A warm welcome to this week’s blog update and WOW what a difference a week can make with the whole of the country getting smothered in a suffocating layer of snow, great news for the local kids in the area who jumped at the opportunity of a day off school by hitting the hills sides on their sledges but me I greeted the changer with mixed feelings, sure this snow and plummeting temperature would help get the dace shoaled up on the River Dee but I also knew that once the snow melted it would see the river swell again and after all the fishing lost this year to flooding it was something I wasn’t looking forward too.
During this week the snow had thawed slightly round these parts but as I write this update, late on a Friday evening, there is a fresh front of the white stuff turning our road into a winter wonderland. The river Dee is our chosen destination tomorrow and we are in for some fun and games navigating the local back roads that seem to have been missed off the councils Gritting route but I think once we get on the motorways and B-roads we should be fine.
Fishing last Sunday in the blizzard conditions we got many a funny look from passers bye and the ever present anglers that stalk the pegs to gleam information from the anglers fishing, some said I must be mad some said your braver than me, all fair comments but me personally I don’t get out of bed on these frosty mornings and hit the bank to prove a point to someone as in look at what conditions I go fishing in as to male myself look good for doing it, I go out in those conditions simply because I love fishing. In fact the weather for me is almost a side thought as I go out well prepared for the conditions at hand to make sure I am warm on the bank.
Writing that last paragraph reminded me of a fishing trip a year or so back when me and my uncle fished a popular stretch of the river Dee, well story goes we pulled up and quickly put our gear on our chosen pegs and went for a walk to see who else was on the beat that day, on peg 1 was this young lad who was out on the banks for the first time after pike, I looked at him stood there in his tracksuit bottoms, trainers and hoodie and thought I give you till 9am. The temperature that day was below freezing as I remember the rod rings freezing up on us but now whenever I go out in these conditions I always think of that young lad and how some people just don’t go prepared.
For anyone interested the gear I go out in is my Sundridge thermal big and brace with two T0-shirts underneath it and I also wear my Maggot Drowners Hoodie over the top of my bib and brace for extra warmth and keeping my feet nice and toasty are my pair of Skee Tex Thermal Wellies. All the stuff mentioned there gets my seal of approval all have done me proud this winter and the only bad thing I can say is the Skee Tex willies are not for walking any distance in, but for short trips on commercials and short trecks on the river bank, you can beat them.
Looking forward to the coming days I have hopes to get out on the bank in search of a pike in the snow, size won’t really matter it is more a case of getting that picture of a pike with a white back drop so hopefully I will get a chance to put one of those majestic metallic green carnivores on the bank.
On to this week’s fishing:
Walking into last Thursday I cut a lonely figure is a trudged through the snow, head down, looking at the Accuweather App on my phone and although the location on the picture wasn’t were I was intending to go it was close enough for it to mirror the weather we would be facing at our chosen destination. As much as I said the weather doesn’t really bother me a report like this does make you think about your personally safety on the bank and you have to weigh does the risk outweigh the rewards and I have to say since our little girl has come along I have been a lot more conscious off this than in my past days when I used to head out without a thought, maybe it is called growing up hehe.
Thursday brought the main of the weather and it got worse for there on in and me and my uncle made the choice on Friday night to leave our trip till the river till the Sunday, this would give the gritter’s a chance to get out on the roads and we hoped that Saturdays traffic would make the roads a little safer.
Sunday morning and me and uncle set off to the river hoping to find the B roads in reasonable condition and thankfully they were snow free but with the ice warning light on in the car the philosophy of take it easy and get there was applied, some people though just amaze me as a car going in the opposite direction sped by in a flash easily doing 60-70mph and people wonder how they then wrap the car round a tree.
We arrived on the banks to be greeted by the red glow of a new day burning in the distance and the dawn chorus reaching its crescendo, our pegs chosen it was up with our umbrella’s and we were dug in ready for a day’s fishing. The river looked in fine fettle with great clarity and was pushing through at a steady pace, we just had to be in for a good day and if not we were on adjacent pegs so a good bit of banter was guaranteed.
The river Dee is a river you can really attack when it is like this and be really confident with your feeding this helps one get the feeding shoals of dace in your swim and two keeps them there. I use hemp seed as my holding bait but I know many anglers use many other methods like heavy balls of ground bait or liquidised bread, either way all these are there to serve this purpose of keeping feeding fish in your swim.
My tackle for the day was my trusty 17ft float rod coupled with my new pen faced Diawa reel loaded with 3.2lb Drennan Float line down to a 10 number 4 stick float all this was connected to a 1.7lb Bayer Perlon hook length and a tiny size 20 Kamasan Animal hook. I have always adopted to the saying of a number 4 per foot of water you are fishing and it has always put me in good stead, some would say this set up is too light for the river but I feel it serves me well in targeting my chosen species, the silver dart, the mirror of the river, the dace.
Whenever I fish for a bag of dace I always set myself a target that is achievable and that target is 20 fish, this is a target you can easily pass on a good day but is an achievable target on those tough days. This session was too be one of those good days as I found the dace to be ready and waiting on my first few trots through the swim, it might have been cold all around me but inside I was glowing as my hunch the fishing would be good paid was right, It really does give you a buzz when you get it right and shows that I am starting to learn the moods of this great river.
The dace were coming with great regularity for me while my uncle, only a few metres upstream was hitting grayling after grayling, isn’t it mad how two swims identical in pace and depth can hold such different species of fish. My uncle had caught a few fish that had taken line from his reel but I caught a glimpse through the sunken trees of him bent into a fish that was putting up a proper scrap, time and time again it splashed on the surface and made another gill bursting dive for the snags to my uncles right, what was it, a grayling, a chub both of these were in the back of our heads until we saw a bright flash of silver as the fish came up to the surface again, mouth open and beaten.
At the time we had no clue whether it was a sea trout or a brown trout but when I got home and posted it on the blogs facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dannys-Angling-Blog/282860255069146 ) a follower confirmed it was in fact a sea trout and the first one I have seen in the flesh, very very similar to a brown trout in looks and their fighting ability and we returned it straight away to its watery home.
Winter at its most harsh really does have its benefits for us lovers of the bank side as it means all the birdlife is very visible from robins too magpies they all paid a visit to my free offerings of maggots on Sunday and as we moved into the afternoon both me and my uncle where treated to the sight of a Buzzard flying low overhead, a real sight to behold, nature really is alive and well in the UK, its all around us from our towns and cities to the bottom of a farmer’s snow covered field.
As the afternoon wore on I began to pick up some of the quality dace this river is becoming famous for and ones like the one shown below began to make an appearance. The sign of the rivers health is clear to see in the final net with fish of all class sizes showing in nets, great news for the future.
During a days trotting, like on our still waters, you always get times when the Action dies down a bit ans so it was on Sunday as the peg slowed to a standstill between 3 and packing up time at 4pm. I must say the whole day shot bye in the blink of an eye but I was more than made up with my final net of 16lb of Dace while my uncle also put together a solid net of 9lb of dace and grayling but in reality was around 10-11lb with the trout added on.
We left the bank two happy anglers and were more than made up with our efforts and on the day I couldn’t have wished for more the fishing was first class sport and a laugh to boot. I returned home and parked up my car to be greeted with my foot steps from walking to the car earlier in the morning, the only footsteps in the carp park, no one had been out even for bread and milk, maybe when I get to know them a bit more and get them into their fishing I may come home to more footsteps as they have made their way to their cars to go fishing, they don’t know what they are missing!!!
Till next time I wish you all tight lines and happy sledging!!