Friday, 9 August 2013

Hungry ‘Jacks’ Hunting For ‘Roachy’ Snacks

A warm welcome to this week’s angling blog update and what landmark week it is for the blog with at the time of writing this update it is fast approaching the 100,000 views mark a number that I still have to glance twice at to believe and I guess no matter where this blog leads to from this day forward I will always be proud of what I have achieved with this blog to this point, I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say I have not met one bad person through writing this blog and it has been an absolute joy to not only share my angling adventures with people but also hear about other people’s fishing trips who get in touch.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has visited my blog, sent me an email, messaged me on twitter, messaged me on facebook or even just dropped into my peg and said hi on the bank, thank you.

I also owe a big thank you to my dad and uncle for putting up with me on the bank when things are not going too well and also for putting up with my “one last cast” which leads to them waiting on me to pack up!  I guess the biggest thank you I need to say though is to my partner Lucy, I know how lucky I am to have such an understanding missus, I mean I don’t think there are many women out there who would be ok with their fella going fishing every weekend and then also putting up with them disappearing into a side room through the week to write an angling blog, I really do know how lucky I am and I know she secretly reads the blog so THANK YOU LUCY J.

Here’s to all the adventures to come and let’s see where the next 100,000 views takes us too, if its takes me through half as many adventures as the first 100,000 I will be a very happy angler.

Moving on to this week’s update and whilst browsing the internet this week I came across and interesting story on the Daily mail website and although the Mail has some of the worst transfer rumours in regard the summer transfers the story I read was full of information and really got me thinking on my dinner hour when I read it.   The story I came across was about information that had been obtained from the environment Agency via the Freedom of information act.

Basically picking out the bits that are of interest it state that the top 10 water companies in this country have been responsible for 1000 separate incidents of polluting our rivers, harbours and streams since 2005.  It also goes on to mention the average fine for these companies was a mere £10,800 which the article is suggesting is quite low considering the fact the companies made a grand total of 10.5 BILLION POUNDS!.  The article then goes on to suggest a minimum fine for deliberate polluting of our waters should be imposed and that should start at £750,000.  The article then gives all the major companies a chance to reply against an allegation that these fines are seen as part and parcel of them releasing sewage into the rivers, an allegation they all reject and go on to state they have spent money on increasing defences against leaks and the fact that pollution incidents have reduced every year since 2005.

As regular readers will know major pollution incidents have featured a few times over the past few years on my blog, off the top of my head I remember a few incidents on the river Irwell in the past year where the river was transformed into something resembling a bath full of bubble bath with the whole river covered in a thick layer of foam, I also remember Mark from the Fishing for memories blog mentioned about pollution incidents in his area and let’s not forget the major incidents that happened on the River Dee where no one was ever fined for a pollution incident that wiped out all the fish stocks in the river! These are only a few incidents that I can remember off the top of my head but even these ones mentioned are too many in my opinion. 

The information released in the article is astonishing to be honest the average fine really shocked me as it is really low and It does make me question how much of a deterrent a fine like that can have and I do think the suggestion of a minimum fine of £750,000 would be a great idea.  In all debates like this though I always try and see the other side of the coin as well and I grew up living next to one of the most polluted rivers in this country, the River Mersey, a river made famous for its 3 eyed “glowing” fish and bank lined factories.  When I was growing up the river had a really bad name and you would often see slicks of chemicals running along the top of the river and I always remember the river as being quite devoid of birdlife.  The river today is a complete turnaround there have been reports of salmon being seen running the river again, otters living in the estuary and as I cross the Runcorn to Widnes Bridge on my daily commute to work I often see anglers fishing along its banks so it is a river that has transformed its image and water clarity immensely over the past 20 years so much so you now see a multitude of birds working the sand banks of low tides proving what abundance of fish must now call this once polluted estuary home.

The vitality of this river now runs through its course with many angling clubs owning rights to its banks as you go upstream and into its tributaries with Warrington Anglers being one club that now holds regular matches on the stretches around Warrington BUT there are of course still the regular incidents we hear about on the tributaries like the River Irwell, Goyt and Tame that still tarnish this image and its these small secluded rivers and streams where wildlife and fish stocks will thrive and find sanctuary to increase their numbers a populate down the river where these pollution incidents do most damage these areas are the nursery grounds for all the smaller species of fish to thrive and these areas need protecting more than ever. My only hope is I never have to live through and witness some of the horrific scenes I hear talked about by other anglers on the river Dee when they recall the day they saw thousands of fish dying in front of their eyes we live in a time where technology can do so many things and I hope the proposed changes marks an end to the deliberate polluting of our waterways, mistakes will always happen but there are no excuses for deliberately releasing pollution.

In other news this week I have heard a rumour that Warrington Anglers have acquired a new stretch of the River Alyn, not much information on the actual beat yet but seen as the stretch Warrington currently have that stops just short of the confluence of the River Dee is really shallow I imagine the river further upstream is just as shallow and the fish species will be mainly trout and grayling.  I will release more information on the stretch as and when an official announcement is made on the clubs website or on the clubs Facebook page, the good old second pseudonym account might just prove to be worthwhile after all.  As with all aspects of life it always pays to think ahead and while I am on the subject of Warrington Anglers Facebook page it makes me laugh so much when I drop in there and read that people are asking the same questions about the road at Worthenbury, the track at dog kennel farm and the fact another angling club now have Almere ferry that my “official” account was kicked off there for, guess it wasn’t just me who had the same feelings on certain issues eh and I must say the argument that broke out about the rumour the club are losing cicily mill to prince Albert sums up how silly this page can be, rather than deleting the post surely responding with an official yes or no puts it all to bed rather than how it is now with the question still being up in the air, they did the same with Almere Ferry and that went in the end, makes you wonder.

Any way that’s enough time wasted on that onto this week’s fishing:

Hungry ‘Jacks’ Hunting For ‘Roachy’ Snacks

In the light of our thunder filled session on the Dee last Sunday there was only ever once place we were going to fish this weekend and it was of course the exact same swims we were perched in last week.  The abundance of roach in the river at the moment is really pleasing to see an with reports of roach being caught all along the lower River Dee it will surly make for an interesting winter when they all shoal up to see if the roach feature as much once the huge shoals of dace start moving in.

The river at the best of times is never really busy so we took our time as we navigated along the quiet B Roads that meander alongside the river dee.  We had both come with a game plan this time, mine was to loose feed hemp and caster with the hope of avoiding some of the really small fry whilst my uncle also was equipped with castors and hemp he chose to also bring along a tin of the trusty sweetcorn, jolly green giant of course as all fisherman will tell you, the fish can tell the difference.   We both brought a few pints of white maggot as well as we do normally for our river trips.

We both started off on castor and could not buy even a knock as the float just drifted through the swim time after time after time even the ever reliable holding back hard on the float could not induce a bite from the fish.  It became quite clear castor was not going to work so we changed over to maggot and instantly we both started to get bite and not from small fish either with this surprise chub around a pound coming on only the third cast after the change to maggot.

The pair of us enjoyed some steady bits for the next few hours with mainly roach coming to the net.  My uncles swim stayed pretty steady all through the day but mine seemed to change dramatically a few hours in as all the steady bites from nice roach I had been getting disappeared and was replaced with sharp lightning fast bites that I put down to being really small roach and dace.  These bites drove me mad to put it bluntly anyone who has done any amount of trotting will be able to relate to me here when I say you know when you have struck bank on and nailed a bite but my strike was met with no fish on the other end and time and time again the float would go under but no fish on the other end.  I of course made all the changes I could think of but the bites continued to be frantic and all other the swim, something was not right.

The Swim to my left occupied by my uncle was still fishing well with nice roach and the odd perch coming to his maggot and hemp and that’s when it all clicked in my head.  Had we been on the river for a few weeks solid maybe it would have hit me sooner but the obvious answer to this situation was that a silent speckled green hunter had skulked into the swim, a quick look at my keep net to see every fish up in the water around the next of the net just confirmed this diagnosis even further.   I decided to persevere with the trotting approach in hope I was wrong about my feelings that a pike had moved in but all this do was confirm my suspicions as half way down the trot I struck into a fish that felt half decent before it suddenly felt a record breaker as it all went solid and the slow determined run of a pike made its way into the middle of the river before its sharp teeth cut through my think hook length.

I was fairly sure the pike had not felt like it was hooked and unfortunately for mr pike I had also left my pike rod in my holdall so it was a quick scoot to the car to set up to try for my first pike of the season.  All set up I introduced a small roach into the swim and set about waiting for the pike to move back in, it didn’t take too long before the floats rhythmic motion became a bit more frantic as the bait sensed trouble was about and I knew to expect a bite at any minute and with that there was an almighty splash as the pike took the bait and headed off into its lair in the middle of the river to digest its midday snack.  The fish was only a jack pike of a few pounds but it didn’t half put up a good account for itself. 

In summer, more than ever, we must always remember to give the pike to rest in the margin by either retaining them in your net or holding them upright in a slack till they recover the pike gives it all in the fight and the low oxygen levels in summer means it take the fish longer to recover.

The one thing that always amazes me about the river is how quick after moving a pike on its way out of your swim the fish move back on the feed as it was my very first trot down after all the commotion from the pike I connected with this lovely plump roach above.  A quick glance at the clock revealed it to be around midday so I decided to rest the swim and get on with cooking us both some dinner on the Calor Grill to Go.  I this bit of kit given to me by Calor Gas to review a few months ago would get some solid use as we moved onto the river and I can see it being a real essential addition to our gear as we move into the colder months.  Sausage barms on the bank, the smell, the sizzle I really don’t know what I have been missing.

Our stomachs seen to I got back to the trotting and it was like going back to the swim I arrived at in them morning with solid bites met with the solid resistance of a fish and for the next few hours we added a steady stream of fish to our haul included in this was a nice eel my uncle caught that did a complete disappearing act as I took its picture so well that I don’t have a picture lol. We ended the session with a solid net of fish each.

My net

Uncle net.

Of course at the end of every session there is that wait while the keep nets dry out and I decided to take full advantage of this by having another cheeky go for a pike but this time in my uncle’s swim.  To say it wasn’t long before the easy meal was pounced upon was an understatement as the small bait was soon taken by a hungry jack that fought like a demon, tail walking on a number of occasions and was certainly one of those pikes you don’t trust.  It seems weird to say you don’t trust a fish but you do get a feeling with pike about their temperament and how they are going to behave on the bank and this one certainly had a glint in its eye that said be extra careful.

Thankfully once he was tamed and on the bank he was was good as gold and soon had his picture taken and was happily resting in the edge.

That’s was it for the session and we both left happy with the session but we both agreed we needed a change of venue the following week so where this weekend will take us is anyone’s guess.

I leave you with a picture from Sunday morning of me and my little girl watching Catching the impossible she really does love her wildlife and I hope wildlife makes up a big park of her life.

Till next week

Tight lines


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