A warm welcome to this week’s blog update and I start with a huge thank you to all the people who gave last week’s product review post such great feedback, from Re-tweets on Twitter to some nice emails sent to the blogs email address, thank you all so much it really means a lot to receive feedback from regular readers of this blog.
What the future holds with regards more product reviews will be down to the companies involved but if nothing comes from this little venture I thoroughly enjoyed writing last week’s blog and any side ventures like this are always there as a luxury or little bonus for all the hard work I put into writing this blog.
This week’s trip to the bank was the last one of the River for us and I thought it would be good in this week’s introduction to look back over the last river season. I set myself a target this season of having sessions purposely dedicated to targeting pike and I think I did quite well on this front considering the river was rarely at a steady level for more than a week at a time. The sessions where I did get out for pike and targeted then I did have a few fish to double figures and the season really culminated for me in that pike in the snow.
Trotting is always my passion on the rivers and with the river being flooded for so many weeks it was always going to take pole position once the river dropped to a near normal level and hence the last few weeks of the season the pike fishing took a bit of a back seat towards the end of the season, had the winter not been so wet my plan was to get my fix of dace fishing out of the way in preparation of targeting the pike in February and march when the fish are fattening up in preparation for spawning, this just serves as a reminder that we can make the best of plans but we are ultimately in the hands of mother nature and the end of the day.
A Positive to take from this season, a season I think we did well to get in so much fishing, was us discovering pastures new in our few trips to the River Ribble, a destination that will live long in the memory with the capture by my uncle of that massive 1lb 3oz dace. This river really captured both mine and my uncle’s interest after our first session it was hard fishing and we worked for every bite but boy was it exciting and a breath of fresh air from the sometimes predictable nets of dace on the River Dee and there will certainly be more of this river to come next season.
The fish of the season for me would have to be the perch in the snow from the River Dee, just the day itself with the capture of that perch and the two pike on the way home just topped that session off for me but that perch will live long in the memory for myself and has opened up a whole new avenue of exploration for next winter as I really fancy a session dedicated to targeting these tenacious sergeants.
The next three months are always a time I look forward to being on the bank as I love seeing the world around me wake up from its winter slumber and I also can’t wait to welcome our feathered summer visitors back to our shores in the coming months not to mention the return of those long warm evenings after work as the evenings lengthen chasing tench and carp. I think there is one thing I want to reintroduce into my fishing this year and that is fun, over the past year I feel I have been in an intense frame of mind on the bank, eager to learn new methods and techniques and develop them to a standard I am happy with and I think this year it’s time to get back to the real reason I fell in love with fishing and that’s the fun and excitement of being on the bank so I can see me mixing it up a bit in the coming months on the bank, maybe blow the cobwebs off my centre-pin and have some fun with that or spend some time targeting carp off the top like I used to do as a kid. My mind really does go into over time thinking about ideas of what I can do, I just hope mother nature is on my side this year.
Tight lines to all if you either changing over from winter to summer fishing or just blowing the dust of your rods from last summer’s campaign, tight lines and the best of fishes for the coming months, I am off to watch a fish for all seasons by Martin Bowler, a great way to get into spring mode, before writing the rest of this update tomorrow.
On to this week’s adventure:-
The end of the river season? Surely not!!
The end of a gruelling river season had arrived and with it our last chance to trot a float on running water for 3 long months we had only one destination in mind and that was the River Dee, a destination we had spent far too little time on during the course of the year but one that now was in perfect condition for a decent bag of dace.
Fishing on Saturday was chalked off due to a family commitment but whilst enjoying the delights of a pint of lager me and my uncle studied how the river was looking and we both agreed she would be just about perfect when we planned to visit the next day.
The last weekend of the season mixed with how good the river was looking we decided to take no chances in not getting prime position so the alarm clock was set for a ridicules time; all I can say is it was a time that makes it very hard to convince doubters of our mental state of mind wrong! Either way effort this time would surely equal success, well at least we hoped.
Turning the penultimate bend before the stretch and the excitement of not knowing what pegs are free was tangible, would we get a decent peg or would we be left settling for a less fancied area? I have learned from past disappointments not to let myself even think of fishing a certain peg but you never lose that feeling of knowing where you would like to be.
Creeping slowly round last endless corner I strained my neck slightly trying to make out the faint outlines of cars or bivvys on the bank but low and behold my full beam headlights revealed the whole stretch to be derelict, devoid, absent of anything resembling an angler, Result we thought as we parked up in the areas we wanted to fish.
The dusk till dawn lamp out it was time to get the gear unloaded on on the pegs ready for the session ahead and with a good amount of time till even the most enthusiastic of birds began to clear its throat we had plenty of time to make sure we were set up perfectly, this lamp really has saved us loads of time on the bank.
Anyone who reads my blog with any regularity will know my set up by now for trotting so I won’t go into it again apart from mentioning I decided to go with the 3 gram Dave Harell Bolo over a stick float. I would say at this point I went with my 17ft rod to give it one final outing for a few months but I have plans to use this rod on a deep pond on the WAA card in the coming weeks.
The dawn began to break and it revealed the river to be in perfect condition, she was flat calm without a breath of wind and was carrying a few feet of water with a tinge of colour but not enough for us to be reaching for the feeder rod. The conditions were far from ideal though as a icy chill had moved in the valley and with it a smattering a snow than would unfortunately be with us the whole day long
The first cast of the morning is always a special moment in branch of our sport but few branches of our sport is the first cast met with such instant results as the final shot had only just registered as the float zipped under and the first dace of the session graced the palm of my hand and what a pretty sight it was and I remember thinking to myself to make the most of every minute of this session.
The session was a cracker from the off and even the on off snow could not dampen my enthusiasm the fish were there and there in numbers and I was determined to learn from last week and be prepared for the midday lull when the tide came in. The fish at first where like the one above around the 2-4oz mark and smaller but I wasn’t too bothered as that float was still going under and to me that was all that mattered. I continued to drip feed the swim and the better fish settled in over my bait and it was during the early stages of the better fish moving I landed one of the most stunning dace I have ever caught, it really was fin perfect, scales like pearls and a fins that went from dark purple to clear at the tips it really was a pleasure to catch this dace.
The action continued to be consistent and the general standard was upheld with the odd splattering of “eyes” but by dinnertime I had no room to complain at all and was more than made up with my efforts. It was not long after visiting my uncles peg around dinner time that the peg started to change, the bites where coming further and further down the peg and where all over the place instead of in the place I had been getting them all morning, something was aria and I knew exactly what it was, a pike. Two or three dace came in the space of around half an hour as the peg ground to a halt and then it happened I struck and was met with solid resistance as a large fish swam upstream and held deep, there was that few moments where the pike just thinks its swimming off with its lunch but doesn’t quite know why it can’t move off as smoothly as it would like.
The battle went on for around 5 minutes and I eventually managed to get the fish up near the top and caught a glimpse of it and I estimate it to be around the 5lb mark and with one flip of its tail it made a lunge for the depths and with it my hook came flying back at me. I was more gutted about the fact it had covered my whole swim on its foray for freedom than I was about losing a jack pike and I knew I was basically back at square one and would have to feed the swim back up again.
The dace being temporarily moved out seemed to make room for some different species to move in and the first fish I connected with after the pike went was a nice grayling shown above. The grayling was a welcome and refreshing change to the precession of dace I had caught in the morning but unfortunately this grayling was the only diversion away from the dace for the rest of the day, not that I am complaining.
The swim began to again build slowly with smaller dace at first and then the better fish moved in but in all it took a long time for the bigger dace to build their confidence and move into the swim in any numbers. My uncle fishing the peg just up form me had took a bit longer to get them going but was more than making up for lost time and was caught regular through the whole day on both his trotting line and under his feet.
We both continued to catch steady and was both still catching when we decided to call it a day at 3pm, it was always the plan to pack in at this time to get back for the football but I must admit had I known how close I was to 20lb I would have carried on for another 15 minutes.
It came to the time for us to see what we had caught, we both knew we had caught well and had a very good net and in my head I thought my uncle had piped me because he had caught so steady all day.
My uncle weighed in first and his net look colossal I was certain he had battered me on the scales as they went round to 16lb 9oz.
My turn and as I pulled my net out of the water I was shocked at the weight at what I had caught it was, for me, no matter what the weight a net I was going to be proud of.
The scales went round to an astonishing 19lb 10oz!! I must admit I had to check it again as it was a new personal best net from this location and I was over the moon.
We both agreed we had given the season a good send off and we packed up and left happy it could not have gone any better and with that we said goodbye to the most majestic of rivers for another 3 months and vowed to return enthusiastic as ever in June, hungry to search out new locations and the summer dace shoals.
Till next time I wish you all tight lines