A warm welcome to this week’s blog update and I hope I find you all well. This week has got me really thinking of the year ahead, a strange feeling really as I don’t normally count this as the beginning of my angling year as I tend to work more not from march to march with the closing of the river season. A few things need rectifying this coming closed season with the number one priority being to find more time to dedicate to my quest for a 10lb carp blog which succumbed to the big life changes I went through last year away from fishing.
Last year I moved house and it has landed me on the doorstep of some relatively untapped canal fishing so I have some plans around that for summer with regards the carp challenge but more of that too come and I will be going into full detail of exactly everything that I do from baiting up to the fishing trips out. Looking short term between now and the close of the season I am really hoping to squeeze in a trip to a new river and also planning a few targeted sessions on the Dee for pike, it will mean sacrificing some quality time chasing the dace but when I look at it I know what I want more right now and that’s a river dee pike.
Moving attention back to this week and the day after the session detailed below we decided to take a family day out and made our way to a place I haven’t visited in years, Walton Gardens. Very little has changed at this venue with the old bridge over the Bridgewater canal there and all the animals I spent hours and hours watching in the petting Zoo still occupying the same space in the Gardens. One part of Walton Gardens though holds a very special place in my heart and that is the small overgrown pond that as a kid was filled with all manner of ornamental carp, but would they still be there??
Approaching the pond it was a lot shallower than I remembered as a kid and the first half of the pool look dead and devoid of anything that could house and support a decent amount of hungry carp. I worked my way round the pool which was actually iced over in parts and eventually caught up with the carp in the far corner of the pool, all shoaled up together tightly in one corner. Is this the corner they are fed from of did it go to prove what a lot of anglers say that the fish do shoal up tightly in winter and had I been fishing here and set up on the other side of the pool would I have sat their frozen solid in gnome form without a bite while the whole population of fish in the pool lay sulking against the other bank?? I guess that’s the mystery that goes with fishing and one we will never understand.
I stood, childlike, gazing at the colourful shapes, mesmerised by their every movement and how easily they navigated through the crystal clear water. My other half gave me a few extra minutes than I deserved before politely asking if we could move on and so we did to s small room full of information on how the main house on the estate was back in 1905 I began reading the menu from back then it showed the fish course to be Dee Salmon, now this could be the river dee in Scotland but in my head I hoped it was the local river Dee I have grown to love so much, it filled me with such happiness that this glorious river was alive back then as it is now and supporting local people. I wonder if the dace fishing was so good back then?
One more note before we get onto this week’s fishing, I would like to say big congratulations to fellow Warrington Anglers member Ade Green who showed real dedication this week to try a WAA water a fair distance away and had some real success with some really nice grayling. Warrington Anglers have so many waters far and wide it was great to read a river report form a lesser known, more remote venue, well done Ade and nice unhooking mat lol.
On to this weeks fishing.
Saturday 15th January 2013 – River Dee
Saturday morning and while most of the normal world were probably turning over and settling in for a relaxing lie in I was shovel in hand clearing all the mud from my chosen peg on the banks of a very soggy and muddy River Dee. A civil servant is my occupation through the week and I am not ashamed to admit it has been a while since I have put my soft, smooth palms though such vigorous work. With a decent spattering of sediment built up on the peg it was a while before I had the peg as clean as I wanted. Walking back to the car with a shovel in hand I got a few strange looks from one or two early dog walkers, who could blame them!!
Next it was time to set up my peg and in the dim early morning light I began my setting up ritual and just like in my rugby days I am really superstitious things have to be done in the right order!!, first of all its my seat box, then landing net, then my side tray, next in go in is my keep net and so on till I am all set. Well today was a little different, maybe my mind was elsewhere but for some reason I set my box up and then decided to put my keep net in. No sooner had the end of the keep net hit the water I heard that dreaded noise of another splash a bit further out, it may have been dark but I could clearly see the blue rim of my landing net sinking out of sight!! GREAT I thought as I ran up the steps to grab the pole to try and reach it but when I got back it had disappeared into the murky depths.
I quickly set up my pike rod with a weight and trace on the end to try and snag the netting but after a hour of trying all I had to show was a small maggot feeder someone had lost recently. This accident meant any ideas I had for pike fishing were straight out of the window, I did have a pike angler offer to net my fish if I gave him a shout but that was far from ideal, in fact the whole idea of fishing for anything without a landing net was far from ideal. Luckily my uncle was set up in the swim near to me and we both had our mobile phones and with the likely hood being I was only going to catch dace in my chosen fast glide I set up my float rod.
The time on the river always fly’s by and Saturday was no different, no sooner had I plumed up than it was midday. The morning was tough with only a few fish coming to the net, it really was turning out to be a very slow day on the bank and coupled with the loss of the landing net it was starting to become frustrating.
My homework firmly done before hand I knew around 12.30am there was a pretty sizable tide due to hit which would see the river level rise a noticeable amount. The tides normally see sport on the river decline as the river backs up so I was far from optimistic, I took this opportunity to take a visit to my uncles peg and he reported he was having a decent day and had a few nice roach, the best of which is this stunning roach below we estimated to be around the 1lb mark.
I sipped my coffee and chewed the fat with my uncle for a while and I have found over the months that this act of leaving my peg completely for a good 10-15 minutes really does recharge my batteries and gets my head focused back on my fishing and I returned to my peg with a new found optimism. I made a few changes to my depth to match the swelling height of the river and began to increase my feed rate, this change had instant effect and I started to hit some proper dace just past a down stream snag.
The fishing form this point on went from strength to strength as I started to pick up some nice fish with some regularity and even had a few fish over my hemp line. In the last half of the session I would say I put together the vast majority of the final net of fish. The one thing that has become very noticeable this year though is the lack of pike striking at my fish, I am yet to have one where normally you would get at least one a session and I have done two sessions now without any sign of them.
My net 10lb
Uncles net weight
My uncle weighed in an impressive net of fish considering the floods we have had recently and the fish never settled over his bait like they can in winter on the Dee. We both left two happy anglers, after we had helped a fellow angler push his car out of a massive rut it had got stuck in.
I got home and on Sunday evening I got online and ordered some replacement gear, I had strict orders to get online and order one single landing net, of course this order developed to a landing net, a new reel and some line for said reel. I have to say i have used www.harrissportsmail.com a few times now and there delivery is second to none the stuff below was waiting for me when i got home on Tuesday, not sponsored by them, not supported by them just believe that good service deserves a mention, imagine if that philosophy was adopted by the bigger anglers we see in the weekly papers.
Publishing this blog now, looking out of my window to a blanket of white this week’s trip to the bank really is in the balance we are certainly not on the bank tomorrow and hope to wet a line on Sunday, I have a sneak feeling though when I go the bait shop tomorrow morning there may be a few dead baits finding their way into my basket, let’s hope I can find some still water not wearing its ice cap.
Till next time tight lines