Friday, 9 November 2012

Whippin' it up on the River Dee

A warm welcome to this week’s blog update, with Christmas and my birthday only a matter of weeks away my attention was drawn to what presents I would want from my fiancé.  In past years we have been quite extravagant at this time of year but now with a new baby to think of times have changed and rightfully so, I guess many people would call it growing up!! So this year it’s a pair of thermal welly’s and a Martin Bowler DVD, by far the best gift this Christmas wont cost a penny as sitting watching my daughter playing with her Christmas presents, her first Christmas, will be the most magical thing ever, I cant wait.

I have long been a great admirer of the writings and film work of Martin Bowler, I am sure many of you are familiar with his most noticeable work, Catching the Impossible, that is being repeated constantly on the Discovery shed channel, I think this program truly is the only modern day program made by an angler that can compete with the great “A passion for Angling” that for me is the best series ever made.

A few years ago I decided to purchase another video series made by Martin Bowler, A fish for all seasons, in this series of DVD’s it takes you through a year in the angling life of Martin and documents how his fishing and tactics vary as the seasons change around him.  I think it’s the link in with nature that really captivates me and engrosses me in his films and his new series out this month called “Seeking Shadows” is certainly number one on my Christmas list, I just hope it lives up to his past work but judging by the preview videos and pictures it looks fantastic.

On to this weeks fishing:

We decided with the river levels being quite steady and the temperature remaining low to fish the same stretch as we did last week and as normal it was a nocturnal start.  Arriving at my dads to load the car the house was filled with that mouth watering, ever appetising sound and smell of bacon and sausage cooking in a pan.  After last weeks cold, shop bought, tasteless cheese and onion pasties my dad was taking no chances on going hungry this week and was taking care of our bagging himself, bacon sandwiches for breakfast and cold sausage sandwiches for dinner, boy I love my dad and even more when he decides to come fishing and do the bagging J.

After washing down our carnivorous breakfast with a warm coffee we set off to pick up my uncle and headed off into the gloom.  The clear sky from the previous evening had been replaced with a thick blanket of cloud that had seen the early evening temperatures rise above freezing overnight which resulted in quite a mild walk along the bank picking our pegs in the early morning moonlight.

The forecast for the day ahead was for heavy cold showers and a fair bit of wind to be blowing downstream off the welsh mountains so the brolly was one of the first things out of the holdall, “I think I will be needing that today” a voice in my head said as I released it from its protective cover.  The norm these days for camouflaged or green umbrellas was lost on me but a least my bright blue brolly will match my fingertips in the coming months.

The swims chosen we began about setting our stall out for the day ahead, I touched on my plans last week of keeping things one dimensional and I stuck to it this week as I went all out for the silvers, the pike rod was still with me but more as a means of moving any stubborn pike that show up rather than fishing for them.

River fishing does not have to be a branch of our sport that costs the earth, after the main outlay of purchasing a decent float rod and reel the basic terminal tackle is relatively cheap from week to week.  Here is a picture of my side tray from the session on Saturday and as you will see it is very simple, hooks, hook length line, weights, disgorger and a depth plummet will all last you a great number of sessions before needing replenishing, as you can see the weights are a little low but fishing 8 number 4 float I have actually been using the same weights since the beginning of the season in June if you always put them above your hook length all you loose is your hook a little bit of hook length line and a few number 8 weights.

The fishing on the day was very good from the off with small dace coming at a steady pace, I had, as always, set myself the target of 20 fish for the session and was well on my way to beating that in the first few hours.  The fish although not massive were still there and I also lost count at the amount of fast bites I missed from these small silver darts, no wonder my dad was struggling to hit bites on the feeder.

With a slack on my inside line I decided to try a slower trot down towards a submerged tree and this instantly saw me picking up some small roach, these fish on the River Dee really are beginning to get a name in my book as being a really lazy species, you rarely catch them in the mail flow but you trot a slower line even sometimes laying it a foot or so on bottom they are on it in a flash.

I continued on the dace line for the rest of the morning as there was a snag on the slower line and after losing two hook lengths in quick succession I got tired of playing snag/fish roulette if you missed the snag you got a decent roach if not it was hook length practice again.  The dace line continued to produce the goods all morning and the quality of the fish improved it seemed the further into the flow I went.

Eventually though the swim died off a bit, in fact to a complete stand still as I started to pick up the odd minnow!!, how a swim goes from dace and roach to minnows is beyond me, well I say beyond me I have a sneaky feeling a toothy critter had moved in as the bites where just to confident and steady for them just to turn off feeding.

I decided on trying a different method and one I had read about in the Anglers Mail in the week and that was using the whip.  With the slack water being quite close in I set up an old whip I had as a kid and at 9m long it was ideal I thought for the river.  It took me a while to get the feeding and bait placement right but eventually I started picking up the odd fish and when I did they where roach of a decent stamp.

It is a method I need to work on if I am honest but I am sure I with have time over the coming months to fish swims where this method can be utilised with good effect on the river Dee. If I had stayed on the trotting line I have no doubt I would have picked up more fish than on the whip but my aim is to be an all round more complete river angler and my whip fishing and my feeder fishing certainly need more work.

I continued to persevere with the method and was pleased to be joined by my first Robin of the year, with no zoom function on my iPhone it’s a picture that is more like spot the robin that look at this lovely robin but rest assured he is there.


As I messed around trying to tinker with my depth on the whip my uncles peg continued to produce dace after dace after dace while my dad improved on last weekends hard session with some cracking dace to show for his days efforts.  My uncles net at the end went easily over the 10lb bracket and I would this was closer to 15lb but with the light fading a quick picture was all we had time for, the dark really creeps up on you at this time of the year.

My net

Uncles net

On the morning of writing this update I was greeted to the sight every winter angler likes to see and that’s the windscreen of your car frozen solid with ice, so it gave me great pleasure to dust off the old de-icer and clear it off, the good times wills soon be here, I so cant wait for that first proper session of the year.

This chilly weather has got me thinking of frosty mornings chasing grayling on a small river with only a tub of maggots and a centrepin for company, I thinik this weekend I might go in search of a few ladies of the stream, if conditions hold that is.

Till next time,

Tight lines



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  2. The size of the fish doesn't matter,what matters is that you atleast catch something and get stimulated for the bigger catch.