Friday, 13 September 2013

Predators Go mad as Weather Cools

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update and after my week away with my family I feel refreshed and feel my batteries are well and truly recharged.  It has been a manic few months for me from a work point of view with me being heavily involved in a new piece of work that has come into our office and although I feel like I have not really stopped I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge it has posed for myself and how it has taken me right out of my comfort zone as contrary to what you would think from someone who writes a very open and revealing blog on the Internet I am not a confident person when it comes to speaking in front of a group of people and this job has almost pushed me into these scenarios which now its almost over I am really happy about but at the time I found it really stressful.  The holiday we have just been on was always the reward for a long and hard few months work and I thoroughly enjoyed it and apart from relaxing it also gave me the opportunity to spend a full week with my little family as since both me and my fiance work full time its been a long time since we have had every minute of every day to spend with our little girl and without getting too soppy about it all it was amazing.

Cornwall was the destination for our family holiday and we decided to make our base in the sea side town of Newquay, surfing capital of the northern hemisphere it would seem.  We stayed in a hotel right on top of the cliffs overlooking Fistral Beech and we was treated to some of the most beautiful scenery the British isles has to offer with white sandy beaches and clear blue seas by day and romantic sunsets by night.

Newquay was to be our base for the week and although we spent a few days in Newquay we also travelled to some beautiful local towns in Penzance, St Ives and Padstow.  I have to say the relaxed way of life and the beautiful harbour setting of Padstow was the place I personally fell in love with or was that just because of the Fish and Chips?  Some of the places we visited had harbours overlooking crystal clear coastal waters that where just alive with fish from really large shoals of small fish to some bigger fish that lazily cruised the harbour walls.  It did make me think that I should have packed a road and reel with me but in reality I bet those fish are a lot harder to catch than it looks.

The weather when we where down there was delightful as we basked in glorious sunshine for nearly every day of the trip and the bad weather only really started to creep in on the Friday morning as we packed for home.  The journey back up to the North west was long and tiresome with huge queues on both the M6 and M5 but thankfully my years of fishing the River Dane came into fruition as we jumped off the motorway around Middlewich as made our way home through the back roads, see fishing does have its benefits ladies.

I did notice on the way up the motorway just how the seasons are starting to change as the lines of trees started to show the faintest signs of the autumnal colours coming through and this became more and more evident the further north we travelled.  I also noticed it as well as we travelled to my partners mums house as she has a big conker tree in her street and it its branches where laden heavy with conkers, of course these conkers will never be allowed to fall naturally towards the end of September time as the local kids will soon be alleviating the tree of its quarry with a barrage of sticks as soon as they see a glimpse of a half ripe conker, i wonder if they still keep em in jars or vinegar to harden em up :-)

The air of change in the air has already got me thinking of chasing those River and Canal Pike again not forgetting those crisp cold mornings that lie ahead chasing the shoals of dace and chub on the River Dee and River Ribble.  i really do love seeing how the different places i fish change throughout the year and i end this introduction with a picture i took in Autumn last year on the River Dee.

on to this weeks fishing:

River Dee - Saturday 07th September

After arriving back home from Cornwall at around 8pm with approaching 7 hours of driving under my belt saying I was very tired would have been an understatement and in all honesty fishing should have been the last thing on my mind but whether its madness or an addiction I have I crazily set my alarm on my phone for a barmy 3.30am wake up call it really is times like this where i struggle to defend myself against the people who call us anglers mad. 

The River Dee was our chosen destination and arriving at my uncles doorstep at 04.45 i didn't actually feel too bad and was actually quite looking forward to the session ahead.  My plan was to fish the stick float for roach, dace and if i was lucky chub using hemp and maggot as bait.  We arrived at the river to find the banks empty and we had the choice of which swim we wanted to fish and after some deliberation we decided to fish swims we had yet to fish this year to see how they were fishing.  

To cut a long story short on the trotting front it was a terrible mornings fishing with us both scratching around for bites in what was a very out of sorts day on the River Dee.  The fish just where op for it at all and this became even more evident when the match on the other bank kicked off and failed to produce bites for anyone with any regularity.  In these scenarios many reasons are given such as the river needed a good flush through, its not cold enough yet and there is too much bait going in the stretch.  The morning did produce one unusual fish in this palm sized flatty but that was the only fish of note in a net of perch and the odd dace.

I decided not to waste this afternoon and made the decision to become proactive about the situation and if the slow fishing was down to pike I could be missing out.  I quickly tidied up my gear and set up a pike rod with the idea of dropping in a few likely spots on the length to try and winkle out a jack or two.  The bait was a small dace and it was to be fished as close to the snags as i dared to let it, conditions where really good in my opinion for predator fishing as the water had a great clarity to it.

Roaming the stretch produced no sign of a take and i did give each likely looking swim a good 20 minutes or so but alas no pike was forthcoming and i returned to my original peg to settle in for a longer vigil.

After only 5 minutes in the original peg i had some interest on the pike float as the bait quickly darted for the nearside bank, odd i thought as normally the pike do not mess around on this river.  It was not till the fish came close in i saw it was a perch that was eyeing up the bait and continued to watch as the perch corralled the fish into the margins, in my head I was thinking that dace is too much for that but in a split second it had nailed the dace and i struck into the perch.

It would give me great pleasure here to say it was a monumental fight that saw the fish almost escape capture whilst emptying the spool of line but that would be a total lie and the truth is on such heave pike gear it was a short and sweet fight and it wasn't long before the perch was on the unhooking mat, bang on 2lb and not the first good perch I have had from the river dee.

Apart from one aborted take from a small jack pike terrorising the fry shoals that was it for the fishing on Saturday and I left feeling happy i had made the trip out as it was rewarded with such a beautiful perch.

Bridgewater Canal - Warrington Anglers - Sunday 08th September

With the disappointment of the previous days silver fishing and a good pint and half of maggot left over I decided to rise really early and have a few hours till midday fishing the local Bridgewater Canal.  The canal being as urban as it is I never recommend fishing locations like this alone so I managed to persuade my dad to come along for some company and support, not fishing but just there as a friendly companion.  My dad doesn't get on the bank as much any more so it was great to spend a few hours chewing the fat with my old man.

There was definitely a chill in the air and although there was no breeze it was noticeable the drop in temperature form the previous day.  I set up in a the swim i had fished before going to Cornwall and i was really confident of a few bites and as i had fished the swim a few times before i drip feeding the swim as i set up my gear to fish it.  We are hoping to fish the canal this weekend as well so i am thinking of doing a detailed blog on what a session for me is like on my local water.

All set to go I was fishing around 11 metres of pole to a far bank reed bed well out of the boat line as to try and build an area of feed for the fish to settle on.  The first put over and i fully expected the float to go before it even settled but to my amazement the float settled and remained as stationary as the heron working the far bank margin further down the canal, not what i had imagined.  Eventually the float slid away and i lifted into a small fish that within seconds became a much bigger fish, a bigger fish that came into the middle of the canal before releasing its prey, a skimmer with deep cuts down it side, a pike was obviously on the prowl.

I was not here for the pike today so I shipped back out and managed to get a few fish before i then hooked into a slightly better fish and again it all went solid the pike again,  the same pike maybe? and with that it again released the fish.  I again ignored it and went back out but the swim was tone cold dead and all around the area where i was fishing fry where scattering everywhere, not how i imagined the morning would go.

I then remembered i had left my piking gear in my holdall from the previous day so i quickly grabbed it and waited for the next fish.  The intention was never to pike fish but sometimes you just need to move these jacks further along the bank as it was obvious i was not going to catch steady with it around.  The pike on the prowl it did not take long for it to take the bait and before long a nice pike weighing 6.5lb was on the bank.

The fish returned further up the canal i settled back into the swim and began to catch steady then but after around half an hour i lifted into another decent fish that this time went solid again and this felt a better pike which again spat the bait.  The time was 10.30 and i was only fishing till 1 o'clock so i did not reach for the pike rod this time but continued for the silvers and caught steady for the remainder of the session which culminated with the capture of this bronze bream, easily the fish of the session.

The final net was not the big net of silvers I had hoped for but considering the predator activity i think it was a well earned one and i look forward to having another shot at this canal this weekend.

till next time

tight lines



  1. 27lb won the match and 13lb was second.

  2. hi chesterlad78,

    thank you for commenting, which part of the match did this come from may i ask?, i can only comment from the people around me and it looked like they struggled. Goes to show though the shoals are still spread out but if you land on them you have a good day.