A warm welcome to this weeks blog update and for the first time in a while I will be using this initial part of my blog to discuss some bad news over the past week. The first is the passing of one of the greatest all round anglers of our generation, Terry Lampard. I never had the pleasure to share time with him in real life but spent more time than I care to remember watching his exploits that were captured on film, although he will always be remembered for his chub fishing the name Terry Lampard for me will always bring that scene out of Catching the impossible to my mind where he lands a 3lb plus roach trotting bread, a great loss to our sport.
The second thing I would like to touch on is the report’s that’s surfaced late last week of an angler fishing on the River Mersey coming across a network of gill nets that had captured fish from small pike to carp in what seems to be a high level operation by a group of poachers to illegally rape our rivers of their fish.
As a person who has lived on the banks of the river mersey all his life I have to say I highly doubt the individuals would be local people given the name the River has for being dirty and polluted, I know I certainly would not eat anything I ever caught out of the river, although in certain countries I do hear fish eye balls are a delicacy so I guess a river that has rumours of fish with 3 eyes makes good business sense.
One bit of light to come from this report was the fact the angler reported the nets and then the Environment Agency acted upon this and actually waited for the culprits to return before taking them away, I can only hope the high level reporting of this in the angling press will push the EA to make an example out of them to try and deter others from committing these offences in future.
Just before we get onto this weeks fishing I have been messing around of late with some of the scenery pictures I have taken over the past years and I am thinking of adding another column to the blogs tool bar as a place where I can post these images and I am also thinking of including pictures of personal best captures we have had in the past two years of the blogs existence as well, so once its up and live please have a look and let me know what you think. A lot of the images I have already posted to the blogs facebook page and you can follow the blog on there by clicking on the following link.
On to this weeks fishing adventure:
The River Ribble, a Brand New Adventure Begins
At the end of last weeks blog I mentioned the fact that we would more than likely be visiting a new venue the following day and I am happy to say my predictions were right and we did indeed visit a brand new river, the River Ribble. This is a river neither myself or my uncle have ever wet a line in before so we were both excited to see how we got on and both accepted that in learning this new river there was bound to be a few blanks along the way, how wrong we was.
In fishing I am a firm believer in the saying “you only get out what you put in” and I adopt this to all aspect of my fishing. This trip to the River Ribble was a last minute decision but I didn’t go blindly into the abyss to this new river as I had done hours and hours of groundwork through the last few months, scouting out areas that would suite our style of fishing and would hold the type of species we would want to target, a way of putting it in terms of the Ribble is there is no point fishing a great looking dace glide that is too close to the sea and is actually in water that is too brackish to hold silver coarse fish, I can’t iterate it enough to people I talk to in emails, you have to do your homework, us as anglers have it a lot easier now than people years ago with the revolution of the internet forums and Google Earth, I knew what the stretch of the Ribble looked like before I even set off to the river on Saturday, you only get out what you put in.
The tides on the River Dee can really sneak up on you at times if you are not expecting them but I would say there are very few cases where the rising tides on the Dee would put you in a situation of grave danger, that is unless your fishing a gravel bar in the middle of the river, but the river Ribble on paper was a whole new animal all together as being a spate river it rises and falls metres at a time in only a short amount of time too boot and I have watched this EA chart over the past few months on my phone and gasped at the sheer speed at which it comes into flood with rain and also how fast it rises with the big tides, it certainly isn’t a river to be taken lightly and we had to have our wits about us.
Setting off in the pitch dark we knew we had a fair drive ahead of us but although it was a distance to travel the general route was really easy and only took in two motorways in the M56 and the M6. We wanted to get on the banks nice and early to give us a chance to have a good look at the stretch we were heading too so we didn’t have to rush and could make a sensible decision on where we wanted to target. Hitting the M56 at 5.45 we were quickly making good time along the M56 and were approaching the junction with the M6 when in the distance we could see a wall of red lights, a traffic jam, with no slip road between us and the wall of lights we had no choice but to join the queue and wait for the emergency services to do their work and for the motorway to open. We spent 45 minutes in the jam and thankfully it was only a broken down fuel lorry to blame for the jam and no one was hurt which was our initial thought with all the flashing lights on the horizon.
The build-up of traffic on the M56 meant the M6 was really clear when we got on it and we made good time and still arrived at our chosen stretch under the blanket of darkness, two anglers were already unloading their gear and we had a short chat with them before unloading our gear and setting off to pick our swim.
We chose swims quite close to each other so we could compare notes throughout the day and I was really pleased to see plenty of anglers on the bank as in my head I thought that they are not here for nothing. I set up my trusty 17ft trotting rod with a 10 no4 stick float and began feeding the swim with maggots and hemp, the word on the street was down the middle was the way to go but me and my uncle stuck to what we knew best and tried to get the fish to come to where we wanted them.
The first few hours passed by and neither of us had even had so much as a chewed maggot and when you think about the fact we had both been feeding maggots and hemp during that time the situation was a bit worrying but to be honest as we looked around there wasn’t many people faring much better apart from one man who was catching some nice bream and chub on the feeder. As we both hit the point of desperation my uncle struck into a small chub and not long after my uncle struck into his I also landed my first chub of the day, nothing massive but at least we were not a pair of blankers.
After this flurry of fish the swim again settled into its “dead” state and me and my uncle decided to take a time out and have a coffee at the top of the bank. It was during this break a fella pulled up in his car and began chatting with us and he was soon helping us out in what we were doing wrong and what to do in the afternoon to get a few bites, in short we were wasting our time trotting and should be on the tip. Me and my uncle had a quick change around in tactics and both set up a feeder rod and a maggot feeder, judging by the amount of bait we had already put in there just had to be fish on it.
I casted my feeder out and I couldn’t believe it as instantly there was plucks on the tip and it wasn’t long before I struck into my fist fish on the tip, a dace, taken on a size 12 hook laced with 5 maggots, so far detached from the finesse of our River Dee fishing.
As the afternoon wore on so the bites kept coming and I must admit I missed more than I connected with but I did put a few nice chub on the bank.
My uncle was also connecting with a few fish but it wasn’t until it was time to take a picture of his catch I realised just how good the fish were my uncle had caught. I peered into his net to see a few chub and small dace and then it was almost as if the fish parted to show a gem in the rough at the bottom of his net, “that’s a Dace Azzer I shouted and a big one”. We quickly let his other fish go so we could give this undoubted specimen all our attention, the fish was photographed, the scales were zero’d and the fish was placed in a carrier bag and then placed onto mu brand new weigh scales, I rubbed my eyes in disbelief as the scales read a whopping 1lb 3oz, not just a big fish but a colossus fish not too far off the record, a fish that my uncle will do well to ever beat, a fish of a lifetime!!.
It was a real pleasure to share that moment with my uncle, he in my eyes is a first class angler and I like to think of this capture as the fish gods repaying him for all he has taught me over the past two years on the bank, there is no doubt my river fishing has improved, thank you mate!!, you deserve it!!.
This fish will has done and will no doubt divide opinion when it gets out to the open forum and all I can say is my blog is there for all to see, we are both honest anglers, we are not specimen hunters by any stretch of the imagination and we did all we could do, weigh the fish and take photos of it, it is what it is, the scales don’t lie, the pictures are now with the Anglers Mail if the experts say it’s not a true dace then so be it, that is something I am not an expert in but it looks like a true dace to my untrained eye.
In reflection at our time on the River Ribble, I would say it is a brute of as river compared to the river Dee, big feeders and big bait seem to rule supreme and I can see that being the case when we promise to visit again for the barbell in summer. The fish don’t seem to like to chase a bait one bit as Saturdays session showed and we also didn’t get to get a taste for what the tides can be like on Saturday so that will also be an experience to go through on our future visits. Neither myself or my uncle left the bank disappointed on Saturday and although the morning was hard work the river showed us enough promise for us to want to go back again and I look forward to locking horns with this powerful river again.
Till next time