Friday, 15 February 2013

Bolo Fishing The River Dee and 2 Years In

A warm welcome to this week’s blog update, this week's update is not so much about this week’s fishing but more of an reflection and rounding up the second year of my blogging life and as the Blog approaches its second birthday its crazy to think that 60,000 people have dropped in over that time and I thank every single one of you that has helped me and shown an interest in my blog over that time.  People who know me in the "real" world know how shy of a person I am around people I don’t know but through this blog and being recognised and approached on the bank side it has done wonders for my confidence in speaking to people, I put a lot of time and effort into this blog and it’s great that it has given me something back.
As any angler that fishes every weekend throughout the year will tell you it comes with its ups and its downs and like the very rivers we fish our success levels ebb and flow from week to week, there are things we can do to try and increase our success rates but ultimately through the course of a year we will have our fair share of bad weeks.  The flip side of this is we also have our fair share of memorable days and the beginning section of this  blog is about celebrating those few “red letter” session from the past year that are etched in our memories forever, so come along and lets have a look back over the last angling year.
The first session that springs to mind was the very last session of the river season last year a day that saw us catch steady till a high spring tide killed the action dead and for a few hours we struggled to get a bite but then almost as if a switch had been turned on this fish appeared and we gave the river season a royal send off with a nice bag of fin perfect red fins.

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After the season closed our attention turned towards our Stillwater campaign and Rixton Clay Pits grabbed out attention as we basked in the spring time sunshine and enjoyed the wealth of wildlife that this place has in abundance.  The first few visits we just got to grips with the place but as we refined our tactics so the fish came and we were all rewarded with some beautiful tench culminating in my uncle’s tench below.
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Before we knew it the river season was upon us and to fit in with the rest of this years river campaign it was met with a swollen river Dee, this pushed us onto the River Mersey in pursuit of a flowing fix and although the session was atrocious for both me and my uncle it was a session to remember for my dad with this 7lb Bream and it meant so much more the fact it had come from the river Mersey a waterway we have lived on the banks of all our lives.
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The river season meandered along and between the torrential floods came big bags of dace but it was winter and pike I had my eye on and after seeing Martin Bowlers picture of his pike in the snow, I wanted one for myself and so the challenge was set.  A brief gap in the ever persistent rainfall saw the river fall to a fishable level and the banks blanketed in deep candy floss snow and I knew this was my window of opportunity, the day started with a new personal best Perch of 2lb 5oz but it was the ending to the piece that I enjoyed most, two pike around 10lb and with it my pike in the snow.
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Again the rain returned and pushed the levels on the Dee to an un-fishable level and we were forced to search for pastures new and I and my uncle found ourselves on the banks of a new river altogether, the river Ribble.  The day was slow to begin with but by the end of it my uncle had landed possibly the best specimen fish this blog will ever feature a massive dace of 1lb 3oz and a whopping 90.4% of the British record and great way to round off the second year of the blog.
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Moving on from talking about our angling year but still on the subject of that record tingling dace some of you may have noticed it featured in this weeks edition of the Angler Mail Magazine and also got a nice write up next to the picture as well, had I known they were just going to cut and paste my email I would have put a link to the blog in there!!  This fish also earned my uncle a place in the top specimens of the week competition and his prize, an Anglers mail T-shirt will feature in a future update when it arrives.  Well done again to my uncle and to thank you to all the people who left such nice messages on the Facebook page and forums it was posted on.

One final point I would like to brush on before I move onto the bread and butter of this update is my disappointment at the mess left on a location I visited recently doing a scout of a potential venue for the blogs Spring/Summer quest for a 10lb plus carp.  I will be going deeper into my pre baiting plans on my main blog and the carp blog in future updates.  I arrived at the chosen venue hoping to find any signs of where the carp where residing to give me a place to start from with my pre-baiting, what I found really disturbed me, evidence of fires, beer can laden bushes, food wrappers, pot noodle cartons the lot. 

I reflected on it a minute and then thought,  no I may be jumping the gun here it might not be anglers and in that moment my eyes where drawn to specific things in the area, hook packets, line, pre made rig wrappers and sweetcorn tins all over the place!!  This confirmed in my eyes it was anglers night fishing the area, which I have no problem with but why o why do we live in a generation where no one takes responsibility for their own mess!!, take it home with you!!.  It is not only bad for the environment, which is bad enough, but it does nothing to improve the image of angling in general, most bait shops give you your items in a bag it’s as easy as taking that page with you and putting the wrappers and stuff in it when finished, rant over.
And with that off my chest it is onto this week’s escapades on the bank: 
With rain all day on Friday it meant the rivers that were just about fishable were due to rise again through Friday evening and Saturday so it was with an air of uncertainty we travelled to the River Dee early on Saturday morning.  What greeted us was a high but surprisingly clear river that was rising but was not carrying much colour at all.  We knew we might get the day out of it if we were lucky but even a morning would be better than nothing.  As you can see on the chart below I have marked in red the period we fished and you can see it was rising all day and we also knew there was a major tide expected as well in the afternoon so we were in for a tough days sport.

Daylight revealed just how badly the banks had suffered from the rain with them covered in a brown thick muddy soup which made keeping completely clean a total impossibility.  My uncle chose to do away with his seat box and opted to stand up trotting while I made the most of my extendable legs on mine to set it up snuggly on the bottom step.

My plan for the day was to fish the bolo float and get to grips with not only fishing it correctly but getting the rhythm of casting in (tangle free) and feeding while the float is still trotting the swim, I feel I am slowly getting there now but I am going to continue to persevere with it both till the end of this season and into the summer when the season reopens as it really does open up the option of fishing right down the middle of the river.   The river with 2m to 3m on is a different animal than at any other time as it can see you fishing anywhere from 12 to 17 foot deep so you need to be equipped for the job at hand, I personally use a 17ft Carbon active float rod for my fishing and I have to say now I know how to fish with it I wouldn’t be without it.  The picture below shows just how deep you have to fish on the River Dee at times and also highlights the biggest problem you face when fishing the bolognaise method in deep water, the fact there is a large amount of line between your float and your bulk shot means you do suffer a lot with the float wrapping around the top of your rod, this is a problem that only practice will fix.

I adopted my usual mentality of starting of easy and going further out only if I needed to and I managed to get a few fish but what became obvious very early on was there was a decent snag to my right that I was going too struggle to miss.  A few hours in and I had around 10-15 fish and I decided a change was in order as I was losing the battle with the snags by a cricket score.  I decided it was time to be aggressive and make the fish come to where I wanted them.  I set up my pole rig and began feeding the slack in front of me with hemp and introduced some free offerings into the slow water to my left.

This method took a few slow trots through to get right but eventually the fish moved in and I began to connect with a few dace, I stuck on this method for a good hour or so but as the swim grew the size of the fish began to reduce.

Another fish comes on the pole:

 I knew the better dace where holding on my old trotting line where I had been hitting a snag so I decided to increase the weight of my bolo float so I could fish further out and began to pick up some better dace right at the end of my trot.  It was while fishing this method I witnessed one of the most surreal things I have ever seen on the River Dee, a tidal bore come upstream, it was almost as if a large boat had turned around downstream the waves where that large!!.  There were a few very experienced anglers around me that day and I heard a few of them say they had never seen anything like that, it was a unusual feeling of watching in ore and being slightly worries sat so close to the water’s edge!!

Video of bore

At this point the water was rising quite fast but with only a hour or so to go we would easily get the whole day out of it and surprisingly the fish continued to come even though the river was rising on a large tide.  The day was a lot harder than this blog update makes it sound and we both had to really work hard for our nets of fish and to be honest when its hard I find it the most enjoyable, when the fishing is really easy and the fish are there “one a chuck” as they say it can sometimes seem as less of an achievement than days like Saturday where we had to really work for each fish.  I know my uncle suffered a lot with the fish being up in the water column and he worked really hard for his net of dace.

My net

Uncles net

All in all it was another learning session for me as I come to grips with all the methods I need to learn to become a complete all round angler on the river, I hope there’s a day where I can confidently pick a method and be able to fish it to a good standard, but I guess all us anglers are caught up in a never ending search for angling perfection.

Till next time

I wish you all tight lines


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