2 years ago I couldn’t imagine catching this many fish trotting, I just want doing anything right at all on the bigger rivers and again I thank you for all he has shown me.
Weighing my net it went 19lb of dace, roach and the odd small grayling that much have snook in when I wasn’t concentrating this coupled with the 10-15 grayling I caught easily smashes my previous best net of 17lb of dace from winter last year, even writing the blog now a few days on I am still buzzing!!
My net videos
My net pic
My net weight
Well that’s it for this week and I thoroughly cannot wait to get back on the bank this weekend I am sure the fishing wont be as good as the previous weekend but one thing is for sure we will have a great time finding out. Fishing wise this weekend I think I might spend half the day trotting and spend the second half really trying for my first pike of the season.
Till next time its tight lines from one ecstatic angler,